Sunday, January 20, 2013

Marathon Effort

I was seriously tired following Wednesday's fartlek, probably more so because I am not used to that kind of workout than any other reason. However, the way my week is structured meant that 2 days of easy running were always in the plan anyway, though the original idea had been to be fresh for the weekend rather than recover from a particularly tough midweek workout.

Having said that, I seemed to recover very quickly. That's similar to what I encounter when doing hill drills, I can be very tired immediately after doing them but recovery is always very swift.

I felt really good on Friday, which set me up for a good run on Saturday. The plan said to run 20 km at 6:40 pace, but since I measure my runs in miles I did 12 miles, which is slightly less but I did not think it would make a difference. I went on a loop through Cromane which has a lot of little ups and downs, similar to the Tralee marathon course. I found it fairly tough going and did wonder if I was running way ahead of marathon effort, but that's always hard to tell. The heart rate would certainly indicate that I should be able to replicate the pace on marathon day; we will find out. I averaged 6:36 pace, but that's on the Garmin. History teaches us that on an officially measured course that would probably be around 6:40 pace, which would get me just under 2:55 in Tralee, something I would be happy enough with (I'd still love to run faster, of course).

My weekend always features back-to-back workouts, something I started doing under Mystery Coach's guidance, with Saturday seeing faster pace and Sunday a long run. That way you always start your long run on already slightly tired legs, which makes it more relevant for marathon training. The last few weeks I ended my long runs with a few strong miles, today I just held a steady relaxed effort all the way through. I did not pace myself off the Garmin, just ran by feel and was pleasantly surprised by how quick I was. The legs were a bit heavy, yesterday's run had clearly left its marks, but they never deteriorated, after 18 miles they still felt pretty much the same as right at the start.

It is still 8 weeks to Tralee. I wish it was less. My main worry right now is not to get sick; the kids, while being very healthy in general, can't help bringing germs home from school. Shea had just been sick for several days and had felt quite badly affected. It's when he started misbehaving again on Wednesday that we knew he was recovered.
17 Jan
8 miles, 1:01:01, 7:37 pace, HR 136
18 Jan
10 miles, 1:14:31, 7:27 pace, HR 139
19 Jan
12 miles, 1:19:01, 6:35 pace, HR 158
20 Jan
18 miles, 2:09:37, 7:12 pace, HR 141
Weekly Mileage: 75+


  1. You'll just have to keep the kids out of school for the next 8 weeks. I'm sure the school will understand ;-)

    Certainly thr weekend back to back speed/long runs are great training.

  2. Hi Thomas,
    Been getting up to date with your blog.
    Congrats on breaking into the 17's for 5k!
    Nice improvement, keep pushing the limits :0]

  3. When I was preparing for the Kielder back last Autumn I tried out doing marathon paced runs using the average HR suggested by the MACRO marathon calculator. For my estimated max HR the average HR for the fix six miles was 157, so I practiced this level of intensity and used the pace achieved on these runs as a guide for my marathon race pace. The level of effort felt pretty comfortable, but not easy, it did feel like an intensity I could manage for a full marathon.

    I was going to propose that you try out the same to see where you are at, and them up pops your latest post that is almost bang on what I was thinking of suggestion you to try out. It sounds like you were working a bit harder than I was in my marathon paced runs. You are better trained than I so I expect you'll be able to cope with a high intensity for longer so this needn't be too much of a concern, especially as you still have plenty of time till the race.

    One thing that does surprise me is how quickly your HR raises as you go faster - the HR in your Sunday run at 7:12 of 141 is amazingly low, while the HR of 158 at 6:35, while still a pretty low HR compared to what I'd see at this pace is still a big jump up. I would be interesting to graph your HR against pace to see if there how it looks, when I do the same for my runs I see quite a linear progression.

    One thing I did find last year is when doing lots of low intensity running in training for the Highland Fling my pace pace low HR improved significantly but my pace at higher HR improved slightly but along with it my HR at lactate threshold went down. I only improved the HR and pace at threshold once I added more tempo and hill sprints runs back into my training. This finding might be one of those "obvious" findings that scientific studies some come out with, but it's a good confirmation of training effects.

    I mention it here is perhaps you could do with more time at marathon and tempo pace so you body adapts to this specific demands as the big jump in HR at marathon pace suggest there is scope for improvement.

  4. That's a good few days of running. Yes, take the kids out of school!

    Close to 4 minute ks for the 12 miler - I can barely do 1k at that pace. Works out to be 646 heart beats per km, which I think is a good number for you in the midst of full training.

  5. You are from Ireland! Wow. I'm jealous. :p

    I've been to Scotland and loved it - yet to go to Ireland!!!