Marathon training and Chilly Half

Man, this marathon training stuff can really be tough! I find myself tired quite often and sore pretty much all the time. However, I understand a good tired and sore versus injured and burned out. My official marathon training started on February 12 and now being a smidge over a month in, I can say things are going extremely well so far, with the exception of a minor injury scare last week.

The typical week consists of; two runs Monday, a workout Tuesday morning and an easy run in the evening, two runs Wednesday, a workout with a long cooldown Thursday, long run Friday, two runs Saturday, and one easy run Sunday. I have been rotating a four week cycle of three weeks at 220k and an easier week of 190k. To be quite honest, I was surprised at how easily I adjusted my volume. During XC season, I was hitting 170k most weeks and not really ever going above 180k. January was spent bringing my mileage up to the 220k range with a week around 230k. While the workouts are going well, they are nothing to write home about. I am basically doing everything geared towards running 2:17 high/2:18 low for paces. Some example workouts are 35-50 minutes at marathon pace after a 50 minute warmup. I usually run somewhere in the 3:14/k-3:18/k range for those workouts or faster (3:10/k range) for 4×10 minutes or similar workouts. I have also done a lot of fartleks to work on running economy and pace changes. An example would be 20×2 on, 1 off, 25×1 on, 1 off or 14×3 on, 1 off. The pace would depend on the volume of the workout and length of the interval. Ranging from 2:55/k to 3:08/k. Long runs on the other hand were not very specific. I did a few 35+k long runs that were fasted but no pace goal. I have also done fuelling runs that were 36-40k long practicing nutrition for the race. Often times the pace would start of pretty relaxed, around 4:30/k and naturally pick up to 3:40-50 by the end. Speed is not something I really ever work on but I still have enough to do sub 4:30 miles on VO2 max sessions!

The plan going into Chilly Half was to tempo it at goal marathon pace. While the field was strong and it would have been a good opportunity to run a fast time, I did not taper at all and was heading in at the end of a 220k week. I was thinking that if I raced all out, I was in low 67 shape. But to be honest, I was a little apprehensive about even being able to hit MP at the end of a fairly high mileage week and have it feel easy. I had done a 40k long run three days before and my hips were pretty tight, let alone the weather, which did not look pretty for the Sunday of the race. I said on Strava the day before that the goal was 1:08:50-1:09:20. I knew I could hit the time, but was unsure as to how I would feel. The plan was to see how I felt after the race and assess whether or not I could run that same pace for another 21.1k. 

I drove up with my father the morning of and headed over to the elite spot at the Wendel Clarke’s restaurant. It was nice catching up with some of the friends from Strava! The running community is always so supportive of one another and it is great to connect with people you only really communicate with through social media! I headed out for my 4k warmup and felt pretty decent. The wind along the waterfront was a little rough. We would have a headwind from 3-13k and I was wondering whether or not it would be an effort instead of pace sort of day. After multiple bathroom stops and changing into flats, I headed to the start line about two rows back and the gun went off.

The first few kilometres went by and I settled into a good group. The lead guys were away and our pack settled in well. Rejean and Lucas began pushing the pace a bit around 4k which split up the pack. I wasn’t looking at my watch and started to go with them but realized that they were running faster than my tempo goal, so I eased off their pace and did my own thing. I passed 5k in 16:15 and began to notice my right calf tightening up. I also noticed our pack was gone and I was running solo. To be honest, I felt crappy but chalked it up to not being warmed up fully. “I’ll feel good around 12k” I kept telling myself. There was a lot of people complimenting my lime green hat which made me laugh! I passed through 8k and noticed someone who had fallen off the pace group ahead of me, so I made it my goal to catch him. I passed 10k in 32:47 and thought, “I’ll feel good really soon”. I caught the guy by 13k and we ran together through 15k before I finally started to feel warmed up. My pace went from 3:17-3:18/k down to 3:14-3:15/k. I passed 10 miles and my calf tightens was gone and I began to feel crazy relaxed. I passed 20k in 1:05:35, my last 10k in 32:48 (16:25, 16:23) and began to push the pace with a 3:06 last kilometre, smiling and waving to the crowds to finish in 1:09:09, right in the range of what I wanted. I thought after that if I was tapered and it wasn’t so cold, I would have been able to hold it for the full. It felt so relaxed which definitely gives me a lot of confidence with the build! After a 12k cooldown and 4k shakeout, it was a 41k training day. 

The next week I was still hitting training hard but noticed a tendon on top of my right foot was pretty swollen. I tried to go for a long run on the Thursday but the pain seared with every step. I aborted the run and took the Friday and Saturday completely off. I tested things out for a short 12k on the treadmill Sunday with almost no pain. That was last week and so far, I have made it through an easy Monday and a workout Tuesday with no pain. The swelling has gone down but I am taking things easier and with caution this week, 170k is the plan. 

While the Pittsburgh marathon is a little less than two months away now, I do plan on racing something shorter, 5k-10k range, in April. I would like to do Spring Run-Off in Toronto but missed the elite registration. I sent an email to see if I can still get in but if not, I will probably do something local in town. Either way, I will be doing a race before the marathon. The goal of 2:17-2:18 is still the same and Chilly Half reaffirmed my believe that I can and will hit that goal this spring. Hopefully the build will continue to go well and this foot thing is gone. I have some interesting race plans for after the marathon but nothing is set in stone quite yet, and it also depends on work and life. If anyone reads this rather than my mom, I hope your training is going well! Here are a few pics

Mid 36k fasted run
45 minutes at MP averaging 3:16/k
Second half of a 2×20:00. I forgot what a tempo is!
40k long run fuel
GPS from Chilly Half

Seth

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