Well, it is hard to believe that I am now just over a week away from making my marathon debut! To be honest, it seems like the last few weeks have gone by rediculously fast. I am now done exams and in to tapering mode, trying to keep calm and relax. I had my last hard workout earlier today which was decent. Next week will be just running lower mileage with a light workout on Tuesday or Wednesday before heading down to Pittsburgh on Friday. Since my last ramblings here, I have ran a lot of miles and hopped in Spring Run-off 8k to test my marathon fitness in a short and hilly race. I will talk about training and that race a bit before leaving my final thoughts and opinions leading into next weeks race.
I last talked about trying to deal with a minor foot issue that disappeared quickly after a few rest days. After that I had a lighter week of 175k just to be cautious and had one of my best workouts all build; a fartlek of 13×3′ on, 1′ easy. I ran a little extra and ended up passing through 10 miles in 51:24. Sometimes, you wonder why you are training so hard and it is in workouts like that where you really start to see the benefits. Back in December I ran a 10 miler on Boxing Day in 51:53 so I was feeling excited and optimistic about training!
I did have two relatively rough workouts in a two week stretch. I tried doing 5k repeats but stopped after doing the first two in 16:00 and 16:06 because I just felt awful. My next two workouts were solid crushing some speed work in the midst of a 39k long run as well as a workout of 35′ tempo, 4′ jog, 15′ tempo. I then completely bombed a 20×2′ on, 1′ easy in a 40k long run but only mustered 15 of them. I managed to recover quick though a hit a hilly and fasted 20 mile run the next day and felt solid.
After that, it was pretty much full throttle on training hitting 213k-228k for the next four weeks, running 250.3k from April 9th-15th, the most I have ran in a week stretch. I definitely felt the miles on my 24 mile fuel run that week though. Everything felt tired and lethargic but the workouts that week didn’t reflect it. I ran a solid tempo of 35′ at marathon pace, 4′ easy and 10′ progression running 15.1k in a little over 49 minutes running 3:05/k and faster towards the end. 3×15′ tempo off of 2′ jog was another good workout. On most tempos, I am looking for marathon pace or a little quicker so 3:12-3:17/k is usually the range of what I am running.
I think a staple pre-race or post race workout is the 20×1′ hard, 1′ easy workouts I have done before Chilly half as well as before Spring Run-off. A workout like this is just nice to get the legs spinning a little quicker but not too hard to burn them out. I typically ended up averaging 3:24-3:27/k on these.
Spring Run-off was definitely a difficult day! I wanted to run around 25:00 but was unaware of the crazy nature of the course. The field was very strong though so I wanted to be competitive in a race that is way under what I would consider a good distance for me. All I will say about the race was that everyone ran absurdly fast off the gun and I just could never really get me legs turning and ended up running 25:27 on the hilly course. I was 21:47 through 7k but the last k was on the ridiculous hill which essentially killed my hope of running a fast time as I crossed the line in 7th, missing prize money by 3 seconds.
After that race I had my 250k week which definitely tired me out so the plan for the next week was to keep the mileage a little lower. I ran 193k that week with two very good workouts. I ran my long fuel specific tempo on my street, which is a 1.4k loop. The plan for that was to start conservative and work the pace down while taking gels every 30 minutes and water roughly every 15 minutes as it was a very humid day with temperatures around 22 degrees. I did not want to look at my splits until 7k and check again at 14k and 21k. I cruised through 7k in 23:05, 14k in 45:42 (22:37) and 1:08:27 through 21k (22:45) running just over 70 minutes averaging 3:15/k and splitting the half marathon around 1:08:46. It was a really good workout although I was dealing with some stomach issues towards the end.
My next workout was a light recovery fartlek before hitting 4xV02 max miles, closing in 4:30 for the last one. My final workout today was 20′ tempo, 4′ jog and 15′ tempo averaging 3:16/k for 12k in 39:19. I also finally saw the full elite start list for the race next week, which was a little intimidating to be honest. There are three 2:09 guys, and a bunch of 2:10/2:11 marathoners. In total, I think there are twenty guys who have run under 2:20 with a large group in the 2:17/2:18 range so there should be a solid pack to work with. I am definitely confident in my fitness and I know 2:17 pace will feel easy until 20 miles where I will have to dig deep. The profile of the course is 12 miles of flat running, a massive hill from 12-13 miles with 13-22 miles being rolling hills before a downhill and flat finish.
If I can get the gels and water down at the increments that I practiced, I will hit it out off the park. The nutrition is honestly my biggest concern but I have worked on it enough to have a solid plan in mind. My other concern is not going out too hard. A marathon is a long race, and poor pacing means there will be a lot of pain in the second half if I am not cautious. Just being smart and running goal pace around 3:15-3:16/k feels very comfortable in training but when adrenaline kicks in, you have a tendency to run like an idiot. Either way, I am confident and I know I have put in the work to be a 2:17 marathoner, I just have to execute on the day.
Good luck on your training and racing,
Here are some pictures of life and running from the past few weeks.
From top to bottom: New Hoka One One gear, long run with fartlek on the Garmin, singlet and sunglasses before Spring Run-off, dying on the final hill, receiving athlete of the year from Fanshawe, testing out new under armour shorts for the team next year, start list of elite men in Pittsburgh.