The Breaking 2:24 Project
Back again with an indifferent week to my usual Berlin marathon prep, a taper week pre Gold Coast ½ marathon on Sunday. This was a race I targeted after Canberra Marathon in April to get me going again and to help break up my Berlin marathon lead up into two phases. This lead up to gold Coast has all been about ‘staying fit’ and getting robust and strong in the gym, and then after Gold Coast it will all be about becoming ‘marathon fit’.
The Gold Coast half marathon was on Sunday just gone, July the 1st. It is a great race and I would recommend it to any keen runner! I traveled up on Saturday midday and stayed in an apartment at Surfers Paradise with my Kiwi mate, gun runner and fellow SSPC physio/work mate Caden Shields and his fiance Rach. We relaxed, chatted, I went for an easy shakeout run off the plane, enjoyed some time in the pool and then it was off for an early Thai dinner. We hit the hay by 9pm.
I set my alarm for 3:45am and it was straight into the shower in a desperate attempt to feel more awake. After a quick coffee and nutella toast; Caden, Rach and I caught a 4:30am Uber to the start line at Southport. The temperature was 13-18 degrees for our race which was perfect and there was next to no wind. However, the humidity was 96%.
The Gold Coast Marathon event is such a well organised event, Caden and I were very lucky to be given access to the elite runners start area; where there was an abundence of food drinks, masseuse, toilets, space to warm up etc. After a good warm up the race started at 6am in the dark, which is an experience in itself! It adds to the anticipation and adrenaline of the event, the fact that you are starting under lights in the dark! Other perks of this event are that you escape the wintery weather of Melbourne, there is this amazing up beat vibe as you are among thousands of other like minded running enthusiasts, the course is flat and fast and once you finish you still have the rest of the day to enjoy Surfers Paradise!
The race went out fast but after 1km it settled down and everyone settled into the groups that they thought would best suit them for the day. I settled in with the third group of guys and felt strong till 5kms. Then Michael Kernahan instilled a healthy surge that I went with, along with Michael Marantelli. The problem was I started running his race a little bit soon to realise that the pace was just too hot for me today. Although I was on pace through to 10km (32:15- 3:13/km), the pace was harder than it should have been for me at that point.
Caden who was running a hell of a race further up the road, gave me some nice advice pre-race- break the race into thirds ( three 7km segments). So, I ran the second 7kms reasonably conservative- as I was alone and needed to take stock. Michael Kernahan and Michael Marantelli where still very much in eye shot and were keeping me going.
I was incredibly fortunate for the next part of my race- the final 7kms. Gold Coast half is an out and back course, so as I was heading back to the finish at about the 14km mark and I started to notice i was receiving a thunderous applause. I soon realised- the famous US marathoner Sara Hall and lead female was quickly coming through behind me. I quickly used this amazing applause and pretended it was directed at me and I found it gave me strength.
With 4kms to go Sara caught me but I stubbornly didn’t want her to beat me. It was a surreal experience running side by side with one of America’s top marathoners. You could just see she was pushing herself to the absolute limit, her hubby- Ryan Hall (2:04 marathoner and US marathon record holder) was on his pushbike next to us too. I couldn’t quite hear what Sara was saying but it seemed to be a ‘mantra’ that she just repeated and repeated and repeated otherwise she was counting down from 1000 to 0 to distract herself from the pain.
Meanwhile I was using the crowd, trying to relax, mimic Kipchoge’s guru like command of pain and hang with her. I ran a 33:40 for the final 10km. I sprinted as hard as I could away from Sara over the final 500ms. I hit the line and dodged Sara’s finishing tape in 69:19.
I was a little dissapointed with this result as I thought I was in close to PB shape (68:10)- normally I am a reasonable judge of where I am at. It was a funny old result, as much as I was dissapointed with the time, I was incredibly happy with how hard I pushed during the race. I was really mentally strong, as I was feeling the pinch a long way out. I was also over the moon with how strong my body and legs physically felt, I had no soreness or cramps or fatigued muscles. My body felt robust, I felt strong like a marathoner should over the half, I felt fit. I am not disheartened. I feel in retrospect my sleep pattern and devotion could improve even more. This and perhaps the 96% humidity were the main things holding me back a little time wise on the day. The majority of the top 20 bar a couple ran large positive splits in the race also.
Below is a table of my week leading into the 1/2 marathon, week 5 of my 16 week lead in to Berlin…As you will be able to see it was a lighter week, with no double runs, a focus on loosening up in the pool and core/glut activation in the gym rather than heavy strength. I also had no sessions, shortened a lot of my runs and just had a few 1 minute or 30 second race pace surges in the midst of my run on Tuesday and Thursday. Just 90kms for the week!
|Monday 26/6/18||(I normally do 70 mins) 60 mins 13.65km at 4:47/km 4 laps of Golf Links Rd circuit. Followed by a massage, pilates, pool and spa recovery session.|
|Tuesday 27/6/18||60 mins 13kms at 4:42/km at Seaford Foreshore Track with 6 by 1minute run throughs in the middle. ½ marathon pace.||Rest (no double)|
|Wednesday 28/6/18||(Normally 90) 80 minutes 17kms at 5 min/km at Langwarrin Flora and Fauna reserve. Did it very slow.|
|Thursday 29/6/18||Rest (No double)||60 mins 13.28km at 4:31/km at Seaford Foreshore. Had 8 by 30 second run throughs in the middle of the run. 10km pace.
Followed by a massage, pilates, pool and spa recovery session.
|Friday 30/6/18||50 min 10.8km at 4:37/km with Craig Appleby at Police Paddocks and coffee after. Cruisey run- ‘feeling fresh.’|
|Saturday 31/6/18||Rest (No double)||30 min 6.65kms at 4:35/k along Surfers Paradise esplanade|
|Sunday 1/7/18||-13 min 2.5k warm up at 5:12/km
-Gold Coast ½ Mara
20th in 69:19 at 3:16/km
-30 min 5.6km warm down at 5:25/km
|Week Total: 90.68km, No doubles, 2 pool/pilates, 2 massages, 1/2 marathon race.|
As the week progressed my legs really started to feel fresh and feel like they were getting some ‘pop’ back- particularly Friday and Saturday. However, frustratingly I slipped back into bad habits and had a few 6-7hr sleeps during the week. Jess, my brother Sean and I are currently painting our kitchen, we got an 8 week old kelpie puppy called Remi, I’m doing this blog, wedding planning, suit shopping etc. In other words I just need to get a better ‘off’ switch, as I can get too focused and hell bent on life’s projects that I just put these above sleep.
I do understand that without getting 8-8.5 hours a night my training will be less effective as I won’t have rested my body enough for it to repair, regenerate and adapt to the stress I’m putting it under. Also, if I don’t sleep enough it generally leads to mental fatigue, in this state it really is hard to utilize your fitness. When push comes to shove in distance running, you need to be mentally ‘full of beans’. Being completely honest with myself I believe I’ve lacked this my last two races. It is for this reason that I am self imposing a bedtime of 1030pm or earlier from here on in to Berlin.
Everyone, I just want to say thanks to the emails I got this week for Run Culture apparel orders, I will post these orders out in the coming days. For those that didn’t see the post I put up last Friday on Instagram see below; (and don’t hesitate to get involved!)
Email me on email@example.com if interested in purchasing any of the above runculture apparel. Men’s/woman’s singlets and winter long sleeves available in all sizes. For more info go to ‘shop’ on home page.
Also a big thanks to the email I got from Warwick Budge on running ‘cadence’. We both struggle with a particularly high cadence (up near 200) and short stride length. He got me thinking, what else could I do?
This past week I trialed playing my ipod music while I run through AudioStep at a cadence of ‘180’. It is a great running ‘app’ that you can sync your playlist to and it speeds up or slows down the song in accordance to your desired cadence. Astonishingly, I hit 196 steps per minute for these runs, I haven’t seen a cadence this low since I got a Garmin.
Using Audiostep was an inspired decision after reading Blood et al (2013) [see reference at footnote of blog]. It made me realise that my cadence is a motor pattern that is so ingrained/hardwired from years of repetition that strength training alone won’t be enough. I need motor skill re-learning. I will be integrating audiostep music playlists set to a 180 steps/min beat weekly from here on in. Just another low risk, high reward one percenter that I’m willing to try!
I am already doing drills twice a week before training; a, b skips, high knees, butt kicks and bounds but I have done this for years- perhaps I need to be more present and goal orientated during them also?
Ok, so what’s ahead? This coming week is an easy recovery week, where i’ll Re introduce double runs come Thursday. I won’t session this next week I’ll just jog easy each day and make sure I recover well from Sunday’s effort. I’ll do more Pilates this week, get a massage and do a couple of pool recovery walks. I’ll ensure I keep ticking off my long run and will be in the hills for that the next two weeks to keep working on my strength. Next week I’ll aim to get in 2-3 quick and easy workouts; some half paced fartleks and short tempos at aerobic threshold. It’ll be a lighter week and then the week after that I’m hoping to get rolling with some more marathon specific training.
Alright, guys, that’s me over and out!
Enjoy your running!
Until next week run.live.grow!
Bood, R. J., Nijssen, M., Van Der Kamp, J., & Roerdink, M. (2013). The power of auditory-motor synchronization in sports: enhancing running performance by coupling cadence with the right beats. PloS one, 8(8), e70758.