Blog 24- Breaking 2:24- Entry 10
Sorry about the late blog this week, had to wait till my day off work; Thursday, until I had a real chance to get writing (not boasting at all but glad I have taken this new reinvigorating initiative, I needed it). Ok so, only 7 weeks to go, well 6.5 as this blog goes out!
Just like last week, I front ended the week with jogging and recovery while the back end was where the action was at (I completed another Saturday- Sunday double header-yep, still haven’t come up with a worthy name for this two day workout ).
Got some new Run Culture split shorts as of this week, as below. Perfect timing pre ‘Run Melbourne’ to test them out. I was really happy with them to say the least. No chaffing, fitted well and looked the part. Will be stocking up on split shorts in all sizes, including some bike shorts, so please if anyone is interested let me know on email@example.com.
Also, go to some new Hokka Bondi’s (see below) for some easy jogs to off load my feet and legs as I have done 3 solid marathon specific weeks on the trot now. Will be getting some new Nike Vomero trainers in the next week too.
Monday and Tuesday were standard days. On Monday, I got 70 minutes for 15.45km at 4:32/km out at Coolstores/Mt Eliza Regional Park rail trail and a light gym session in the afternoon after work. On Tuesday, I got 60minutes for 12kms out at Langwarren Flora and Fauna reserve in the morning at 4:59/km and then 35mins for 7km at 5:00/km out at 9pm along the eerily quiet and cold Patterson River. As you can see the focus of Monday and Tuesday was on easy, recovery running.
On Wednesday I largely kept it easy but like the week before I got 100 minutes out at my favourite; Devil Bend. I covered 22kms at 4:33/km. I also included 8 by 1 minute hills at the 1hour mark. The gradient was approx. 15 degrees so I only got to 4:00/km pace up this incline but it was more to harden/strengthen the legs and mix the terrain up. This is a subtle incline and pace change that I have found I can afford without going to the bank and impeding recovery.
Thursday morning was my first official mid week day off. It was great to wake up at 7:30am rather than the usual 5am as I have done for the past 7 years! I’d even go as far to say that this was one of the main reasons why I had such a great week end of training this week. I’m starting to nail the work-life balance better.
On my day off; I did 20 by 400m reps off a 30 second static recovery around Ballam Park aths track. I included this session in the week in an attempt to keep some ‘turnover’ in the legs as the last couple of weeks have been full of jogging slow miles or sessions at largely marathon pace. So, the plan was to ‘zap’ the legs and get some speed back into them, as I really have shelved these sessions in preference for marathon strength. It was nice to do some ‘short and zippy’ reps. By the sessions end and even over the next few days I just felt like I was rolling across the ground more efficiently. Be it placebo, improved neuromuscular activation and/or improved technical efficiency or not, these shorter faster interval sessions are a key adjunct to the overall marathon plan.
Pre session the aim was to hit around 76-72 seconds per lap roughly. As a 2:24 marathoner my marathon pace for a 400m repetition is 81 seconds. I used to do 12 repetitions off 1 minute recovery in 64-66 when I was more a 5-10km runner. However, running repetitions that fast at this point is not race specific and carries a higher risk of injury given my legs are in heavy marathon work. In saying this I didn’t get carried away with the watch either; I focused on the goal of the session to feel like I was getting some speed in the legs and if that was a 76 or a 72 second lap so be it. I ended up hitting;
In the afternoon, I did my gym strength workout and went really heavy and also went for an easy 35 minute pm double lapping around Baxter park 3 times for 7.3km at 5:01/km.
Friday was a very, very cruisey 62minutes for 12kms around Langwarren Flora and Fauna reserve (for the second time this week) at 5:11/km. This was technically an active recovery day. The only purpose the run served was to promote some bloodflow to the legs to expediate regeneration for the big weekend ahead!
Saturday started with a busy day at the clinic, I saw 10 patients in a row and then knocked off at 1:30pm. I then had a quick 30 minute massage with the local myo to limber up the legs. The plan was, as per last week, to do a Saturday- Sunday double header. I set off at 2:15pm for a 30km long run from Mordialloc along the Dandenong Creek trail. I donned the headphones and readied myself for what I expected to be a lonely run, I mean who else would be doing their traditional sunday long run on a Saturday afternoon at 4min flat/km in the area?
5kms in I soon saw a familiar figure ahead, with his ‘Deek like’ legs and unrelenting monotonous stride he was unmistakeable. I mean I’d spent the best part of this years Hobart and Canberra marathons getting only too well acquainted. I knew it was the man, the beast; Dion Finocchario. I should have known?! Infact, as I said last week he was my inspiration for the ‘Saturday-Sunday double header’ and he was busily completing his own in his training for the 100km World Championships in Europe in 6 weeks time. Only, he was doing 50kms today and 30kms tomorrow! I was rapt, I had a companion for the next 25kms. While Dion had one ear tuned to his beloved Collingwood only for them to capitulate in the final term, we ran, chatted and kept a rhythmic pace. We rolled 30kms in 2hrs at 4:01/km and both agreed it is so much easier with a mate there too. I gladly retreated to my Barina in Mordialloc, while Dion kept on marching for another 15kms. One of Dion’s strengths is he is just so headstrong! Thanks mate, got to tee up some more runs if we can over the next few weeks.
It was then back home for a really enjoyable Saturday night. Jess had a couple of her closest girlfriends over, as they were all running ‘Run Melbourne’ 10kms on Sunday morning. We all relaxed and chatted while we had ‘Thai’ takeaway and a couple of T’Gallant Pinots. Infact, I didn’t get to bed till midnight but it was worth it and over the past 3 weeks I have hit my 10:30pm curfew without fail.
I was then up at 4:30am Sunday morning as I had entered myself in the Run Melbourne Half for 7am. To be honest, it was a tough wakeup. So I jumped straight into the shower to loosen the stiff legs and ‘shock’ myself into gear. Jess and the girls weren’t on till 9am for the 10km so they came up separately.
The plan was to run marathon pace; approximately 72 minutes for the half marathon on tired legs from yesterday afternoon. I hit the road by 5am and quickly ducked into Towerhill’s Maccas drive through for a coffee but while there succumb to getting a hasbrown and ‘bacon n egg mcmuffin’. I polished these off on the drive. I scored a ripper park right next to the Arts centre and then mozied on down to Fed Square to pick up my numbers. Then I did a slow 10 minute shuffle warm up, proudly got my ‘Run Culture’ gear on (surprisingly it wasn’t as cold as everyone anticipated), stretched, toilet break’d, did some strides and then got to the Start line opposite Flinders St station.
The gun went and I settled into about 15th place for the first kilometre at goal marathon pace 3:23/km. I was still at this pace once I moved into forth position around the Docklands precinct by 3kms. However, the adrenaline of the race was getting to me, as I ensured I kept the lead group in sight, just in case someone dropped off.
I soon checked my watch at 5-6kms and my pace had quickened slightly but I just felt so comfortable. At this stage I was going the same pace as the lead group so my notorious ‘white line fever/competitiveness’ got the better of me and I thought what the heck! If I catch up to the lead group I’ll get to run with people, rather than 50-70 meters back. I got on to the group by 7ks.
My good mate Brady Threlfal (2:20 marathoner) was in the group, along with Dave Ridley (also a 2:20 marathoner and Blog 4 interviewee on Run Culture) and Max Ueda (who ran 31:03 last week at Albert Park 10km). For some reason, I was just having one of those days, I went to sit in but just felt good, so I pushed the pace. I admit I was getting carried away I was going faster than marathon pace but at the same time I was super excited with how strong I felt.
I’ve been around running for a long time and this feeling certainly is hard to find at times. So, I enjoyed feeling how I did. Brady and I both surged at times throughout the race, we broke away from Max and Dave. We ran together till 17kms and then Brady had an extra gear too many and broke away. He came in 25 seconds ahead of me in 68:42, while I ran quicker than my all out gold Coast half marathon attempt and hit 69:06 averaging 3:16/km. It was officially the strongest and most convincing 69 minute half marathon I have ever run.
Jess, her sister Madi and one of her best friend’s Kara all came through in the 10km in 60-63 minutes and were buzzing post race! They were definitely on a runner’s high! ‘Run Melbourne’ really had a great atmosphere this year, the round about course allowed for plenty of interaction among the 20,000 competitors. Best off all; all three girls donned Run Culture shirts!
What was different from Run Melbourne to Gold Coast? Not much at all to be honest. Yes, I had another 3 weeks of training under my belt but I felt fit for Gold Coast, I hardly feel it has been the training. I mean I ran a 30km long run the day before Run Melbourne, this is far from ideal, albeit the pace felt 50% easier (no joke). Going out at a gentler pace with low expectations may have accounted for something on the weekend. However, the biggest reason for this run, was that I my ‘work-rest’ balance is finally in equilibrium. I was fit at Gold Coast but too sapped of energy through lack of sleep, work stress and just simply trying to fit too much into a day. So, Gold Coast showed me that I need to set a 1030pm curfew, sleep 8hrs a night, work 4-5 days a week rather than 5-6. I am starting to reap the benefits of focusing on recovery rather than training!
This run has filled me with confidence but I still have 7 weeks and a lot of little boxes to keep checking off.
Next week is all about recovery, it is my down week, after 3 marathon specific weeks. I will run easy all week and finish the week with a 15km effort in Ballarat and a slow over distance run on Sunday.
This was an up week for me but as you have seen this isn’t always the case. Learn from the bad weeks and you are more likely to have good weeks! Keep chasing your own goals. Enjoy the process! That’s me done for another week, so until next week…..
Let’s all continue to
Run. Live. Grow!
And on a side note, don’t hesitate to contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org if any of you have any burning training/injury concerns. Love chatting to runners and that’s why I started this blog; running and physio are my thing, this is where I can help the world and make a difference over time.