By Dane Verwey
Wow, 2 weeks till Gold Coast mara! 2019 seems to be flying by and this mara has crept up quickly. Alas, I feel ready and pretty keen to get out there. I’m now in taper mode and just keen to get to the start line fit and well. Sickness and the flu seems to be everywhere at the moment in Melbourne, so am doing my best bid to type this up at the other end of the house to my sick wife
Gee, today was cold! Today marked my final long run of 2:20-30, and I did it with the rest of the ‘run culture owls’ training squad at a very chilly and foggy Devil bend. I covered 33kms in 2:22 at 4:17/km. Thanks run2pbs and Klarie McIntyre for the great company and Mattress for this ripper photo below….
Yes, you heard right, we have come up with a group name after much debate, we are called ‘the owls’, my gym where everyone does strength and conditioning is ‘the nest’ and Devil Bend ‘is the hunting ground’! We chose this name very much by group consensus, I like how it is original, it goes nicely with the ‘tree like’ logo and colour of Run Culture, they are a common bird on the Mornington Peninsula and the victory salute/sign language for owl is rather cool! Here’s to hoping we get to use it one day haha….
So it’s been 2 weeks since I last reported in with my last blog. I finished that blog having just completed a strong marathon specific long run (10kms at 4min/km, 20kms at 3:40/km and 5kms at 3:25/km) solo along the wetlands.
As can be the case in the depths of marathon training this session really ‘wiped me’, all week. It meant that unfortunately I was flatter than I wanted to be at Saturday’s AV Bundoora State XC 10km championships, where I came 60th in 33:55 ‘giving it everything I had’. I actually felt like stepping off when the going was getting tough at 4kms but now that I am a coach, what kind of example does that set? So, I hung strong like everyone should do, be it a good day or bad.
So, Bundoora was a long/cold day in the end. With the open race rounding up proceedings at 2:30pm, I was there from 9am doing the physio gig for Haileybury. Nonetheless, it was still a very fulfilling day. The most gratifying part of the day was watching; the races of the athletes I coach, be it how they coped with pre race nerves, their races themselves, their thoughts, their disappointments, their celebrations. I absolutely loved being part of the ride with these guys. I had some of the feeling I get from my own race day but 6 times over! It was definitely; a ‘welcome to the ups and downs of the coaching journey’, kind of day!
The idea that ‘Bundoora’ was going to be a stretch, was kind of on the wall all week, as I found my midweek 3 by 3km reps (it was initially planned to be 4 by 3k) at mara rhythm harder than they should have been (rolling 10:11/10:02/9:53 at Ballam park aths track). The idea of this session was to try and really almost memorise and get efficient at that 3:20-22/km kind of groove. 200ms need to be 40sec, 400ms need to be 80 seconds. That’s why I do this session on the track, it’s a tunning session, like I’m tunning the guitar strings. I’m making marathon pace, feel good, sound good, making it my favourite riff. Ultimately, it means I don’t need a watch on race day. I felt slow and heavy. However, I stayed optimistic, knowing that I am potentially the fittest I have ever been I’m just amidst heavy marathon training.
The rest of the week was full of jogging and I rounded the week on Sunday, the day after Bundoora (1 week ago to the day as I type) with a very easy 2hr run at once again my favourite Devil Bend, making it a 125.1km week! Originally, I had planned a 20 mile (mile on/off) alternation run for the day after Bundoora but this was way too ambitious. It’s normal to be fatigued in a marathon prep but you should ‘never beat the horse while it’s down’. I needed 3 days of easy jogging and good sleeps! My body was still trying to absorb and regenerate from the Sunday before. This decision was relatively obvious after Bundoora.
However, it should have been easier! The decision that is. This is the thing when you are a ‘self coached’ distance runner, how often do we feel we have to push, push, push?! This is a great quality to have come race day but on the training track too much of this mentality can get us in a deep hole of ‘overtraining and fatigue’. I knew what I should do but sometimes the urge ‘to be better than you ever have been’, gets you scared to ‘alter the program’ and ‘think more is better’. Nonetheless, a few wise heads, namely my ‘mum’ and good mates ‘Gemma and Mattress’ kept me grounded. 4 brains are always better than 1 ‘passionate distance runners brain’! Sleep. Rest. Re-schedule your last session for when you have recovered enough. A message I am delivering to other runners 5-6 times a day! Here in lies the reason why every runner should have a strong support team. The chase to better yourself can blind you.
This was a great example of how you have to change things in your training schedule (as much as a plan and structure are important) according to how you are tolerating the training load. I know I am in good shape (Adelaide proved that). These last few weeks have been more about; 1. Recovering from Adelaide. 2. Doing some shorter faster sessions to ensure I was recovered. 3. Ensuring I maintain my marathon hardiness (with a couple of big workouts) 4. Tapering for Gold Coast so I can lay everything out there on race day!
I got a massage Monday and did a thorough gym strength and pilates session Tuesday; moving every muscle and body part.
So, I got going early on Wednesday at 8am this week before work and launched into my final mara specific workout of the prep! Feeling as refreshed as you get in a mara prep and keen to go. This session was inspired by Hoka NAZ elite’s coach Ben Rosario. I saw Aliphine Tulimuk did this 5-6 weeks out from her Rotterdam marathon this year. I earmarked this session several mths ago as one I wanted to do because I liked how it meant that you were doing mara specific pace early in the run and throughout, rather than just at the end. I did it on the Seaford wetlands ‘horseshoe 5km loop’ (that, as a side note; really should have a Parkrun on it by now) a track that I have used a number of times in this Gold Coast build. I love how it is a complete loop of asphalt with minimal traffic and interruptions, it always feels like you have the circuit to yourself, almost like it was purpose built!
The session was 10 by (1mile at mara effort/1 mile- 50sec slower than mara effort). So, 32kms or 20 miles! I ended up rolling roughly 3:25/km (5:25-35/mile) for the ‘ons’ and covered the 32km journey in 1:58 at 3:42/km avg. In summary, the session looks harder on paper than it actually is (I rolled the easy miles at 3:55/km or 6:15-20/mile (and no faster, in light of how I had been feeling last week and the fact that there was just 18 days till race day- this made the session that perfect mix of hard but the right kind of hard, if that makes any sense?). My last several mile reps were my quickest, I got better as I went, I certainly finished the session with my self confidence restored. See session splits below:
I actually donned the new hoka carbon x’s for the session. I loved them. They hugged my foot well, had a nice rocker like feel, are stiff, light and fast. The only draw back was that I needed to insert a ‘heel raise’ orthotic in them unfortunately because of their 5mm heel toe drop (which I’m not use to). This coupled with their ‘firmer feel/foam’ compared to the nike 4% vaporfly was the clencher, I’m not going to use them at Gold Coast but they are a great shoe nonetheless that I’ll continue to use a lot (especially because they are more durable than the vaporfly). See pic below…
I then continued to jog all week with an easier session planned for Saturday(yesterday) after work. I rolled 15 by 400m reps in 68-72 off one minute static recovery. The purpose of the session was I recover very well off this workout and it always seems to give my legs a bit more ‘pop’ and zap again. It went well and I felt very comfortable rolling around (a sign of fitness is when you feel lazy not floating/jogging your recoveries).
Which rounded out the week as a 149km week including the chilly and foggy long run I did today (which I outlined at the start of the blog).
So, with 14 days till race day, I have a couple of mini ‘touchbase’ sessions planned for this week, followed by an easy jogging week ‘totally to feel’ the week after, with a few strides.
Oh and my sample singlet arrived too! Thanks Ming Jee Lee from AGT Marketing in Singapore for helping me create the singlet I wanted for not just the blog or the ‘Run Culture owls’ but to help ‘promote a message I am so passionate about’…..lets please all continue to promote ‘the benefits of movement and physical activity amongst todays sedentary world!’ Running has given us all so much in return, be it; mental clarity, health, work ethic, hardiness, heightened esteem, happiness, well being, relationships, experiences, laughs, memories. So, lets all continue to promote the benefits a culture of running or physical exercise brings! If more people practiced this, I’d see less people each week in physical and mental pain. It’s all about preventative health!
I want the singlet to symbolise ‘this movement’….well that was a highly convenient word:)
Anyway, that’s enough blabber from me for another week!
Keep enjoying the process!