In Friday’s weekly training recap I mentioned that I was facing a bit of a dilemma in terms of how to approach the final four weeks of training for the Ottawa Marathon. After a couple of days of thought I have decided on an approach that will hopefully help me meet my goal on race day.
If you read Friday’s post you will recall that my dilemma was whether to opt for a recovery this week followed by a final week or heavy mileage or go for one final week of heavy mileage this week followed by a three taper.
Had you asked me on Friday I would have said I was leaning toward the first option but after more thought and consulting with a friend who runs a faster marathon than I do I am opting for the second option. After two straight weeks of 100 km mileage I am going to aim for a third straight 100 km week.
My previous marathon training plans suggested a two week taper. This time I am hoping that the extra week of tapering will leave my legs feeling stronger on race day. One thing is for sure, three straight 100 km weeks will certainly help my confidence on race day.
The decision to go with this approach had an impact on today’s long run. Since I am planning for a three week taper, I completed my final 32 km (20 mile) run this morning. As any of you who have run a marathon before will understand, this is a great training milestone to reach. It is another sign that race day is getting closer.
This morning’s run went well. I started off with my daughter in her Chariot for the first 8.5 km followed by the final 23 km on my own. I managed to keep a good pace for most of it. In fact, I caught myself going too fast several times. I was pushing closer to race pace than I wanted to on a long training run.
Do you opt for a two or three taper when you train for a marathon?
With six weeks to go before the Ottawa Marathon I have now reached the peak point of my training meaning I am completing my longest training runs and will be hitting my biggest milestones in terms of running.
When I trained for my previous marathons, at least for most of them, I would hit a point around this time in my training where fatigue, both physical and mental, would set in and I would question what I got myself into and whether I wanted to continue. For those of you who have trained for a marathon before you will know what I mean and for those who have not let’s just say it is a long and grueling process.
Making it past that was like another milestone for me. My feeling was that if I got past that point nothing was going to stop me. I always saw it as another positive step in my training.
Tonight for the first time I thought about my current training cycle and I really have not hit this point this time around. I don’t know whether it is because I am more focused on my goal or that I am just better prepared this time around but I have not once found myself questioning what I got myself into and whether I wanted to continue.
I don’t know what impact this will have on me overall but for now it is another positive for me to draw upon when I look back upon this training cycle. For those who have run a marathon before I think you will agree that it is as tough mentally as it is physically so for me my current state of mind can only help going forward.
Do you go through similar milestones when training for a marathon?
As mentioned on here previously my goal race for the first half of this year is the Ottawa Marathon in May. My training plan for the marathon will be the same as I have used to prepare for my last few marathons.
My training plan will be a 16 week training plan based on the advanced plan in Bart Yasso’s book. With a few adjustments here and there to fit my schedule using this approach helped me set a streak of personal bests in the marathon until October’s Toronto Waterfront Marathon when my training was interrupted by recovery from a sprained ankle.
A 16 week training plan means my focused training plan for the marathon will start in just under one month from now. Until then my plan is simply to continue running regularly and build up my mileage before my training plan starts.
Since returning to running regularly after the birth of my daughter in November I have managed to maintain a pace of 40-50 km per week. I’ll aim to get my weekly mileage up to the 50-60 km range. The biggest part of that will be getting back to a weekly long run since lately the majority of my runs have been in the 8-10 km runs.
What are your plans for January?
Week nine of my training for the Toronto Waterfront Marathon. With one run left to go tomorrow my mileage for week nine currently sits at 86 km. Tomorrow’s plan is to get in 14 km to give me my first 100 km week in this training cycle.
Once again this week was a solid week of training. The week kicked off with the second of my 32 km (20 mile) training runs. Dividing it by getting in 18 km on my own at a quicker pace followed by the remaining 14 km with the Chariot at a slower pace seemed to make the run go by quicker.
In terms of more intense workouts, I did manage to get in a tempo run on Tuesday. However, it was a shorter effort in terms of mileage since I ran at lunch and only had time for 7 km. I think one of my goals next week will be to try and get in a marathon pace effort over 12-15 km.
Last week I managed to fit in hill repeats but did not make it out to the track for intervals. This week was the opposite. I made it out to the track for intervals last night, 8 x 800 being the workout of choice. However, I was not able to fit in hill repeats. Maybe next week I will be able to fit in both once again.
Week 11 kicks off Sunday morning with the third of my scheduled 32 km runs.
How did your training go this week?
Without setting to do so at the start, this month. Is turning out to be one of by biggest months of training in terms of mileage. With one day left in the month I have completed 368 km so far this month.
Currently my biggest month of training was 414 km two years ago, also in August. That was also the last time I trained for an October marathon. This time around the mileage is the result of 32 km (20 mile) runs the past two Sundays and the fact that week I have increased my mileage and am headed toward a 100 km week.
In both of these cases I did not set out to beat any personal records I think it was just a combination of me being able to get in most of my planned runs for those months and the fact that they included my longest training runs.
In terms of my current training plans, I can only hope that the extra mileage benefits me on race day in October.
Do you head into each month with a goal for overall mileage or do you just worry about your next run?
Week nine of my training for the Toronto Waterfront Marathon. With one run left to go tomorrow my mileage for week nine currently sits at 76 km. With my final run tomorrow I look to get in 10-12 km to leave me with a total of 85-90 km for the week.
The week got off to a solid start with the first of my 32 km (20 mile) training runs ahead of the marathon. The arrival of 32 km training runs is an important stage in marathon training. On the one hand it means that you are in the midst of your most important mileage in training. I am aiming to complete four of these runs before the marathon. The good thing is that once I get these runs out of the way it will be time to start tapering my mileage in order to get ready for race day.
I followed up Sunday’s run with a couple of solid tempo runs and a series of hill repeats. The tempo runs we’re both 10 km efforts. In terms of hill repeats I managed to get in eight repeats over my lunch hour yesterday. That is probably the most repeats I will be able to fit in over a lunch our. However, given the pitch of the hill it will be a beneficial workout if I can continue to fit them in.
Week ten kicks off with the second of my 32 km runs Saturday morning.
How did your training go this week?
It is time again to start counting down another 16 weeks of training for a marathon. This time the marathon is the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon in October. This week marked week one of training.
With one run left tomorrow I am already close to my goal of 60 km for the week. So far I have completed 52.5 km meaning my plan of doing 8-10 km tomorrow will bring me over my goal of hitting 60 km for this week.
The week started off with an easy 20 km effort on Sunday, my first 20 km effort in several weeks. I also managed to get in a couple of tougher workouts Wednesday and Thursday. Wednesday was a marathon pace effort while yesterday I managed to get back to the track for my first series of intervals since the Ottawa Marathon in May.
The other good thing about my training so far is that four weeks of Monday night soccer has not taken too much of a toll on my legs. I have not yet had to miss any runs due to soccer related injuries although I did pick up a couple of bruised ribs that are taking a while to heal. Fortunately it has not impacted my running.
Week 2 kicks off Sunday although with family in town I’ll have to force myself to get in some early morning runs and may not get in the mileage I am hoping for. As long as I do get up early I should be able to get in a few runs next week.
How did your training go this week?
As of today I know have 16 weeks before my next marathon, the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon. On October 14th I will run my seventh marathon in four years. My goal for this one will be the same as it has been for every marathon I have run since completing my first one, set a new pb and get myself closer to my goal of running my Boston qualifying time.
I chose this race for a couple of reasons. First, it is a reasonable distance from home. The second reason is that course is known for being relatively flat and quick. That said, while I used to be familiar with downtown Toronto it has been several years since I have been there so if any runners from the GTA have any tips about the course or the best places for family to watch the race and meet up with runners after they finish please do let me know.
What does this mean for my training? The biggest change is that it means that I am now back to a focused training routine after a few weeks of running without a plan. As of tomorrow it means I will be kicking off my 16 week training plan to get ready for the marathon. In terms of this blog, it means that I will go back to using my Friday posts as an update of how each week of training has gone.
In terms of my training, I plan to stick to the routine I have used for my past two marathons as it has worked well. My 16 week training plan will be based on Bart Yasso’s training plan with a few edits here and there to add in a couple of races and to fit in with my schedule.
I do plan to try and make another change that if I can stick with it will hopefully benefit my training. I’ll have more on that tomorrow.
My 16th and final week of training for the Ottawa Marathon began with Sunday’s 17.5 km run. As you can imagine, I don’t have much training planned for this week. After tonight’s 7 km run I have three more short runs planned before Sunday’s marathon.
At this point with my key runs out of the way there isn’t anything else I can do that will improve my performance on Sunday. The importance of my runs between now and Sunday is to help keep my legs loose.
Following tonight’s 7 km run my plans are for an 8 km marathon pace run tomorrow and an easy 6-8 km run on Thursday. On Saturday I’ll head out for a very easy 3 km run. Since I live close to the finish line I plan to run over that and cover the last 2-3 km of the marathon course for my final run.
Other than that, my plans for this week are to stay hydrated, stretch when I can and get as much rest as I can between now and Sunday. If I can stick to that plan I should be in good shape for race day. At some point I’ll also have to go out and make sure I have the necessities for my pre-race breakfast – bagel, banana, peanut butter.
What do you do during your last week of training before a big race, do you have any superstitions?
Week 14 of training for the Ottawa Marathon is nearly complete. My final run in week 14 will be a 12 km run which will get me to my target of 100 km for this week. It is hard to believe that there are now only two weeks until race day.
As mentioned last night, this week saw a few milestones on the schedule. The first was my final 32 km (20 mile) run that kicked off the week. That run involved my longest mileage with my daughter in her Chariot. You can read about it here.
The second milestone for the week was to have been a final speed interval workout last night. However, due to the condition of the track as a result of rain this week the run turned into a marathon pace run. Given all the work I did at the indoor track over the winter I was not too disappointed to miss the final track session before race day.
The final milestone of the week will come at the end of tomorrow’s run when I hit 100 km (62 miles) for the week. In order to help hit this target yesterday and today became two run days with short easy runs from work at lunch followed by longer evening runs.
With that out of the way now it is time to start tapering to help me get ready for race day. My key workouts are complete now the goal will be to make sure I don’t do anything unecessary before then.
How did your training go this week?