Tag Archives: marathon pace

Week 18 of Training for the Boston Marathon

Race day is now only a week away. This will be my last training update before I run the Boston Marathon next Monday. By this time next week I will be recovering from another marathon.

Being two weeks away from race day last week was my first week of tapering for the marathon. Feeling run down and really tired I ended up running less mileage than I have at that point in other training cycles. To make up for it I tried to focus on quality over quantity.

I ended up doing 4 runs for a total of 46.4 km. Of those 4 runs Tuesday’s run was done at my tempo pace, Thursday’s run included strides and last night’s 16 km run was done at my usual goal marathon pace.

Overall I am pleased with how my training has gone. It has not been a text book training cycle but I can look to a few of my long runs for positive signs.

In early march I set out for a 30-32 km on a Sunday night after the kids had gone to bed. Unfortunately my Garmin would not pick up a GPS signal so I ended up leaving with a plan to run based on overall time and a rough idea of my mileage in my head based on my knowledge of running routes around the city. What I ended up with was a 32 km run with 30 km done at close to my goal marathon pace followed by an easy 2 km to finish.

A couple weeks later I planned to complete another 32 km run after my kids were in bed. Unfortunately my Garmin would not turn on at all on this occasion. In a rush I plotted out a 10 km out and back route from my house that I would do 3 times before adding additional mileage in my neighbourhood to the last lap. It might not have been the most exciting run but I got it done.

Finally, last night my plan was to do a 16 km run. Since I had done  less mileage than planned up until that point, I decided to do my run at my goal marathon pace. I also decided to plan my route to include as many hills as possible to simulate the rolling nature of the Boston course as best I could.

What does this all mean for next Monday? The best answer is that I am not sure and I am ok with that. It may come as a surprise to some who know me but I decided long ago not to set a goal time for Boston. I am just planning to run based on how I feel next Monday.

That said, I am still competitive and I have no intention of going there to run a 4.5 hour marathon. I have done some research and have come up with a plan, or more like a series of key messages for myself since I work in communications.

I did not set a time goal for two reasons. The first is that I worked hard to qualify for Boston so I did not want to go through this training cycle stressing myself out about whether I thought I was ready to run a specific time.

The second reason is that I have 3 kids, including a soon to be 10 month old. That has meant adjusting my training at times either because my wife needed a break or I felt like rest was more important than adding more mileage to my training cycles. Don’t get me wrong I am not complaining here. I would not trade my family situation. At the end of the day I am fortunate to still be in shape to run another marathon.

So that is it for my training. I will get in a few more easy runs this week before I head south of the border at the end of the week but those will just be maintenance runs. The only run left that matters now is the one I will do next Monday.

Week 17 of Training for the Philadelphia Marathon

Race day is only one week away now and my last full week of training is complete. I ended up cutting a couple of my runs short this week but I am feeling pretty good about next week. I’ve had a good training cycle and managed to avoid getting sick or injured. Now I am looking forward to putting my training to the test. 

The key workout this week was a threshold effort on Tuesday. My schedule called for a 3.2 km warm up followed by 4 x 2 km @ 4:12/km with an easy 1:30 in between each set. A 3 km cool down left me with a 15 km workout. 

This is the second training cycle I’ve stretched my tempo and speed workouts to 15-20 km efforts during my biggest weeks of training. I think it helped me in the lead up to the Ottawa Marathon in May by having me run at a harder pace over longer distances. We’ll see in a week if it was in fact a benefit but for now at least it helped make me feel more confident about my training.

I ended the week with a marathon pace effort. I opted for a 16 km run today. I felt it was a good distance because it took me over an hour to complete but it wasn’t enough mileage to have a negative impact on my goal. 

Now the focus for the upcoming week will be to pay more attention to nutrition and rest. I’ll do one more tempo run on Tuesday but my key workouts are out of the way now. I just need to focus on being ready for next Sunday morning.

How did your week go?

Week 10 of Training for the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon


This week was a return to regular training after a recovery week last week. So far I am on pace for just over 80 km this week with a couple of weekend runs remaining.

As mentioned last week, the recovery week was necessary and will benefit me in the long run. However, I was looking forward getting in some tougher runs this week. By that I mean a tempo run on Tuesday, a hill workout I did at lunch today and a longer run coming up Sunday morning.

The downside to this week, as I wrote last night, was the weather. While the week started off on a promising note Monday..

The weather went downhill from there. The rest of my runs so far this week came in cool, rainy weather like summer had come to an abrupt end.

That said, it did not really impact my running. I had a strong interval session at the track Tuesday night and then a solid hill workout today at lunch..

To end off the week I will be doing an easy 12 km run tomorrow followed by a 28 km run Sunday. That will leave me with an 80 km week.

I will be changing up my long run a bit this time. As previously mentioned, I have been ending my long runs at marathon pace. This week in addition to doing that I will be starting my long run at marathon pace. The plan calls for 6 km at marathon pace followed by an easy 16 km then ending with another 6 km at marathon pace.

How was your week?

Week 10 of Training for the Toronto Waterfront Marathon

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?

Tune-up Races

During the first half of this year I used two 10 km races and a half-marathon as a tune-up for the Ottawa Marathon in May. This was the first time I used shorter distance races as a tune-up specifically designed to help me reach my goal time in the marathon.

The first of the 10 km races was run at the pace needed to run a 1:30 half-marathon, 4:15/km. The half-marathon was run at 4:15/km and I ended up finishing the race in just under 1:30 which had race race equivalency calculators suggesting I was on pace to hit my goal in the marathon.

Since the final 10 km race fell on the day of a scheduled 32 km (20 mile) training run I ran 21 km on my own before the race and ran the 10 km race at my intended marathon pace. The goal of this was to give me a feel for running at my marathon pace on tired legs hoping that would benefit me in the later stages of the marathon.

Although I didn’t quite reach my marathon goal I did get closer to it and I felt that these shorter tune-up races left me as well prepared for the marathon as I could have been. As a result, I am looking to set up a similar schedule for myself as I get ready for this year’s fall marathon, the Toronto Waterfront Marathon in October.

My plans are starting to fall into place now. My first intended race leading up to the marathon is a 10 mile race next month which should provide me with a good test of running at race pace.

My second intended race is a 12 km trail race in August that I have participated in the past two years. Since this one takes place at a local ski hill I figure it will give me a solid hill workout.

My final tune-up for the marathon will be the Army Run half-marathon where if all works out according to plan I will be pacing at or near my intended marathon pace less than a month before the marathon.

Do you make use of tune-up races at shorter distances when training for a marathon?

This Week

This week marks my first week of cutting back on my mileage as I taper before the Ottawa Marathon which is now just 12 days away. Whereas I ended up doing 100 km last week, this week my plan calls for approximately 62 km (39 miles).

Cutting back on my mileage also means scaling back the intensity of my workouts. I won’t be attempting anymore speed intervals and I have just a few marathon pace runs planed for more intense workouts.

Following Sunday’s 23 km (14 mile) run, I managed to get in an easy 9 km (5.5 mile) run tonight. Tomorrow night’s plan is to go for a 12 km (8 mile) marathon pace run followed by easy efforts on Thursday and Saturday.

Fortunately I have been able to avoid injury once again so the key between now and race will be to make sure that remains to be the case. For this reason I don’t intend to tempt fate and add any unnecessary workouts at this point.

10 km MPW Run at the Track

Tonight was another new workout for me. If you’ve read this blog regularly you’ll know that I have been doing speed intervals at an indoor track on Thursday evenings over the winter. It has allowed me to do speed training earlier in my training cycle and to be honest running in shorts and short sleeves while it is below zero and there is snow on the ground is a nice change.

We headed back to the dome tonight after running outdoor last week due to colder weather last week and because a late night at work meant we could not get started early. In addition, since one of my partners for speed training is running the Boston Marathon in two weeks we decided to do a marathon pace run instead of the usual speed work. This fit in with my training schedule because I did an easy run yesterday and was looking for a more intense workout tonight.

For me a marathon pace run is a 4:30 per km run. We decided tonight’s run would be 10 km. On a 400m track that equals 25 laps. Obviously it is a different feel from an outdoor run where you can do a loop or a point to point course but I stuck with the plan and felt great after completing it.

I am not sure I would want to regularly do long runs on an indoor track but it certainly was a nice option for tonight given the circumstances.

Have you tried running longer runs on a track?

Saturday Stories

Once again here is a selection of stories and posts that I came across over the past week. As always, if you came across a story or post I have missed don’t hesitate to post a link below.

I found this article to be a little one-sided but interesting nonetheless as it poses the question of why anyone would run a marathon.

This week marked the 30th anniversary of Terry Fox’s death. Read about how his legacy thrives after all these years.

How to build a strong foundation before you start training.

I hope I am still this active when I hit 80. Ed Whitlock still going strong at 80.

A good read about setting your pace for a marathon.

Thinking of trying barefoot running? You might want to have a look at this study.

I found this yesterday and it was relevant for me because I am running an evening race tonight. Nutrition tips for evening races.

If you have not yet noticed, #runchat now has a Facebook page.

Pacing Your Runs

Ever wonder what pace you should be running your easy runs at compared to your more intense runs like tempo runs and speedwork? In order to get the most out of your training it is important to be training at the right pace.

According to the current issue of Runners World, your easy and long runs should be run at 90-150 seconds slower than your 5 km pace. This means that you should be able to speak in complete sentences while completing your long or easy runs. Remember that the key to your legs to recover from more intense workouts while the key to long runs is training yourself to be on your feet for longer periods of time.

As for your quicker runs, marathon pace run should be run 45-100 seconds per mile slower than your 5 km pace, tempo runs should be run 20-40 seconds slower than your 5 km pace and speedwork should be run 5-40 seconds faster per mile than your 5 km pace.

So far this year, my 5 km pace is approximately 6:52 per mile. My long run pace has generally hovered around 8.20 per mile. The pace of my easy runs has usually been around 7:50 per mile. Finally, my marathon pace workouts have been run at approximately 7:20-7:30 per mile.

What this tells me is that I can make more of an effort to slow down my easy runs while I appear to be running my other workouts at an appropriate pace. I have not yet done any speedwork in this training cycle but when I do I will be aiming to keep my pace around 6:12-6:47 per mile.

Don’t forget to enter my book giveaway if you are interested in reading Run to Overcome by Meb Keflezighi or Run: 26.2 Stories about Blisters and Bliss by Dean Karnazes. I will be selecting the winner tomorrow.