Last week I got back to running regularly with runs home from work most nights and am planning to continue that trend this week. That said, I have been doing one thing differently. I have not been planning my runs in terms of pace or distance. In fact I have been doing the opposite.
Since returning from Philadelphia most of the runs I have done have been done without my Garmin to track my pace while I have managed my pace how I felt on a particular run. I also have not planned out my intended distance before these runs. Instead, I have based my runs on how much time I had when I went out.
Since I don’t have anything planned for the rest of the year I will probably continue this trend to close out the year. I am going to take the time to just enjoy running instead planning each run with a goal in mind. I have had a busy year of running and figure this will be a good way to close out the year.
That said, it won’t be long before I get back to focused training. With the Ottawa Marathon in May being my next target race, focused training will get back to focused training to get me ready for that race. Until then I will take it easy with my goal being just to run regularly and maintain my current fitness.
What plans do you have to close out the year?
With so many factors involved during a marathon I’ve found that with each one I have learned lessons to be applied to my next effort. My recent effort in Philadelphia is no different. I have a couple of ideas of what I could have done better and what I can avoid the next time out which, as mentioned earlier this week, will be in May.
As mentioned in my race report, I had trouble with cramping in my right calf after 30 km in Philadelphia. This is something that I had issue with in my first couple of marathons but had not been an issue again until Philadelphia. So what went wrong this time?
My first theory involves the cool weather at the start. The race started at 7:00 and do to enhanced security measures we were asked to be at the start for 5:00. Although it turned out to be a warm day, it was cool at 5:00. I tried to prepare for this by bring extra layers with me. I had a long sleeve shirt and a jacket on over my singlet while I waited for the start of the race. Unfortunately, I did not have time in the week leading up to race day to find an old pair of throwaway pants to bring. As a result, I was cold at times and potentially wasted energy trying to stay warm.
While I was well hydrated in the week leading up to race day my second thought is that I may have had too much water and not enough sports drink the day before and morning of the race. When I ran a 3:12 at the Ottawa Marathon in May I did the opposite and did not have any issues with cramping.
Of course these are only my theories but based on my previous marathon experiences are a couple of things I did differently this time around. It is possible they led to my struggles late in the Philadelphia Marathon. I will be keeping them in mind as I prepare for the next Ottawa Marathon in May.
What lessons have you learned from marathons that you were able to apply to your next effort?
Of course this is always the big question after completing a marathon. For me the answer is simple and probably not a surprise if you have followed this blog. I did not run at all last week because my legs needed time to recover from running 26 miles in Philadelphia and I was sick over the weekend. Now more than a week after Philadelphia I know the answer to what comes next.
I registered for my next marathon today. It was a given I was going to run one of the races during race weekend here in May. I just was not sure what event I was going to go for because I was focused on my run in Philadelphia. The decision of event I was going to do was made easier for me when the half-marathon sold out last week.
In terms of registering for the marathon I probably did not need to register right away because there is still plenty of space left at this time but I knew I was going to do it for a few days now and this year entrants who register before December 1 get a copy of a book I probably would have bought at a later date anyway.
As of today I am registered for the Ottawa Marathon. It will be my sixth straight year running it. I am not sure how long I will be able to keep the string going but it is nice to keep it going for another year. Overall this will be marathon number 10 for me.
Speaking of streaks, I will be keeping another streak going by participating in race weekend. For the fourth straight year I will use the opportunity to raise funds for the Ottawa Hospital as part of race weekend. A couple of years ago I started directing the funds I raise to neurology at the hospital after my father passed away from a stroke. That will be the case once again this year.
There’s my update. If you are looking for a spring marathon I would recommend this one, and not just because I am biased by the fact that it is local. The course is relatively flat if you are aming for a quick time and the changes to the course over the past couple of years have helped improve crowd support along the way.
There really isn’t much to add in terms of training this week. My 16 weeks of training are complete. Race day is now only two days away. In terms of running this week, I only fit in two runs – an easy 8 km run home from work Tuesday and an easy run with my coach Wednesday which was basically just to discuss my game plan.
I made it to Philadelphia this afternoon and have already been to the expo to pick up my race kit and my gels for Sunday. Tomorrow I will go out for a 20 minute run but that will be a very easy run to shake out my legs. Other than that I am just going to try and relax and keep myself prepared for Sunday.
In terms of training, this time around I took a different approach to training. For my first 8 marathons I chose a training plan and did a lot of my training on my own. This time I worked with a coach. The biggest change for me was the fact that my coach cut back on my overall mileage compared to the other times. His reason was that he wanted me to focus on quality over quantity.
Since this was new to me I was concerned at first but when I look back on it I certainly got in more quality runs this time with the tougher hill workouts and new speed workouts added to my training. In addition, the 36 km run I did nearly 3 weeks ago solidified confirmed for me that I am still ready to run a marathon.
Now I am all set to go run 26 miles Sunday morning!
Race day is just over a week away. One week from night I will be making this update from Philadelphia, if I am able to write an update.
Week 15 is nearly complete. I did manage to get in a couple of good uptempo runs this week but I find this is a weird part of a marathon training cycle. It is a point where you are ready and anxious for race day yet at the same time you still have to go through a couple of weeks where maintaining your fitness and avoiding injuries are the key.
Tuesday which has been most often my day for speed work throughout this training cycle was the first of my uptempo runs this week. This week’s workout consisted of a warm up followed by 4 km at race pace followed by a one minute jog then another 4 km at race then a cool down. Having me alternate my pace is something my coach has had me working on that I had not really done before.
The second of the uptempo runs this week was last night’s run involving sprints at the track. Last night’s workout involved a 10 minute warm up followed by 6 x 100 m at 100% effort/100 m jog. Again this is something new for me that has been included in this training cycle, sprints. Throughout the cycle I have done 100 m and 50 m sprints at various points.
I will end the week with 8 km at an easy pace followed by 4 km at a hard pace.
How did your week go?
As I write this I am just over a week away from travelling to Philadelphia for marathon number nine. With race day getting so close I am starting to get excited about the trip. My key training runs are out of the way now and I am looking forward to putting my training to the test in Philadelphia.
In terms of running, I am down almost down to taking as many rest days as training days in a week. I did not run yesterday and will also be taking Friday and Sunday off to rest my legs. This isn’t always easy for me because I would often rather be out getting in an easy run in than taking an extra day of rest. However, I also know that at this point the extra days of rest will be important in terms of being ready to run the marathon.
Since I am travelling out of town I will have to start making a list of the stuff I need to bring with me. This will be the third time I have travelled out of town for a marathon. On the one hand it is exciting to be travelling to a new city and running a new route it also presents challenges in terms of nutrition since I will have to eat in restaurants while there instead of being able to make what I want at home.
For the next week and a half in between fitting in the remaining few runs I have left on my schedule I will be getting my list of stuff ready to bring with me in order to make sure I have not forgotten anything when I get to Philadelphia.
It is time once again for another edition of Saturday Stories, a collection of some of my favourite stories and blog posts from the past week. As always, if you came across anything you feel is worthy of mention here feel free to post a link below.
Here are this week’s stories…
For those with an upcoming marathon, here is a useful checklist.
Again for those with a marathon coming up, 5 non-running marathon tips.
Here is a post about learning moderation from the marathon.
How to craft a race plan.
Another week of training is complete. Race day is now two weeks away. In two weeks from today I will be in Philadelphia getting ready for the marathon, number nine for me overall.
This week was the start of the taper for me. After getting in my longest training run Sunday morning I’ve only run twice. The run run being a set of intervals and the second one being an easy run tonight. Tomorrow is another day off for me then I’ll end off the week with a 12 km run Sunday morning.
Speed intervals this week, as you can expect after a 36 km long run, were short and quick. After an easy 2 km warm-up I did a series of 10 50m sprints. I finished the workout with an easy 2 km cool-down.
So that was it for my week. Not much to say this time around. The key to this week was recovery after harder weeks of work.
How did your week go?
The heaviest mileage in my training cycle and my toughest runs are out of the way. There are now just over two weeks to go until race day in Philadelphia. Now I starting to taper with the main goal over the next two and a half weeks being to stay healthy and avoid injury at all cost.
As mentioned in a previous post, my plan for Sunday was to fit in my longest ever training run with a 36 km (22 mile) run. I tried to prepare for the run like I will for race day. That meant waking up early enough to have my usual pre-marathon breakfast a few hours before I started. The plan seemed to work well as I feel like I had a strong run, finishing the 36 km in 2:59. My legs felt strong and I had the energy to continue had I been scheduled to run more mileage that day.
In addition to my last really long run, I have also completed my final set of hill repeats. I completed those last Thursday. I feel that the hill repeats that I did over the last three weeks were a good addition to my training. My coach had me do 1 km repeats (500 m up and 500 m down) at 100% effort. It was a tough workout but I found myself pushing as hard as I could every repeat.
In terms of speed work I a, not sure what comes next. Tonight I completed a series of 10 50M sprints. I have not yet seen my schedule for the final two weeks of training but I am pretty sure that is it for speed work as well. Again, as with the hill repeats, have had some good speed workouts through this training cycle. Again, the workouts I did over the previous three weeks were challenging in that the 15 second sprints I did every km forced me to push as hard as I could.
Now that the hard work is done I am going to try and enjoy the more relaxed pace of my remaining runs and of course make sure I am eating the right foods so that I am ready when I get to the start line in Philadelphia.
What does your gear say about you?
Ever wonder how much is too much? Here is some good advice for marathon training.
A post about falling in love with running again.