Tag Archives: marathon training

Week 15 of Training for the Ottawa Marathon


Week 15 is shaping up to be my biggest week in terms of mileage in this training cycle. It started with a half-marathon Sunday and will end with a 34 km run tomorrow.

The week got off to a great start with a new half-marathon pb set on Sunday. That run set the tone for the rest of the week as I felt my other runs this week were also quality runs.

Following my half-marathon I had four 12 km runs scheduled, two of those at marathon pace and two of those at a very easy pace. I felt that my marathon pace efforts were really strong this week. On both occasions I had to remind myself to keep the pace at marathon pace.

So far my mileage for the week sits at just under 72 km. With 34 km planned for tomorrow I will have my first 100 km week of the training cycle.

How did your week go?

Race Report: Run for Reach Half-Marathon

Today was my latest scheduled race. Like the St Patrick’s Day 10 km I did a few weeks ago this is also a race I have done for four consecutive years now as part of my training for the Ottawa Marathon.

Prior to today my half-marathon pb was set in this race two years ago. The pb I set two years ago was 1:29:31. The goal going into the race today was to improve on that time and set a new pb.

Unfortunately for me my day did not get started as planned as I slept in. For any Seinfeld fans out there my first thought when I woke up was of Jean-Paul Jean-Paul, although in my case the problem was not the volume of the alarm it was an AM/PM issue since I set my alarm for this afternoon instead of this morning.

For those of you not as familiar with the Seinfeld reference here is a sample…

As mentioned above, my alarm did not go off as planned and I slept in. I actually woke up about 30 minutes before I had to leave my house. That I had time for a banana and a handful of walnuts instead of my usual pre-race breakfast before I got dressed and headed out the door.

Up until yesterday the forecast for today was for showers all day. When I left the house it was cool and raining lightly. The 2.5 km easy jog to the start line gave me a bit of a warm up for the race.

Once the race started I quickly settled into a group of 3-4 runners that was going out at a pace of 4:10-4:20/km which is exactly what I was aiming for. For those who have not done this race before it is 2 laps of an out and back course along the Rideau Canal.

I felt good t the 10 km point where we turned around for the second lap. Over the course of the second lap I pulled to the front of the group I was running with although they stayed very close behind. I think this helped me over the course of the final lap because it forced me to maintain the steady pace.

As we headed into the final couple of km of the race I felt strong enough to increase the pace. In fact, the final km of the race ended up being my fastest of the race at 3:54/km. I crossed the line in 1:27:52 and set a new pb.

I am very pleased with the result for a few reasons – it is a new pb, I saved my fastest km for the final one and I did this on a full week of training. All in all today was a very positive day with just over a month to go until the Ottawa Marathon.

Week 14 of Training for the Ottawa Marathon

20140321-205754.jpgAnother week of training is nearly complete. This week was the second week out of the current four week block I am working on. It is going to end up being one of my biggest weeks of training in terms of mileage so far this week.

Following a 31.5 km run last Sunday I took a needed day of rest on Monday. Following that the two key workouts of the week were marathon pace runs on Tuesday and Thursday. This week I added 2 km to each of those runs to bring them up to 10 km.

These race pace runs are key because the goal is to get me running at my goal marathon pace. The one thing I had to keep reminding myself during these runs was that the goal was just to run at marathon pace. I occasionally found myself going faster than I wanted and pushing closer to my 10 km pace.

Other than that my other two workouts this week were easy pace 12 km runs. Once again 2 km was added to these runs to increase my overall mileage. Given the fact that I ran 31.5 km last Sunday and that my marathon pace efforts were longer this week I paid closer attention to my easy runs and tried to keep them at an even slow and easy pace.

I know have two runs left to go this weekend. First a very easy 8 km planned for tomorrow. Sunday will bring another challenge with me racing a half-marathon.

How was your week?

Next Race: Run for Reach Half-Marathon

My next scheduled race is coming up on Sunday morning. As with the St-Patrick’s Day 10 km race I did a few weeks ago this will also be my fourth consecutive year doing the Run for Reach Half-Marathon.

With a little over a month to go before the Ottawa Marathon I find this race is well timed to give me an indication of where I am at with my training for the marathon. It also tends to mark the end of my early season races before I focus my attention solely on the marathon.

While the course might not be the most exciting one, two laps of an out and back course along the Rideau Canal, the fact that the course is relatively flat means that it is conducive to a fast time.

Personally, my two quickest half-marathon times have come on this course, 1:29:34 two years ago and 1:30:48 last year. Once again my plan is to race and see how well I can do since my coach feels there is plenty of time for recovery afterward.

One factor I won’t be able to control Sunday is the weather. It is hard to predict what we will get at this time of year. Two years ago I ran in shorts and short sleeves. Last year it snowed and I had to wear gloves and a hat. Hopefully the weather this year will be more like it was two years ago.

Testing My Race Day Routine


On the schedule this morning was a 32 km (20 mile) run. As it turns out the weather was perfect for a long run this morning. It felt like spring had finally arrived after a long winter. As you can see from the picture above there was not a cloud in the sky this morning. It was still a bit cool before I left the house but I was warm enough wearing a long sleeve shirt. Before the end of the run I was almost over-dressed.

Since this was scheduled to be one of my longer runs it was a good opportunity to test out my race day nutrition plan. I got up around 6:30 and had a breakfast consisting of a bagel with peanut butter, banana, bowl of oatmeal and a 500 ml bottle of Gatorade. I had my breakfast about three hours before I planned to run meaning I will have to get up around 3:30-4:00 on race day because the marathon starts at 7:00.

I also planned to test my new race flats on a longer run. Up until this morning I had used them for my last session at the track and one of my harder 8 km runs last week. This morning was an opportunity to break them in more and to see how they felt over a longer distance.

For nutrition during my run I had another 500 ml bottle of Gatorade, two GU Roctane gels and a pack of Honey Stingers chews. I also wore my 1.5 L hydrapak pack full of water. I planned to take water and Gatorade as needed and alternate between gels and the chews around every 40 minutes.

In terms of pacing my intention was to keep the first 27 km at an easy pace of over 5:00/km before picking it up to race pace for the final 5 km, 4:30/km. This was the same strategy that I used for my last long run.

My run went exactly as planned until the 26 km mark when my Garmin died because I had not charged it yesterday. That meant I would have to estimate my remaining mileage. Fortunately I was close to home by that point so I had a good idea where to go. I also picked up the pace at that point to a hard pace since I did not know how much mileage I would finish with.

In the end I ended up with a 31.5 km run with the last 5.5 km being at a hard pace. Everything else went according to plan as my nutrition plan seemed to work fine and I also felt comfortable wearing lighter shoes on a longer run.

Next Sunday I am racing a half-marathon before a 34 km run, my longest in this cycle, in two weeks where I will again test my race day routine.

Week 13 of Training for the Ottawa Marathon


There are now 50 days to go until race weekend. Week 13 was the start of a new four week block or training for me. That meant this week was a week of full training after a recovery week last week and I also received a new series of exercises from my coach to do over the next four weeks.

In terms of running, the key workouts this week were Tuesday and Thursday when I did tempo runs. I took the shortest route home from work which is about 8.7 km. As a result I ended with 8 km at tempo pace and about 700 m of a cool down both nights. I felt good on both occasions, especially last night since I was able to beat Tuesday’s time by just over a minute.

In terms of the exercises my coach assigned me, I now have more exercises to add to my stretching and mobility routine and strength exercises have been replaced with exercises aimed at core stability and lower body endurance. Speaking of strength exercises, it seems like they have paid off because I weighed myself this week and was surprised to see that I have added 5-10 pounds of weight.

In terms of the rest of the week I have an easy 10 km run planned for this evening and a 32 km run planned for the weekend. The long run will be particularly important because it will be another opportunity to test race day nutrition. I also plan wear my new shoes to see how they feel over a longer distance. Once again I will finish that run with the last 5 km being at marathon pace after covering the initial 25 km at an easy pace.

How was your week?

Week 12 of Training for the Ottawa Marathon


Another week of training is nearly complete. This week was a recovery week after three weeks of more intense training. As a result, I had a couple extra days of rest scheduled. The extra rest came in handy after Sunday’s 30 km with the last 5.5 km being at marathon pace.

Since it was a recovery week the only intense workout I had scheduled was my speed work last night. So far in each four week block of training I have done the first three weeks have been set aside for intervals with the final week being a 3 km test. I was particularly looking forward to this run this week because it meant I got to try out my new racing flats, the New Balance RC1400s I bought last weekend.

Last night was time for my latest 3 km test. After an easy 15 minute warm up it was time for the 3 km test, or 7.5 laps of the 400 m track. My previous best was 11:40 the last time out I had the workout scheduled. My goal was to try and beat that time and I was able to beat it by 10 seconds last night with a time of 11:30.

Today is another day of rest and I will complete the week with an easy 10 km run tomorrow. I am not sure yet what the next four weeks will bring because I have to wait until the weekend to get my next four week block from my coach. Given that race day is now less than two months away it will be my last full four week block of intense training. I will have to start tapering soon after it ends.

How did your week go?

Marathon Move

After reading the following article with a theory on how to help you finish strong in your next marathon I decided to give it a shot on my last long run.

Generally during my long runs I tend to stick to a slow and easy pace, not wanting to push too hard. This past Sunday I had a 30 km run on the schedule. Due to the number of weeks before my next marathon the article suggested pushing the pace for 20-24 minutes, at my goal marathon pace this would be about 5.5 km.

When I headed out the door Sunday morning my goal was then to run at an easy pace for 24.5 km followed by a faster final 5.5 km. here is the result…

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I think it was a success. I can certainly see the potential benefit to this strategy. It is useful to try running at your goal pace when your legs are heavy and tired.

Do you use this method for your long runs or do you stick to an easy pace?

Week 11 of Training for the Ottawa Marathon


Another week is nearly complete. This week is the last week of hard training in this block of four weeks before I take a recovery week next week. All that remain for this week are hill repeats tomorrow and a long run on Sunday.

Overall it has been a good week of training but as you can see above a couple of key runs remain. One of those runs is the series of hill repeats I plan to get in tomorrow. I was not able to get in my hill repeats as planned on Tuesday so tomorrow I will be doing five hill repeats when I go for my run.

Last night I did my intervals as per usual. Once again the scheduled workout was 3 sets of a 500 m followed by a 1000 m interval with a two minute break in between intervals. The goal last night was to try and beat my best times from the previous two weeks. Unfortunately that did not happen with my best interval times being 1:52 and 3:49 respectively. Overall over the past three weeks my best times were 1:48 and 3:42.

My final run of the week will also be a key one. It will be my first 30 km run of this training cycle. This week for my long run I plan to try this marathon move I read about. Since the Ottawa Marathon is about 9 weeks away I’ll aim for a 20-25 minute marathon move.

My hill repeats tomorrow and long run Sunday will leave me at just over 70 km for the week. I’ll increase my weekly mileage again in two weeks when I start my next four week training block.

How did your week go?

Last Run at the Dome?


Given that today was the first day of spring tonight’s run at the dome was hopefully my last indoor run for a while. Hopefully now that we are into spring I will be able to do all of my runs outdoor. Now that the days are getting longer it is hard to beat a run home from work when the sun is shining.

I certainly appreciate having access to the track at the dome so I can do speed work over the winter months. Due to the fact that We had a colder winter this year I ended up running at the dome more often than in previous years, including a 21 km long run on a cold Sunday.

Even if it does continue to warm up the conditions outside still will not be ideal for intervals for a few weeks because of the snow and ice that still have to melt and the big puddles that will come with the melting.

If it does get cold again over the next week then I will end up going back to the dome for speed work although since my pass expired tonight I definitely will not get another pass for the year. If I do go back I’ll just have to pay the drop in fee each time I go.

Next week I won’t go back to the dome because I have another 3 km test scheduled and that is easy to fit in outside. Hopefully the weather will be good enough to keep my speed work outside in the weeks to follow and I won’t need to go back to the dome until next winter.

Do you run indoor over the winter?