Tag Archives: marathon training

This Week’s Mileage

This week is scheduled to be one of my heaviest weeks of training ahead of the Toronto Waterfront Marathon. As a result, I am looking to complete 90-100 km this week. Yesterday I managed to get the week off to a good start with the second of my planned 32 km (20 mile) runs.

Of course this still leaves me with 58-68 km to between now and Saturday. Tonight was an off-night due to soccer and with a full time job and a young child at home It means I will have to be disciplined to fit in that mileage over the next five days.

Fitting in the mileage is going to require a few two run days in a row with short lunchtime runs supplementing my after work mileage. This will allow me to get in at least a couple of 15-16 km days midweek.

In terms of workouts I will be looking to get back to running intervals at the track this week and will likely return to the hill for the repeats. In between I will have to make sure to get in some easy mileage to allow for recovery.

How do you with in your heaviest weeks of mileage while training for a marathon?

32 Km Training Run

Yesterday was the first of my planned 32km, 20 mile, training runs before October’s Toronto Waterfront Marathon. I generally try to fit in four of these runs while I train for a marathon. My plan is to get in the second one this upcoming Sunday. I will then cut back my distance for a week before I get in the final two.

These runs are one of the most important workouts in marathon training. Not only do they get you used to running for 2.5-3 hours, they also provide a good opportunity to test nutrition and hydration strategies for race day. It is probably the best opportunity for you to test what might work, allowing you to come up with a plan to tackle race day.

Obviously, due to the distance involved, these workouts present a challenge. The biggest challenge being the time it takes to complete the run. For example, yesterday’s run took me 2:53 to complete.

In order to minimize the impact of my longer runs on the day I try to plan them for early in the morning. Yesterday I was out the door at 5:30 in order to gets started while everyone at home was sleeping. After completing 11.5 km I returned home to pick up my daughter so I could bring her along for the rest of my run and let my wife go back to sleep.

Sometimes weekends are so busy that it is difficult to fit in all of the mileage at once. As a result, I have on occasion had to divide the 32 km run into two shorter separate runs. I am not sure how effective this strategy is overall but it did not seem to affect my training for my last two marathons.

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?

Why the Marathon?

A recent post on an online message board got me thinking about this question. I have now run six marathons over the last four years and I registered for number seven a matter of hours after completing number six.

My current focus on the marathon distance does not mean that I don’t enjoy the shorter distances. In fact, at some point I know that I likely won’t be able to dedicate the time needed to train for a marathon and that focusing on going faster in the shorter distances will be a a better option for me.

Training properly for a marathon takes a big time commitment. For now I try to minimize the impact of marathon training on my life by running in the morning before I go to work, running home from work and by bringing my daughter along for my weekend runs in her Chariot.

Now that still leaves the question of why I do it. Simply, I like the challenge of preparing for a marathon over the 16 weeks leading up to race day and I enjoy the sense of accomplishment at the end of the marathon. The marathon distance is a tough distance to prepare for and even after 16 weeks of training you need a lot of elements to come together so you can reach your goal.

After running my first marathon I set myself the goal of eventually qualifying for the Boston Marathon. I have been fortunate to progressively get faster with each successive marathon while at the same time avoiding injury. Following last Sunday’s Ottawa Marathon I am more confident than ever that it is a realistic goal. That more than anything motivated me to quickly commit to a fall marathon again this year by registering for the Toronto Waterfront Marathon.

Do you enjoy training for marathons or do you prefer working on going faster at the shorter distances?

Last Week of Training

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

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?


The upcoming Ottawa Marathon will be my sixth marathon. Each time I have felt that passing certain milestones in training give me an extra boost in confidence and get me even more excited about race day which is now only 17 days away.

For me it seems like it is the same milestones that bring about this feeling each time. They are the last 32 km (20 mile run), my last session of speed intervals and my longest week in terms of mileage.

It turns out that I am in the process of hitting each of those milestones this week. This past Sunday was my last 32 km run, tonight was to be my last speed interval workout although it turned into a marathon pace effort due to the condition of the track and I am still on pace for my goal of 100 (62 miles) km this week which will give me my biggest week of training.

I am not sure what exactly it is about these milestones, I guess it is the fact that my 16 weeks of training are nearly complete and that race day is finally close. After this week I will begin reducing my mileage and the intensity of my workouts in order to help get me ready for race day.

Do you find hitting milestones like this gives you n extra boost of confidence in your training?

My Collection of Shoes

Ever wonder how many pairs of shoes runners go through when training for a marathon? Given that most pairs of shoes seem to last about 600-700 km. When you run upwards of 300 km per month while training for a marathon the answer is several pair. This is a picture of my current collection of shoes.

I started with the grey pair of New Balance 890. This pair carried me through the second half of my training for the Philadelphia Marathon and I was still using them when I started training for the Ottawa Marathon in January.

I bought the black pair of New Balance 890 in December and they became my main pair of shoes until I bought my yellow and white Mizuno Wave Elixir’s last month and I have been alternating both pair for the last month as I get my last mileage out of the New balance shoes.

Finally, I have my Mizuno Wave Ronin’s for races and for track workouts. The pair in the picture is actually the second pair I have used during this training cycle as the previous pair was replaced a couple of months ago.

Minto Run for Reach

My next race is coming up in less than a week now. On the 15th I will be running a half-marathon. This is one of the races I did last year as a tune-up for the Ottawa Marathon. This year the plan is the same. Use the race to help me get ready for the marathon.

That said, this year’s approach to the race will be different than last year’s. Last year I ran 10 km on my own before the half-marathon so I could get in a 32 km (20 mile) run on that day. This year my goal is to use the half-marathon to gauge the finishing time I should aim for in the half-marathon.

Since my overall goal is to qualify for the Boston Marathon, a 3:10 qualifying time at my age, I plan to aim for a 1:30 half on Sunday. If I get close to that goal I will aim for 3;10 in May. If I am closer to 3;15 I will likely revise my strategy and aim for a 3:15 and contemplate a fall marathon where I can take a shot at 3:10.

That said, my approach to this week will be with the half-marathon in mind. Since I did my second 32 km run Saturday I took the day off yesterday. This morning I went out for a 10 km run with most of that at my goal marathon pace.

As for the rest of the week, I may go for another marathon pace run or do some hills but the rest of my runs this week will likely be relatively easy efforts in order to leave my legs ready for Sunday.

Week 2 of Training for the Ottawa Marathon

Since I decided to make tomorrow my rest day week two of my 16 week training for the Ottawa Marathon is complete.

This week was another good week of training with all of my runs going according to plan. My plan called for a total of 57 km (36 miles). I managed to pass that total by 4 km for a total of 61 km (38 miles).

This week also saw me running in a variety of conditions. From a long run in the cold to start the week on Sunday morning to my weeknight runs home from work in temperatures just above or just below freezing to last night’s speed intervals under the dome.

Based on some feedback after last week’s speed intervals at the dome I have been consciously trying to keep my stride shorter and to remember to keep my shoulders relaxed. The changes felt awkward when I first tried them but they are starting to feel more natural now. Whether any of this makes any difference with regards to my race times remains to be seen but for now I will continue to work on this.

Now that week two is out of the way there are only 14 more of these updates before race day on May 27. Week three kicks off with a 19 km (12 mile) long run Sunday.

How did your training go this week?