I’m late posting this update because it was a pretty busy weekend for me due to a music festival I had passes to and a race on Sunday morning. That race was the focus of my training last week. After a 100 km week two weeks ago I cut my mileage back to 56 km leading up to Sunday’s race.
Since I was scheduled to run a race week 9 of training involved a series of short easy runs. Leading up to Sunday my longest runs were a couple of 9 km efforts. I also added a couple of 6 km efforts to the total. I also ended up taking two rest days which is not usual for me.
Sunday’s race was the Canada Army Run. This was the 8th for the Army Run and I have participated in 6 so far, missing once because I had a wedding to attend and once because of a sprained ankle. This is an important one for me to take part in because my father was a member of the army for 41 years. It also benefits a great cause by raising money for injured soldiers and their families.
Out of the 6 times I have run the Army Run I have only done it once on my own as an actual race. The last 5 times have been as a pace bunny. Participating in the Army Run as a pace bunny has now become an annual event for me.
This year I was one of the 1:35 pacers for the half-marathon. This worked out well for me because a 1:35 half is the marathon pace I am training for. After quite a bit of rain here Saturday night we had great weather to run in Sunday morning. Since there were 2 other 1:35 pacers we decided once would start fast and fade, I would run an even pace and the third would start slow and pick up the pace.
I knew I was right on pace through 15 km and started to focus on encouraging others to keep up with or pass me. I crossed the finish line in 1:35:21 and was quite pleased with the result. In addition to running a solid training run I was able to help others reach their goal in the process.
The Army Run was my last planned race before the Philadelphia Marathon. Now it is back to regular training. I will be aiming to get my weekly mileage back up in the 90-100 km range. October will be another big month before I start to taper in November.
How was your week?
Now that the Ottawa Marathon is out of the way and I have fully recovered I am on to planning out the rest of the year. I have started the process of putting together a schedule that will hopefully have me ready to run a fast time at the Philadelphia Marathon in November.
So far I have two races already scheduled. As mentioned I have Philly pencilled in as my goal race for the second half of the year. On top of that I will also be reprising my roleas a pace bunny in the Army Run half-marathon in September. That one will likely be at or near my goal marathon pace.
On top of that I am trying to see if I can fit in one race per month between now and November. Although my plans for Canada Day will change because the usual downtown race I generally do has been pushed back to August I still plan to do a 10 km race. Fortunately there is another option available in another area of the city.
Since the usual Canada Day Race I do has been pushed back to August that gives me another option to put on my calendar. It would also give me two opportunities to run a sub 40 minute 10 km this summer. I managed that once during a training run last year but have not yet managed it in a race.
If I stick with those plans that just leaves me with an October race to find. I have not really looked at what is available around here at that time because it is still a long way off. At least I should be able to find another 10 km or a half-marathon to fit into my schedule.
It looks like the second half of my year is starting to come together. It is looking like i will not have any difficulty filling my schedule with races to get me ready for another marathon. I am hoping to build on a good first half of the year and possibly take down a couple of PBs along the way.
What plans do you have for the rest of the year?
Race day is another week closer and another week of training is nearly behind me. STWM is exactly one month away now. It is hard to believe that race day is so close now but at the same time I am starting to get excited at the thought of another marathon.
In terms of training this week, it’s been a rather light week so far after a hard 30 km last Sunday with the first and last 6 km coming at marathon pace. So far I’ve managed to fit in 3 runs for a total of 26 km.
While 2 of my runs were easy runs home from work I fit in a good tempo workout Tuesday. This week’s workout involved 2 km @ 4:20/km, 2km @ 4:00/km and 2 km @ 3:40/km. With a warm up and and cool down the run was good for 9 km.
I have 2 more runs scheduled this weekend. Tomorrow will be a short and relatively easy effort. Sunday I will be doing the Army Run half-marathon. As I have done the past few years I will be a pace bunny in the half-marathon.
This year my pace will be 1:45 which works out to 5:00/km which will give me an easy paced long run. I am not sure if running a half-marathon at this point in my training is beneficial or not but this is an event that has been growing every year that I do not want to miss out on. I also find it fun focusing on helping someone hit their goal pace for once instead of being obsessed with my own goals.
As for the rest of my training, I have one more long run scheduled for next weekend before I start to taper for STWM which for me is always an uneasy oeriod of training. I know the taper is important but I get restless when I have to cut back on my mileage.
How did your week go?
As previously mentioned, I participated in the Army Run as a pace bunny this morning. It was my fourth time participating in the race and third time running it as a pace bunny.
The plan for this year was for me to pace the 1:35 group in the half-marathon. The significance of this being that a 1:35 half is my goal marathon pace. You may recall that I had the same plan last year as I trained for the Toronto Waterfront Marathon until I sprained my ankle a week before.
After it rained for most of yesterday this morning we actually ended up with decent weather for running. In previous years I have done this race it ended up being warm for the time of year. This morning it was cool. The only downside was the wind when we were running into it. There were a few occasions when I thought it was going to snap the stick holding the 1:35 sign I was carrying.
In terms of the race, as soon as I took my place in the corral I met runners who planned to follow me or hoped to stay in front of me. For most of the race I had a decent sized group of runners around me. Many of the runners who started out with me seemed to stick close to me for most of the race.
My plan going in was to aim for even splits and maintain a 4:30 pace as much as possible. Yesterday when picking up my race kit I forgot to grab one of the free pace bands they always have at race expos so before leaving the house is morning I quickly wrote my goal 5, 10, 15 and 19 km splits on my hand with a permanent marker so I would be able to judge whether I was on pace.
Thanks to the splits on my hand I knew I was close to being on pace throughout the race. In the end I crossed the finish line in 1:35:48. Of course I hoped to be a little closer to 1:35 but still a good result and judging by the reaction from other runners in finish chute I am pleased with how the race went.
Pacing presents a different challenge that makes it worthwhile. Having other runners following you does add a degree of pressure but at the same time it is fun and rewarding to see other runners meet their goals. In particular today I had a couple runners close to me over the last 2 km and I could see they were pushing hard to keep up with me. They managed to stick with me over that distance and get a 1:35 finish. If the opportunity is there again next year I will definitely look to pace this race again.
This week brings the start of my 16 week training for the Philadelphia Marathon. With today and yesterday’s runs done I already have my first two training runs complete although yesterday’s run was cut short by the rain.
Philadelphia will be marathon number nine for me and the my second time running there in three years. My goal for it is to beat the 3:12 I ran here back in May for a new personal best.
Now instead of just running what I feel like doing or have time I am going back to having specific workouts on my calendar. In the short-term it won’t make much of a difference because i have been trying to keep my weekday runs to 8-10 km. I will, however, be going back to scheduling a long run on Sundays.
In terms of workouts I have contnued to include tempo runs but now I will go back to including speed intervals and hill workouts in my routine. While it was nice to have a bit of a break from these tougher workouts, it will also be nice to getting to including them regularly.
As with my previous training cycles, I will also make use of shorter races to help get me ready for the marathon. So far I am scheduled to be the 1:35 pace bunny in the Army Run half-marathon in September. In addition to that, I will look to add another race in August or October if I can.
Finally, the start of training for Philadelphia brings about one new change from my previous training cycles, coaching. As already mentioned on here, I am seeking out the help of a coach to help me focus on aspects I previously ignored in my training or areas I could stand to improve on. I will have more on this next week when I get started with my coach.
Now for the next 16 weeks, as I did while training for other marathons, I will use my Friday post to post a weekly training update.
Week 11 of my training for the Toronto Waterfront Marathon. With one run left to go tomorrow my mileage for week 11 currently sits at 61.5 km. Since last week was my biggest week so far with just over 100 km the plan for this week was to cut back on my mileage a bit. Tomorrow’s run will leave me with just over 70 km for the week.
The week got off to a good start with the third of my 32 km (20 mile) training runs. Since I am the 1:35 pace bunny for the Army Run half-marathon, 4:30/km is also my goal pace for the marathon, in a few weeks I decided to do the first 21.1 km at marathon pace. The result, the first 21 km in just over 1:35. Not only did I confirm I was ready to pace the Army Run I also managed to get in a good tempo run to get me ready for the marathon in Toronto.
While it was a good week of training I did miss out on two aspects of my training this week, hill repeats and intervals. Although I missed those workouts I think I made up for it with the marathon pace effort as part of my long run and another 10 km tempo run last night.
With just over one month left before the marathon I still have a couple of key workouts left, my final 32 km run which I will do either Sunday or Monday and the aforementioned pace bunny gig in a few weeks. If I can manage to get in a few more hill repeats and intervals along the way I should be in a position to run a good race in Toronto.
As mentioned above, week 12 will kick off with my final 32 km run. Since I have the day off Monday I have the luxury of deciding whether to do it Sunday or Monday depending on other activities.
How did your training go this week?
For the third year in a row I will be pacing the Army Run in September. For the second year in a row I will be pacing the half-marathon. The first year I paced I ran the 5 km race.
I enjoy getting the opportunity to pace for a couple of reasons. First, agreeing to pace a specific time presents a challenge in itself. Instead of pushing yourself to the limit you have to maintain a consistent pace that others are depending on.
The second reason I enjoy it is the sense of satisfaction I get out of hitting the finish line close to the time I agreed to run. Seeing others meet the goal they have been training for makes it all worthwhile.
This tear’s pacing opportunity will present me with a new challenge. Since I have agreed to be the 1:35 pace bunny in the half marathon I will not only be trying to help others meet their goal time I will be running a marathon pace half-marathon a few weeks before the Toronto Waterfront Marathon. Not only will I be pacing others I will also be getting in a good training run that will help with my marathon preparations.
With 2012 upon us I have already started planning out my race schedule for the year. Like last year my main focus will be on improving my marathon time and getting closer to my goal of a Boston qualifying time.
The first half of my year is looking like it will be identical to last year when I ran two 10 km races and a half-marathon before the Ottawa Marathon in May. I have already registered for one of the 10 km races again this year and am waiting for registration to open so I can officially register for the other 10 km race and for the half-marathon.
That will keep me busy until May when I will run the Ottawa Marathon. I made the commitment last night and officially registered for the marathon for the fourth straight year. For the third straight year I will be raising funds for the Ottawa Hospital as part of Race Weekend. In addition to improving my marathon time I will also be trying to beat my fundraising total from last year.
So far the only plan I have for this year is to run the Army Run in September. The past two years I have run the race as a pace bunny, in the 5 km two years ago and in the half-marathon last year. I will looking to pace the half-marathon once again this year.
Beyond that the only big question mark remaining is whether I will run a fall marathon again this year and if so where. At this point I have not really considered that as there is a to consider before I make that commitment again and a lot could change before I have to make the decision.
Have you started putting together your race schedule for 2012?
With one day left in 2011 I took a few minutes earlier to think back on the year I have had in terms of running. It was another good year for me in which I managed to accomplish a number of things:
- With two 10 km races and a half-marathon before May I added more shorter races to help with my marathon training.
- I ran the Ottawa Marathon for the third year in a row and as part of that raised funds for the Ottawa Hospital for the second year in a row.
- I ran in a kilt race for the first time.
- I paced a half-marathon for the first time when I paced the 1:50 group in the Army Run half-marathon this year.
- I ran my first sub 20 minute 5 km in October.
- In November I ran the Philadelphia Marathon and beat my previous marathon PB by 2.5 minutes with a time of 3:20.
- Finally, this past week I passed my mileage from 2010 – currently at 3,133.4 km or 1947 miles with a final run to go tomorrow.
While my overall goal of qualifying for the Boston Marathon remains a work in progress I am pleased with what I managed to accomplish in 2011. Hopefully I can build on the progress I made this year and take some of what I learned this year to have an even better 2012!
How was your 2011?
Today was my second attempt at being a pace bunny, the first was in last year’s Army Run 5km race. This year I moved up to the half marathon and my task was a 1:50 run/walk.
I was downtown pretty early this morning in order to drop my wife off for the 5 km race. It was still cool out but right away it felt like it was going to be a great day for running with the sun shining.
I managed to get lined up in the corrals about 20 minutes before the half-marathon started. As to be expected off the start it was crowded as we wound our way past the War Memorial and on to Wellington. The crowd started to thin out a bit once we hit the Ottawa River Parkway, about 2 km in, and from that point I had no difficulty hitting my goal pace for the race which was just under 5:00/km. From this point I seemed to build a group of runners who would follow for most of the rest of the to the finish line.
As we headed into Rockliffe Park, around 14-15 km, I noticed I was a bit ahead of my goal time and slowed my pace as we turned around and headed back up the hill by Rideau Hall.
The crowd around me seemed to grow bigger once we were back along the canal and heading toward the Pretoria Bridge, about 18-20 km. From that point on I knew I was going to come in pretty close to my goal time. After we passed the 20 km sign I let everyone around me know that we were on track to finish just under 1:50 according to my chip time.
In the end I crossed the finish line with a gun time of 1:50:30 and a chip time of 1:49:09.
The best part of the day was having runners come up to me and thank me after we crossed the finish line. It was great to see that the runners who had followed me to the finish line were so happy with their results. That in itself made the whole day worthwhile for me.
This is definitely something I could turn into a yearly routine if the opportunity presents itself.