Tag Archives: tempo run

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 Boston Marathon

Race day is now 15 days away. This week was the start of my taper for the marathon. At this point I am more worried about getting sick or injured than I am about the rest of my training.

The biggest news this week was that my passport for the marathon arrived in the mail..

In terms of training I finished with 74 km for the week. That involved my usual routine of easy runs mixed in with a tempo run on Tuesday and speed work on Thursday.

Tuesday’s tempo run was a 10 km run with 7 km done at my tempo pace. Thursday’s speed work involved a run along the same route with a series of strides mixed in.

This morning I did my last run over 20 km before the marathon. I ended up doing a 22 km run. Next Sunday I will probably aim for 15-16 km for my longest run.

The best part about this week is it finally seems like winter is coming to an end. This morning was a perfect spring morning for a long run. If the weather in Boston on race day is anything like that it will be a good day to run a marathon.

How was your week?

Week 16 of Training for the Boston Marathon

It is still hard to believe that in three weeks from tomorrow I will get to run the Boston Marathon. First it took me several trying to get my qualifying time then since I ran my qualifying time in the fall of 2015 it seems like a long time since I ran my qualifying time.

Since it is down to three weeks before race day this was meant to be my last busy week of training before tapering. Overall I think I managed a decent week of training with a final tally of just under 82 km for the week.

Monday I planned to run home from work. However, a lack of sleep over the weekend caught up with me. By the time 3:00 rolled around I knew it would be better if I headed straight home from work and planned to get to bed early that night.

Tuesday I opted for a tempo run home after work. My run ended up being a 10.5 km run with 7 km done at my tempo pace. Generally I try to do at least 6-8 km of these runs at my tempo pace so I was pleased with the result.

Following an easy run home from work Wednesday night Thursday ended up being a two run day. I got my speed work in during my lunch hour with a 6.3 km run that included several strides. My second effort of the day was an easy 8 km on the treadmill while I watched hockey.

Friday and Saturday ended up being two more easy paced efforts. Saturday’s run was also done on the treadmill while I watched hockey. This winter I have probably done more of my runs on a treadmill than in previous years.

I am still not big fan of treadmill but since I have access to one it is convenient to be close by if my wife needs help with the kids or if I have to wait and run later at night. Being able to do it while a hockey game is on is a bonus that helps keep me distracted from the monotony of running on a treadmill, particularly if the Oilers are playing.

I ended the week with my long run this morning. I was fortunate to be able to head out early because we had freezing rain in the forecast for the afternoon. My goal was to do around 25 km and I ended up with just over 24 km.

Now I get to dial back on the mileage for my final three weeks of training. This training cycle has different than my other marathon training cycles. It has been the first time that I have trained with a time goal in mind and without the use of a formal training plan.

Instead my training has been based more on what I had time for more than it has in the past. With three kids now, including a nine month old, it has been tougher at times to fit in the mileage I have in the past. At the same time, I consider myself very fortunate that I have been able fit in a training cycle that has me in shape to run another marathon.

How was your week?

Week 12 of Training for the Boston Marathon

Coming off a recovery week last week my plan for this week was to increase my mileage and aim for my biggest week of training so far in this training cycle. I was fortunate to manage that. My long run from this morning gave me just under 92 km for the week. This week I was able to pull it off due to a couple of two run days. 

I started off the week with a 12.8 km (8 mile) run on a treadmill. Again this is not my favourite form of running and I am fortunate that I do not have to do it often. I opted for the treadmill on Monday night because I found the sidewalks to be slippery due to patches of black ice when I did my long run the night before. This time I listened to a podcast to help keep me distracted as I ran. 

Tuesday was the first of my two runs days of the week. My first run of the day was an easy run through the neighbourhood around my office during my lunch hour. My second run of the day was my usual run home from work in the evening. This run featured some mileage at my tempo pace. 

Thursday was my second two run day of the week. The first run was once again an easy run during my lunch hour following the same route I covered Tuesday afternoon. My second run of the day was my weekly visit to the indoor track for intervals. Once again this week I opted for 800m repeats. I had time for 8 x 800m again this week. This time my splits were 3:08, 3:02, 3:03, 3:02, 3:05, 3:03, 3:05, 2:55. It was the second week in a row that I managed to finish with my fastest time coming in under 3:00.

This morning was time for my long run. I planned for my first 30+ km run. Compared to the weather we received earlier in the week it was actually cold when I left the house to start my run. I managed 30.5 km with the final 7 km being the fastest portion of my run. 

My plan for week 13 is to follow a similar plan to the one from this week in terms of workouts to complete and overall mileage. 

How was your week?

Week 10 of Training for the Boston Marathon

This week was another decent week of training. Despite not feeling well late in the week, likely due to not enough sleep and the fact that two of my kids have been sick lately, I managed to put in 76 km this week. Along the way I ended up doing three treadmill runs which is not my favourite way to run but it allowed me to get in my mileage.

My first treadmill run was my tempo run on Tuesday. Since it was cold and windy out I opted to stay inside for my run. It might have been the first time I completed a tempo run on a treadmill. In terms of a workout I opted for an easy 15 minutes followed by 25 minutes at a hard pace and ending with an easy 15 minutes.

I once again made it out on to the Rideau Canal for a couple of my runs. I mentioned it here before but the hard packed snow at the edge of the plowed skate way makes for a decent running track. Running what is the world’s largest skateway and a UNESCO world heritage site is something that is unique to Ottawa and I take advantage of it when I can during the winter.


Thursday night was time once again for my intervals at the dome. Once again my workout involved 800m repeats at the dome. I ended up doing an 800 m warm up followed by 8 x 800m in 3:07, 3:04, 3:03, 3:03, 3:01, 3:01, 3:01, 2:59. Once again I finished my workout feeling pleased that my times were pretty consistent. I was also really pleased that I managed to complete my last one in under 3:00.

Yesterday I was fortunate that it was my planned day off because it was when I started to feel rough. Normally I would have planned my long run for this morning but since I did not feel much better I skipped my run thinking I would not complete a long run this week. 

Fortunately I was feeling well enough to attempt a run tonight. Since it snowed all day here I opted for the treadmill once again. I managed to do 22.4 km in 1:52. That may be my longest treadmill run to date. Fortunately I had a couple podcasts to listen to as I ran.

How did your week go?

Week 8 of Training for the Boston Marathon

This week I managed to hit the mileage goal I set for myself. Coming off a couple disappointing weeks I was determined to get at least 70 km in this week. I managed 75 km this week.

Tuesday is usually my night for tempo runs. Once again I tried to get one in this week. Unfortunately, despite the fact it has not been a very cold winter here, the constant freezing and thawing cycles we have experienced have left the sidewalks covered either in slush and large puddles or ice. Both make it tougher to maintain a steady pace. I ran as hard as I could but the slippery footing made for a tougher run than it normally would have been.

On the other hand, my interval workout Thursday was a solid workout. This week I opted for an 800 warm up followed by 6 x 800m and an 800m cool down. I was pleased that I was able to keep my intervals consistent with them ranging from 3:01 – 3:06. Next week I am hoping to have time to add a couple intervals to my workout.

Last week I mentioned that I was planning to do extra runs during my lunch hour at work. I managed to accomplish that on Wednesday with and easy 6 km at lunch followed by an easy 9 km run home from work. I plan to continue this routine a couple times per week. It will go a long way toward helping me reach my mileage targets.

Tonight I ended the week with my long run. Later at night is not my preferred time to do a long run but it was the best time to fit it in today…

Now that I managed a 75 km week my goal for next week is to get at least 80 km.

How was your week?

Week 2 of Training for the Boston Marathon

Week 2 of Training is complete. I managed a slight improvement on my mileage from last week but once again  the week did not go quite as planned. Fortunately there were some positives I can build on as I look ahead to week 3 starting tomorrow. 

Overall I ended with 45 km for the week, a 3 km improvement over last week. I was on pace for more mileage but unfortunately was unable to run Monday, Thursday and Saturday. Normally I would have gone for a run at least 2 of those days.

On a positive note I was able to get in a solid tempo run Tuesday morning and got in my first runs in really cold weather. Tuesday I took advantage of having a day off work to get in a late morning 11.4 km run at my goal marathon pace. Tuesday and Wednesday when I ran home from work the temperature felt like -29C (-20F) with the windchill. Those runs actually were not as bad as they sound because I was well dressed for them.

This morning I managed to fit in a 15.5 km long run. Once again the conditions were not ideal, snow covered sidewalks meant I had to run at a much slower pace than usual. However, it was one of those runs that felt good to get done regardless of the pace because it would have been much easier to stay home.


Looking ahead to week 3 my plan is simple. I am aiming for 6 runs and hopefully 70 km in mileage. My plan is also to get in another 10-11 km tempo run on Tuesday and some speedwork on Thursday. If I can get in a couple more runs next week it should not be a problem to hit my mileage goal. 

How did your week go?

Week 17 of Training for the Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon

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Race day is almost here now. One week from today I will run my 14th marathon, and 8th here at home. I had one final full week of training this here although I did dial back on the mileage once again. I ended this week with a total of 79 km.

I managed to fit in two good workouts this week where I was able to push the pace a bit. Tuesday’s run ended up being a 12 km effort with 7 km done at my tempo pace.

Thursday my speed workout involved a 2 km warm up, 6 x 200m/200m easy, 5 km @ 4:30/km, 1:30 easy, 6 x 200m/200m easy. I had planned to make the workout even longer with a longer warm up and cool down and longer run at marathon pace but had to cut it short due to time constraints. I think I still managed to put in a solid effort.

This morning I went for my last long run before the marathon. It was an easy 19.6 km effort and it was fitting that I saw several of these along the way…

In terms of what’s left before the marathon I have a few 6-7 km runs and a 12 km marathon pace run scheduled. I plan to keep my mileage around 50-55 km. My training is done so there is no need to push beyond that in the final week.

More importantly I plan to try and get to bed early every night leading up to the marathon and loading up on carbs (I got  start on that tonight by picking up some supplies at the grocery store).

How was your week?

Week 15 of Training for the Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon


With race day now 3 weeks from today it is really starting to set in that I am about to run another marathon. Overall it will be my 14th marathon but the feeling when I finally get this close to race day is the same. When you register for a marathon and even when you officially start training for one race day seems so far away. For me when I get down to the last 3 weeks and the taper period is when it really starts to sink in.

Following 3 busy weeks of just over 100 km this week was a bit of a recovery week for me, partly because I was scheduled to run a 10 km race this morning. This week’s total was 62 km. Even though I wasn’t going for a pb this morning the recovery week was probably well timed.

Other than this morning’s race all my runs this week were done at an easy pace. In terms of highlights my oldest daughter sent me to work with a beanie boo on Wednesday because she wanted to take it to the bus stop but could not take it to school, leaving me with a running partner…

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Thursday was perfect for running and I fit in 2 runs…

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As for this morning’s race, being 3 weeks away from race day my plan was to use it as an excuse to run a tempo run. Despite  a cool and windy morning, 3C (37F) at the start, I did just that. I managed to finish the race in 41:09, my second fastest 10 km of the year. It felt good to push the race after a relatively easy week of training…

Next up are the last 3 weeks of training. That will likely consist of one more heavy week and 2 lower mileage weeks.

How was your week?

Week 9 of Training for the Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon

 

This week ended up being my biggest week of training so far in this training cycle. Today’s long run left me with 90 km done this week. Today’s long run also put me on target for over 300 km in March.

This week was a bit of a mixed bag in terms of the weather. I had a tempo run in the snow, a tough easy with ice pellets hitting me in the face and a long run today in spring weather. This was the scene after Friday’s run…

Meanwhile this was the scene today…

I mentioned that today’s long run was a 30 km effort. Since the weather was perfect today and I was running in shorts and short sleeves again it was hard not to push the pace once I got going. I ended up running a chunk of the run at close to my marathon pace.

Other than that I managed to fit in a tempo run on Tuesday and a speed workout on Friday. The tempo run was a 9.5 km effort at 4.28/km. I managed to maintain a decent pace despite the fact it was snowing.

Meanwhile my speed workout which I had initially planned to do Thursday but you can probably tell from the photo above why I moved it to Friday. My workout involved a 3 km warm up followed by 6 x 800m/2:00 easy and a 3.2 km cool down.

This was the halfway point of my training for the Ottawa Marathon. Looking ahead to April I have a half-marathon to look forward to in a couple of weeks. It is another race I have used as part of my training the last several years and one that I find to be a good test of where I am at about a month before race day.

How was your week?