Those two weeks were the beginning of my final quality training phase. I begun running long tempo runs and preparing myself for longer intensive efforts. Last year the beginning of this phase was very difficult for me and I only got the power and lightness in my legs after half-marathon in the second half of this phase. This year I felt tired too, but my running feels a lot better. The weather was a bit depressing as it was wet, windy and cold, but I didn’t miss any of my workouts and managed to do the job. Now, let’s move to details:
Plan: Strength training
On Monday I was still suffering from Saturday workout so I was not pushing myself too hard on this day. I did my regular set of general exercises with planks and called it a day.
Plan: Easy run
My legs were still heavy, but I had a positive mind and the run was going quite fast. After few kilometers I picked up the pace and kept it fast till the end of the run.
Execution: 12,87km, 1:06:45, av.pace: 5:11/km, av.hr: 149 (75%hrmax)
Plan: 30 min. Tempo run
This was the first of my long tempo runs, my legs were still a bit tired and I knew that it was going to be a tough workout. After 20 minutes of warm-up I started my tempo run. Generally it felt all right but I didn’t have energy to stay on my desired pace. The whole run was a bit too slow, but at least the pace was rather steady till the end of the run. I finished with two kilometers of slow jog.
Execution: 12,26km, 1:00:50, av.pace: 4:58/km, av.hr: 152 (76%hrmax)
Tempo run: 6,74km, 0:30:00, av.pace: 4:27/km, av.hr: 164 (82%hrmax)
Plan: Easy run
Once again I was tired. This time after the tempo run I did on the day before. Nevertheless I run a decent pace easy run just a bit slower than on last Tuesday.
Execution: 12,84km, 1:07:54, av.pace: 5:17/km, av.hr: 146 (73%hrmax)
Plan: tempo run on Parkrun Race
Initially I planned to run a tempo run during this Parkrun race but as I didn’t run any real race lately I wanted to try to run a bit faster. That morning I felt that my legs were tired an I still had mild DOMS so I knew that it was not going to be a fast race. As I thought I was rather slow. I felt that my legs were heavy and I wasn’t able to increase the pace. I slowed down after two initial kilometers and I picked up the pace on the last one, making it a bit faster than a fast tempo run, but way slower than a real race.
Execution: 9,53km, 0:47:16, av.pace: 4:58/km, av.hr: 155 (77%hrmax)
Parkrun: 5km, 0:20:44, av.pace: 4:09/km, av.hr: 171 (86%hrmax)
Plan: Long steady run
This day I planned to run a two and a half hour long run in a slow steady pace. From the beginning it was obvious to me that this was going to be a difficult workout. First of all, February didn’t go as I expected and I was not in my best shape ever, second, I was tired after the last week’s workouts and third, directly before this day’s training I had to go out with my daughter and I walked for more than five kilometers, so my legs were a bit tired in the very beginning and my sugar level was low. As expected the first hour felt long and my motivation was rather low.
The second hour was better. My body turned more to burning fats and I was ready to speed up a little but by the end of the second hour I started getting tired and the run became a bit painful. The last thirty minutes were disastrous. Minute after minute I was feeling worse and worse. The last kilometer I was barely able to run. My long steady runs I do only on water so my sugar level was at the bottom of the tank and I was pushing against the wall. My average pace turned to be just slightly better than a month ago when I did my first 2,5 hour run, but then I was feeling way better during the run and afterwards. Before Orlen Warsaw Marathon I have one more 2,5 hour run and I sure hope that I will feel better during that run.
Execution: 25,93km, 2:30:03, av.pace: 5:47/km, av.hr: 140 (70%hrmax)
Plan: strength training
In this phase of training cycle my strength workouts are limited to few exercises and one – two sets + stability work. I focus on squats and lunges and calf work with addition of 2-3 general exercises and some work in planks. This day I even made it shorter as I felt not well regenerated after Sunday long run.
Plan: Easy run
I was a bit afraid that this workout would not go easy due to my last long run and how I felt afterwards, but it turned out that 48 hours of rest was enough and my legs were in perfect order. The run went smooth and quite fast. I felt some amount of fatigue, but it was not disturbing my run.
Execution: 12,95km, 1:07:22, av.pace: 5:12/km, av.hr: 149 (74%hrmax)
Plan: 40 min long tempo run
This was my second long tempo run. The previous one was ten minutes shorter. This time I wanted to make it as close in terms of tempo to the first one as possible. I ended up three seconds per kilometer slower, but considering my slowing chart, the pace was acceptable. The workout felt hard and I was not able to increase the pace without excessive effort, but I was able to keep running without slowing down.
Execution: 14,73km, 1:14:50, av.pace: 5:05/km, av.hr: 152 (76%hrmax)
Tempo run: 8,89km, 0:40:00, av.pace: 4:30/km, av.hr: 164 (82%hrmax)
Plan: Easy run
I was a bit stiff after my last tempo run, but I felt generally good. My pace was normal and I had no problems with keeping a good running cadence. It seems that my regeneration is catching up with my regime.
Execution: 12,92km, 1:11:45, av.pace: 5,33/km, av.hr: 143 (72%hrmax)
Plan: Tempo run during a Parkrun race
I know that going faster than planned is not a good idea during workouts, but this time I couldn’t resist. I started in my normal pace, but after few hundred meters I found myself on fourth position with the rest of the pack way behind. I thought that this was a good (and rare) possibility to jump on the podium. Having that on my mind I picked up the pace, I passed the third runner somewhere around the half-way point and I kept a safe distance from the runner behind me till the end of the race. I ended up one minute faster than I planned, but I was third 🙂
Execution: 9,16km, 0:42,15, av.pace: 4:37/km, av.hr: 157 (79%hrmax)
Parkrun race: 5km, 0:20:00, av.pace: 4:00/km, av.hr: 170 (85%hrmax)
Plan: Long progressive run.
This time I planned to do a two hour long run with faster second half. Due to my Saturday race instead of a tempo run I knew that that this run would be a very difficult one. …and I was right. The first hour was quite comfortable and fairly fast for a long run and by the end of it I started to increase my pace. It was not easy and I had to struggle to keep it steady. My route and the weather were not helping me either as it was quite windy and a similar effort was giving different outputs every few minutes. All in all I managed to keep the second half considerably faster than the first one, but the run was not as smooth as I wanted. During this workout I also practiced my marathon nutrition. I had three High5 gels – two with caffeine and one isogel that can be used without additional water.
I felt good on my stomach and I had plenty of energy. This was the first try with those gels, so I am quite happy with the results. Gels were tasty and worked as they should. During my marathon I want to take them every five kilometers, so the results should be similar.
Execution: 23,71km, 2:00:04, av.pace: 5:04/km, av.hr: 154 (77%hrmax)
After those two weeks I am slowly starting to assess my running capabilities and guessing how fast I can really run my two upcoming events. As my weight got stable few kilograms above my initial goal and I had few unintentional breaks in training I am slowly beginning to accept that I will have to rethink my goals. For now, I am considering running half-maraton in 1:30:00 and depending on how it will go I will then asses my marathon predictions. Last year I underestimated my running goal for Warsaw Half-marathon and I was able to speed up by almost thirty seconds per kilometer during last two kilometers and I think that this reserve in running half-marathon four weeks before marathon helped me in running the latter. I have two more weeks to go before my half-marathon so next week I will still push some more and during the last one I will go easier on myself and try to do few more kilometers in my half-marathon goal pace.