Goal – Spring marathon – weeks 23-26

I had some really busy time lately which caused me to miss my regular two weeks summary, and that is why this time I cover the last four weeks in one post this time. In the middle of those four weeks I had a half marathon test-start which went very good, but I had to go easier on myself the week before and the week after this start.

Here it is in details:

Monday, 13.03.2017

Plan: Stability training

I did my standard set of planks with a couple of general strength exercises. The long run on the day before was very intensive so I was going rather easy on myself this day.

Tuesday, 14.03.2017

Plan: Easy run

I felt generally OK after my Sunday long progressive run so I did a regular 13 kilometer easy run. I kept the pace rather stable at around 5:30-5:40/km with no other issues.

Execution: 12,91km, 1:11:24, av.pace: 5:32/km, av.hr: 140 (70%hrmax)

Wednesday, 15.03.2017

Plan: long tempo/marathon pace run

On this day I planned a sixty minutes tempo run, but during the main part of the run I quickly realized that it wasn’t my day. I didn’t have energy to run and my legs were heavy. I was getting slower on each kilometer and I ended this part of the run after 30 minutes. Maybe the cumulation of stress, fatigue and lack of sleep got me this time…

Execution:

11,75km, 1:01:18, av.pace: 5:13/km, av.hr: 146 (73%hrmax)

long tempo: 6,42km, 0:29:59, av.pace: 4:40, av.hr: 156 (78hrmax)

Thursday, 16.03.2017

Plan: Easy run

Bearing in mind the last run I started slowly and kept it this way for all the run. I felt fairly good, but I knew I needed a slow easy run to get back into faster running.

Execution: 12,82km, 1:13:22, av.pace: 5:43/km, av.hr: 136 (68%hrmax)

Friday, 17.03.2017 – day off

Saturday, 18.03.2017

Plan: Parkrun Race

This time I wasn’t going to race – I just wanted to run an even five kilometers at the pace a little faster than my projected half marathon pace. I started at the pace 4:11/km and kept it for four kilometers. The race felt rather comfortable and I decided to run the last kilometer faster. I picked up the pace to 3:51 and I ended up at 0:20:33. It was a good run with reserve of strength. I felt good and strong till the very end. I thought it was a good sign before my upcoming half marathon.

Execution:

10km, 0:47:41, av.pace: 4:46/km, av.hr: 153 (77%hrmax)

race: 5km, 0:20:33, av.pace: 4:07, av.hr: 168 (84%hrmax)

Sunday, 19.03.2017

Plan: 2h Long steady distance run

This was my last long run before Warsaw Half Marathon so I didn’t want to push myself too hard just week before the race. I started in a comfortable but rather fast pace and I kept it for the whole two hour run. I finished tired but with some energy left in my tank. My heart rate turned out to be quite low for this kind of run, so I guessed I was on good track for my upcoming race.

Execution: 22,47km, 2:00:03, av.pace: 5:20/km, av.hr: 138 (69%hrmax)

Monday, 20:03.2017

Plan: Stability workout

In a week of a competition there is no point in doing serious strength workouts so I just did a few planks with some work in those positions and some stretching just to feel better the next day.

Tuesday, 21.03.2017

Plan: Easy run

I felt quite fresh on this Tuesday evening and I wanted it to stay that way so I just did a relaxing thirteen kilometer easy run in a comfortable pace.

Execution: 12,82km, 1:07:56, av.pace: 5:18/km, av.hr: 147 (73%hrmax)

Wednesday, 22.03.2017

Plan: HM pace 4x1km

On Wednesdays before half marathons I usually practice my half marathon pace and that is what I did this time too. After twenty minutes of warmup jog I did 4x1km at my HM pace (4:16/km) with two minute breaks in jog. The pace seemed reasonably comfortable which was a good prognosis for the upcoming race and I actually was able to run each consecutive kilometer a second or two faster than the previous one. I finished the workout with a pleasant feeling that I could run some more in this pace and thoughts of running a bit faster on my upcoming race.

Execution:

11,44km, 0:58:57, av.pace: 5:09/km, av.hr: 143 (72%hrmax)

HM pace kilometers:

1.  av.pace: 4:17/km, av.hr: 155 (77%hrmax)

2. av.pace:  4:16/km, av.hr: 156 (78%hrmax)

3. av.pace: 4:15/km, av.hr: 160 (80%hrmax)

4. av.pace: 4:11/km, av.hr: 160 (80%hrmax)

Thursday, 23.03.2017 – day off

Friday, 24.03.2017

plan: Easy run

Two days before half marathon I did a shortened (10k) easy run with ten strides in the second half of the run. It was my last run before the race and I felt really good on this day. I didn’t have any pains, I felt fresh an I was full of energy.

Execution: 10,18km, 0:54:44, av.pace: 5:23/km, av.hr: 134 (67%hrmax)

Saturday, 25.03.2017

Day off, I picked up my run kit from the race office and rested the rest of the day.

Sunday, 26.03.2017

Race day. The full race coverage you can read here – in this summary I will just mark that I did better than I thought and I improved my PR by four minutes finishing at 1:28:46. It was a really good race and I felt I was really close to my best possible performance on this day. If my marathon goes like this I would be really happy.

Execution: 21,28km, 1:28:46, av.pace: 4:11/km, av.hr: 170 (85%hrmax)

Monday-Tuesday 27-28.03.2017

Rest after the race. I just did some lite exercises to flush my muscles and some easy stretching.

Wednesday, 29.03.2017

Plan: Easy run

My first easy run after the Warsaw Half Marathon was a bit painful and slow. I did 45 minutes of slow jog just shuffling forward. My legs were still stiff and sore so I was happy to end this struggle after 7,5 km.

Execution: 7,64km, 0:45:34, av.pace: 5:58/km, av.hr: 132 (66%hrmax)

Thursday, 30.03.2017

Plan: Easy run

This Thursday I felt way better than the day before. I did 55 min. of slow easy run in a pace about 20s/km faster than the day before with similar subjective effort. I was clearly getting back to my normal state.

Execution: 9,49km, 0:53:47, av.pace: 5:40/km, av.hr: 138 (69%hrmax)

Friday, 31.03.2017

Plan: Easy run

This time I was ready to run faster. My pace increased to 5:07/km and I felt like I was almost flying. I did a short break in this run as I wanted to see my daughter performing a zumba dance in the mid-time of a handball game organized at Polish Academy of Education in Warsaw. I spent some 15 minutes there and run back home. It was a really nice day, both in terms of the weather, the emotions and my running.

Execution: 11,02km, 0:55:41, av.pace: 5:03/km, av.hr: 145 (73%hrmax)

Saturday, 1.04.2017

Plan: Parkrun Race

I knew that I wasn’t fully recovered after the HM that I run on Sunday, but I wanted to race anyway. Although the weather was wery nice, it was already a bit too hot for me and I knew that it would have a slight impact on my result. I started fast and after the first kilometer I was on fifth position with Jack in front of me. I kept the pace during the second kilometer and tried to pick up the effort on third. I passed Jack and tried to gain some distance but I had some stomach problems – the breakfast on this day happened to be too big and eaten too late. Anyway I managed to upkeep the effort and although my pace started to go down I kept my position and finished in a good time of 0:19:42 just three seconds slower than my best time on this course from the previous year.

Execution:

9,16km, 0:42:44, av.pace: 4:40/km, av.hr: 157 (79%hrmax)

Parkrun Race: 5km, 0:19:42, av.pace: 3:57/km, av.hr: 176 (88%hrmax)

Sunday, 2.04.2017

Plan: Long Steady Distance

This supposed to be a fairly easy long run but it turned out to be a real struggle. First, instead of a pre-race meal I just had an ordinary breakfast, and what was worse, I had too much tomatoes with dressing which upset my stomach. For the whole run I was struggling with it and few times I thought I wasn’t going to be able to get home in one piece. Second, instead of getting out in the morning or in the evening I went out at noon and had to deal with both sun and high temperature which on that day in Warsaw was way above 20 degrees. Finally as it was the first really hot weekend in Warsaw, everyone went out walking or riding – people were virtually everywhere and that made the run almost impossible. Just imagine running in a crowd of people, dogs and bikes – all acting in an unpredictable way. All in all, after two hours, I was tired, angry and dehydrated. In spite of drinking almost 1400 milliliters of water I was over 1,5kg lighter on my weight scale after the run. The plan was to cover 150 minutes of steady running but I gave up a quarter short of this time – I just had enough of everything for that day.

Execution: 24,18km, 2:14:16, av.pace: 5:33/km, av.hr: 147 (73%hrmax)

Monday, 3.04.2017

Day off. I decided to take a break as after the Sunday long run I had a mild pain and some swelling around my left knee. In addition I caught a cold and had a mild sore throat.

Tuesday, 4.04.2017

Plan: Easy run

This easy run was like a piece of cake for me. My legs were springy and I was full of energy. My left knee was almost all right and the mild swelling was gone. Although I had a mild sore throat I felt good and the run was both fast and pleasant.

Execution: 12,94km, 1:08:38, av.pace: 5:18/km, av.hr: 143 (72%hrmax)

Wednesday, 5.05.2017

Plan: an hour marathon pace run

Although I felt a bit sick and tired I forced myself to try to run a long tempo/marathon pace workout. Actually I doubted I could do the full hour, but I gave it a try anyway. It turned out that the tempo run close to my MP was actually well tolerable for me, even if I was not in my best condition. The run was stable and I even had strength to speed up by the end and do a faster 10 min. finish.

Execution:

16,25km, 1:18:40, av.pace: 4:50/km, av.hr: 153 (77%hrmax)

marathon pace: 12,97km, 0:59:43, av.pace: 4:36/km, av.hr: 159 (79%hrmax)

Thursday, 6.04.2017

Day off. I decided to rest and take some more vitamins to help my throat to get back into better condition.

Friday, 7.04.2017

Plan: Easy run

I felt a bit better so I went out for a short easy run. I did some eight kilometers and I came back home. I could run some more, but I preferred to go easy on myself.

Execution: 7,80km, 0:41:50, av.pace: 5:22/km, av.hr: 133 (67%hrmax)

Saturday, 8.04.2017

 On this Saturday I took part in parents’ competition representing my daughter’s kindergarten. I know that it is a rather stupid idea to do new things two weeks before a main start, but I just couldn’t say no. This time it was about a series of running/skill races that contained a lot of fast short sprints with some throwing and catching… and with a lot of fun too. The games lasted for two hours and my team won ex aequo with a second team leaving seven other kindergartens behind.

As a workout it was closest to a running strength session with sixty meter sprints. At home I did some stretching and decided not to run before my Sunday long progressive run.

Sunday, 9.04.2017

Plan: Long progressive run

Two weeks before marathon this was my last progressive run. I felt good although I was a bit sore after the parents’ games that I took part in on Saturday. I ate a mostly carbohydrate breakfast and after a proper 3 hour rest I started my workout. First 40 minutes were rather slow at about 5:20 – 5:40/km and I started to have some doubts if I could run a good LPR on that day. I simply felt that my legs were heavy and unable to give me some more speed. I suppose it was the result of my Saturday activities. Nevertheless the next 40 minutes I picked up the pace to about 5:00/km. I was getting tired and started to feel some pain in my hip area. By the end of this part of the run I stopped for about 30 seconds to take a mid-run picture and to stretch my hips.

I started to run again and to my surprise I started to feel better than before. I picked up the pace to 4:30 – 4:40/km and I kept it without a real effort. I was really happy and the endorfines took the control over me so I just cruised until the end of the run keeping this pace and a fairly good posture and cadence too. All in all it turned to be a very good long progressive run and a good prognostic for upcoming marathon. During the run I was taking gels every thirty minutes and I was drinking water from my camelback.

Execution: 24,24km, 2:02:29, av.pace: 5:03/km, av.hr: 150 (75%hrmax)

OK. At this time my main training is over. Now I just have to watch out not to spoil everything, because during the last two weeks one cannot increase fitness substantially, but it is really easy to throw all the work done into the garbage by doing too much or too hard. At this point I can say that this macro cycle was one of my best ever and I am ready to race a good marathon. My weight didn’t drop as I expected so my initial plan of trying to break three hours is rather unreal, so I will settle for 3 hours 10 minutes attempt. If I succeed it will mean improving my best marathon time by almost fifteen minutes and it will constitute a major step for going under three hours in my next marathon.

Cross your fingers for me 🙂

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