Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Madrid Marathon Week 6/18

I must be doing something right because, when I went to pick my wife up from the airport, the waiter who served me my beer while I was waiting asked me if I ran marathons. I asked him how he knew to ask and he said that I looked as though I did. I think he was quite keen to tell me about the ultramarathons and mountain marathons he has run, but I've got no problem with that - I understand the pride one feels for having accomplished something.

My treadmill is still kaput, so I am doing all my running in the real world, even my interval training. I think it's a blessing in disguise but it does put a lot of pressure on my lunchtimes as this is really the only time I can train until the days get a bit longer. I got the new plywood board for the treadmill and, as you can see, it has nothing to do with that MDF piece of crap that came with my (2,000 €!) treadmill as standard.

But it turns out that the board was not the only thing that was broken; somehow I had managed to break some of the springs that form the suspension - this explains why the board suddenly snapped horizontally this time, rather than gradually splitting down the middle as it usually does. I think it's a bit of a chicken and egg situation - the springs probably failed because the board was too flimsy. Whatever the case, the new board should last much longer and I've ordered a full set of (6) springs for 130 € in case any more of them fail.

This also sheared off somehow.
As far as training goes, it was a pretty good week. I did my speed work within the 3:25 - 3:30 range I had set myself but the 7 mile tempo run was a little bit too enthusiastic at a pace of 3:48 per kilometre (versus 3:55). As usual, the "easy" runs were generally on the fast side, especially on Monday, but this was on the track so I allowed for it to be faster due to the relative lack of hills. Finally, on Sunday I was able to repent for my lamentable performance the week before and pull out of the bag a solid 20K long run at a pace of 4:15, just as the Hanson's ordered.

The main difference I am finding with the Hanson's method is the fact that the paces at which I am supposed to run are set at the beginning of the training period and remain constant throughout; what varies is the volume run. This, with the exception that the speed sessions will soon morph into "strength training" which will comprise longer intervals at a slower pace (3:50 /km). The point is that, at this point in my training when I am still in the process of getting to normal form, the long runs at 4:17 /km feel long and moderately difficult, and the intervals at 3:25 feel fast and demanding. Even though I had thought I had previously been following a "reverse periodization" plan - where you train at fast paces for increasing distances, rather than increasing the pace at which you run a given distance - the Hanson's plan seems to follow that philosophy even more closely. I  have tended to get used to the longer distances before pushing the pace so it has felt a bit like the pace has come naturally, as I have got fitter; this way feels more "forced" because I am obliging myself to increase the distance but without an accompanying slow down in pace.

Normally I spend about 10-12 weeks preparing for a Marathon; this time I started 14 weeks before (remember, I jumped in to week 4 of the Hanson's 18 week plan). To compare with my build up to New York, I am at the point in time when I started my program, having spent two weeks previously running an hour a day at a comfortable pace, 6 times a week.

Monday: 10 km @ 4:16 (track)
Tuesday: (speed) 4 x 1,200m w/ 400m recovery @ 3:23, 3;30, 3:30, 3:28
Wednesday: -
Thursday: (tempo) 11.3 km @ 3:48
Friday: 10 km @ 4:23
Saturday: 10 km @ 4:22
Sunday: 20 km @ 4:15
Total kilometres: 71.9

VO2 Max (Garmin): 62 ml/kg/min
Resting pulse (average): 38 ppm
Fat (average): 7.4%

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