Tuesday, 23 February 2016

New Year...new marathon training schedule

Happy New Year.

Its been almost three months since my last post.  Life is a little too hectic these days to be updating the blog regularly and I really must make a conscious effort to do so.

I've had some sad news too which I'll share in a separate post but I'll concentrate this most on what has been going on in terms of my running.

Despite two minor blips, losing a whole week of training just before Christmas to man flu and a quick trip to the GP and cutting my mileage down last week because I was suffering from an infection of the 'upper respiratory track' (below my neck but not down as far as my chest to be a chest infection), training for the VLM has been pretty much spot on.

I intended to do a bit more cross-training this time around but it hasn't quite worked out like that so far...

Distribution of Training - Stats correct to 22/02/2016

I've upped my mileage for VLM training, compared to my previous training for Paris 2014 and Brighton 2015, as you'll see below for the period 1st Jan to 22nd Feb for each year.

VLM 2016 Training Mileage - Stats correct to 22/02/2016

Brighton 2015 Training Mileage (01/01/2015 - 22/02/2015)

Paris 2014 Training Mileage (01/01/2014 - 22/02/2014)

I have already got another 12 hours and 80 miles in the legs and my performances are beginning to benefit from the increased workload.  Unfortunately, in 2015, I was recovery from a very bad December in terms of a three week chest infection with severe asthma symptoms and despite trying to play catch up, the lack of mileage in the legs showed on race day when I cramped up on 14 miles.

I've made a conscious effort to run my LSRs slowly.  In years previous, I've run them far too quickly and my legs probably haven't benefitted as much as they should have done.  The theory is that in the early days, the LSRs build up the blood vessels in the legs and increase the circulation.  This, added with some fast tempo running and some intervals gives the legs and cardiovascular system the ideal support and training for the punishment of the marathon.

As of today, I've ran LSRs of 10, 13.1, 10, 10, 17, 18, 14, 17, 12 and 12.  Now I have done the base work, I can begin to try and increase the pace now.  I'm also trying to make sure I run cumulative mileage on consecutive days to try to replicate the feeling of running on tired legs.  Nothing can ever really prepare you for the punishing nature of the marathon but cumulative mileage in the legs goes some way to trying to address that.

In my three and a bit years of running, I've hardly done any dedicated speed work in the form of intervals.  I haven't been a fan of the pain and I've avoided them at all costs.  However, to get better, fitter, stronger and faster, intervals are required.  So I have been forcing myself to go and do them.  No more avoidance.

My last set of intervals looked as follows:

Interval set (5 x 1km hard, 400m recovery):  Lap data from Strava

Looking back at my data on Garmin Connect and Strava, this set was the most consistent set I've ever performed.  Min/mile paces of 8:02, 7:58, 7:57, 8:00, 7:55.  Given my Fenix 3 calculates my Lactate Threshold at around 8:15 min/mile pace, these were pretty much spot on.  I really do need to buckle down and do these religiously as they will benefit me more than anything else now.

Nutrition-wise, I'm still only taking gels on the LSRs.  Nothing on lesser runs of 10 miles unless I'm running tempo pace straight through the front door from work and I haven't fueled beforehand.

Obviously we'll have to see how it goes over the next two months on the way to the VLM but so far so good.  The legs are feeling reasonably good.  A good sign was the 11.25 mile tempo run I had last night.  I ran it with a reasonable amount of effort and although the legs were buzzing a little on finishing, within an hour the legs felt as though I'd just been out for a stroll.  All positive signs.

The one downside at the moment is the slight discomfort in the hips.  As its at the front, I've self-diagnosed as hip flexors.  Its reacting ok with rest and it settles down but any kind of LSR and it flares again for 24 hrs.  I will keep an eye on it and if it doesnt settle down then I'll book a visit with my physio.

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