Tuesday, July 21, 2015

4 of 16: Going Long

Melbourne Marathon 2015 - Week 4 of 16

After a great end to last week I am really looking forward to the week ahead. My theme is "going long" as the long run this weekend is the first of the 32k runs. One of the features of this Furman program is the early and continued appearance of 32k runs - five in all, getting progressively faster towards race day. If I am travelling well then these are very enjoyable, though definitely not easy!

Monday 20 July

After reshuffling my run days last week and doing my long run on a Saturday i was able to fit in an 'extra' run on Monday this week. One of the Nike Run Club leaders, Lincoln, is offering track sessions at Olympic Park in preparation for the marathon so I took the opportunity to join in. As you can see from the photo, it was a beautiful Melbourne evening as I headed down to the track. Tonight I'd also be doing my first run in Nike Free 4.0 runners. I figured this was a short, sharp session on a reasonably soft surface so that would be a gentle introduction to this style of shoe.

After a warm-up Linc took us through a series of drills focussing on form. I typically ignore this aspect of running though know I should be doing it, so was happy it featured here. The main set was one I am very familiar with - the famous 'Mona Fartlek' session. This consists of 20 minutes of running, with alternating hard/easy intervals of the same duration. So there was 2x 90sec, 4x 60sec, 4x 30sec and 4x 15sec with equivalent recovery bits after each one. Sounds easy - only 10 minutes of hard stuff which, as Linc pointed out, should be at 5k pace, with the easy bit at marathon pace.

I pointed out to him that I'd run this session before, but paced it differently (wrong) and done sprints with easy recovery. I would try to run this one a little better!! In reality, though, I fell somewhere between the extremes. The fast bits were definitely quicker than 5k pace and the recovery at slower than marathon. When all was said and done I'd run about 4.77km in the 20 minutes which is not bad.

As for the shoes. Well, hmmm, they are definitely on the "Free" side and put a lot more stress on my calves (and feet and quads) than my regular runners. I'll definitely have to use them sparingly, though to be honest, there's a fair chance they may become casual shoes and I'll stick to something a bit more cushioned for running.

Tuesday 21 July

After last night's session my legs were not happy campers today. The program called for 5x 1km efforts with 400m recovery but I ditched that completely in favour of a very easy run of just under 5km. Even that hurt! So much for adding in an extra session this week. Aaargh!!

Wednesday 22 July

It hasn't been such a great start to the running week. After Monday's shoes challenges my feet, calves and legs were pretty sore. A slow run yesterday and today I was still sore - especially in the calves. At Nike Run Club I was given a 'free ticket' to choose which run I wanted to do and so chose to go fast and long in the 10k 5m/k group. As a designated 'extra' when it came to the magic mile at Fitzroy Gardens I had the chance to set a fast pace at the front for the quicker runners to chase. Surprisingly I ran pretty well and with some good speed. The balance of the 10k was a mix of faster/slower pace with Linc setting the tempo up front. It was a good workout for me and a good run all things considered. Nice to get back on track for this week.

Thursday 23 July

The tempo run is normally my favourite of the week, being "a good distance at a good pace." Each of the last few weeks this run has become faster and today it was 6.5k at 4.20 pace. Another pleasant but windy lunch time greeted me for this one with my legs still iffy after Monday. My pacing was pretty good and I was into the target zone from early on into the main effort.

I must be getting old(er) and forgot how far the effort was, cutting it short at only 6k, 500m less than planned. Aargh! But at least it was just under target pace so a good run. Not as easy as I'd hope, but a nice effort.

Saturday 25 July

I had once again altered my run schedule so that the long run would be on a Saturday. I'm hoping this will give me the chance to squeeze in another (easy) run each Monday. Today was the first of the really long runs at 32k. That said, it was also the slowest, with a target pace of 5.14 m/k (which unfortunately in my head was 5.12). The morning was pretty windy and i decided to do a big lap into the city then along the Yarra and back home. That would give me the hardest part first, with a tailwind for most of the return journey.

My legs were still not 100% after the track session on Monday, but I knew they'd be good enough at this pace. I had one gel before I started then planned to take one after one hour and two hours. My pace was reasonably good right away and I remained a few seconds ahead of plan all the way into the city and down to the Yarra at the Tan Track. At just after 14k it was a right turn onto the Yarra trail and a path which I run a lot during the week.

I didn't plan to pick up the pace here, but hoped that it might feel a bit easier with the wind over my shoulder. As it turned out, the next 5k were all pretty similar to those which had preceded them and I was starting to feel fatigued. It was only after I crossed Glenferrie Road that the pace quickened. Not sure how (or why) but the next 4k were all under 5m/k. Weird! Then it got hard. I ran 5k through to 28k where the path finishes and I cross a footbridge up to Belgrave Rd at 5.16 pace. Admittedly, this does include the grind up a hill, but I was definitely feeling tired.

Of course, with the sniff of home, I tried to run strong and completed the last 4.8k or so at about 5.01 pace, finishing 32.8k at 5.08 pace. This is too far under plan - like last week - for me to call this a well paced run, but I have aspirations above my training paces this year and so wish to see how realistic they are by running just a little bit quicker in training. All in all, very happy with this run. Just very tired!

Training Program:
Full session details for my whole training plan here.

Strava links for the week:
Monday - Mona Fartlek with Linc 8.1k @5.51; drills and Mona Fartlek 4.77km
Tuesday - Eaaaasy 4.6k @5.23; legs too sore to run
Wednesday - Nike Run Club 9.9k @4.58; magic mile, fartlek, solid going.
Thursday - 6 Fast in 10 10.3k @4.37; incl. 6k @4.18.
Saturday - The Grand Boucle 32.8k @5.08; big, long run - windy and hard.

Week 4 of 16 (this week): 5 runs, 65.8 km, 5 hrs 38 mins
Week 3 of 16: 4 runs, 58.3 km, 4 hrs 46 mins
Week 2 of 16: 4 runs, 52.4 km, 4 hrs 30 mins
Week 1 of 16: 4 runs, 50.1 km, 4 hrs 11 mins
Total: 17 runs, 226.5 km, 19 hrs 5 mins


  1. You're going well Paul. Interesting comment on the Frees. I have a pair of 3.0s which I find great for the treadmill and shorter runs on grass. I thought the 4.0s would be a good bet compared to the 5.0s, but maybe not.

    1. Hi Ewen. I thought they would be a bit like racing flats. I suspect I'm just a bit heavy (80kg) to run in these. I think short stuff on grass might be the key for them. Good idea!


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