Weeks 11+12 for Ottawa Marathon

I’ve just passed the halfway point of training for the Ottawa marathon; There are only ten weeks left (including two weeks of tapering) which means I have two more 4-week phases (each 4-week phase is composed of one big/easy mileage week followed by three weeks of workouts on slightly less mileage). Of the 30 workouts my plan includes, I’ve completed 18, so I guess more than half of the hard work is done.

Here’s what I was up to training-wise over the last two weeks.

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Week 11/22

Monday: 45′ recovery after Sunday’s race (6.9 miles @ 6:38/mile).

Tuesday: 15′ easy (2 miles @ 7:17/mile). Planned an hour but quit early because of icy roads and freezing rain.

Wednesday: 60′ easy with 6x 30-second strides (9.7 miles @ 6:12/mile).

Drove out to Arkona for some hills! #dothem

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Thursday: 7x out-and-back over the hills on Rock Glen Rd in Arkona (12.4 miles @ 6:07/mile).

Friday: 60′ recovery (8.7 miles @ 6:58/mile).

Saturday: Workout: 30’E, 14M. After a thirty minute warmup, the work was a 14-mile marathon (M) paced segment with a pace target between 5:28/mile and 5:38/mile. I wasn’t sure how recovered I was after Sunday’s race and Thursday’s hills, but I managed 5:34/mile with a little bit of suffering over the last few miles.

Sunday: 75′ easy (11.6 miles @ 6:28/mile).

Total: 70.5 miles, 7 hours 22 minutes.

Everything was feeling great after Sunday’s race, so on Thursday I drove out to Arkona and the Rock Glen Conservation Area to run the hills there. Been a while since I’ve run hills and my legs took a beating.

On Friday, I felt some sharp, shooting pain occur randomly throughout the day in my right shin near my knee. That had me pretty concerned, but after a lot of poking around, I couldn’t find any particular spots or movements that triggered the pain. I thought maybe this was just some kind of muscle spasm because my calves/shins were tired from the hills. I did my best to stretch things out and loosen the muscles up by massaging with a lacrosse ball. I was prepared to put off Saturday’s workout, but my leg seemed fine on the morning of, so I went for it. Still no sign of that pain; I think I’m in the clear.

The 14M workout went very well. 5:34/mile is right on pace with the split marathon pace workout I ran a couple weeks ago (8 miles @ 5:35/mile then 6 miles @ 5:34/mile). Extended to the marathon distance, that paces is roughly 2:26, so it’s exciting to see these workouts approaching my goal time. In a couple weeks, I’ll be running 15 miles at marathon pace and later 16 miles at marathon pace (after 40′ and 50′ warm-ups, respectively). 

Week 12/22

Monday: Rest.

Tuesday: 60′ easy (9.6 miles @ 6:15/mile).

Wednesday: Workout: 3E, 3x3T, 2E. 3 miles warm-up, 3×3 miles at threshold pace (3′ easy recoveries), 2 mile cool-down. The threshold pace goal was 5:18/mile, but I was prepared to push it to 5:15 if my legs felt good. I had to put in some effort to keep the paces respectable and ended up running 5:18/mile for the first 3T interval, then 5:21/mile, and 5:24/mile for the final interval.

Thursday: 60′ recovery (8.5 miles @ 7:07/mile).

Friday: [AM] 30′ easy/recovery (4.5 miles @ 6:40/mile). [PM] 60′ easy with 6 strides (9.6 miles @ 6:13/mile).

Saturday: 90′ easy (14.3 miles @ 6:13/mile).

Sunday: Workout: 2E, 1200m, 3E, 4x1000m, 3E. Went to the track to run some 1200s but half of the track was still flooded and snow-covered. I did my best to stamp out a path around the worst of it during my warmup but after one 1200m rep (in 3:30!), my stomach became upset and I had to stop. I hit the road for a few easy miles then felt well enough to put in four km intervals (3:00, 2:59, 3:02, 3:02) in Canatara park.

Total: 74 miles, 7 hours 45 minutes.

This was another great week of further-improved workout paces. The 3x3T intervals were ~10s/mile faster than a 3x2T workout I ran in January and ~1s/mile quicker than the 4x2T workout I ran in February. In the coming weeks, for big threshold workouts, I’ll run 2x3T+2x2T and finally 4x3T.

The brief interval workout I ran on Sunday was a bit of a mess. I had scoped out the St Pat’s track and thought it looked clear but I didn’t get out of the car to notice the back half was under water and snow. When I showed up later that afternoon (having though is given myself enough time to digest brunch), I discovered the true conditions of the track and spent my wait stomping out a path into the third lane to avoid the worst of the snow. I had planned 6-8 1200m intervals and was hoping for 3:39 each (73 seconds per lap), but I somehow came through the first 1200 in 3:30 which was surprising (busy watching footing?) and sent my stomach into agony. I only made it a hundred metres before my stomach forced me to quit. Since I had driven into town for this workout while my kids were napping, I was determined to at least get in some easy running so I ran a few miles to Canatara park. By the time I got there, my stomach had settled and I was able to get in four hard intervals around the Terry Fox loop.

Anyway, it’s already Monday of week 13 and I’m excited for the all easy running week ahead. I’m looking forward to a change of scenery from the winter running routes I’ve been using since December. With any luck, this nice weather we’re having will melt most of the remaining snow and the trails will soon be clear and dry for running!

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