Weeks 13+14 for Ottawa Marathon

I’ve got to give a shout out to everyone who ran Around the Bay this morning! Looks like it was a near-perfect day for a race and there were some incredible times posted. I was surprised to see how deep the elite field was when I checked the starting list last night; a lot of Canada’s top distance runners were there. I was originally signed up but resold my bib since I wanted to focus on training for Ottawa. Part of me wanted to be there though!

I just finished up another two weeks of training for the Ottawa marathon. Things are starting to come together and I can see the light at the end of the tunnel (only eight more weeks!). I’m excited to get to race day and execute, hopefully cashing in on all the training I’ve been logging since April last year. My last marathon was almost a year ago so I’m long overdue for finding out where I’m at.

Here’s a look of my training:

Week 13/22

Monday: 60′ recovery (9.0 miles @ 6:41/mile).

Tuesday: 60′ easy (9.6 miles @ 6:18/mile). 45′ massage.

Wednesday: 75′ hills (11.6 miles @ 6:29/mile, ~1500 ft elevation gain). 9x out-and-back on the Hungry Hollow hills/ravine on Sylvan Rd in Arkona.

Thursday: 60′ recovery (9 miles @ 6:41/mile).

Friday: 60′ easy with 5x 30-second strides (10 miles @ 6:01/mile).

Saturday: 135′ long run (21.7 miles @ 6:08/mile). 7 laps of the hilly 5 km loop around Arkona. Carb drinks every 3 km to practice for Ottawa.

Sunday: 45′ recovery (8.9 miles @ 6:44/mile).

Total: 79.8 miles, 8.5 hours.

The Wednesday hill session was my first time running this particular hill (I guess technically it is made up of two hills, one on each side of the ravine). Pretty serious elevation gain for me as I usually run completely flat routes. I had no pain following this effort so I think my legs absorbed it well.

On Saturday, I went back out to Arkona for a long, hilly run where I would practice fueling. I got some super cheap water bottles from a dollar store and mixed up some Cytomax energy drinks. I’m excited to be on the ‘Elite B’ start list for the Ottawa marathon which means I can bring my own water bottles(!) so I’ll be practicing with that leading up to the race. This is the first time I’ll be bringing my own water bottles so I’m trying to figure out a fuelling strategy. If you have any tips, please let me know!

Week 14/22

Monday: 60′ easy with 6x 30-second strides (9.6 miles @ 6:15/mile).

Tuesday: [AM] Physio session, straightening hip alignment, loosening locked right ankle. [PM] Workout: 4E, 2x3T (15:54, 16:09), 2x2T (10:39, 10:34), 2E. A bit of a longer warmup, and then two sets of threshold intervals for a total of 10 miles at threshold pace. My target for these intervals was 5:18-5:20/mile and I ran them at 5:19/mile, 5:23/mile into the wind, 5:20/mile, and 5:17/mile.

Wednesday: 45′ recovery (6.5 miles @ 6:47/mile).

Thursday: 60′ easy with 6x 30-second strides (9.7 miles @ 6:09/mile).

Friday: 60′ easy (9.8 miles @ 6:22/mile).

Saturday: Workout: 2E, 9M (49:29), 1E, 6M (33:07), 1E. My target for the marathon pace (M) segments was between 5:28/mile and 5:38/mile. I ran the 9 mile segment comfortably at 5:30/mile and the 6 mile segment got tough over the last couple miles and I came through at 5:31/mile.

Sunday: 75′ recovery (11.1 miles @ 6:40/mile).

Total: 83.2 miles, 8 hours 30 minutes.

The weather on Tuesday was perfect so I pulled that workout forward from Wednesday to avoid the forecasted freezing rain. That workout was an extension of previous workouts and a step toward my final threshold workout which will be 4x3T. Pacing was tricky with the wind coming off the lake but the effort was definitely there.

The Saturday long, marathon paced workout was an extension of previous split marathon-pace workouts (6M/4M, 6M/6M, 8M/6M) and was a step toward my final split marathon-pace workout (10M/6M).

I’m really happy with how these marathon pace workouts have been going. I’m hopeful that I’ll be able to maintain these paces for a full 26.2 miles with the addition of fuel (carb drinks/gels), a few more weeks of workouts, and rested legs from taperIf I’m able to run 5:35/mile, that works out to a 2:26:23 marathon; 5:30/mile is 2:24:12; and 5:25/mile is 2:22:01. Those are the types of numbers floating around my head (although we’ll see what happens over the next eight weeks).

What’s Next…

I’m three weeks away from my next race; the Toronto Yonge St 10K, which is a straight, downhill, fast course. From digging through past results of this race, it seems that most people run 45 seconds to 1 minute faster than on a standard, flat course so I’m expecting a good result from myself (something like 31:xx or, if things go really well, 30:xx).

Before that race, I’ve got two weeks with two quality workouts each, then two easy weeks leading up to and following the race. That brings me four weeks out from Ottawa, so I’ll have time for four or five more quality workouts before it is time to taper.

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