Weeks 15+16 for Ottawa Marathon

Six more weeks until race day! I’m excited to get to the starting line and see what these legs can do — so much so that I’ve thought about finding a marathon to run sooner instead of Ottawa but I’m going to ride it out and stick to the plan (pre-taper madness?). I feel like I’m in good shape and hopefully over the final six weeks I’ll see further improvements.

This past weekend there were some pretty awesome results from Canadians who ran the Rotterdam marathon. Reid Coolsaet netted himself a probable Olympic qualifying time (standards haven’t been announced yet) as did Krista Duchene which I’m sure was a dream come true for her after fracturing her femur last spring! A couple Speed River guys ran some good times; Robert Winslow ran a 2:19 dipping under 2:20 for the first time and John Mason (who I finished 10 seconds behind at the Chilly half) ran a 2:24:41 which was great to see and I’m hoping I’ll run something similar.

Coming up next Monday is the Boston marathon and I’ve got my eye on another set of Canadian runners. Dylan Wykes will be running his first marathon since the 2012 Olympics. I have no idea what kind of shape he’s in but he ran a 1:05 half in January. Philippe Viau-Dupuis, who ran a 1:07:24 half in March, will also be lining up. Bryan Andrews from BC, who ran a 2:30 in December, seems to be in shape for something around 2:25. And Christian Mercier who, last I read, was hoping for a chance at the Masters win (with a time in the 2:20 ballpark). Hopefully lots of good times posted.

Anyway, here’s how my training went over the last two weeks…

2015-03-30

Week 15/22

This week had two big workouts: a mid-week track session with some interval work and a long marathon-paced run on the weekend. After the previous two weeks around 80 miles each, I decided to cut back a little this week.

It had been a long time since I was able to run on the track because of snow, so I took advantage of the (relatively) warm weather and decided to get in a good set of 1200 m intervals. My target for these was 72 seconds per lap or 3:36/1200 m. It felt pretty awesome to cruise through 1 km in ~3:00 which is a pace I rarely touch on and I hope it bodes well for the Yonge St 10K and for the other 10Ks I plan to run this summer. The quickest I was able to run a set of 1 km intervals last year was in the 3:07-3:08/km range. I had a pretty good fade during the workout and averaged around 3:40/1200 m.

My target for the marathon-paced long run on Sunday was 5:30/mile to match the run I did the previous weekend. The difference with this run was that there was no easy mile partway through so I had to maintain the pace for a full 15 miles instead of 9 then 6. I didn’t quite hit the target pace and came through at 5:33/mile. This time I was focusing on consuming as many ounces of fluids as I could so I wonder if choking back a water bottle every 3 km through off my rhythm. I’ll try to sort that out over the final two marathon-paced workouts (maybe only drink every 6 km?).

Monday: Rest day.

Tuesday: 45′ easy (6.8 @ 6:32/mile).

Wednesday: Workout: 6x 1200 m [3:33, 3:36, 3:39, 3:42, 3:43, 3:46; 400 m jog recoveries] (15.1 miles @ 6:23/mile).

Thursday: 45′ recovery (6.6 miles @ 6:47/mile).

Friday: 60′ easy with 6x 30-second strides (9.8 miles @ 6:06/mile).

Saturday: Workout: 5 mile warm-up, 15 at marathon pace [1:23:18 or 5:33/mile] (20 miles @ 5:45/mile).

Sunday: 30′ recovery (4.2 miles @ 7:12/mile).

Total: 62.7 miles, 6 hours 30 minutes.

Week 16/22

This week had planned a threshold workout and a 2.5 hour long run.

The threshold workout went better than expected and I came through the first 2-mile interval faster than I probably should have but the pace just kind of came naturally. I have been running my threshold paces around 5:18-5:22/mile for the past few workouts but this day things just clicked and I ran them at 5:11/mile, 5:15/mile, 5:13/mile. A sign of progress, I guess.

For the long run on Saturday, I decided to add a little intensity to it by running the Sarnia Roadrunners 10K in the middle. I mapped a route to Canatara Park and ran about an hour there and then an hour home after. I went out too hot in the 10K and faded pretty hard. Hard to know splits since it’s just a small local race without km markers and I don’t trust my watch with all the turns in the park, but I probably didn’t even maintain an average pace equal to the pace that I ran at the Chilly half marathon. In any case, I ran it ~68 seconds faster than last April, so I’ll take that as a positive.

Monday: Rest day.

Tuesday: 60′ easy with 4x 30-second strides (9.6 miles @ 6:17/mile).

Wednesday: Workout: 2 mile warm-up, 3x 2 miles at threshold pace [10:23, 10:29, 10:25], 8x 30-second strides, 1 mile cool-down (12.1 miles @ 5:49/mile).

Thursday: 45′ easy/recovery (7 miles @ 6:33/mile).

Friday: 60′ easy with 6x 30-second strides (9.4 miles @ 6:18/mile).

Saturday: Roadrunners 10K [32:01, not sure it’s a full 10K] with an hour warm-up and hour cool-down (23.2 miles @ 6:10/mile).

Sunday: Rest day.

Total: 61.5 miles, 6 hours 20 minutes.

What’s Next…

Following that long run, I decided to take a couple days off to try and get rid of some slight knee pain I’ve been experiencing on-and-off for a few weeks. I’m pretty sure I’ve got it under control thanks to Jenny and Robb at Archway Health and Sports (and also thanks to my trusty foam roller). Now was just the best time for some extra rest since the upcoming week was a planned easy week before the final preparatory work for Ottawa.

I am entered in the Toronto Yonge St 10K race this coming weekend and expect to be there assuming everything is fine with the knee. I’ll make the call on Thursday or Friday after a couple more easy runs. This should be an awesome race with quite a stacked field on a fast, downhill course. Most runners tend to run 45-60 seconds quicker than a typical, flat 10K so the finish times should be smoking fast.

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