My biggest week of running so far was in November of last year. I ran 57 kilometres in my peak week of half marathon training. Last week I did 56 kilometres, and this week I'm expecting to have another record week.

This will be my first week of running where I cross the 60km mark.

I'm aiming to reach 65km this week. I know that's a big increase from the 56km I did last week, but my aim for this training block is to reach a high volume first and then incorporate more speed. I can run at my goal marathon pace, just not for the distance of a marathon.

Once I'm comfortable with a high volume, my focus will shift more towards speed and higher intensity runs.

This week, because I'm increasing my volume by at least 9km from last week, I'm trying to keep the intensity relatively the same.

I've said before that I'm usually most excited for my long runs each week. This week I'm doing a 20km long run on Sunday, and that is no exception. These tend to be my favourite runs of the week because they are a reflection of my week's training, and a chance for me to see how I'm improving week on week.

It's scary to think that this week I'll be crossing 60km for the first time and in a few weeks I'll be reaching another milestone of 70km in a week. Shortly after that I'll hit 80km and then 90km all the way up to 120km for my peak week. I'm looking forward to it.

Tuesday - 10km Recovery

99% of my runs in the past have been solo, so it was refreshing to run with some friends tonight.

I'm trying to avoid stressing too much about my heart rate during recovery and easy runs. I find it more reliable (although much less technical) to gauge an easy or recovery run based on my perceived exertion and how I feel. I'm reminded of saying by running coach Jeff Cunningham, "Easy is not a pace, it's a feeling."

For this run, I did not pay much attention to my heart rate, and instead tried to maintain an easy effort throughout. I found that to be much more enjoyable and relaxing than trying to keep my heart rate low.

I finished this run with 1km at a faster pace just for fun.

Wednesday - 14 Easy

Nothing exciting about this easy run. Recovery runs and easy runs are both very similar for me, and there is not always a clear line between the two.

I try to make my easy runs slightly faster than recovery, as their purpose is to increase my general aerobic fitness. My priority for recovery runs is to increase blood circulation to my legs.

Perceived exertion for an easy run might be around 3/10, and for a recovery run would usually be 1-2/10.

Thursday - 13km Tempo

4km warmup,
6km tempo,
3km cooldown.

Keeping with my goal of not increasing intensity much from last week, I decided to do this tempo run with only 6km of LT pace, with the remaining kilometres being at an easy pace. I averaged around 4:15/km for the tempo segment today.

Surprisingly, I've felt quite good so far this week considering the higher load. I still do notice my shin splints sometimes but they are mostly under control now. Hopefully it stays that way for the remainder of my training block.

Saturday - 8km Recovery

Again nothing special about this recovery run. Kept it very easy for 8km.

Lower left leg felt a little bit sore but eased up as I got warm. Ready for my long run tomorrow.

Sunday - 20km 22km Long

My favourite run of the week.

Plan for this run:
5:30am: Maurten Drink Mix 160 + Sodii Electrolytes (in 500ml water) + Maurten Solid C
7:00am: Coffee.
8:00am: Started running.
11-12km in: Maurten Gel 100.
Post-run: Protein/Carb Bar.

That was a very challenging run. I had planned a 20km run but had secretly been aiming for a run slightly longer if I was feeling up to it. And I was.

My logic was that 20km is only 1.1km short of a half marathon, so why not just do a half marathon?

Then I thought, a half marathon is only 900m short of 22km and would be my furthest run. So I settled on 22km.

I started this run feeling good. It was my first run in my Alphafly 3s and I wanted to put them to the test. Admittedly, I probably started too fast to do a negative split on the run and I was worried I would not be able to sustain my pace for the whole distance. I found it hard to slow down after the first 5km. Maybe that's an ego thing because I don't want my first few kilometres to be faster than the rest of the run. It was too late to slow down and the damage had been done. This would be a problem for future Thomas.

How I didn't envy that guy at the time.

'Future' Thomas quickly arrived and by around the halfway mark, I was feeling almost spent and regretting my earlier mistakes.

I took a gel, which gave me a small boost for the next few kilometres.

Then I felt like I was about to hit a wall again, but kept pushing.

I have a weird mental strategy to help me get through long runs. I haven't come up with a cool name for it yet, but it involves focusing on the next half of the remaining distance in the run.

I'll use this run as an example:
Let's say I'm 14km into a 22km run. My main focus should be on the next 4km: (22 - 14) / 2 = 4.

So in my head, I'm only thinking about running the next 4km. After having already ran 14km, 4km sounds like nothing. Even better, at my current pace, that would only take about 16 minutes!

Once I make it to the next kilometre, I repeat the formula in my head. Instead of the next 4km, I'm now only thinking about the next 3.5km. And so on until the end of the run.

Does that sound stupid? Absolutely.

Does it help me break down my long runs in my head and give me something to think about? Also yes.

As a wise man once said, it ain't stupid if it works.

Enough sharing my trade secrets. Back to more important details.

Those 2 extra kilometres after 20 were not fun at all. I wanted to revert on my decision to do 22km, but I realised that would make the walk back to my car 2km longer than it needed to be, so I pushed on.

During this time I also thought to myself, "How would I feel about stopping now, tomorrow?" Obviously I would not be happy with myself tomorrow if I decided to stop the run at 20km.

That was the last boost I needed to reach 22km.

I was surprised to see my splits were pretty much consistent for the whole run, although my heart rate was near my max for the second half. I don't plan on doing every long run with this kind of effort. This was a one-off because I wanted to have a solid first run in my new shoes and I had a burning desire to push myself harder today. Most of my long runs moving forward will have a similar pacing strategy to my long run in week 5.

See my splits below:

Pace graph from 22km Long Run.

And that's a wrap on my biggest week of training so far.

Weekly Summary:

Total Distance: 67km

20 Weeks Out.