Tuesday - 10km 'Recovery'

Once again today I ran with a group of friends, although this run was a bit different because we ended up splitting into two pace groups––one around 4:50/km, and the other closer to 6:00/km. I ran with the latter group for the first 4km as it was much better suited to my recovery run that I had planned today.

I don't know what happened at the 4km mark but I clearly got too excited and ambitious, and for some reason decided to try catch up to the other group, which was probably around 700m ahead of me. Maybe I'm too competitive and didn't like feeling as though I was losing.

I didn't realise how hard it was to catch up to someone running away from you when they have almost a kilometre head start. For two kilometres I ran at 3:45/km and finally caught up to the group in front.

I had shortly regretted setting myself the pointless goal of catching up because I did start to feel pain in my shins, but I had already committed and didn't allow myself to slow down until I had caught up. At least I knew I could hold a 3:45 pace for 2 kilometres when the incentives are sufficient.

The remainder of this run was ran closer to 5:00/km.

Wednesday - 16km Easy

I'm getting to the stage of my training where my 'easy' runs start to look a lot more like long runs. The only difference between the two now is my effort.

Starting from next week, these longer easy runs will become mid-week long runs, where I follow a pacing strategy similar to my Sunday long runs.

I'm gonna be honest, today I did not feel like running. I was still sore from yesterday's run and it was still very hot outside despite running in the evening.

I find that the more time I spend thinking about not wanting to run or reasons why I shouldn't run, the more compelling those reasons become. Even as I walk to my starting point or I'm in my car driving to where I usually run, part of me is often still trying to negotiate a compromise with myself.

It's hard trying to suppress this voice but I know every time I do, it gets a little weaker next time and I get a little better at ignoring it.

7km into this run and again I was finding excuses to stop or cut it short. Rejecting these excuses is slightly harder because I choose to run without headphones or music, so I have no way to distract myself from the tempting thoughts of the devil on my shoulder.

There is something therapeutic, however, in listening to nothing but the monotonous pounding of my own footsteps for 90 minutes, especially when the paths I am running are unoccupied and the sun is setting.

Before I knew it, 16km was over.

Friday - 14km Tempo

4km warmup,
6km @ LT pace,
4km cooldown.

I think the high volume of running is catching up to me. My legs are feeling fatigued even with a day of rest yesterday.

One thing I've learnt about running through this training block is that sometimes running is painfull. The real challenge though is determining which types of pain you can safely push through, and which pain deserves more attention. Not all pain should be a point of concern, but all pain is worth assessing.

I spent most of this run analysing the pain in my legs, trying to decide if running on it today will make things worse, or if it is something I can endure without causing further damage. My soreness didn't ease or worsen by halfway through the run, so I decided I could safely continue as planned.

I can obviously expect to feel soreness or fatigue during my training especially because the volume I'm doing now is something I haven't done before.

My schedule called for a tempo run today, and I wasn't going to let fatigue get in the way of an important workout. I took some lessons from my previous tempo runs and did not go too hard too early, aiming for around 4:20/km. I don't actually know my lactate threshold pace but I just thought 4:20 was a nice number to aim for.

My first four LT splits were comfortably within the 4:15-4:20/km range, so for my final two kilometres of tempo I pushed a little bit harder, hitting 4:00 and 3:57.

The purpose of these runs is to allow me to run at a higher intensity without building up lactate in my muscles, which inhibits their ability to produce energy while running.

Having a high lactate threshold is especially important for marathon running as your marathon pace is limited by the buildup of hydrogen ions in your muscles and blood. This happens when lactate, a waste product from breaking down carbohydrates, builds up in your body.

Saturday - 8km Recovery

Another boring (but very important) recovery run.

Spent most of my time mentally planning for tomorrow's 24km long run, and paying careful attention to how my legs feel.

Sunday - 24km Long

Plan for this run:
6:00am: Maurten Drink Mix 160 + Sodii Electrolytes (in 500ml water) + BPN Go Bar
7:30am: Coffee.
8:30am: Started running.
8.5km: Maurten Gel 100.
16km: Maurten Gel 100.

Learning from my mistakes of last week, I ran with a second gel today to make sure I had enough fuel to get me to the end without hitting a wall again.

It seems like every week for me means new milestones––highest volume week and furthest run.

Today was another difficult run. I think I'm developing a cold so I haven't been feeling the best these last few days.

Once again, I was tempted to cut this run short or just take it easy for the whole distance. I could feel fatigue in my legs and congestion in my sinuses, and I didn't have a good sleep last night.

I try to frame challenges like this as opportunities for me to prove myself in the face of adversity. Every new challenge under your belt will be ammunition to help overcome future obstacles. At least that's what I tell myself.

As with my run on Wednesday, I started running before I could give myself enough time to think of excuses to get out of running the full 24km today.

I started feeling a bit better after the first 4km, and was maintaining my pace much more comfortably. My target pace for the first half of the run was 4:30/km. I did not have a pace goal for the second half, but my plan was to assess how I was feeling at the halfway mark and go from there.

By 12km in, my average pace was 4:24. I felt OK, but good enough to push a little bit harder for the final 12km.

My average pace for the second half was 4:11/km. I did struggle a bit in the last 5-6km of the run, but I didn't want to ruin all my hard work from the kilometres until that point, so it was a grind until the end.

Runs like today remind me how far I have come as a runner, when something like today's run would have been almost impossible just a few months ago; but also they remind me of how much more work I still have to do. I need to get to a point where running 24km at an average pace of 4:18 is much easier than it was today. If my goal marathon pace is between 4:00 and 4:15/km, for 42km, I still have a long way to go before even 4:15 is within reach.

I've got 19 weeks to get there.

Weekly Summary:

Total Distance: 72km

19 Weeks Out.