Tag Archives: P&D

Manchester Marathon Training: Week 7 of 18

Week 7 is the first week of the “Lactate Threshold + Endurance”, second mesocycle of the P&D Advanced Marathoning training plan. Introducing a little more speed and a little more training at Lactate Threshold to increase the speed endurance.

The only change I made to the “Original” plan here was that I wanted to run a 20 mile long run instead of the prescribed 18. The other planned sessions were all identical.

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I started the week on monday with a nice short recovery run – the intention being to get a 6th run in and earn the Jantastic “Pro” badge!

I can’t work out if this affected Tuesday’s aborted 10 miler with the middle 5 at lactate threshold¬†pace, which was a bit of a failure. I managed to mis-plan my route so the first mile was uphill, I needed to make a toilet stop, and halfway through the lactate threshold section i just couldn’t maintain pace. With the benefit of hindsight I recognise that I hadn’t slept enough, hadn’t really eaten enough and was still recovering from a cold, all of which clearly affected my ability.

Still I was concerned I may have overtrained again. Last time I felt like this was after the Street 5k. The day after that run I went out for 4 miles at recovery pace and still felt horrendous. Thankfully, this was not the case on this occasion, as Wednesday’s run was fine. A good nights sleep and some extra food really helped.

Still feeling a bit concerned though, I went out on Thursday’s 11 mile Medium-Long Run with caution. Though thankfully I felt fine all the way around and even managed my target of making each mile split slightly quicker than the previous! I felt very pleased with myself ūüôā

Friday was weigh-day. I was hopeful I had lost weight, but I wasn’t expecting a 4lb shift! I take these big jumps with a pinch of salt, it probably means this Friday I’ll lose less or even slightly gain. But still it was a nice feeling! It means I’m just 1lb over my pre-christmas weight, so very soon I’ll be “treading new ground” again.

Spot Christmas!
Spot Christmas!

parkrunday saw a bit of a strange, broken run. I was down for 7 miles with 8 strides. I also wanted to get parkrun in though, and I also had to volunteer as a car park attendant. So I ended up running to parkrun, doing my volunteer stint then running parkrun! It was a bit strange as I was going slow then fast, I kept swapping places with people and they must have thought I was a bit mad/crap. But still I got my strides in. Not as quick as they could have been (And have been when running on the road as part of a “proper” session), but better than 5k pace nonetheless, which was the purpose.

Credit to Aime and Neil Biss
Credit to Aime and Neil Biss

Sunday saw my first long run as part of the campaign. I have detailed about this run in this blog post, but essentially I ran a 7 mile warm up then the Blackmore Vale Half Marathon at training pace. It was a great event, and I was quite pleased as my legs didn’t feel nearly as bad as I expected them to, and much better than when I did my first 20 miler last year! Also, I’ll reiterate that I was super proud of Jodie for her massive PB!

Credit to Aime and Neil Biss
Credit to Aime and Neil Biss

This week also sees the first month of Jantastic draw to a close! I’m happy to report a 100% score for the month, and finish the month with a fantastic 14 badges! Every badge I went for and could have possibly gotten I achieved.

Onwards and upwards to week 8!

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Manchester Marathon Training: Week 6 of 18

Week 6 has been a watershed week in two different ways.

Firstly, its the last week of the P&D “Endurance” mesocycle. The purpose of it was to do lots of aerobic mileage, building a solid base to progress from in the next mesocycle, which is designed to increase my lactate threshold. So now I have the miles in my legs, I can start making them a bit faster!

Secondly, it was the first “Recovery week” of the plan, and represents being exactly one third (33%) through the training plan. A drop in mileage and intensity has left my legs feeling significantly better than they did after last weeks Marathon paced run. Interestingly (OK not interestingly at all, quite clearly deliberately planned) the next recovery week is immediately following the NEXT marathon paced run!

The more I learn and read about this training plan, the more it just makes sense. Its logical, well balanced and it seems to be working. As such, some of the “Tweaks” I’d previously made (And detailed in my strategy post) have been undone, leaving only the changes to accommodate the Reading Half Marathon, and an increase in long run distances to ensure I do 5 x 20 milers.

Meanwhile, week three of Jantastic is in the bag! Still rocking the 100% score, keeping it up for both myself and for the team!

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Next month you need to additionally set the length of your longest planned run for each week. So I have planned 20, 18 (Marathon pace run), 13 (Recovery week), 20 in that order. I was torn about possibly putting a 22 into the mix, but I think I’ll wait for March to assess that. I can’t tell yet if it will help me either physically or psychologically.

From a pure training point of view, this week exactly matched the plan as described in the book. As it was a recovery week I saw little point in pushing anything and wanted to focus on recovering my legs ahead of the next tough mesocycle. I am happy to report I ran each planned run with 100% success!

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Monday was a rest day, though my legs were quite sore. I contemplated a short recovery run in order to get the “Pro” Jantastic badge for running 6 times in a single week, but decided against it. Not worth it in a recovery week.

Tuesday was the new favourite 10 mile general aerobic, with 10 x 100m strides. After reading the book a bit more and learning more about this session, i chose to run it differently to usual. Rather than spacing the strides out evenly throughout the run at half mile intervals, I stacked them towards the end of the run, at quarter mile intervals instead. This meant the strides were a bit tougher as there was less recovery, but also most of them seemed to be uphill! But its still a brilliant session, shame about the weather as it was cold wet and miserable!

Wednesday saw a nice easy recovery run with Jodie. I really enjoy the recovery miles, (although they are often still tough despite being significantly slower) as they follow a harder run, the session the day after ALWAYS feels easier. I have seriously neglected these types of run in the past.

It was an 8 mile general aerobic run on Thursday. By golly it was cold and I think it’s only going to get colder before it gets warmer! I actually went a bit faster than I think i should have, and Strava reported the workout as “Extreme”. I think part of that was because of the first couple of miles being me trying to sustain the pace while running uphill, then on the downhills and flats running faster than I should have. Either way, it certainly didn’t feel extreme and actually finished feeling pretty good.

Friday was weigh in day, and I lost a pleasing 2.5lbs, of which 2.3 were fat! Still on track to reach my ultimate goal before Manchester, though could do with a couple more good weeks (Perhaps even a couple of 3 pound weeks?) to give me some breathing room. Ultimately as long as I get close to it I’ll be happy. Still 5lbs over my pre-christmas weight – I’ll feel much happier when I’m back below that figure and reaching new “Lowest ever” weights!

I volunteered on parkrunday, and I was run director for a phenomenal 215 runners! A record attendance for a non-anniversary run! The car park was a bit chaotic though so we have to put a marshal out there next week, though I’d be surprised if we had the same amount of people again! As I couldn’t parkrun, I went on a nice little 4m recovery run, which was later than intended as we had a busy day!

Credit to Karen Handley
Credit to Karen Handley

As I “Only” had 12 miles to run on Sunday, I took the opportunity to run with the running group I usually do intervals with. It was so much nicer running with people than slogging out a long run on your own! Officially this was only a “Medium Long Run”, according to the training plan. It was a little faster than I had planned but my legs felt fine afterwards so not too concerned.

All in all, I have to say this recovery week has been a success. I feel good and ready for the next mesocycle, where the plan is to build on my lactate threshold. More miles, and faster! Bring it on ūüôā

Manchester Marathon Training: Week 5 of 18

After nailing last week, my Monday rest day recovered my legs nicely to start this weeks training, which followed the book precisely except for the Sunday Run. P&D wanted a 16 miler with 10 at Marathon pace, and I wanted to, in line with last week, increase that to a total of 18 (Keeping the 10 at marathon pace.

With all that jargon out of the way, here’s how the week looked. Perfectly to plan!

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Though that obviously doesn’t tell the whole story. Tuesday’s threshold run was a particular challenge. The longest session of that type and sustained intensity I’ve ever done, and by the end of the 5 miles in the middle I knew about it! I was a little quicker than threshold, which I hope was effective enough to make it a worthwhile session.

Wednesday was a 5 miler at recovery pace, but it was much harder than it should have been. With hindsight I recognise that cold and windy conditions didn’t help, but the main driver for it being a struggle was just lack of sleep. 2 early (4.45 alarm!) wake up calls in 3 days and I haven’t been having the best quality sleep either.

Thursday saw an improvement, compared to Thursday, with 10 miles of general aerobic running. As it was around Coleshill it was a bit flatter than usual and my splits were nice and consistent.

As I was volunteering I was unable to add to my parkrun tally this week, though Jodie managed to secure yet another brilliant PB! I went for a 5 mile recovery run in the evening instead. Clear skies, cold crispy weather it really was a lovely evening for a run.

Then came the big one. I was apprehensive (Or scared, one or the other…) about the session. 18 miles with 10 of them at Marathon Pace. But what a session! I started the run at a nice slow pace (9:15s) and increased it by 15s per mile until I reached Marathon Pace. So far so good. I ran up through Ham Hill and down into Stoke-sub-Hamdon, and through to Montacute where I called in for a bottle of water. Up until then¬†I felt really good and really comfortable. But it was like after that I tried to compensate for the short stp and it became a bit tougher then. Unsurprisingly, the last 3 miles at MP were quite hard, givn the elevation profile, but all in all a very good, very pleasing session. I came away feeling confident – 275m of elevation in that run so it looks like I can possibly make y target! But there’s a long way to go yet.

After week 1 of Jantastic, they were kind enough to award me some badges!

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For achieving 100% in any week in January
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For being a top 10% most consistent scorer in my location
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For ranking my workouts as “Ready to Go Go Go!”
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For claiming a Strava workout

OK, they are meaningless, but I am still LOVING them. Unlike last year as well, you can now see what you need to do in order to win the badge. So I have my eye on a few – I hope to achieve ALL the available badges by the end of the challenge. And by available, I obviously exclude the cycling and swimming badges, and also the “Silver and Bronze” versions of the top awards.

Next week sees a drop in volume and intensity as its a recovery week – hopefully the last few weeks training will see some “supercompensation” in this recovery!

Manchester Marathon Training: Week 4 of 18

New year, new start, and the first week of Jantastic! Marathon training week 4 was identical to the P&D 18/55 training plan with one exception – My long run was 16 miles instead of the plan’s 15.

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Tuesday was a bit of a challenge. With my working scenario now generally involving a long commute on a Tuesday, I’m not normally home til 6.30, so getting motivated to do an 8, 9 or 10 miler is difficult as I know I’ll be out for an hour and a half.

But goals don’t achieve themselves so i headed out for my 8 miler with strides. And I’m so glad I did! Its the second time I’ve done this session and I really enjoyed it. My stride splits were rapido and its nice to know I can run that fast, albeit in very VERY small chunks! Must be good for my fast-twitch.

Wednesday was a 5 mile recovery run and I ran it with Jodie. She¬†is continuing to impress me – she did¬†17 miles on Sunday (Her longest ever) she barely seems to be fatigued! Very jealous but very proud. She’s well on track for London. I struggled around though and felt better for finishing it.

Thursday saw a 10 mile at general aerobic pace. After the recovery run was a struggle I expected the same here. Thankfully it wasn’t, and goes to show that the recovery runs in this plan are really working for me. I covered 174m of elevation and had some gloriously consistent splits!

consistentsplits

Friday was a rest day, but also weigh in day. The post christmas bloat is back under control. I’m about half a stone over where I was at the start of December, but i’m back on track and on target to reach my target weight before Manchester comes around.

On parkrunday I was scheduled for 4 recovery miles, and as Yeovil Montacute was cancelled, we went on tour to Southwick. The intention was to parkrun for 3.1 miles at recovery pace and then top it up by leaving the funnel to do another 0.9 miles. I ended up doing a bit quicker than that and finishing at threshold, but I did do a cool down lap.

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Sunday was a 16m long run. After reading the book it said the long runs ought to start at the slow end of your pace zone and end up around 10% slower than marathon pace. With my target marathon pace being 7:30 per mile this meant finishing up at about 8:15s. So with McMillan calculating the slow end of of my pace zone at 9:05, that’s what I targetted as my start pace, then speed up 5s¬†or so a mile.¬†This would take me quicker than the books target, but still within my McMillan zone, which I’ve always trusted and never let me down. And aside from one or two anomalies it went to plan and finished strongly.

Oddly, I thought I had picked a much flatter route than last week – but it was only about 10m less in the end, and felt much less strenuous. Best of all, my legs felt good all day afterwards.

Although it was week 4 of marathon training it was week 1 of Jantastic. The motivational challenge which promotes consistency as an avenue for improvement. I successfully negotiated week 1 with a perfect score, and until it gets to March (When you have to predict a race time) I hope this will continue!

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On the whole I am really pleased with my progress through the plan so far. My legs still feel good, and I am in much better shape than I was last year – I had to take a week off as I fell over at Weymouth parkrun and gashed my leg! If I can remain consistent and stay confident my ambitious target is definitely achievable.

Marathon training starts here! My strategy

Time Every man needs a plan, and this is mine.Well, in spite of unceremoniously uttering “never again…” after completing the Paris Marathon in April, the bug caught me again. After many months seeing my running improve, I want to better my time. Its amazing how ego comes into play to overrule any thoughts of historic pain and agony!

I signed up a few months back, along with Simon and a few others. Jodie managed to make it into London so it means we’ll be training together. Well, we’ll be training at the same time at least.

I’ve spent the last month or two researching different training plans. I had a great deal of success following the Bupa training plans in the past – they’ve delivered many PBs in the last year, and I certainly need the discipline and structure of a training plan to keep my running balanced and focused. But following Bristol’s half marathon PB, I’ve set my sights quote high. After much deliberation I settled on the Advanced Marathoning 18 week up to 55 miles per week training plan, by Pete Pfitzinger and Scott Douglas.

As that’s not a particularly snappy name, it often goes by the name “P&D 18/55”, which is much shorter to write!

It has been tried and tested, and comes highly recommended on the Runners World forums. Not to mention, its from the same book Steve Way used to run his first marathon! Though he did the “Up To 70 miles” version.

I could of course have just mindlessly followed the training plan, but I would have: a) Not learned anything. And b) Not understood how to effectively alter the plan when things go off track. Which would have inevitably resulted in c) Abject failure.

On the surface, it seems pretty complicated. There are some difficult terms to get your head around and aside from my “Lactate Threshold” and “Marathon Paced” runs, I’m still not QUITE sure what my pace zones will be – but I’m going to use common sense (As well as the trusty McMillan Calculator). Overall, I must make sure my¬†easy runs are easy.

Unlike a lot of training plans, P&D promote marathon paced running during the long runs, something which excites and scares me in equal measure. Whilst I know compared to my recent half times this is well within my comfort zone, sandwiching it in as part of an 18 miler is a bit scary!

Although I want to follow a structured well designed training plan, I have made some tweaks. For example, I wanted to get more 20 milers in after reading that around 5 is the optimum number, so I have modified the long run routines a bit to reflect this, as well as included some “races” which i’ll run at training paces – Its nicer to run with others than it is on your own!

Also, the plan has several “Tune Up Races” on Saturdays. parkrun isn’t really long enough for this purpose, so I have added some tempo type running in the mix there instead to simulate a hardish race effort. Instead, I have incorporated the Reading Half as my “Test Race”. My target is to run this in under 90 minutes. If I can achieve this, then I will be on track to hit¬†my end goal.

Another element that ought to help me with my overall training strategy Рweight loss. My target weight to hit for the race is 12st13lbs, which should be 1 stone less than my weight at the end of the year. This equates to losing less than 1lb per week, a very sensible weight loss. However, If I can lose it a bit quicker, I can focus on proper nutrition and energy in the month or so pre-race.

Finally – my greatest improvements and focus seemed to come when I was accounting for my running and diet on a weekly basis in this blog, before I got lazy and reported monthly. So I am determined to write a weekly report, every Monday (In place of a run – its a rest day after all!) of how things have been going.

So with all that that said, here is my masterplan.

Endurance Mesocycle (17 to 12 weeks to go)

Also referred to as “Base building” ¬†this starts preparing the body to endure the rigours of a tough training program, building the miles and mixing in some threshold training.

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December is a tricky month. I’ve made several tweaks here but you can see the focus is largely on General Aerobic type of runs. Christmas week is a bit special and I’m going “parkrun mad”. I’m hoping for some final end of year PBs, and they are short enough for recovering from the tough efforts quickly so not to affect the longer runs – at least thats the plan!

Lactate Threshold + Endurance Mesocycle (11 to 7 weeks t go)

This phase builds on the endurance phase and introduces more work at the Lactate Threshold (LT). Many sources believe training at or around your LT is the best way to improve your race performance. You can get properly tested to identify your LT, but I tend to use the approximate value that McMillan Running’s paces calculator tells me.

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You can see there is either an LT run or an MP (Marathon Paced) run on a weekly basis here. It also introduces a VO2 Max workout, basically hard intervals in the middle of a longer run. But more on that later!

Race Preparation (6-3 weeks to go)

The portion focuses on speed. There is a VO2 max interval workout each week to increase raw speed performance. This is also where I have my practise race to check my pace is where it needs to be, and I’ll also use it to check my hydraton and nutrition – the gels I use in Reading will be the gels I use in Manchester.

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Taper and Race (3 to 0 weeks to go)

The plan follows a pretty standard 3 week taper. Reducing the training volume whilst maintaining intensity. I’m a bit concerned about running the day before the race, but in for a penny in for a pound! Its been tried by millions so might work out OK!

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Recovery

P&D have a 5 week recovery phase. I’m not sure how patient I’ll be with this, but I can promise to follow this for 2 weeks minimum. Plenty of recovery runs and light on intensity. If anything, I may try and bank a speedy 5k in here, after building my fitness so much I’m sure I’ll be able to give it a blast!

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