Tag Archives: Pfitzinger

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!

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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.