I'm back from my two week early summer holiday, we're 17 weeks out from the Berlin marathon and I'm rearing to go. I feel relaxed and revitalised and excited to start racking up the mileage, and I don't plan to do it the easy way.
I've decided I'm going to give the Pfitzinger & Douglas 70-85 miles per week 18 week training programme a go, but with a few little tweaks and customisations. The programme looks sounds, but I feel it spends too much time running faster than I'd like so I'm customising it by doing pretty much the same programme with the following changes:
- all distances are treated as guides,
- all runs are recorded by time and not distance, though I will be running very similar distances,
- all recovery runs are below my current MAF range of 144 - 149 BPM, ie below 144 BPM,
- all other runs are at MAF unless at MP as part of a long run or faster as part of shorter session, intervals or strides.
I don't think there's any need to make any other changes as with these modifications the general cardio running is well within my aerobic range and the tougher sessions are right up at the top end. The tougher sessions are also nicely spaced out and workout at about once or twice a week at most, so not very often at all. This slight modification and fits in nicely with the MAF idea plus a bit of stimulus to promote improvement and the polarised training I've done so far this year which has shown to work really well thus far.
So with all that in mind, this week started off with a nice easy recovery run on Monday, a MAF run on Tuesday and then I deviated from the programme on Wednesday as I'd already entered the Yateley 10k. So instead of doing one medium long run of about 21km, I did a very easy 5k in the morning, a 4.3k warmup, the 10k race and then a 2k cooldown.
The race itself went waaaay better than expected. It was a bit of a grotty windy evening and given I'd just been on two weeks' holiday with very little running and had Nando's and a beer for lunch, I was expecting to feel a little sluggish and was expecting to finish in about 37:30. Well it turned out not to be the case, by a looooong shot.
As I'm quite familiar with the race now, I know to hold things back in the first half as the uphill between 1km and 3km and long downhill to 5km can take a lot out of you. I held back until just after 5km when I put my head down and motored down the Reading road passing loads of people in the process. I was really surprised how good I felt and how quickly I was running. I managed to keep things fast and consistent right up to the 9th km where the little sting-in-the-tail is which catches a lot of people. I powered up the hill and still have loads of energy for a good fast final kilometre to the finish.
Finished with my second fastest time ever for Yateley in 36:39 in 11th place (out of 896 finishers) and chuffed to bits that I'd managed this so early in the season, and fresh after my holiday. My chip, gun and watch times were also all the same for the very first time every.
It'll be interesting to see how the next two Yateley 10ks go, especially combined with the significant increase in training I've got planned.
Wednesday's race did however take a bit out of me as it, combined with some poor nights' sleep meant I felt quite tired and sluggish for the rest of the week and was a little concerned I'd wake up feeling tired this morning.
Well I didn't, despite trying out the newly refurb'd pub up the road. Woke up on time and hit the road for my first tough session - 27k long run with 14k at marathon pace. I started with 11k at < 140 BPM and picked up the pace to marathon pace for 14k before finishing off at MAF pace.
Getting my HR back down to MAF for the final 3k was tough but served as a great opportunity to relax and think back over the fast 14k I'd just done.
Great run and I was quite surprised to find I could easily get up to MP and hold it for the required 14k, except for the few hills I encountered, especially given the beers last night and how I'd felt all week.
So all in all, this was a great week. 110k in the bag and I'm feeling great. I think this may be a great build up to Berlin but only time will tell.