A 150km running week and a big marathon workout

With less than two months until the Canberra Marathon, I hit my largest week of mileage.

The training saga continues, and this past week was a big one: 150 km in the legs, kilometre reps on the track, and a meaty marathon workout.

There were a lot of positives to take away. I’m feeling confident with where I’m at from a strength and fitness perspective, but more importantly, I’m stoked to have some awesome teammates.

Case in point: my mate Greg hopped on his bike and cycled beside me for the marathon workout in the middle of my Saturday long run. He cleared traffic, yelled splits, kept me focused, and helped me get it done.

It was a massively selfless gesture (to sacrifice his Saturday morning) and it reaffirmed the importance of having a solid training group, where members are invested in each other’s success and improvement.

Greg’s running the Canberra Marathon, too, and is deep into his own training block. Watch this space, because he’s a very fit man and is ready to run something special come April.

Hopefully I’ll be able to return the favour and help him through a marathon workout in the next few weeks, before we start our taper. For now, let’s break down the training.

Training week at a glance

  • Total KM: 150. I was actually a few hundred metres shy of this mark according to Strava but I’m rounding up. It’s the biggest week of the block so far, and of my running career.
  • Longest Run: A 35 km marathon workout. This Saturday long run had 2 x 6 km at marathon pace in the middle.
  • Toughest run: This is a toss-up between the Saturday marathon workout, and the Tuesday track session (10 x 1 km reps).
  • Biggest confidence booster: The Saturday long run was a good confidence booster. And strangely, it also causes some anxiety. It’s reassuring to know you can hold your target pace for long stretches in a workout, but slightly disconcerting when you think about maintaining it for a 42.2 km. I guess it’s a matter of trust; trusting the process, trusting your coach, trusting your body and its capabilities in big moments.

Key sessions

Tuesday was a track workout: 10 x 1km off 75 seconds rest. The goal was to run 3:05/km (or 74 second laps).

Full disclosure: I was dreading this workout. It didn’t look that tough on paper, but the last time I ran K reps I blew a gasket midway through, and the memory was replaying in the lead-up.

The first rep felt pretty tough, as it often does in these morning workouts, but I came through hitting the target split exactly. One down, nine to go.

The next rep felt a bit easier, as I had the pacing down. And then for the third rep, I was able to jump in behind Greg and Stefan. They were running a completely different workout, but the stars aligned perfectly, and I got a free ride for two-and-a-half laps.

That must have been a good omen, because I started feeling pretty great afterwards. I ticked the reps off, and finished the workout feeling in-control. I even ran a few quicker efforts at the end. It was a solid session.

Saturday long run

The next session was a marathon workout, which we integrated into a long run. In previous weeks, I’ve been running tempo workouts on Fridays and long runs on Sundays, but we decided to shift to Saturday this week, to allow for some added recovery (before and after).

I ran solo from home for about 15 km at 4:10/km pace, before meeting up with Greg on the bike. From there it was straight into 2 x 6 km at marathon pace, off a 2km float.

In the first effort, I was bang on pace through about 2.5 km, but then I got a little greedy and sped-up, despite Greg giving me lots of useful feedback. The average pace was about 3:17/km.

After a 2km float at about 4:00/km pace, it was back to work. This effort was always going to feel tough, but I wanted it to feel controlled. And for the most part it did.

Hitting targets and feeling prepared

It definitely helped having Greg alongside, offering feedback and encouragement, but also just as a marker. I just needed to match him on the bike and stay steady. In the end, the average pace was close to 3:17/km.

Greg rolled with me through some of the cool down. My legs were pretty knackered, but I still kept the pace moving along (partly because it didn’t feel that fast after the session). The final workout is here.

If I don’t get a half marathon in before Canberra, I might have another big marathon workout programmed into the block. But this was definitely one of the meatier workouts on the schedule.

It was great to hit the targets and to come away feeling prepared to hit those paces again, and sustain them for even longer.

One concern moving forward

As much as I’d love to tell you everything is going perfectly en route to Canberra, I can’t. Not entirely.

I finished the long run happy with my effort, but also slightly concerned about the status of my left foot. I’ve had soreness on the heel pad (underfoot) ever since the NSW 5000 metre champs.

I’ve had this soreness before, which I attribute to wearing spikes (though it’s likely also due to a range of other physiological factors and weaknesses).

After previous track races, it’s flared up for a few days and then it usually settles. But this time, it’s been sore (off and on) for a couple weeks. And after the long run, it was particularly angry.

I ran very gingerly on it on Sunday, and it warmed-up as the run went on. And then I got to work: I did my strength, and stretched the foot and a]my hamstring all evening.

The good news: today (Monday morning) it was feeling much better. It’s definitely something I’ll need to be conscious of managing over the next seven weeks, as we move toward race day.

For now, that’s all. You can follow me on Strava. Or message me if you have any questions or tips at myles@runcreature.com. And you can help us grow RunCreature by reading and sharing our great content.

I’m Myles Gough. I’m a distance runner, writer and teacher. I started RunCreature to tell stories about athletes, runners, and the issues that matter to our community. 

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