Banking some solid training in the summer heat

With no races, this past week was about putting my head down, battling the summer heat, and hitting my marathon workouts.

Summer is in full swing, which means running in some heat. Sometimes, that Australian heat feels downright oppressive. But marathon training is about putting the work in, regardless of the weather.

Some might argue, running is less than stellar conditions is actually preferable. It breeds and builds toughness, and makes you ready for anything on race day.

Apart from a few scorchers, there isn’t much to report from the past seven days, just another solid week of marathon training in the bank. The body is feeling strong, albeit slightly fatigued. But that’s to be expected. Let’s cut to the chase:

Week at a glance

  • Total KM: 140.
  • Longest Run: 35 km. Got out with the group on Sunday morning. We started well enough, but there was some very real carnage after the turnaround due to the heat.
  • Toughest run: Thursday session. 10km hilly tempo at marathon pace (3:20/km). It wasn’t the heat, but the wind that made this workout truly tough. And the hills.
  • Biggest confidence booster: The Tuesday session, which was a progressive-style track workout. It was executed well on tired legs, and it was a mental grind to finish, but I persevered.

Key Sessions

My Tuesday session was a new one for me. I was meant to run 15 minutes at 3:15/km, 10 minutes at 3:05-3:08/km, and then 5 minutes at 3:00/km. Each of those efforts would come off a five minute float.

In total, it would be 40 minutes of continuous running, with 75 per cent moving at faster than target marathon pace (and nearly faster than half marathon pace).

I did the workout on the track with a few mates around. We were all running different workouts, but it helped getting a few yells along the journey, as this was a long session.

The last 5 minute effort was particularly challenging, as my fatigue was increasing and the morning heat was intensifying. On the first lap, I told myself I was going to stop and split it into two sets of 800s. But I somehow willed the legs to keep taking me around the track in around 71s.

In the end, I hit the targets for each block, as they’d been specified by my coach, and ran 3:45/km for the 5 minute floats.

Hilly tempo tests the legs

On Thursday, it was back to work with a hilly tempo session. The goal was 10 km inside a 3:18-3:23/km average pace window.

Dad-duty prevented me from getting the workout finished early, when it was cool and calm, and so I was left thinking about (and dreading) it all day (as it got warmer and windier).

My coach has a local loop (the lighthouse loop) that he likes to prescribe. It’s a near-perfect 1 km loop, with about 12-13 metres of elevation, and then a nice cruisy descent. And at the right time of day, it’s great.

But in the evening, with loads of people going to watch the surf and sunset and eat takeaway, and drive like they’ve forgotten how in the parking lots, it’s a less than ideal route (in my opinion). So I opted for another local street with some nice rolling hills and no traffic lights.

Grinding it out in the wind

I felt pretty average before the session. And I felt really crappy afterwards. But for the 33-odd minutes I needed to be on, I was on.

The first 3 km were pretty good, but then I turned back into the headwind. I managed 2km, which took me over two long-runway hills, before turning around (somewhat prematurely).

My legs were starting to feel pretty tired at this stage, and my fourth km was my slowest of the workout by a fair margin (3:27 according to Strava).

But I managed to regain my composure, recovered (slightly) on the next downhill, and finished strong (my last 2 km splits were 3:16 and 3:15).

The rest of my week

Outside of those two sessions, my week has been pretty easy (and ordinary), and focused on recovery.

I was thinking about getting to parkrun on Saturday for a mini-hit-out, but that plan was foiled by my early-rising baby who insisted on being cute (and awake), so it was an easy run instead, which was probably what my body needed.

I’m still trying to get my strength and flexibility work done at home, carving out pockets of time in the evening after we get Milly down to sleep. When I’m doing the work routinely, I can definitely feel the difference in my legs, especially with the hamstring tendon-issue I’ve been managing. It’s much less prone to feeling aggravated after the strength workouts.

I’ve been keeping in mind (and trying to practice) what I learned from Trevor Hofbauer: Don’t skip the last one per cent. This is becoming something of a mantra in these posts, but that’s because it’s a powerful and important sentiment.

When I set my goal of running a 2:20 marathon, I told myself I needed to take an holistic approach and that continues to be my mindset. Strength work is integral, as is nutrition and mindfulness, to the journey.

That’s all for now. 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.

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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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