High mileage: 140 km for the week

Another week of high mileage in the legs, before shifting the focus to a fast 5 km race at the 2021 NSW State Championships.

It was another seven days of (relatively) high mileage. For the second week in a row I cleared 140 km, with a two solid sessions and Sunday long run.

We’ve started to experiment with the program slightly; I’m now running doubles at least twice a week (usually on session days) and my coach and I have moved my second workout from Thursday to Friday.

The aim is to allow for a bit more recovery in the middle of the week. In theory that’s a good plan, but I’ll need a few weeks, I reckon, to really evaluate whether it’s the right call.

The possible downside is that I now come into Sunday a bit fatigued. After my long run this week, I pulled-up with slightly sore soleus (inner, lower calf) muscle on my right leg. It’s a recurring and relatively minor over-use strain I’ve dealt with in the past.

Hopefully it’s all good, but if it persists, we might be back to the drawing board. Otherwise, it was a pretty standard week of training.

High mileage on hold for race week

High mileage has been the major focus of the marathon training block since it started in early January. I eventually want to build to around 150-160 km per week before Canberra.

This week, however, high mileage is taking a backseat to race prep. The NSW 5km Championships are on Saturday night at Sydney Olympic Park, and I’m hoping to have a solid hit-out.

I’m not in full taper mode, but I want to come in fairly well-rested and make sure that calf strain is feeling close to 100 per cent. At the top end, it’s going to be a very exciting night of racing, with some big names in the mix in the men’s and women’s races.

Down in my neck of the woods, I’m hoping there will be some solid competition. Based on some of my recent 3k races, I’m cautiously optimistic I can run sub-15 minutes and will definitely go out with that target in mind, regardless of the heat I end up in. I’m prepared to drive the pace if I have to.

I’ve written before about why 5 km races are great inclusions for a marathon build. Regardless of any training or physiological benefit, I also think it’s a good mental test to line-up in a fast race; to deal with all the pre-race nerves and excitement, and to practice your race day routine.

We’ve got a solid crew heading up from Wollongong, so it should be a great night of racing and athletics.

Training week at a glance

  • Total KM: 141. High mileage? Or just getting started?
  • Longest Run: 36 km. Got out with the group on Sunday morning. Braved the rain and ended up finishing with some hills.
  • Toughest run: Mona Fartlek on Tuesday. It was hot, I ran on a track, and it just seemed to just get harder and harder. But it went well enough.
  • Biggest confidence booster: The Thursday session. This was 2 x 5 km at roughly half marathon pace. It was a lovely (rainy and windy) day, and I nailed the targets, feeling pretty good in the process. Though my heart rate did appear to get pretty high towards the end, it was nice to knock this one over solo and in some less than ideal weather.

Key Sessions

With the State 5km Champs coming up, I wanted a good indicator workout. A few of my mates were running quarters; I opted for a Mona Fartlek.

As mentioned, it was bloody hot. And my stomach was feeling a little unsettled. But I gutted it out. The GPS was a bit generous, but the number of laps don’t lie: it was 6.4 km almost to the dot for the workout.

The Friday workout was 2 x 5km at roughly half marathon pace, off a 1 minute float. The targets were 16:00 minutes for the first effort, and 15:40 for the second, and I came in just under on both.

This session was wet and windy, and actually a lot of fun, despite the last couple kilometres starting to hurt. As mentioned above, it was a good confidence booster. To be hitting these workouts at this stage of the training block is a good sign.

The coming weeks

After the 5km race on Saturday, it’s back to basics: building for the marathon and aiming to run high mileage weeks through February and March before easing into a taper.

I’d love to run a half marathon about a month out from Canberra, just to test the legs, but it depends what goes ahead. I won the Orange (NSW) half last year, and had heaps of fun visiting the town, but I recently heard it might be off the cards.

If I can’t find a so-called ‘tune-up’ race, I’ll chat to the coach about whether there’s any value in running a time-trial. Otherwise, I’ll just roll with whatever he puts in the program.

For now, that’s all. Hopefully next time I write I’ll be an official sub-15 man. 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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