Why it’s important to complete a 10km race during your marathon training [Follow-Along Week 8]

Why it’s important to complete a 10km race during your marathon training [Follow-Along Week 8]

10km race middleagemarathonerThis is a big week for my training. We include 2 very important marathon specific training workouts. One is a long run with a tempo pace the last 4 miles and another is a 10k time trial. In this week’s post, I’ll explain the importance of completing a 10k time trial (or similar race if you can schedule one) in your marathon training.

I also reveal how I find routes to run when I’m traveling on business (this week I was in Arkansas).

Here’s the link to my Strava Dashboard so you can see the details of each of the workouts that I’ve completed as I train for my July 4th Marathon.

Monday May 28th – long run

As discussed in a previous post, my long runs are 16-18 miles. On this day, I ran on a fairly flat route. My splits are below. As you can see, I didn’t quite get to marathon pace, but much of the 2nd half of the run was at or below 7:20/mile pace. There is a steep hill on the 17th mile, so my pace slowed to 7:36. Overall, it was a good run. The weather was mild, no rain or wind made for optimal conditions. My legs felt fine at the end. I’ll have to work on picking up the pace a bit more on my next long run.

Long run for marathon

Run Distance, Time & Average Pace: 17.5 miles, 2:10:36 minutes, ave pace 7:27

Tuesday May 29th – cross training + conditioning exercises

One of the challenges of frequent business travel is being able to fit in your scheduled workouts. Sometimes I get into a hotel late in the evening or at a time when the weather forces me into the hotel gym. This week I’m in western Arkansas where the daytime temperatures are upper 80s/low 90s and humidity is high. Bottomline, unless I get outside to run in the early morning, I’m forced to workout in the comfort of the hotel gym.
On this day, I chose to complete 40 minutes (or the equivalent of 4 miles) on the elliptical plus 20 minutes of conditioning exercises (both bodyweight & with dumbbells). Because I completed the long run the day before, getting off my legs is a good thing. The purpose of today’s workout was to recover from the previous days’ long run and work on my strength.

If you’re interested in joining me, I can put together either a custom training plan or I can personally coach you. Either program will be specific to your goals and athletic abilities. Just click on the links for details.

Wednesday May 30th – Easy Run

Got up early (600am) and completed a 6 mile easy run around the town of Siloam Springs, AR. I kept things easy.

How to figure out where to run when you’re traveling?

I simply “google” running or bike trails in “XXXX” (XXXX=name of the town that I’m in) or I type in the address of my hotel into the google search bar and when a map comes up, I look for nearby trails. Sometimes the paths are right next to the hotel, but it’s rare that I don’t find some kind of path or trail within a mile. A lot of times these trails have mile markers so it’s easy to know how far I’ve gone or I can use the markers to complete a strength running workout (repeat miles, etc).

Other resources you can use to find running routes include MapMyRide.com or Traillink.com. You can also go onto a particular city’s website.

In my case, I found the nearby La-Z-Boy Ball park with adjoining Dogwood Springs Bike trail about a mile from the hotel. Although the trail was short, once I got out into town, I recognized a few landmarks and was able to find my way back to the hotel and complete a 6.5 mile loop.

The purpose of this workout was recovery and to build my aerobic fitness.

6 mile easy run in Siloam Springs Arkansas

Run Distance, Time & Overall Pace: 6.5 miles, 52:05 & 7:59/mile

Need Marathon Training Info

Thursday May 31st – Off Day

Business meetings & travel from Arkansas to home. Rest & Recovery Day

Friday June 1st – “Bike Blast” Strength & Conditioning (CrossFit) & Easy Run

Today’s workout was a strength & conditioning group workout at the gym. This “Bike Blast” workout was similar to previous workouts, using a barbell for the majority of the strength work. I don’t use too much weight on the barbell (typically 20-25 lbs). Since we’re completing each exercise for 60 seconds, instead a set number of repetitions, I want to ensure that I stress myself, but also complete the exercise for the specified time.

After the 45 minute workout was completed, I ran 3.5 miles at an easy pace outside.

The purpose of today’s workout was to build strength.

Run Distance, Time, Pace: 3.5 miles, 26:53, 7:39

Saturday June 2ndHard Run, 10k time trial

One of the most challenging runs that I complete during my marathon training is a 10k time trial. Typically about 4-5 weeks from the race date, I get out to the flat, Vancouver Lake park and recreation area (in Vancouver, WA). The roads in this area are not heavily traveled and the surface is very similar to the Marathon course on Sauvie Island, OR. Bottomline, it’s a good practice for the upcoming marathon.

I typically have my son bike alongside me on this run for pacing, encouragement and some water/electrolytes if necessary.

The purpose of this run is to give me an accurate gauge as to where I stand relative to achieving my goal time. We talked about the Yasso 800s in an earlier post. My experience tells me that this 10k time trail along with the longer tempo runs, at this point in my training, give me a much better feel for what kind of shape I’m in.

The McMillian Calculator indicates that my 10k time should be around 38:22 (which is 6:10/mile pace). The Hanson Calculator shows 39:08 (6:18 pace). There’s other calculators which put equivalent 10k time between 37:30 – 38:30. My goal with this run is to be somewhere between 38-40 minutes. To be realistic, if I’m under 40 minutes, for the 10k time trial (which I run by myself), then I have high confidence that I will be able to complete my upcoming race between 3:00 – 3:05. I still have 4 weeks to get in more marathon specific workouts, so I know I’ll be close.

My results are below. I finished slightly above 40 minutes (I didn’t hit my watch when I was at 10k, but I know I was slightly under 39 at 6 miles).

I had a couple issues today.
1) It was getting warm when I completed this run around 10am.
2) I went out a little too fast and slowed. My feet started to hurt around 4 miles. The pain was not blisters, but more a general discomfort that was probably caused by over tightening my shoes, I forgot to apply vasoline to my feet and I was wearing older pair of socks.

Bottomline, no excuses, I’m a little bit off, but close. The stimulus was there and I was definitely pushing myself. It’s good to complete this workout.

This workout included about 1.5 mile warm-up + strides and 1.5 mile cool down at a very easy pace.

10km time trial results

Total Run Distance, Time, Pace: 10 miles, 1:17:43, 7:43

Sunday June 3rd– Easy Run + Strides

More family commitments today. I completed 5 miles at an easy pace + strides right in front of my house. I felt good. Very important to rest.

Run Distance, Time, Pace: 5.1 miles, 44:26, 8:43

Weekly total = 42.7 Miles

Strength Training for Marathon Runners [Follow-Along Week 6]

Strength Training for Marathon Runners [Follow-Along Week 6]

Strength Training for Marathon Runners

Week 6

During this week, I will combine strength (running) workouts, longer tempos and my long run to start the most marathon specific training of my plan. Over the next few weeks, I will increase the length of the intervals in my strength workouts, get in longer mid week runs and increase the distance of my long run. I’m moving from the lactate threshold and endurance mesocycle (portion of training) to the race preparation mesocycle.

This week you will learn about the importance of strength training for marathoners. Strength training & conditioning exercises for runners should complement your training, not tire you out so you’re too sore and fatigued to run. Below you will also find links to some videos detailing workouts that I complete. I’ve broken the training into level 1 for those just beginning their strength training and level 2 for more advanced/experienced athletes.

Here’s the link to my Strava Dashboard so you can see the details of each of my workouts.

Monday May 14th – Easy run

The purpose of this workout was to continue recovery from the Saturday’s 16 mile long run and also to include an easy/rest day prior to my Tuesday strength workout.

Run Distance, Time & Average Pace: 7.1 miles, 57:08 minutes, ave pace 7:59

Tuesday May 15th – Strength workout

1 mile (or 10 minute warm-up @ easy pace) + strides
3 x 2400m w/ 4 minute rest
10 minute c/d

This week I’m increasing the distance of the interval for my track workouts again. Now I’m up to 1.5 mile repeats at slightly faster than 10k pace (approx. 6:20/mile). Last week I discussed the benefits of these strength workouts. The biggest benefit is that preparing my body to handle the fatigue that comes with marathon running. This workout is combined with a longer tempo and long run to give me the best marathon preparation possible.

I like to keep the rest relatively short (in this case it’s about half the time of the interval) so I can really get my body used to dealing with some lactic acid accumulation.

Repeat 1.5 mile strength workout for marathon

My times for each 2400m ranged were 9:34, 9:30 & 9:22 (I actually miscounted laps on the last interval and briefly stopped after 2000m, then I realized I was a lap short). I hit my goal pace (slightly faster than 10k) and actually felt good. Splits for my workout are below.

Run Distance: 8.2 miles

Wednesday May 16th – Easy Run

6 mile easy run. The purpose of this workout was to recover from yesterday’s track workout. I also have a hard/Tempo workout on Thursday, so keeping this run easy is essential to get the most benefit from my strength and tempo workouts.

Run Distance, Time & Overall Pace: 6.1 miles, 50:07 & 8:06/mile

Thursday May 17th – Tempo Run

Ten Miles total, 8 miles at Tempo
1 mile warm-up at easy pace
8 miles at or near Marathon Pace
1 mile cool down at easy pace

10 mile tempo run for marathon training

Run Distance, Time & Overall Pace: 10 miles, 1:11:26 & 7:08/mile

Friday May 18th – Cross & Strength Training + 2 miles on the treadmill

Today I completed a 45 minute “bike blast” cross training workout at the gym. It’s been 3 weeks since I completed this workout. Although I have been completing other conditioning/strength exercises, this workout is particularly useful because it combines rotating 1 minute on a stationary bike at a brisk pace with 1 minute of conditioning. It’s a great aerobic + strength workout.

After the workout, I like to get a few miles in on a treadmill or outside. Today I completed 2 miles on treadmill.

Strength training for runners won’t bulk you up and slow you down as long as you complete runner-specific training that emphasizes movements that directly correlate to running performance.

Today’s conditioning exercises were both upper & lower body strength with barbells and my body weight. A few of the exercises with a shorter barbell and 20lbs of weights include squats, lunges, chest presses, arm curls and shoulder presses. The body weight exercises included push-ups, jump lunges, mountain climbers and various forms of planks and core exercises.

Increased strength contributes to improved running in a number of ways. First, it helps to improve form when your fatigued. Strength training assists in preventing injuries because you have stronger muscles. Runners with better endurance can run longer. Stronger runners are able to recover faster from their long runs because strength training makes their bodies more efficient at converting metabolic waste into energy. The stronger you get, the more resilient your body will become to the demands of running.

Mountain Climbers for Marathon Runners

It’s important to remember that strength training should supplement your running. I like to keep my strength workouts short and fairly simple. I complete these bike blast classes every 2-3 weeks + the 15 minutes of conditioning exercises that I complete twice per week.

I have created some videos showing 2 levels of conditioning exercises:

Level 1 – https://youtu.be/biiaTkeE_8g

These are beginner exercises that should be completed if you’re just starting conditioning exercises. It’s very important to start new runners or runners who aren’t accustomed to conditioning at an easier level. Also, I recommend starting with one session per week and work up to 2-3 and also including multiple sets of exercises per session as you get stronger.

Level 2 – https://youtu.be/gjiuVobSqDo

Run Distance – 2 miles

Saturday May 19th – Long Run

10.7 miles at easy pace. Today’s run serves a dual purpose. I’m continuing to get time on my legs. Because I had some tough workouts (strength run on the track & tempo) this week and I had a long run the week before, the length of this run was only 10-12 miles.
Many plans include slight increases in long run mileage every week. At the beginning of the plan, I do gradually increase my long runs week-to-week. However, during the harder, Marathon Preparation Mesocycle, I like my long runs of 15+ miles to be every other weekend. This helps me avoid injury.

Run Distance, Time, Pace: 10.7 miles, 1:24:04, 7:49

Sunday May 20th– Easy Run + Strides

5 miles at easy pace + strides
The purpose of this run was to recover from the previous day’s long run. The pace is easy.

Run Distance, Time, Pace: 5.3 miles, 43:29, 8:07

Weekly total = 49.7 Miles

Why are Strides So Important For Marathon Training [Follow Along – Week 2]

Why are Strides So Important For Marathon Training [Follow Along – Week 2]

Importance of Strides for Marathon Training

In this series of posts, I’m giving readers a behind the scenes look at how a busy middle age professional, prepares for a sub 3 hr marathon.

Here’s my Strava link. If you’re a member, you can view my training.

Week 2 – April 15th

Sunday April 15th – 5 miles at easy pace (8:00 – 8:30) + strides.

The purpose of this workout was to recover from yesterday’s long run of 14 miles. Strides are completed at 3k pace (controlled, but not sprinting) after the run. Typically, I complete strides after an easy recovery run or before a track workout. As a part of my warm-up they help get the blood flowing to my legs and my heart rate slightly elevated. They are important because they help provide quick leg turnover. The key with strides is to relax, stay controlled and concentrate on your form. Strides can ultimately help you run faster. I typically complete strides 2-3 times per week.

Run Distance, Time & Overall Pace: 4.3 miles, 37 minutes & 8:40

Here’s a video of how to perform strides:

If you’re interested in joining me, I can put together either a custom training plan or I can personally coach you. Either program will be specific to your goals and athletic abilities. Just click on the links for details.

Monday April 16th – Track/Speed workout (ugly weather – 40 degrees, wet & windy)

1 mile warm-up + strides
400M, 800M, 1200M, 1600M, 1200M, 800M, 400M
10 minute c/d

Speed Workouts

These workouts are essential for all runners that are preparing for a race. In the next post, I’ll review in detail how I determine paces for speed workouts.

These workouts are important because they increase your body’s ability to process & store oxygen. This will help the muscles function better for all distances. To be most effective, you don’t want to run at your speed workout pace for more than 7 minutes per interval. Anything longer then becomes more of Tempo Interval which would be run at a slightly slower pace (we’ll get into that in a later post). The bottomline is that speed or track workouts will help you develop endurance, speed, and stronger legs and lungs.

Today I completed what’s called a “ladder” workout. As you can see, I start with a 400m interval at the desired pace and then in increments of 400m, I work my up to 1600m before decreasing down in 400m increments back to 400m.

Following are my target & actual paces for each distance. The weather today was pretty nasty (low 40s, raining and windy). Hitting the right pace in these conditions is tough. The key on these days is to consider the effort and not worry about the times. As you can see, I started a little slow, but was able to get close or within the target times for 1200m & 1600m. Unfortunately I had to cut my workout slightly short because I had to get to the airport to pick-up friend. I ended up skipping the 2nd 800m. I was feeling fine during the 1600m and after as is reflected in my times, so I have little doubt that I would have been able to get the 800m in at desired pace.

Run Distance, Time & Overall Pace: 6 miles, 47 minutes & various

Tuesday April 17th – Easy day at the hotel gym

35 minutes on elliptical + 15 minutes of conditioning exercises at hotel gym
(body weight & core exercises)

I didn’t get to the hotel until about 730pm and up to the gym until about 900pm. The purpose of today’s workout was to recover from the previous days’ track workout. My preference is to do some kind of easy running or crossfit in a hotel gym the first day of travel. The key is to get something in.

Need Marathon Training Info

Wednesday April 18th – Easy run on treadmill + conditioning exercises

35 minutes on treadmill @ easy pace + 15 minutes of conditioning exercises.

Cool/damp weather in St. Louis area, so I hit the treadmill. To add a little more to the workout I typically complete bodyweight exercises to strengthen my core, legs and upper body.

The alternative to running easy on the treadmill would be to complete a workout where the speed and/or incline are varied. Since my plan in the next few weeks includes an increase in mileage and intensity, I decided to keep today’s workout fairly easy.

Bottomline, when you’re on the road, try your best to get some kind of workout completed. At a minimum, I try for 30 – 45 minutes. Depending on the time of day and/or how I’m feeling, I can go hard or easy.

Run Distance, Time & Overall Pace: 4 miles, 55 minutes total workout time

Thursday April 19th – Rest Day

Off/Rest Day. Traveled back home. I typically use one of my travel days as a rest day.

Friday April 20th – 6 mile Tempo Run

1 mile w/u @ easy pace, 6 Mile Tempo @ Marathon Pace, 1.25 mile c/d @ easy pace
In the next post, I’ll discuss purpose of Tempo Runs. These runs can be tough, but next to the long run, they’re probably the most important part of my marathon training because it helps you get used to running at a faster pace for longer periods of time.

Run Distance, Time & Overall Pace: 8.3 miles, 58 minutes, 7:00

Saturday April 21 – Easy run with strides
40 minutes @ easy pace
The goal of today’s run is to recover from the previous days’ Tempo run. It’s really important to include rest (running at an easy pace)

Run Distance, Time & Overall Pace: 5 miles, 45 minutes @ various paces

Sunday April 22 – Long Run. 42 degrees, sunny & no wind
10 miles @ easy pace, finished last mile at sub 7:00/mile pace.
Ran with friends. This helped to ensure that the bulk of the run was at an easy pace.

Run Distance, Time & Overall Pace: 10 miles, 1:23 & 8:17

Week 2 Summary: 6 days with workouts, 5 with running – 33 miles