Monday, March 13, 2006
Marathon Training Update
41 days to go. This weekend I passed all sorts of personal milestones. It started with this run: Just over 30km in just over 3 hours. Not a great time, but it's the first time I've done that kind of distance since the marathon last year. I also ran around 75km in the last 8 days which is roughly where the books tell me I should be. I'm not going to get that distance in again this week but I might just do it the week after. That's the third time in this training plan that I've run more than "a marathon" in a week but the first time I've broken 70km. Since September 1st, I've run 467km, which is 1km more than I ran in the build up to the last marathon including the marathon itself. So, by the time April 23rd comes round, I should be somewhere over 600km, maybe even 650km. My theory is that a little regular pain now will beat the crap out of terrible pain in the back half of the marathon. Last year I was struggling with shin splints from December through March, which heavily restricted the training I could do; this time I think I've beaten them. The shin splints were crippingly painful - even over short distances or just walking up stairs. I've tried a few things to get through them and, whilst I can't pin any one of them down as being the reason for improvement, they're all worth a go. I've changed my running shoes (twice, looking for a moderately stable shoe - I have settled on the Saucony Grid Omni 5 and the Mizuno Nirvana, the latter comes in a rather fetching shade of neon yellow), gone down a half size (to reduce the room for rolling my foot inside the shoe), changed the socks I wear (wearing thicker socks to provide more cushioning), adjusted my running style (making a firmer heel strike and leaning forward a little with every stride), taken calcium pills and visited a wonderful foot doctor, Saj Afzal, to get some custom orthotics made. I suspect that it's this last point that has made the most difference, but I can't help but think the other changes have contributed. I've also upgraded my Forerunner 205 to the new 305. So far, with 3 runs under its belt, it's going fine. There are a couple of big changes - one in the way it samples the satellite data which looks to result in better distance calculation (and, so far, more consistent measuring of the same route) and the second allowing me to download a course (mine or someone else's) to the watch so that I can race against it - this is a good way for me to work speed training into my schedule. I've been tracking my slow down in pace over increasing distance - running the same 6.25km loop 3, 4 or 5 times in succession to see how the time to cover it deteriorates. So far, I lose one to one and a half minutes with every loop - my first run is 30 mins so by the time I've done a marathon, I'm running 6km around 10 minutes slower than when I started. This deterioration looks normal in shape, although it's a bigger step down than I need if I'm to make my target time. I'm going to try this a few more times so that I can get a better fix on what my times need to be.
Posted by Alan at Monday, March 13, 2006