Showing posts from August, 2011


The start of my Specific Marathon Phase of training definitely did not go to plan. Leading in I had taken a good week worth of recovery. The onslaught of the Threshold training I subjected my body too had taken a lot more out of me than I wanted. A week of recovery probably would have been about right if it was just a matter of the muscles and connective tissue recovering. Unfortunately it looks like I had dipped into the next level of breakdown.

Clearly there was a bit more to my fatigue than beat-up legs. The immune system was compromised and I picked up a couple of low grade infections. Combining that with the hormone imbalances that go with some significant overtraining, there was no way I could get any high level of training in. My usual sleep wasn't enough. The night shift hit me a lot harder than usual. Plus running was difficult in every respect. The legs hurt, I had no energy and I was always ridiculously hungry.

The solution was to take more recovery. Just hit some very …


Starting a new phase of training has traditionally involved a hard session on the first day. Over the last couple of years, each new phase has started with one or two easy days. This is mainly a result of the my work roster, and what fits best in my head for drawing a line as Day 1. Having now covered the first three days of the Specific Phase of my marathon training, it has been ridiculously easy. Some easy runs, with nothing long as I preferred to be around to celebrate my son's 1st birthday.

It is such a contrast compared to the last couple of months worth of training. Instead of ensuring that my in-between runs were at a reasonable pace, the focus is now on making them very comfortable. As a result I am going completely on feel. The times and heart rates I check afterwards, and will record to see how things change over the next few weeks. With four runs over three days my heart rates have been very low compared to all previous training. The speeds have been slow, but not quite…

Specific Marathon Training Phase

The original training outline was published early June in Melbourne Marathon 2011 Outline. Since what my body is capable of didn't exactly match what was on paper, there are going to be a few changes. I am starting the Specific Phase early and will take on a different format. Before getting into the details, I need to cover my goals.
Melbourne Marathon 9th October 2011: Realistic: Run a personal record which is sub 2:58:44Hopeful: Run sub 2:55:00Dream: Hit 2:50:00 territory
Specific Phase: Develop rhythm and efficiency at marathon paceDevelop racing abilitiesThe astute will note I have changed the last guideline. I have dropped the bit "through VO2max intervals and faster paced long runs", as I think there is now a slightly different approach that I need to take. Let's get into it.
Structure: 6 Cycles: usually 8 days, but with the 3rd being 7 days. This will lead into a 15 day taper.
Cycles 1 & 2: Marathon Pace 20km: Over a measured, looped course, with some steady climb…


The alarm was very unwelcome this morning. I was feeling stuffed, but managed to push that aside. After all, that's to be expected in the current training phase. The difference this morning was I had a headache. A very rare occurrence for me. Other than the mild not-enough-caffeine or the what-the-hell-am-I-still-doing-working-nightshift almost non-headaches I can get, I really don't get headaches. Getting ready for my run I worked through the checklist trying to come up with a cause. All the usuals such as hydration, food intake and sleep hours appeared to be okay. In the end I put it down to the fact the rest of the family have been a bit unwell and now my body was struggling to keep the germs at bay.
Planned was another prolonged threshold run. At no point did I feel even close reasonable during the warm up. So I took my time and waited for my body to wake up before launching into the main set. It didn't happen. Still, I gave it an attempt and everything just felt wrong.…


Nearing the end of the third out of four cycles for the Threshold phase. This has been my most difficult bout of training in a very long time. To be honest I am struggling a fair bit to get through it. Almost every day I am participating in some big battles with my mind. It keeps presenting me with many good reasons to cut short, or ease up on most runs. The training feels almost like a relentless onslaught at the moment.

Confidence in my ability to PB at the marathon is also running low. There have been plenty of runs I have struggled heavily to reach the paces or get the right feel. There have even been a few down right failures of sessions. This is what happens when you set the bar high and push to go above anything previously. At this stage it is hard to know if it is going to break me down too much, or will significantly raise my fitness once I get in a bit of recovery.

Why is it so hard?

The style of training load involves hitting moderate running paces, but holding them for extend…