Making It Work
Three weeks of training have been covered. A couple of points from my original plan have turned out not to be working for me. First is that I have some significant gaps in my long run. Mainly that it falls apart when I attempt to up the pace beyond anything down at the slow ultra end of the spectrum. No where near the marathon range. Second point is I was trying to cram too many key runs close together. Trying to squeeze in fast 400s, hill reps, a half marathon pace run and a long trail run into one week meant I wasn't performing well in key sessions. Plus it combined to cause some knee trouble requiring a couple of days off running and reducing a weeks volume down to 45km. That won't help if it gets repeated.
The solution can be characterised by doing a little bit less a whole lot better. For the long run I will focus on bringing up the average pace weekly, rather than pushing out extra kilometres beyond 30km. I know I can run further slowly, but I really need to bring up the base cruising speed. As a result I am eliminating the slow, but long trail run and just look at a steady 30km each week. Supporting this I will drop the fortnightly half marathon pace run to allow focus on upping the pace in the long run.
Dropping the half marathon pace run gives me only 3 key sessions to focus on each week. While it sounds like less, it should actually lead to a higher consistent volume overall and allow for better progression. Remembering that my weeks vary between 7-9 days, I will usually have two easy days of running between each key session. This seems optimal for me at the moment.
Keeping with above concepts, my race plans have changed a little. For the Australasian Emergency Services Games, I am dropping the 10km cross country from my schedule. Since it was the day before the half marathon, I know that it would have created issues for both races. My heart is really set on hammering the half marathon at the Games. So that's where my focus will be. Plus the 5000m four days before should fit in well.
That should all see me on my way towards a marathon PB.