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Improving - TheEd - 17-08-2015

I am sure you know the 30k biking the day before was not the best race preparation Wink

your 5 x 2k is pretty decent, and there is no need to go quicker there

focus should go towards the long run development where you work on fluid intake etc in prep for the marathon

take a rest day before the 5k and enjoy that, as you look to be doing a fair amount of 'training' . try to enjoy

then add the long run in, but don't go over 30k

if you can stay healthy there is no reason you can't build into running a 'pleasant' marathon event

focus on recovery between sessions and all moving in the right direction


Improving - Chrisrox - 17-08-2015

Thanks for quick and good feedback.

About the rolling hills, this is what I have from you:

find a route for rolling hills, where you can run back & forth the hill is maybe 50 to 100m in length, can be light incline to medium. you work the hills and jog relaxed downhill

How many times (or sum distance uphill) should I work the hill and what effort are we talking? Is this workout supposed to be equally hard as the 6 x 1 km?

Improving - TheEd - 17-08-2015

run the hills @ anticipated half marathon effort

an hour session on a hilly route would be great

this is not a flat out session, you can focus on form going up the hills and relax on the downhills

you should maybe get 8 to 10 hills in, in total

though we will have to see how it goes on the first session


Improving - Chrisrox - 18-08-2015


Not sure I understood the rolling hills session properly, but this is what I did:

Ran a 11 km route which includes a few hills. The first 2,8 km is mainly downhill and flat, so used this for warm-up. After that I accelerated going up all hills and kept the higher effort until I was above the top and starting the downhill or flat (to not stop the effort and loose momentum as the top is reached). Took it easy downhill and on the flats between hills. Did 10 hills in total and the complete session was exactly 11k and took me 57 mins 30 secs for avg pace 5:14. My avg HR was only 140, which surprised me after the run as I felt I worked the hills properly. When looking at the HR chart I realize that the warm-up was very easy, it took me 2k to even reach HR of 140. I guess I am getting in better shape thanks to your program :notworthy:

I enclose a chart of the elevation, HR and pace for you to have a look. Important to note that the elevation chart is not accurate by any means, so you should look more at the HR than the elevation, as I notice that some of the hills I worked do not even show on the elevation chart, and I tell you: in reality they were proper hillsWink The ten most pronounced spikes in the HR curve indicates that I am working a hill....

On 3 hills my HR peaked at around 175, on 3 around 170 and on 4 around 165. The length of the hills varied from 70 meters to 230 meters according to my Garmin, average about 135 meters.

Please let me know if this workout is OK as a rolling hills session and do tell me what changes I should make to improve the session, either in the route or in my approach.

Thanks again, your advice is really appreciated.


Improving - Chrisrox - 24-08-2015


Update from me:

20th of August: 5k in 18:50 as part of a 5 x 5k relay race. 18:50 is new personal best for me, so very pleased with that. Course was relatively flat, but included some hills also. Put in quite an effort, but tried to remain in control throughout and felt that I was able to stick with that game plan. Could have run a bit faster I guess, I am inexperienced with this short racing distances also, and one thing I believe I have learned is that I had more speed in me. Avg HR 182 and max 190. Splits:

1k 3:36
2k 3:45
3k 3:47
4k 3:54
5k 3:48

I also tried the quick first 100m and then aimed at settling in at 3:45-3:50 pace, which basically worked out very well. The 4th km was also the hilliest.

On Saturday (22nd) I did 25,26k in 2:12:43, avg pace 5:15 with avg HR 148. Relatively hilly route, especially the midsection, where I increased effort to guestimated marathon effort for about 2k. The rest of the run was easy with HR avg around 145.

Some questions:
- My understanding is that I will now start the first week again, i.e. doing 5x2k on Thursday. Let me know if this is not correct
- Would highly appreciate feedback on the rolling hills session (previous post) so I can adjust for next session as required
- Aiming to do around 35k on Saturday, which will be three weeks before the marathon and also will be my longest run ahead of the marathon. Let me know if you have specific advice on this session, either in terms of effort, length/duration, nutrition and/or fluid intake
- I am kind of concerned that I do not have much marathon race pace specific training, in fact hardly anything at all. Is this something i should not be concerned about or should we put in some sessions at anticipated marathon effort over the last 3 and 1/2 weeks?

Thanks again!

Improving - TheEd - 25-08-2015

nice going on the 5k, though in the last 4 weeks don't look to run fast in the shorter sessions

for now you have the rolling hill sessions right, don't change anything

for the long run focus on nutrition and fluid intake in preparation for the marathon

as to the specifics of the marathon, do not turn this into a stress, your original aim was to run the marathon, so don't put pressure on yourself related to performance. As for covering the distance, you should be OK if you don't go out too quick

as we get closer to the marathon we can chat further about the distance

2k session Thursday, no need to go quicker than previous 2k session, keep it easy & relaxed

hope the answers help


Improving - Chrisrox - 26-08-2015

Thanks TheEd, your feedback is much appreciated. Good confirmation on the rolling hills session.

I'll be sure to not speed up the 2k session, but keeping it easy and relaxed is not going to happen unless I reduce speed substantially :p Thinking of shooting for slightly slower than last time, what do you think of 3:55 starting pace for the first couple and then speed up to 3:50 for the last few?

I see your point in not putting any performance pressure on myself, but honestly that's impossible for me to do. As much as I'd like to race the marathon comfortably and just enjoy the experience, I am competitive by nature and would like to race the marathon as fast as I can. I realize that I am a racing newbie and especially on this long distance, but I feel strongly committed to do my best during the few last weeks and in the race itself to maximize my performance.

I guess this is the time to start talking about Marathon pace and my capacity there. Since last fall, when I started thinking seriously about the Marathon, I have had the 3 hr mark in the back of my head, as an ambition. I raced the half in 1:26:14 in Sept 2014 and am reasonably comfortable about my current fitness level being at least on par with that, probably I am in better shape now. I have a hard time letting the sub 3 hr dream go, even if I am not fully accustomed to the longer distance.

On yesterday's easy run I threw in 3k @ anticipated marathon race pace (or slightly faster) in the middle. Basically had 3k warm up (5 min/km), then 3K @ 4:12 min/km and avg HR of 166 (max 173) and ended with 3k warm down (5:30 min/km).

I do see a lot of Marathon programs where sessions @ marathon race pace are frequent. One such session which I find interesting is called Italian interval, it should be run 17-19 days before the marathon (in addition to long runs in the weekends) and consists of 15 min warm up, then 20 k of alternating 1k of 10 sec slower than marathon race pace and 1k of 10 sec faster than marathon race pace, making you end up with 20k @ marathon race pace overall. Sub 3 hr means 4:15 avg pace, hence would be alternating between 4:25 and 4:05 if I do this workout. Obviously this is a very tough workout and should be run on a flat route.

What do you think of doing this session instead of the rolling hills on Tuesday? The plan for the coming days would then be:

Today: easy 30 min recovery
Thursday: 5 x 2 k @ slightly slower speed than last time
Friday: Rest
Saturday 3 weeks before Marathon: 35k very easy (will do it slower than the last few long runs)
Sunday: easy 30 min recovery
Monday: 10k easy
Tuesday: 15 min warm-up, then 20k @ marathon race pace (Italian interval)
Wednesday: easy 30 min recovery
Thursday: easy 1 hr
Friday: Rest
Saturday 2 weeks before Maration: long easy run, max 30k (will do it slower than the last few long runs)
Sunday: easy 30 min recovery

The last two weeks I expect to gradually reduce quantity and effort in the sessions, in order to build a surplus towards the race.

Lots of thoughts I guess, but at its core my question is simple: substitute the rolling hills session next week with a marathon specific race pace session or not?

Thanks in advance for your honest answer and also your thoughts on my sub 3 hr target, given my current capacity. :please:


Improving - TheEd - 28-08-2015

are you running the marathon pace @ 4.15 per k?

please read this article (it is about the last few weeks before their marathon)

Rolling all the eggs into one basket

please understand, we worked for quite a while before going onto the last 6 weeks towards the marathon. If you read from the start of the articles, the runner who was a woman, turned 50 that year, and had not run under 50 minutes for 10k



Improving - Chrisrox - 01-09-2015

Thanks for the article TheEd, definitively an interesting read.

Thought I'd give you an update on my training the last week:
Wednesday 26th: 5k easy @ 5:22 min/km and avg HR 138 plus 1,1k uphill with eavy backpack @ 6:46 min/km and avg HR 147

Thursday 27th: 5 x 2k:
# Time AvgHR MaxHR MinHR
1 07:38,8 163 176 101
2 07:39,9 171 175 109
3 07:37,1 169 177 105
4 07:29,1 172 179 102
5 07:25,5 173 181 104
Sum 37:50,4 170
Avg 03:47,0
Started somewhat slower than last time as planned and felt very much in control, enjoying the session. Hence increased speed on the 4th and 5th and arrived at same total time as two weeks ago, with avg HR 4 bpm lower and max HR 3 bpm lower than last time, but more importantly the MinHR between intervals is down 20 bps on average. Very pleased with both the session itself and the results.

Saturday 29th: 35,2k in 3hr 7 mins for avg pace 5:17 min/km and avg HR 147. Felt in control and running easy and relaxed until around 27k, where legs felt increasingly heavy and tired and HR started drifting upwards whilst I kept the pace constant. From 27k the avg HR was as high as 155.

Sunday 30th: very easy 5k in 28:21 for avg pace 5:40 on hilly route. No HR data due to issue with HR strap

Monday 31st: 11,6k in 1hr flat for avg pace 5:10 and avg HR 140

Tuesday 1st: Did not follow your advice and replaced the rolling hills with a session focusing on my target marathon race pace :o:. I could not resist the urge to test in practice how it feels running at the target marathon race pace for some distance, to get a good workout in but also to get a feel about my capacity. Did 18,6k in 1:23:18 divided in 1k warm up, then 10 k in 42:07 for avg pace 4:13 (alternating 1k around 4:19 and 1k around 4:06), then 1k easy (5:35 pace), then 5k in 20:56 (stable avg pace around 4:11) and finally 1,6k warm down. Again no HR data due to issues with HR strap. Relatively tough workout, but felt reasonably in control at that pace, even after the rather good load of training recently. The big question is, can I last a marathon with this pace to finish sub 3hr?

I feel confident about my ability to cover the marathon distance (given that I stay injury free and out of trouble in the race), the question is at what pace?

I am now planning the last few weeks leading up to the marathon on the 19th of Sept and was thinking of going with something like this the next few days:
Tomorrow: easy 30 min recovery
Thursday: easy 1 hr
Friday: Rest
Saturday 2 weeks before Maration: long run, around 25k, generally easy pace (5:15ish), possibly with a only a couple of kms of target marathon race pace (4:15ish)
Sunday: easy 30 min recovery

What do you think of this plan?

I believe I should include some tapering off in the last few weeks, in terms of both reduced distance/time running but also intensity, so I am fully recovered and with plenty of surplus and energy on the starting line.

How to structure the last two weeks? Do you recommend doing the 5 x 2 on Thursday next week (9 days before marathon) as per usual?


Improving - TheEd - 02-09-2015

no need to do the 2k session with 2 weeks to

consider doing 1hr @ marathon pace

look at doing 4.15 per k

you can only go out at that pace and hope for the best

where is the marathon?

will go through further details on your reply