Sub 3 hour marathon training diary – Week 4

Week four: 1/7/2019

In the second half of the 2018 Boston Marathon I aggravated a knee injury.

In the second half of the 2018 NYC Marathon I got my nutrition wrong, got sick, almost passed out once I crossed the finish line, and had my first race trip in the medical tent.

Despite the challenges, I’m proud that I managed to PB in both. However fading over the second half of the marathon, is something I’ve thought about a lot in my training.

So here’s some of the steps I’ve taken to face it:

  1. I took a pen and paper and wrote the problem down;
  2. I didn’t answer it straight away. I gave myself a couple of days thinking space to think of solutions;
  3. Remember your strengths. I recently completed the Peru Half Marathon Des Sables, a stage ultra marathon race and I didn’t fade.
  4. Write down a minimum of five solutions, I’d pick the top two, to practically implement;
  5. Even though I had some strategies in place, I know that the solutions may work upto a point. And it’s likely that it will present another side of the challenge that I will have to solve. Problem solving is likely to be an on going part of the challenge, and isn’t something to run from (pun intended), so be prepared to revisit point 3!

Ok so that’s great in theory, write down your challenges and solutions… but how are you working on that challenge of not fading in the second half of the marathon.

So I look at how can I recreate the difficult situation, and feeling in training…but I’m not sadistic so I don’t risk my health and safety to the point of failure or neglect my nutritional needs.

  1. When I feel like I’m fading, I tell myself that this is the experience I’m training for, so I’ll change my pace for a short time (20 seconds). This gets different muscles firing and my mind out of the negative mindset;
  2. Canova style intervals. The difference between these and regular intervals/ fartlek running is that the recovery is part of the workout, so you don’t have a recovery of an easy paced jog. You slow down slightly to a steady pace such as marathon pace etc. Or if your hard core, go faster. This means that your body has to recover for the next hard effort, while still keeping a good running speed at an elevated heart rate. This is more like racing, where you don’t get a recovery period to maintain your race speed. So your target is to run the hard efforts in such a way that you are able to maintain a steady pace during the recovery sections as opposed to dropping right off to a slow jog/shuffle. Remember don’t tense up and to keep your running form relaxed and controlled during the efforts;
  3. One way to recreate the second half fade is to is start a tempo/interval run intentionally too fast, so I have to learn to deal with it, for the second half.

In theory in my long 18 mile run, I was over half way and I started to feel fatigued and holding my pace needed more effort. I told myself to welcome this “difficult” moment, as this is when the workout starts. As it’s practical learning, to help me become mentally prepared to finish the second half stronger.

Weekly training from Coach John:

This weeks target set by Coach John, was running six days with three double sessions, making a weekly total of 80.4 miles.

Just a word of caution on the mileage reference, there’s runners that achieve sub 3 with far less miles. Work with a coach to help find out what works for you.

Manchester marathon is thirteen weeks away and to follow my journey on Instagram follow the hashtag.


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