Marathon training block: 11/16 weeks (plus a tune-up half)

Eleven weeks of the marathon training are complete, with just five to go. This included a tune-up Great Trek half-marathon, whose course lied in a beautiful UBC campus (Vancouver, BC), more on this later. Some statistics (see the reports after four and eight weeks):

  • Ran 51.5 + 56.1 + 37.3 = 144.9 miles (469.1 miles total)
  • In 23 hours (77 hours 26 minutes total)
  • Bump the long run to 19 miles (which took me 3 hours to finish)
  • 26.2 non-easy miles: 7 threshold, 6.1 marathon pace, and 13.1 half-marathon pace (55.6 miles overall)

Tune-up half-marathon

The night before the race
A picture from the last year’s race
Mandatory Vancouver sushi
View from the hotel

I felt I’m in a great aerobic shape, so I could attempt improving my PR of 1:45:51 back from April, but at the same time I did not properly taper and the course had some hills. So, I decided to start conservatively with 1:45 pacers and break away if things feel smooth.

That’s exactly what happened: after 8 miles I dug deep and finished setting a new PR of 1:43:02 with a pretty vast negative split (first 10K in 49:19, last 10K in 47:14). During the second half, I overtook 70+ people, yay for good pacing!

Maybe I’m too optimistic, but I feel that with a proper taper and on a flat course, I could have easily gone under 1:40. Will try to test this hypothesis during the next season.

Further thoughts

  • I really enjoyed doing threshold intervals (1-mile, with 30-second walking breaks) as opposed to a continuous threshold run, it was much less strenuous and allowed me to run more distance at an appropriate tempo pace
  • Running with pacers was awesome! You really stop thinking about your watch and start cruising and enjoying the scenery
  • It’s interesting how profound the effect of 19-mile long runs on racing was: the half-marathon felt almost too short and relatively pain-free