Just a couple of things to start with. Before reading about my week 11 training for the London Marathon, you should start at the beginning. To read the opening story about my training for the London Marathon please start here or click on the links for the previous week’s training updates. Secondly, I’d love to hear what you are training for, how it is going and any questions you may have. Please comment below.
If you think you know what the above photo is, throw a comment below! Or just take a wild guess.
Week 11 Training for the London Marathon
Week 11 training for the London Marathon was perhaps the hardest of the entire 16-week cycle. No rest days, two pacy runs and the longest run on the plan made that the reality. I’m pleased to say that I made it through the week and I’m still standing. With 5 weeks to go, things continue to look quite positive. As a matter of fact, from a coaching perspective, this past week had two objectives. First to make positive adaptation from a physiological perspective. Secondly, to promote mental toughness.
The physiological changes would benefit from the hard training. A little over 72 miles in the bank and hitting all the targets on the progression and tempo miles. My body responds well to rest days in order to get the benefits from the hard miles. The hard miles however, need to get done for rest to make a difference. Thus, this week will be an easy week.
From a mental toughness point of view, this week was extremely effective. First of all, the weather was particularly challenging. If you’ve been following along, you probably know I don’t like the cold. This past week had snow, wind, rain and very little decent weather in which to run. Combine that with all the training, including a 31 miler, and I should be fit to face anything. A positive mental perspective goes incredibly far in endurance running. I firmly believe that your mind needs to be trained as much as the your body.
Monday started with a 5 mile easy run. Coming off a 22-miler the day before, these were recovery miles. Feeling surprisingly good, I had an overall 7:36/mile pace. That is a great indicator of where I am physically.
On Tuesday I met a good friend who I haven’t run with since late last year. These catch up runs are fantastic and the miles tick over quickly. Unfortunately, the snowy conditions were challenging. As soon as we got started, the snow began coming down hard. The footpaths were slippery throughout the run, but we managed to complete the 8 easy miles unscathed. I did, however, forget to start my watch after waiting to cross the road. That little mistake cost me a little over a mile on Strava. It wouldn’t be the only Strava blip this week.
Wednesday was the first of the pacy runs this week. The objective was to run a 10-mile progression and finish at a 6:30/mile last mile. A cold and very wet day met me as I got started. An FYI, we get an average annual rainfall of over 45 inches of rain per year in Enniskillen 😮 . The slower starting miles seemed to be harder to gauge, and there was one mile that wasn’t progressive. Despite that one glitch, the remaining miles all got faster as I went. Overall, it was a successful training session. Here is how the miles went:
Thursday of my week 11 training for the London Marathon was a 6 mile easy run. On this day, I chose to take Chief up to Crocknagrally once again. There is nothing easy about a hilly run at Crocknagrally. This was the second day of the week where I forgot to start my watch. Although, this time it was from the start.
On Friday, it was time for my second pacy run of the week. A 7 mile tempo run, the first mile and last miles to be easy. Not being happy about losing some Strava miles, I added an 8th mile to the end of this one. It was a decent St. Patrick’s Day morning when I ran the Brookeborough 5k route twice and then some. The goal for this session was to run the tempo portion at 6:40/mile and this was achieved. Overall, the splits looked like this:
Satruday, was parkrun day. Once again, we found a cold, wet and windy miserable morning. The local parkrun course had seen better days due to the string of bad days. But in true parkrun spirit, the volunteers braved the elements and we got it done. This was generally a comfortable run as far as pace goes. There was no real need to push too hard, but a parkrun always seems to give you some unexpected pace. Even on those days you don’t need it, you tend to run a bit harder than you wanted. As always, it was a really enjoyable morning run.
Week 11 training for the London Marathon finished off with the long-long run. I mentioned before, that in addition to training for the London Marathon, I’m also preparing for a 50 miler. Even if I wasn’t, however, I still enjoy throwing a longer than marathon distance run onto my plan. Sunday’s 50k has been on my radar for a while. I recruited a good friend to join me on what was always going to be a hard run.
The morning began cold, at about 3 degrees C. As the day wore on, and the miles ticked over, things got better and better. We took an out and back route, having planted some water and nutrition along the way. We ran 13 miles in one direction before turning back. These miles, with good company, went by without incident.
For nutrition, we stopped at roughly mile 18 where I took a bottle of water and a flapjack. For ultra-runs, I have found solid food seems to work better for me than just gels. I did, however, take a gel at mile 25, simply to re-introduce it into my body before marathon day. It goes without saying that no gels are particularly delicious. I started taking Kendal Mint Gels because they have 100mg of caffeine and 27g of carbs per 70g gel. Taste isn’t a consideration when it comes to gels.
I have to mention something that shows the camaraderie of the running community. After turning around at mile 13, a fellow runner who had seen us running earlier stopped at the roadside. He waited for us to catch up to him and handed us each a bottle of water. It’s hard to underestimate the kindness of fellow runners.
Week 11 Training for the London Marathon Metrics:
The numbers from week 11 are looking mostly good. That seems to be the pattern as the weeks go on. Sleep is basically back to where it normally is. If I can get 7 hours a night, that’s usually enough for me. I tend to sleep well and get into a deep sleep fairly quickly. My average resting heart rate is slightly up this week. I am not sure why, other than it was a little stressful outside of training. I don’t think I was sick, so my fitness level and weight should have seen the bpm drop. So to be slightly up is an anomaly. There were two days in particular that brought that up. Things have settled and I’m seeing improvement over the latter part of the week.
My protein intake is getting up and it took a slightly higher percentage of the daily calories. This is something I am keen to keep up. If I could get up to 30% of my calories as protein, it would be a good target to hit. Water intake at over 3.5. litres per day is plenty so that is fine as well.
The 30 minute yoga routine seems to be paying dividends. Although, on Sunday, i was feeling tight for much of the second half, it could have been far worse. Before the Berlin Marathon last year my back would have been spasming. At least it isn’t anymore.
My weight is really starting to head in the right direction. It’s important to note that training for a marathon PB isn’t just about weight loss. One must maintain muscle mass, which is why protein is such an important metric as is strength training. These core workouts will begin back this week.
Upcoming Week 12 Training for the London Marathon:
Tuesday: 6 miles easy
Wednesday: 13 miles steady
Thursday: 5 miles easy
Saturday: Parkrun + 3
Sunday: 15 miles LSD
Week 11 Metrics:
Friday Weigh-in: 155.8 lbs (-4.4 lb’s)
Average Resting HR: 46 bpm (+1 bpm)
Average Nightly Sleep: 6:55 (- 25 mins)
Average Daily Protein: 138g (+ 11 g/day)
Average Daily Water: 3571 ml ( – )
Total Weekly Miles: 72.05 miles
Click here to see last week’s metrics