Hi there everybody! As Chasing Zest’s founder, I hope that you are finding that the site offers plenty of inspiration and helps you to feel motivated enough to get out there and be active. Ok, the summer months are not exactly the easiest time to get outdoors, but with a little planning, some early mornings and some serious grit, you can still at least try to maintain your fitness in preparation for those glorious winter months. We are nearly there!
As I have the Berlin Marathon approaching in a mere six weeks (yikes), I thought it would be nice to introduce a mini-series for those who are interested in running or would like to take it up as a hobby once the weather cools a little. My training before this point was really just getting back into running again after Comrades Marathon two months ago, and I also had to have an easy week recently due to some Achilles issues, which I hope are now mainly resolved.
So, this week just gone is what I would class as my first intense week of training, with some marathon pace efforts and a 33km long run. It’s certainly challenging, training throughout the summer months, but I really believe that this can be beneficial if done safely. Most of my runs are indoors, but I do run outside for easy efforts at least once or twice a week.
I have two main goals for Berlin:
☆ To run a sub 3:30 time (my previous best is 3:37 in Chicago last year – the last marathon I ran).
☆ To achieve negative splits, running the second half faster than the first.
I have run five marathons to date and two ultra marathons, so I guess you could call me an experienced runner. Needless to say, if you are just starting out, it’s better to start with a less intense programme so that you don’t end up burnt out and injured. I’m working with a coach, Matt Flaherty, who I’ve been training with (virtually, he lives in the US) since November.
So, here’s how my week went!
Berlin Marathon Training – Six Weeks To Go!
Monday, 7th August
This was actually my birthday! Luckily, I enjoy a birthday run, so I hopped on the treadmill for 10km at an average pace of 5:09/km. This felt good, and of course for my birthday meal later that evening I ate ALL the food.
Tuesday, 8th August
What I like to call a slight ‘life deviation’ happened today. My dog had to have dental surgery, and as he needed a general anaesthetic, I didn’t get my planned workout done. No worries, as I could easily slot it in tomorrow instead.
Wednesday, 9th August
So, time to get yesterday’s work out done. Again I headed to the gym to use the treadmill, as I know that at the moment there’s no way I can maintain faster paces outdoors due to the heat and humidity. After a 2km warm up, I ran six sets of 1500m. Each 1500m consisted of 500m at marathon pace, 500m at faster than marathon pace, and 500m at marathon pace again. After 3km of this, I had a three-minute rest before blasting out another 3km and then another. I was pleased to average a pace of 4:49 per km for this 9km in total, and finished with a 1km cooldown, totalling 12km for the day. After that, I treated myself to a ‘build your own’ salad at Nathalie’s Coffee & Kitchen, which is conveniently located at the gym.
Thursday, 10th August
The downside of doing Tuesday’s workout yesterday, of course, was that I had another tough work out today. This was not exactly ideal, having two significant efforts so close together, but I bit the bullet and again headed to Fit Republik for a date with my friend the treadmill.
On today’s agenda was a 10km progression run, when every kilometre gets faster and faster until the end. I warmed up with a 3km jog and then started at a pace of just under 6 minutes per km. By the end, I was running at around 4:20/km and those last 3km were truly dreadful. That’s the thing about progression runs; they lull you into a false sense of security during the easy first half and then bite you big time towards the end. I do think that they are fantastic for working towards negative splits in a race though, so they are worth the pain. The 10km progression averaged out at 5:04/km and I finished with a 2km cooldown, meaning a 15km total for the day.
I also went to a strength training for endurance athletes class at Up And Running that morning. Got to keep everything strong and injury free!
Friday, 11th August
Finally, a day away from the treadmill! As it was just an 8km easy run that was planned, I joined my running group at the Meadows at 6am. The weather was bearable, and we did a bit of a loop that ended up being 13km instead of 8. Whoops!
Saturday, 12th August
The day of doom. A 30km treadmill run lay ahead of me. To be honest, I didn’t hydrate properly the day before, which was to result in a massive headache after the run. I did the first 21km at a steady-ish pace of about 5:30/km, hopping off the treadmill briefly at 10 and 20km in order to drink, have a gel and stretch my back a little.
21km-30km were run at goal marathon pace, and this was TOUGH! I seriously couldn’t wait for it to end. Then, I finished with a 3km cool down to total 33km at an average pace of 5:21/km. When I got home, I attempted to put my legs up the wall, but the sun started burning the soles of my feet! As I said, I felt ill for the rest of the day and ended up going to bed at 8 pm.
Sunday, 13th August
Other than my strength training class, Sunday was a rest day. I really feel like I needed this one in order to recover ready for next week.
Tune in next week to find out how my training goes! Huge kudos to all those athletes out there who continue to train during adverse weather.