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Week 4: BQ Training with Run Less Run Faster

Here is my report for week four of sixteen of my Outer Banks 2013 marathon training. I am following the 3:25:00 Boston Qualifier plan outlined in the book Run Less Run Faster.

To review week three, click here.

To review week two, click here.

To review week one, click here.

Short version: An awesome week. Right on target or better for all the runs.  For the tempo run (#2), I made sure the hills were manageable this week.  The long run (#3) was probably my best twenty miler ever.  A slight chink in the armor this week, though, as some familiar left foot soreness appeared after run #2.  It didn’t bother me on the long run, but I am taking extra precautions with ice and stretching. For the long version, keep reading.

Cross Training. Tuesday and Thursday

Successfully completed the two prescribed swim workouts. Got a reprieve from so many kick board laps. This week’s swims called for continuous swim and kick for 20 minutes.  I did 25 minutes one day and 22 minutes the other, mostly freestyle.

Grade: Pass

Run workout #1. Monday

At the high school track once again in 90 degree heat. This workout called for 5  x 10000m in 3:56 each.   Results:

  • 1000 #1: 3:48 (-.08)
  • 1000 #2: 3:50 (-.06)
  • 1000 #3: 3:51 (-.05)
  • 1000 #4: 3:55 (-.01)
  • 1000 #5: 3:54 (-.02)

Grade: A. Very tough workout in the heat.

Run workout #2. Thursday

Run #2 called for a six mile run: one easy mile warm up, then four miles at a 7:19 pace, then one mile easy cool down. This target pace for the four tough miles was 15 seconds faster per mile than last week’s pace, but it was one mile shorter.  After last week’s tough hill route, I went back to a flatter area.  Here are the results:

  • Mile 1: 10:00
  • Mile 2: 6:57
  • Mile 3: 7:11
  • Mile 4: 7:14
  • Mile 5: 7:05
  • Mile 6: 9:45

Grade: A. Average pace for the four fast miles: 7:06!  One of the more satisfying workouts so far.  I may have pushed a tad too much, but we had unusually cool August weather at 73 degrees. What a great break.

Run Workout #3. Saturday

The last run for the week called for the first of five twenty mile runs in the training program.  At an 8:49/mile pace, this was 15 seconds per mile slower than last week’s long run target pace but three miles farther.  I had planned to do this on Friday morning, but I awoke to heavy rain.  While I have done three hour runs in cold rain before (see my recent Fool in the Rain post), I decided to wait and see what Saturday’s weather would bring.

The wait gamble paid off.  The heavy rains had moved on, and I only had a cool mist to deal with.  Was it really August in South Carolina? Fifteen degrees cooler than last week, the 65 degree weather made a huge difference in my ability.   I managed a negative split (faster second half than first half) for the run and finished in 2:51:26, an 8:33/mile pace.

I probably shouldn’t have, but I pushed a little harder on the last five miles and completed those in an 8:04/mile average pace, including a 7:31 on the last mile.  OK, it was a tad down hill for the last mile, but I have never run a 20th mile that fast!

Grade: A+

Week Four Summary

Good news: One of my better training weeks ever. The weather was certainly a factor in such a good long run, but a November marathon should have similar, if not cooler, weather, so I believe I am seeing good progress.  The strong finish gave me hope that I can overcome my history of tanking after mile 18 in marathons.  I also experimented with additional calorie intake on the long run with Accel gels and Clif Shot Blocks.  These seemed to do really well.

Bad news: My nemesis left foot has been a little sore this week.  I’m hoping it is just a little bit of hamstring & calf tightness that pulls on those foot tendons.  It is pretty good one day after the long run, but I’ll keep stretching and icing.

Up Next

Here’s what is in store for week five:

Run #1: Track work. 3 x 1600m in 6:31 with 400m rest intervals.
Run #2: 2 miles easy, 3 miles @ 7:04/mile, 1 mile easy.
Run #3: 18 miles @ 8:34/mile

Cross Training:  5 x (Kick 2 lengths, rest 15 seconds, Swim 2 lengths, rest 30 seconds)

Runs #1 and #2 worry me this week.  This is the first time for 1600m repeats since week 1.  I just missed meeting the mark for miles two and three that week.  Run #2 is the fastest tempo speed yet, but the hard part is shorter.

Stay tuned and POFIFOTO!

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