This will be that kind of training progression documentation thread that I personally enjoy to read, as well
as a lot of others here. Usually they end in disappointment, major injury or OP disappearing. I can promise
I will be honest and will try my best to keep it updated (probably weekly?). I cannot guarantee the outcome,
but that's what makes it interesting, right?
Me: 44 y.o. male. 5'10/148 lbs currently. Olympic sabre fencer years 9 to 26, made it to sub-elite level. Pretty intense sport.
Then I started lifting weights, ended being competitive powerlifter, with PBs of about 573 - 364 - 605 (squat-bench-deadlift, single ply 82.5kg/182lbs weight class) at age 38.
At 41 I watched a friend run Berlin marathon and decided I want to try it. 42km for 42 years of age, you know, deep symbolic meaning bs kind of thinking.
Did my first real run at the end of September 2018, trying to test how long I can run without training. Bad idea, I know. I made it almost to 12 miles at about 10 min/mile. It was painful.
Fast forward to March 2019, I built to about 40mpw and ran 3:29:24 at Barcelona Marathon. I was hooked. I started reading a lot about running, particularily on marathons. Initial fast progress is a very sweet thing and it motivates you a lot.
September 2019, exactly after a year of running, 3:20:09 at Berlin.
October 2020, two years, 3:09:01 at Helsinki (about 65mpw on average).
Other PBs to date: 18:32 5k (time trial on the track), 39:25 10k (tt on the track), 1:05:03 10 miles (failed half TT on the roads), 1:28:46 half (TT, not really a full effort, but it ended being a PB due to lack of racing opportunities).
- Long term - get close to my limit and be competitive age group runner with focus on longer stuff, especially marathon.
- Mid term - qualify for Berlin as a "fast runner". That's sub 2:50 at 45. I really hope I can hit that in 2021 in Frankfurt, end of October. But I realize it might take longer.
- Short term: sub 3 1k, sub 5 mile. Sub 18 5k, sub 37 10k. Sub 3 marathon.
I realize I am in the race against time. I have no idea how long it will be possible for me to improve my times, but hopefully another 3-4 years.
To achieve this, I am trying to:
- raise my mileage to as high as I can safely tolerate
- raise my LT as high as possible
- improve my top speed and maintain it there
Last 3 months I increased my mileage significantly and currently plan to stay in the 80-90 range for this "season". I had a sprained ankle before that and had to crosstrain for 3 weeks, then build up gradually to my previous level of 65mpw, then it was like that:
64, 81, 89, 54, 80, 89, 69, 75, 82, 86, 68. You get the idea.
I try to do at least 1 top speed/power workout per week. Either sprints of 80-200m on the track or hill sprints of 8-10 seconds. For me this seems to give good results: I went from about 16sec 100m/31-32 200m all strained to consistent 13.xx/28.xx feeling pretty relaxed (jogging start, no blocks of course). 400m was 69.xx, now it's 66.xx even though my pacing sucks and I die at 300m. I feel I can maybe decrease it to 62-61 in the near future, but we'll see.
Switching to spikes for sprints is probably part of it, but not the most important part.
Another thing I try to do weekly is LT intervals at about 10k/CV pace. I try to progress either number of 1ks or rest from 400 jog to 200 jog. Currently at 5x1ks with 200 jog. Plan is to probably progress speed and length of intervals later on.
Long run is the 3rd thing I do weekly, trying to run it a bit faster than easy pace and progress to MP if feeling good in the later stage. Right now it's built to about 2hr-2:20 range (17-18 miles), naturally that will change closer to the target marathon race.
General mileage is being run by feel, I try to double a lot, so the general schedule looks like that:
Mon easy double
Tue easy double, maybe progress in pm if feeling good. Sometimes hill sprints in the pm
Wed easy double, maybe progress in pm if feeling good and didn't on Tue
Thu easy double
Fri on the track: speed, then a little rest, then LT intervals
Sat easy single
Sun long run
Last friday I ran a 3:16 1k TT in spikes. Obvious pacing issues, splits were 75 + 84 + 38 and 2nd lap I tied up pretty badly, but I feel there's a lot of potential to improve. I think maybe I need to start running some 400s to dip under 3 minutes in 1k and 5mins in a mile.
I also plan to add a tempo run on tuesdays now that I'm adapted to increased mileage, probably starting with MP and then getting down to HMP/10k in a month or two.
My first race of the season is 10k at 31st of May, if it happens at all that is. If not, I can always run another TT :)
Any suggestions are welcome! Trolling is ok, if you need to
Week 17. Another decent training week. 80 miles/7:51/132bpm. TRIMP 914
(TRIMP for me: under 700 - down week, 700-900 - medium, 900+ - high, 1000 - highest ever)
Wed pm: progressive 7.8 miles down to 6:11, average 7.
Fri: speed maintenance: 2x100(13.x, 14.x), 1x200(29.x). Planned to do Yasso's, but felt totally empty, aborted after 2nd. Did some fastish 400 to work on pacing.
2x800 (2:59, 3:08) - 400 jog in between.
4x400 (102, 79, 77, 79) with full HR recovery
Sun: 18 miles at 7:28, felt pretty good until the last mile
This is fantastic. Seems like you're getting some pretty solid training in. I'd do some half marathons this summer (1 or 2) to gauge fitness before Berlin unless you just want to complete it.
Thanks. I have a couple halfs scheduled, and another couple of 10ks. I actually plan to run Berlin half and Frankfurt full, so that's end of August and end of October. If covid don't rob us of another season.
Week 18. Moderate load, took it easy midweek as I felt tired.
75 miles/8:19/128bpm. TRIMP 808
Hill sprints x6
Hill repeats of about 250m x4 (320, 338, 330, 333watts). That's the power equivalent of about 1500m pace on the flat
Felt kinda wasted by this effort. I guess flats fit is not hills fit.
5 quick strides
3x800 (2:54, 2:59, 2:56) with 400 jog
~5 min rest
2x1k (3:49, 3:43) with 200 jog
~5 min rest
2k in 8min
Sun: heat acclimation/time on the feet kind of long run: 18 miles@9min/mile
Week 19. Moderate load. Some good moderate running first half of the week.
73 miles/8:11/129bpm. TRIMP 788
Hill sprints x4
Hill repeats x5 ~250m (346,341,344,344,361watt)
Legs pretty tired, muscular issues.
Friday I did a hike in Saxony's Switzerland with some rock climbing.
Legs dead afterwards, had to stop long run on Sunday at 12 miles.
5k time trial planned for the next week after I recover.
Week 20. I was planning to create a mini-peak next week, but my 10k race on 30 of May got cancelled, I only learned that on Friday night, so I had to adjust my plans, scratched a 5k TT and did a 10k TT instead.
70 miles/7:47/131bpm. TRIMP 773
Did some light progressions throughout the week, and a lot of strides, but no real workouts.
Thursday worked on my sense of pace a little, doing 3x200 in 37, 39, 40 and 1x800 in 2:45 (80 + 85). Aim is to make those 80 second laps even paced and automatic.
Saturday TT 10k in 38:42. According to calibrated Stryd, not GPS.
Track was closed, so I had to run suboptimal route with some bumps and 3 180* turns. Weather pleasant, a bit windy.
Died a little in 2nd half (19:12 + 19:30). But almost a minute PR, I'll take it.
Funny thing was that my average hr was only 158bpm, my normal 10k hr from last seasons is 162. Seems I am very anaerobically weak right now.
Sunday 12 miles@7:56 on very tired legs.
The next (possible) race is far away at July 31st (5k). Plans for the next weeks include getting back into 80-90 mpw range and getting more 5k pace into my schedule, to get that efficiency boost before diving full into marathon specific work.
Week 21. Mostly just trying to recover, slowing down
70 miles/8:22/128bpm. TRIMP 758
Tue: tempo 8 miles@6:44 in rain and hail, finished strong and felt good
Fri: long-ish run 16miles@7:56. Kinda died in the end.
Sun: 13 miles slow hilly run in the runner's paradise (Hamburg Altona park)
Week 22. Nothing spectacular, but solid work. Adjusting to heat.
88miles/8:20/131bpm. TRIMP 1011 (new highest ever, but it was partially because of higher temps this week)
3x100 (16.x, 15.x, 15.x) 1x200 (31.x)
5x400 (1:26, 1:24, 1:23, 1:23, 1:24) w 200 jog
2x1k (3:52, 3:53) w 200 jog
Sun: 19.2 miles of mixed road/forest trails, quite hilly and hot@8:27
Week 23. Somehow managed to fit 4 quality sessions into a week, nothing epic, but fitness is moving in the right direction.
80 miles/8:12/129bpm. TRIMP 864
Mon: surprisingly felt good in the am, so this became progressive tempo, 9,3miles@7:11@141bpm
Wed: 4x800 (2:46, 2:51, 2:48, 2:49) with 400m jog (around 2:10). Yeah, Yassos ;) I'm gently introducing my goal 5k pace into the mix. Right now it's probably closer to 3k pace, but every week feels easier
Fri: Speed in spikes. 2x100 (15.3, 14.3), 2x200 (30.3, 29.8), 1x400 (65.4! about 1 sec pr just by pacing it a little better this time)
Sun: 18.7 miles@8:14 long run, started hurting around mile 14. Split a half in 1:37:55 during this though.
Week 24. Heat wave. Slowing down.
77.5miles/8:48/122. TRIMP 778
Tue: 1 mile TT on tired legs in 5:45 (big PR, yay. I just never gave it a go before). Then 4km tempo@6:39 (between MP and HMP effort on this day).
Fri: Speed in spikes
5x100 (15.6, 13.9, 13.8, 14.6, 14.3)
4x200@800m pace (38.3, 35.1, 35.9, 34.7) with 200 walking rest
Sun: 17 miles very slow long run, felt like glycogen was not even there at the start of it, averaged 113 bpm for the whole run (my normal easy pace is ~135).
Week 25. Kind of a down week. Did two solid workouts Wed and Fri, feeling sluggish afterwards.
66 miles/8:36/126bpm. TRIMP 719
5x800 (2:50, 2:55, 2:51, 2:54, 2:52) with 400m jog
4x1000 (3:43, 3:46, 3:46, 3:42) with 200m jog (about 70 sec)
A bit too fast, would rather slow down and do 1-2 more, but it felt natural after doing 5k pace 2 days ago
18.7 miles very slow@9:36, started it already low on glycogen, felt completely depleted after
Week 26 has been a disaster. Not sure if I overcooked myself or was it a Moderna jab I took on Monday, just didn't have much running in me this week.
47 miles/8:32/127bpm. TRIMP 520
Took Fri and Sat off, thought to run a half marathon TT on Sun, but I didn't have it in me.
Only managed 5k at goal pace (19:55) and it felt like 10k pace on this day, heart rate was about 10 beats higher than normal. Hope next week is better.
Week 27. Felt about normal by the end of it, but running efficiency is still worse than 2 weeks before.
78miles/8:00/135bpm. TRIMP 973
Fri: 5k pace 1ks
4x1k (3:38, 3:42, 3:49, 3:43) with 400 jog. Regressed from 2 weeks ago.
Sun: 19.3 miles@8:00
Week 28. Still struggling.
75miles/8:49/126bpm. TRIMP 840
Half marathon effort intervals
2x3k (4:01, 4:01, 4:02), (4:07, 4:04, 3:56) with 2 min jog rest
Felt surprisingly good despite the heat, heart rate in 10k range though
5k pace 1ks
4x1k (3:39, 3:41, 3:45, 3:44) with 400 jog. About same as last week, but it was at 72 vs 65 Fahrenheit
Totally failed my long run, had to do gallowalk of shame back home. Running part of it equalled to a little over 16 miles in 2:50.
On the brighter side, some cooler days next week! I have a 5k race in 2 weeks, hope I can bounce back to feeling good for it to run a PR. Then it's real marathon prep for 3 months.
Week 29. Tapering mileage a bit for the 5k race next Sat.
63miles/8:04/130bpm. TRIMP 710
5k pace 1ks
5x1k (3:32, 3:41, 3:40, 3:39, 3:38) with 400 jog
3000m TT@10:37 (3:32 1k pace). At about 70 Fahrenheit. Big PR. Felt controlled.
Question: considering workouts above, can I dip below 18 in a 5k next Sat if weather is ok?
Week 30. Experimented with sharp taper to try and be real fresh. Maybe that hurt me more than helped :)
29 miles/7:50/133bpm. TRIMP 360
Sat. First race in a long time. First 5k race ever. Weather warm, about 72, but no sun so it felt pretty comfortable. Started too fast, I was just not used to running on fresh legs. I tried to dial the pace back a bit, but still came through the first 1k under 3:29. Then I began to slow down, 2nd k was 3:45, third around 3:50. I was ready to give it all in the last 2k, but that's when I began to feel my right side. I am prone to side stitches, so I popped a tab of No-Spa (antispasm medicine), but it was too late. At 3.80 the pain was too sharp and I had to stop. Walked for about 2 minutes, then I could run again. Last 1k was in 3:28. Final time 19:59. Huge disappointment. I was not in sub-18 shape, but I was ready for a PR, 18:10-18:20 on that day.
On the bright side, I was 3rd in my age category and I somehow ran a PR in a mile during this disaster: 5:39.
Next week a 10k race, but now I am starting real marathon preparation, so there will be not much of a taper.
Week 31. My marathon got cancelled on Monday. I gotta admit my motivation took a hit, but I think I recovered from that. Registered for another one in December. In other news: I suck at racing when I'm not doing enough miles. I get too speedy and my endurance takes a big hit.
Wed: 8km@7:03 kind of broken tempo. Felt pretty good.
Sun: 10k race in 39:46. Sun felt pretty hot, but overall conditions not that bad at around 68.
Just could not hold the pace I thought I should be able to. At 500m to go got hit by side stitches again, but this time I didn't lose much time to it. Covered 200 meters in a minute with 2 walking breaks, then I was able to push myself through the pain into weak final kick. All in all, maybe 25 seconds lost. Splits 19:27 + 20:19 tell the sad story of lost strength.
Berlin Half in 2 weeks! I need to focus on recovery, mileage and rebuilding the strength/LT, I feel like I have plenty of speed now. 5:20 pace feels like 5k pace, I just can't hold it for too long :) Tempos and cruise intervals are on the menu from now on.
Week 32. Another horrible training week. 2nd shot of Moderna killed me for 2+ days, had fever, did not run. Now I am feeling like I'm detrained and have no endurance.
35 miles/8:30/128bpm. TRIMP 407
No workouts of note.
Congratulations on being fulyl vaccinated, and good luck on your HM. I think the timing is good - by the time you recover from the shot, it will be time to taper, so you'll go into the race extra fresh. I once went from a bad cold to a big HM PR with the same timing. Sorry about your canceled marathon, but this might be a good chance to re-evaluate your training.
Looking at your training and times, I think you've got some years of improvement left. You've got good top-end speed and you're doing a lot to build endurance. Your training looks really solid for 5K/10K. If you can run 3:32/km in a 3K time trial, I'm sure you can do it in a race at some point. Your mile PR looks soft to me too, but may you need some focused training to attack it.
For your HM and marathon, you haven't tried many workouts with intervals in the 3k-5k range. I only see the one 2x3k workout. Working up to 4x3k might help with your HM time, or 4x5k in marathon training. The other thing I'd look at is sustained tempo runs, which I think are necessary for marathon training and can pay off handsomely for 5K to HM. With regard to side stitches, maybe they would respond to working on core strength, or maybe the sustained effort required in a tempo run would help, but they seem severe enough that maybe it's something more serious. Have you ever asked a doctor about them?