I’m currently training for the 2013 BMO Vancouver Marathon and am one of the official bloggers. Each week I’m providing updates on my training and experience leading up to May 5.
For my first update I thought do a recap of my training so far, which is now in the 10th week.
After taking a break from running the first few weeks of November, I kicked off my 24 week training program on Nov 19, 2012. The first 6 weeks of training were relatively uneventful – mostly just short, slow, easy runs. This first block of easy training is called ‘base-building’ and is typical of most training programs. The idea is just to get the legs ready for the more intense training that will come later on. You want to make sure muscles and cardiovascular system have a solid base to work from, so you can then throw in longer distance runs, and high-intensity runs while minimizing the risk of injury. A lot of running injuries happen from trying to do too much too soon, so an extended base build is better than a short one.
During my base-building block, my runs were all at an easy jogging pace, at distances between 6km – 18km, 4 – 6 days a week. In weeks 4 & 6, I started throwing some strides into my runs to work on my form and muscle coordination at a fast pace – kind of a wake-up call for my body for the intense training that would be coming. I also like to throw in some jump-rope at the end of some short runs, and running stairs at a park near my house. I cycle about 22km each day to and from work, and have been taking an adult swim course, so those could be considered cross-training, but they’re very low intensity.
My total mileage for Dec was 191km or an average of 6km/ day.
At week 7, just after New Years, I started adding intervals into my training. I am now doing 2 ‘quality’ training sessions a week. These are days where I’m pushing my body to its limit, so it can then recover, adapt to the stresses placed on it, and come back stronger for the next workout (hopefully making me faster). An example quality session for me in this block of training would be something like:
2km warm-up at easy pace
5 x (5 minute intervals at 4:11/km pace with 3 minute recovery jogs)
1 hour easy pace
The other workouts during the week are shorter, and low intensity. My runs during the week are typically after work, in the nice cold dark. On the weekends, I like to get off the pavement and onto some North Shore trails so I’ve been spending lots of time on some of the flatter trails of the Lower Seymour Conservation Reserve. Its hard to beat on a sunny, crisp winter morning (top picture of this post)!
The only thing to worry about is the cougars, as evidenced by the tracks I saw on a section of a trail last week.
So that’s basically where I’m at so far. Soon my training will switch over to include less short intervals, and I’ll include more long, slow-distance (LSD) runs which are a must for any marathon training program, and also some tempo efforts.
The only set-back so far is that I’m a little worried about a nagging pain I got in my left leg after a track session last week, which I believe is my upper IT band. I’ve been foam-rolling and stretching it, and it appears to be getting better. Aside from some pain it hasn’t really hampered my running. If it gets worse I’ll likely see a massage therapist for some advice, but for now its been manageable.