Week 1/18 for Hamilton Marathon

This past week was the first of my eighteen week training cycle for the Hamilton Marathon. I’ve set an insane, aggressive goal of 2:28 (a 13 minute PB) and that’s what gets me out of bed at 5:30am or convinces me to finish a tough workout.

I’ve taken Jack Daniels’ two quality workouts per week plan and shuffled around the weeks a bit to fit my schedule better. Here was week one:

Planned mileage: 95 miles with two workouts.

M: 13.5 miles easy (6:58/mile).
Tu: 18.5 miles with 8E (easy), 3T (threshold), 2E, 1.5T, 4E.
W: [AM] 7.7 miles easy with the St Clair Secondary School cross country team. [PM] 4.9 miles easy with my son in a jogging stroller.
Th: 10 miles easy (6:58/mile) with 6 strides.
F: 10 miles easy (7:07/mile) with form drills and 4 strides.
Sa: 21 miles with 5E, 6M (marathon pace), 1T, 5M, 1T, 1M, 2E.
Su: 10 miles easy with my daughter in a stroller.

In total, right on my target of 95 miles.

The Tuesday workout was supposed to be a 2x 4-mile threshold run but the only time I could fit this in was in the middle of the afternoon when it was over 30°C and I couldn’t maintain the paces in that heat. I was hoping to hit 5:32/mile for the threshold intervals but barely made 5:40/mile for the first set and shut it down after three miles. Then struggled to keep it under 6:00/mile for the second set, which I called after only a mile and a half.  I still count it as a good workout considering the conditions as I got my heart rate over 170 bpm for a bit.

The Saturday workout was absolutely perfect. It was much cooler at 6am and there was just a soft breeze. After a five mile jog warmup, I picked it up for the first 6-mile marathon pace segment and was on target for the paces. At 10 miles, I ate a gel and turned around to head home. The first T mile came up and I felt like I had another gear and cruised through that mile without much trouble. Then back to a comfortable M pace for five miles. The last T mile was a little tougher but I convinced myself to keep it up as there was only one more mile of work left before cool-down.

I was expecting this to be another failed workout but it turned out to be one of my best workouts ever. My work paces were 6M@(5:51, 5:52, 5:49, 5:49, 5:45, 5:48), 1T@(5:28), 5M@(5:47, 5:47, 5:47, 5:49, 5:48), 1T@(5:35), 1M@(5:46) and the targets were 5:49 for M and 5:32 for T. In that 21 mile run, I ran a new unofficial half marathon PB of 1:15:28 which I’ll take as a sign that I’m on the right track. Also, a 6:15/mile 21 miler in the first week of training bodes well (I hope) for this training cycle!

Next week is planned to be another 95 mile week with two tough workouts (21 w/ 2x3T and 17 w/ 6x1km and 6x400m).

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