Weeks 1+2 for Ottawa Marathon

I haven’t posted about training in a while because for the last few weeks I’ve just been doing easy, base running. That’s all now behind me and I’m getting to the good stuff.

Base Building


After five weeks off, I spent five weeks running more each week. I started with a week of 2.5 hours of running (21 miles), then 3 hours (24 miles), 4.5 hours (38 miles), 6 hours, (49 miles), and 7 hours (61 miles). Thanks to this extremely mild winter we’re having, the majority of those miles were on grass or the Howard Watson nature trail which has been easy on my legs. So far, everything is feeling good and no signs of the injuries I had in the fall.

Over that build-up period, I was happy to see my legs coming back and running getting smoother and easier. This time around, I’ve been using a heart rate monitor every run to keep my easy days easy (targeting <150 bpm) but also to track my fitness progress a bit. It’s nice to see that my pace at 150 bpm has dropped from 7:30/mile to 7:00/mile and over the last few weeks it’s been around 6:30/mile. I can tell I’ve still got a ways to go to make up for the training I missed this past fall.

Ahead of me, I’ve planned five 4-week phases; each week is loaded with six workouts or races to get me in what I hope is the best shape I can be in time for Ottawa but one of the weeks in each phase is more of a peak mileage week with no workouts.

I’ve used the workouts from Jack Daniels’ 4-week plan (55-70 miles/week) with a few modifications to make the workouts have a smoother progression. I’ve also scheduled things so that I have three days between (just about) every workout, giving my body as much time as possible to recover.

Week 1/22


Week 1 was basically just an extension of my build-up as it was a ‘big mileage’ week made up of all easy runs. I planned 8 hours of running but decided I needed a rest day on Sunday so only ran 7 hours (63 miles).

M: 60′ easy on trail [10′ core]
Tu: 90′ easy on trail [20′ mobility]
W: 60′ easy on trail w/ 5 strides
Th: 60′ easy on road [10′ core, 20′ strength, 30′ foam roller]
F: 90′ easy on trail w/ 7 strides [20′ mobility, 75′ foam roller]
Sa: 60′ easy on trail [60′ foam roller]
Su: Rest [10′ core]

Total: 7 hours, 63 miles.

After Saturday’s run, my right shin/tendon started to feel a little ‘rubby’ which was an issue I battled last spring so I got on the foam roller and lacrosse ball to loosen things up and took Sunday off. Thankfully, that seems to have done the trick and no more issues in that area.

Week 2/22

I had my first workout planned for Monday but I caught the flu from my son and could barely sit up, let alone run. I was able to juggle things around a little and still get two workouts in this week.

M: Sick
Tu: 60′ easy on trail
W: Workout 1: 2E, 3x1T, 5x1kmN, 8x200mR, 1E (Targets: T@5:24(81s/400m), N@3:05(74s/400m), R@33s)
Th: 45′ recovery on grass [10′ core, 20′ strength]
F: 60′ easy on trail w/ 6 strides
Sa: 75′ easy on road [10′ core, 20′ mobility]
Su: Workout 2: 30’E, 10M (Targets: M@5:40) [20′ strength, 20′ foam roller]

Total: 7 hours, 64 miles.

The first workout was pretty tough. I ran it on the St Pats high school track, fighting a decent wind on the N straightaway and the NW corner. I managed to run the 3 threshold (T) miles on target (5:24, 5:23, 5:24) but couldn’t find another gear for the 1km intervals and ran them roughly at the same pace (3:13, 3:21, 3:22, 3:23, 3:25). The 200m repeats were slow too at 36-37 seconds each.

It feels like I’ve lost a bit of higher-end speed which is a bit of a bummer but at the same time I don’t think it’s super important for the marathon training ahead of me (only 5 of 30 planned workouts have km intervals). When I look back through my training log, I see that I ran km repeats at roughly the same pace last January and then after my Waterloo Marathon training cycle (which didn’t have any km repeats), my next session of intervals was a lot better (more like 3:15-3:18). Hopefully I’ll see similar improvements after this training cycle.

The second workout I ran this week was a long (10 mile) marathon paced tempo run after a 30′ warmup. My target was about 5:40-5:50/mile and despite a strong wind and being a little overdressed, I gave it a good effort and averaged 5:51/mile. My heart rate was right where it should have been for marathon pace so I’ve got some work ahead of me if I want to get that pace down.

This type of workout is a key one that I’ll be building on. I’ll do it every four weeks or so, extending the warmup and work segments each time, until the final iteration which will be 50′ warmup and 16 miles at marathon pace.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. The next two weeks are more of the same with about 7 hours of running and two workouts per week. It seems that winter has finally arrived in southwestern Ontario, so hitting workout pace targets is going to be difficult and my focus will be on putting in good efforts.

Thanks for reading! Stay safe on those snowy roads if you’re out running!

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