Tag Archives: marathon training

T-10 Days Until the Marathon

Dundarave Run
10 days. That is all that stands between me and my first marathon. What a terrifying thought.

I’m almost ready. Or rather, I’m as ready as I’m going to be. I’ve started tapering now, so the focus is on staying healthy. In some ways it is liberating knowing that it’s too late to improve my fitness levels.

Right now the biggest weakness in my training is my low weekly mileage. The most I ran in any week was 67 km back in January, and that was the week I injured myself. Since then I’ve averaged 40-60 km a week. I wish I had run more, but there was never enough time and I was worried about reinjuring my calf.
Marathon Training Graph

I’m happy with how my workouts have gone. This week I recorded my fastest training times in the 1 km (3:17), 5 km (20:38), and 10 km (42:49) during my tempo and track workouts. So my speed is definitely where it needs to be to run a fast marathon. My worry is with my endurance.

My primary goal for the race is to run in 3:30. My secondary goal is to just finish. I’m going to spend the next 10 days doing some light running, eating good vegan food, and prepping for race day.

Homemade Energy Gel

Homemade Energy Gel
I’m experimenting with making my own energy gel as part of my marathon training. I need something to prevent me from hitting the wall (aka bonking) on my long runs. The commercial gels contain maltodextrin, fructose, and a bunch of chemicals that are hard to pronounce. I wanted something healthier that doesn’t make me want to gag.

I’m taking inspiration from the Thrive Diet and trying to make my own. I found a few recipes online (here and here), but I’ve been creating my own version.

Here’s V2 of my recipe.

Ingredients

  • 5 medjool dates
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup dulse
  • 1/2 banana
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp agave
  • 1 tsp molasses
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 2 tbsp papaya
  • 1 tsp maca powder

Steps

  1. Soak the dates in water for a few hours.
  2. Mix the soaked dates with the other ingredients in a food processor until smooth.
  3. Add the energy gel into two large (3 oz) GoToobs.
  4. Consume the gels on your workout. 6 oz was more than enough for a 3 hour run.

Soaking Dates Energy Gel in GoToobs

Reasoning

  • The dates, honey, agave, molasses, and fruit provide clean burning carbohydrates with varying glycemic index (GI) values between 15 and 62.
  • The dulse provides sodium and the banana provides potassium, to replace the electrolytes I sweat out. The papaya is there to aid digestion.
  • The lemon juice is mostly for flavour, but it also helps to clear out lactic acid.
  • The maca gives an additional energy boost.
  • The coconut oil is for taste and energy.

The coconut oil is the most confusing ingredient. I put 1/4 cup in my first batch and only 1 tbsp in my second. I added it because Brendan Brazier uses it in his energy gels, but I couldn’t figure out why. The fat you burn running is already stored in your body, not recently consumed. Then I read this on the Thrive Staple Foods List:

Medium-chain triglycerides in coconut burn like a carbohydrate, offering immediate energy.

Marathon Training – Week 10

UBC Trail Run
I ran for 30 km on Sunday, the farthest I’ve ever run. We went out to UBC, through the trails in Pacific Spirit Park, and back. It took 3 hours. I’ve never run that long before, so I had to figure out what to eat. I wanted something with real food in it, not chemicals, so I made my own homemade power gel. I adapted it from recipes and ideas in the Thrive Diet, combining lots of dates, coconut oil, dulse (seaweed), lemon juice, lemon zest, 1/4 banana, and a chunk of papaya. It looked disgusting, especially when I put it in a ziplock bag, but it tasted good and kept me going for 3 hours. I’ll have to get some GoToobs to pack it into next time so people don’t think I’m crazy.

My energy levels felt good, but my legs were hurting, especially after 20 km. I almost stopped running because my right hip flexor was so sore around km 25. But I mixed in some walking and shortened my stride and that helped enough that I was able to finish. I’m going to start doing exercises to strengthen the hip muscles.

The workouts on Tuesday and Wednesday were in monsoon-like conditions. I think the rain did a number on my phone. It’s been twitchy for a while, but after the rain it was really having problems. I sent it in for repairs, so we’ll see if the rain voids my warranty or not.

Day Distance (km) Workout Time Pace /km
Sunday 30.0 Long 3:01:27 6:02 map
Monday Yoga
Tuesday 12.0 Hills 1:00:00 5:33 map
Wednesday 10.0 Tempo 0:47:30 4:45 map
Thursday Strength
Friday Off
Saturday 5.5 Slow 0:33:06 6:02 map
Running Total 57.5 5:22:03 5:36

10 weeks done, only 7 more until race day. Let’s hope the weather improves. Last weeks results are here.

Marathon Training – Week 9

Stanley Park Seawall
My training is back on track. I ran 21.8 km on Sunday (half marathon distance) and felt good. My calf isn’t bothering me at all. Of course, new aches and pains have taken its place. Next week I think I’ll add a fourth run into my workout schedule.

Day Distance (km) Workout Time Pace /km
Sunday 21.8 Long 2:04:05 5:41 map
Monday Yoga
Tuesday 11.5 Hills 1:04:09 5:33 map
Wednesday 10.7 Tempo 0:56:55 5:19 map
Thursday Strength
Friday Off
Saturday Off
Running Total 44.0 4:05:09 5:34

9 week done, only 8 more until race day. I’m on the home stretch now. Last weeks results are here.

Marathon Training – Week 6

Walking and Cycling on the Seawall
I’m on the road to recovery. The soleus muscle in my left calf is still a bit sore, but I can run without pain. I’ve been doing a lot of strengthening and stretching exercises for my calves and hamstrings, and slowly building up the kilometres. I’m still far behind what the rest of the Running Room group is doing (they’re going on a 23 km tomorrow), but I’m catching up. My longest run was 10 km this week, without any issues.

Day Distance (km) Workout Time Pace /km
Sunday 4.4 Snowshoe 1:15:58 17:12 map
Monday 5.3 Steady 0:30:33 5:43 map
Tuesday 7.4 Steady 0:43:10 5:49 map
Wednesday Off
Thursday Physio
Friday Off
Saturday 9.9 Steady 0:51:55 5:13 map
Running Total 22.6 2:05:38 5:34

6 week gone, 11 more until race day. Last weeks results are here.

Marathon Training – Week 5

Cambie Running Room Run Club
Back of left lower extremityAfter a few days of rest I went running again on Sunday. My achilles felt good for the first half of the run, but after 10 km I noticed it was getting sore (especially on the hills) so I stopped running and took the bus home.

It was sore for two days after and I haven’t been running since. On Thursday I went to see a physiotherapist. The good news I don’t have achilles tendinitis and should be able to run the marathon. The bad news is I’m still injured. I have a strained calf muscle where it meets the achilles.

The recovery path includes lots of stretching, strengthening, and slowly adding back running. I have three exercises to stretch and strengthen my calves, hamstrings, and hips – calf raises on the stairs with bent and straight knees, a dynamic stretch against the wall for my hamstring, and side stepping with a resistance band around my ankles to strengthen my hip muscles. Next week I’m going to add running back in, starting at 5 km, mixing 5 minutes of running with 1 minute of walking, and working up from there until I catch up to the Running Room run clinic (they’re up to 20 km on Sundays now). I’m also going to add strength training at the gym and runners yoga into my schedule.

Day Distance (km) Workout Time Pace /km
Sunday 11.8 Long 1:07:12 5:42 map
Monday Off
Tuesday Injured
Wednesday Strength
Thursday Injured
Friday Injured
Saturday Injured
Running Total 11.8 1:07:12 5:42

5 week downs, 12 more until race day. Last weeks results are here.

Marathon Training – Week 4

Cambie Running Room Run Club
Finger InjuryThis week we had a chiropractor talk to our marathon clinic about injury prevention. And then I went and injured myself. We were doing speed work around Charleston Park and I wiped out in a corner and ripped up my hand. Not a bid deal. What is a big deal is how my ankle felt the next morning. At first I thought it was just stiff so I went running anyway on Wednesdday night, but after 3 km I knew something was wrong.

I’m pretty sure I have achilles tendonitis. It seems pretty mild, but I need it to heal fully if I plan on running a marathon. So I stopped running, focusing instead on hip stability exercises. By the end of the week my achilles felt good. I tried doing the Sunday long run (Week 5 spoiler alert), and it felt good at first but after 12 km I could feel my achilles starting to ache again. I stopped immediately and took the bus home. Obviously I need to give it more than 4 days to heal, spend some time strengthening it, and figure out the root cause of the problem.

Running Into the TunnelI’ve never had achilles problems before, but I’ve never run 50+ km a week. From what I’ve read, the cause is probably a combination of a sudden increase in running, too much speed work, my new running shoes, and the 5 km I ran in my Vibram’s. I might buy a new pair of shoes if I can find something that puts less strain on my achilles.

Day Distance (km) Workout Time Pace /km
Sunday 16.9 Long 1:28:45 5:15 map
Monday Off
Tuesday 9.5 Speed 0:50:49 5:19 (avg)
3:44 (peak)
map
Wednesday 3.1 Steady 0:17:28 5:34 map
Thursday 0 Injured
Friday 0 Injured
Saturday 0 Injured
Running Total 29.5 2:37:02 5:19

4 week downs, 13 more to heal and get marathon ready. Last weeks results are here.