In three weeks I’ll be running the Berlin Marathon and I’ve decided to write this post about how training has been progressing.
The build-up for Berlin began after my last main race, the Gold Coast Half Marathon.
A 12-week specific block with no main races in there.
My 67.44 result at the GC was nothing special from a half marathon perspective.
Looking at it with the focus on the full marathon though, it’s still a decent time, moving at a much quicker pace than I’d be looking to go through Berlin at the halfway mark.
On top of that I identified I wasn’t absorbing enough iron and have been smashing supplements and eating steak to get my iron levels, and with that my energy levels, back up.
My depressing blog posts back then were literally writing on the virtual wall, I had no energy and thought it was because I was busy with life.
Blood tests revealed it was more than that and it’s been something I’ve been working to address.
Since then I’ve been working pretty hard with running and work and keeping a low profile with other commitments.
Pretty much if I haven’t been at work I’ve been running – or recovering.
I’ve also been keeping my training details closer to my chest with this block (unless you follow me on the online strava network where all my training is documented – and if you are, get a life).
Leading up to Melbourne Marathon last year every tweet, Facebook status or blog post was about my marathon debut. This time around I’ve been more tight lipped and staying away from the hype and just getting the work done.
Maybe it’s because the marathon smashed me last time and I don’t wanna act too cocky and give it a reason to smash me again and take the tally to marathons 2, Brady zero.
Therefore, to give a bit of detail away, this will be a post talking running, for all those running nerds out there, documenting some of the work I’ve been doing to get myself ready to go against the marathon again.
One of the first things I did when I was mapping my training out for this marathon block was to ask advice from Josh Harris and Mark Kirwan, two blokes I really respect and who have experienced success over the marathon distance in their second or third attempts.
I’ve raced both many times so I shot them a couple of emails and asked what they believed were the keys to their success in lowering their times.
Mark raced Berlin last year and took his PB from 2.23 at the Melbourne Marathon (I actually paced him to halfway in 1.10) the year before down to 2.19 at Berlin.
Josh, in my opinion is the hardest trainer in Australia. He is really pushing the boundaries with his training, has also clocked a 2.20 marathon in Japan and will be running Berlin as well.
Both were great in responding with advice and together with my training advisor, Richard Gleisner, a 2.17 marathoner, we put together a bit of a plan.
Both Mark and Josh added longer workouts to their training blocks so I added these as well, alternating some longer workouts with the traditional Australian marathon approach that has worked for the likes of Deke and Mona.
At Melbourne, in my debut I was feeling great until 35km and this time around I wanted to prepare better for that last 7km so a focus on strength was more evident than speed.
Leading up to Melbourne I was doing some great speed sessions.
Quarters (8x400m, 200m float) and Mona Fartlek were staples and I was running at 3.00 pace in these sessions, week in, week out, and felt very speedy.
In the end, though, these workouts, which were over in 15-20 minutes, didn’t expose my body to how the legs feel after and 1.50.00 of marathon running.
This time around I’ve had four big marathon specific sessions and am feeling tougher and stronger.
They were all around 30km and in them I was spending a significant amount of time working at marathon pace or a touch quicker.
Sometimes they have been more specific long runs rather than just easy jogging and other times they’ve been longer tempo/rep type sessions.
They’re maybe not as sharp and fast but they’ve made me marathon strong and given me much more confidence.
My long runs this time around have also been of higher quality, working at 3.50km pace and feeling relaxed rather than really jogging at 4.15-20 pace.
They were changes I had to make to mix it up physically and mentally. I was getting over doing the same training week in, week out both as a mental drain and my legs were just banging out the same times in them most weeks.
I have also increased my weekly mileage and been stoked with how my body has responded. I’ve been much less fatigued during the days after hard runs than I was leading up to Melbourne. I haven’t needed to nap once!
My last 14 weeks I’ve averaged 180km per week, with seven of those weeks between 190 and 197km.
That’s a lot of running in what has been a terrible winter for running. Once again this demonstrates mental strength, discipline and determination.
The next few weeks I’ll put the icing on the cake.
This next week I’m back to 150km and then the following week 130km, then we hit race week in Deutschland.
Stop watches don’t lie and mine tells me I’m as fit as I’ve ever been.
The marathon is a beast, and there are no guarantees of a good result, but having a crack at one fit puts me in a great position to try my hardest.
I honestly don’t have a goal time in my mind yet, over the next few weeks I’ll sit down and make a race plan and then come up with something.
This experience in Berlin is going to be amazing, I’m truly grateful to the Moama Bowling Club for making it possible for me and I can’t wait to get there.