Eleanor is training for her first marathon at the Gold Coast in a few weeks. She is a regular half marathon competitor. After uping her weekly mileage and her long run she has been experiencing some overuse injuries, back, calf and Achilles. Two key things that will be going on in Eleanor’s mind are; should I run the marathon in a few weeks and what should I do in the lead up given I am couch bound with ice packs as my best friend?
What you have described is not uncommon. To injure yourself after uping your mileage or intensity as you near the event is I am sure something many marathoners have experienced with anguish. Part of the challenge of the marathon is getting to the start line unscathed. If you can make it to the start line then you have already achieved a major goal!
I would seriously consider whether you should run the full marathon distance with a niggling Achilles in consultation with your physio/doctor. I hate to point out the obvious, but the marathon is a long way and hitting the ground in the same repetitive motion constantly for 42.2km isn’t good for the muscles, ligaments, tendons and bones at the best of times. Add to that an already inflamed Achilles tendon and the result could be long term damage.
My advice would be to set out a fitness assessment goal developed with your physio. You’ve noted; some 30min runs. Your goal should be to experience no pain in the Achilles at all during these runs. If you cannot achieve that goal then you need to seriously consider whether racing the marathon is meant to be right now.
You need to be in a position to work out whether the niggle you are experiencing is a serious injury or the body’s adaptation process. Only you and the physio can work that out as you learn your body and its responses to training.
From my experience, I hurt my pubic bone (osteitis pubis) after hurting my quad in the lead up to the Delhi Games last year. I favored my good side and subsequently developed a chronic condition which now needs to be managed ongoing. It takes a bit of the fun out of it all and I don’t wish that on you so be smart!
Wishing you the very best of luck if your pains settle and you get to run GC. I look forward to hearing how things go. I know this sounds easy for me to say and believe me I have already done this in 2011, but if you don’t get to run, replan, the next marathon is not far away.
P.S. I was wondering the same thing, re. Compression Socks. I have not trained in them so I cannot say either way whether they are worth the $$ It would be fun to try a good pair in training. Personally, I would avoid them in the warm weather and Gold Coast gets warm in the second half.
Half Marathon Preparation
Luke is contemplating running his debut half marathon but isn’t sure if he is ready. He is running 25km per week, with his longest run 12km. His speed is coming along nicely.
Competing in your first half marathon is very exciting. I don’t recommend doing a half until you are into your 20s so I am writing this assuming you are 20 something or beyond!
The question really is “what is your goal?” Is it to complete your first half marathon? As given you can run 4:30 per km for 12kms then you’ll complete the half, it is a matter of how fast and how much you will suffer during the aftermath having not ran the distance before in one go!
If you are wanting it to be a pleasant experience both during the race and the recovery I would recommend a bit more training before embarking on the half, particularly if you want to run a reasonable time.
Running is underpinned by goal setting and planning if you are running to achieve good performances and times. If you are unplanned and not sure what you are setting out to achieve then you will be setting yourself up for disappointment and/or injury.
You need to get yourself to running at least double your current weekly mileage before attempting a half. For a professional athlete that is very light, but for someone embarking on their first half recreationally don’t try to be too ambitious too early. Progress slow and steady. Try to creep up your runs a little during the week in terms of distance, but most importantly, focus on that 12km run. Try to do it on a Sunday and each week add an extra 500m or an extra 1km to it so you get yourself up to running 15-18km in one go.
In any given week only progress your mileage slightly. For example, if you are at 25km now, progress to 30km next week and repeat the week after. Then up it to 35km for 2 weeks and if all ok up to 40km for 2 weeks. Each week you need to judge how you feel before progressing.
When you’re comfortable with your increase in mileage think about doing some surges in pace during 1-2 of the shorter runs. When you increase intensity in a given week, don’t overdo the increase in volume.
Remember, listen to your body. If it is tired, don’t force yourself to do it. Take a rest day or go for a walk.
Feel free to touch base again!
Parusu is embarking on the Half Marathon in Perth in August and is looking for some advice on tempo/interval pace to achieve a time of 1hr 30min.
Your goal is that of many I am sure, a half marathon in 1hr30m is a fantastic achievement and I look forward to hearing how you go in August. The half marathon in Perth if it is the one at the City To Surf is very hilly so you need to remember to focus on some hill training as a flat tempo pace will differ from a hilly one.
A good site to use to assess the half marathon pace is http://www.users.on.net/~klima/rkcalc_hkm.htm. This allows you to type in your goal time and it provides the per 1k and 5k splits. You can then use this as a guide to plan out your training sessions.
Your per km pace for a 1hr 30m half is 4:16 which is 5km splits of around 21:20. In training you should be doing different sessions where you work in some sessions above the 4:16 per/km line for shorter intervals and below it for longer periods.
It is hard for me to advise without knowing what sessions you are doing, nor do I want to be a replacement for a coach. But one thing I would say is that your body is your best asset. A lot of my sessions I do by feel and I do the sessions at the same location so I can see improvement or decline straight away.
A good session you may want to incorporate into your overall training plan would be one where you start off with a warm up of 3km, run at a medium pace for the next 5km, run close to threshold for the next 5km, run at medium pace for the next 5km, then warm down for 3km. Do this by feel to start with, perhaps even with a heart rate monitor to get a base and record how you feel at each 5km interval. Then you have a baseline to assess yourself against when you try to session again.
Once again, you do need to remember to only incorporate this session if it fits in with your overall training plan.
As a side note: there is a tool on Runner’s World (http://www.runnersworld.com/cda/trainingcalculator/0,7169,s6-238-277-279-0,00.html) which allows you to plug in your goal times and it spits out training pace for temp/speed, etc. I am of the opinion that you should go by feel. But if you want to assess against a mathematic formula this online option is as good as any!
Parusu completed a half marathon recently in 1hr37m and despite running a pb by 6 mins is hungry for more (like all of us runners!). Parusu has a few questions:
1. I was already training 5-6 times/week with 3 quality sessions i.e. tempo, speed and long run and the max mileage per week I could get out of it was 60 -70ks/wk. How should I go about increasing that?
2. I realised that my tempo runs were too hard and correct me if I am wrong they should be slightly slower than 10k pace. How do I determine my tempo pace and how should I go about improving on it and setting a realistic target for a race?
Great to hear from you again and I am excited about your personal best. With us runners we are a special kind. We are never happy with our current time and always strive for more!
A few notes regarding your questions:
Cross Country Running
Brianna is an eleven year old school girl who started running cross country when she was eight. She came 15th in a competition in North Queensland and is looking for pointers about running, eating right and staying healthy.
It is wonderful to hear from you. Congratulations on progressing to the North Queensland competition and placing well. I started running as a young cross country girl too! Your quest for pointers about running, eating right and staying healthy is just what my monthly blog is all about on irun.org.au so hopefully I can answer your questions along the way. My next blog is all about returning to running after a lay off as I am currently returning from injury.
If you have anything specific you’d like to ask with regard to diet and staying healthy, feel free to send through your questions.
Sandy prepared a lovely email, indicating that my recent blog answered all her questions and concerns about gradually increasing her running mileage to consider a marathon in Oct (presumably Melbourne). She like so many irun members increased her distance and sustained an injury.
Sandy has common concerns around loosing condition and motivation during a period of injury and wants to know whether increasing distances on the same training route is better than perhaps picking unfamiliar training routes to prepare for the marathon.
So lovely to hear from you and I am even more pleased to know that you have gained some knowledge from my blogs. My key focus is to help ‘others learn from those before them’.
There’s no right answer to your question about familiarity versus some place new. You need to consider a few factors.
(i) If you run the same route you can measure your progress,
(ii) If you run the same route is it because of ease of access (eg. You may choose to run a lot at Princes Park each night because it is light or close to home)?
(iii) Is the new location a greater challenge (eg. hills involved for example, or a different surface)?
(iv) Are you bored with the same location?
Varying the location can have positive and negative impacts. I like to vary my locations across the week as the same place gets boring, but I do my faster paced sessions at the same two locations. I like to be able to compare one session from the next and in Winter we are limited to those places which have appropriate lighting as we train after work!
Hope this helps with your thoughts…