Marathon Training: Week 20 | Steve Gurney

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Marathon Training: Week 20

The last hard week, the top of the hill!

This week is our pinnacle training week, our hardest of the program. After this hard week we will begin our taper. Congrats on all of your good work to date! Only 3 weeks to the marathon. Time to feel the excitement!

Find your race pace

Duncan’s noticed that he can find a good “gear”, or “zone” during his long weekend runs, and he felt like he could keep this up for a long time. That’s exactly what we’ve been teaching your body with the long sessions, in order that this concept of pacing yourself can transfer through to race day. However, race day pace for this zone will be a bit faster, and we’ll call this your race pace.

In the meantime, in our training, it’s important that your Saturday long run is very EASY pace. Our cake is not ready to rise until another 3 weeks. We’re not doing race pace over long duration until marathon race day itself. You can practice race pace in your shorter runs mid week. Race pace and duration will come together on race day like the final baked cake. The icing on your cake will be the freshness you have from taper and the excitement of race day.

Keep your iron levels high

Duncan’s also noticed he gets really hungry after his long run. This is all normal, but it’s really important to have a good, nutritious meal after hard training, rich in protein and carbohydrate. Red meat and veges would be ideal. Remember to keep your iron intake high during these hard weeks, easiest iron absorption is red meat, vitamin C and avoiding caffeine around meal times. Duncan might also like to try eating a little more whilst actually out run training.

Test Powerade before race day

Race drink stations will have water and Powerade. You might like to test Powerade in training to see if you could use it on race day. Or you can carry your own sachets and food of choice. I prefer to take my own sachets, in a small waist bag or fuel belt, drinking water provided by the race, as I can guarantee that this fuel will work for me.

Prevent chafing and blisters

Duncan has found his cotton socks get a bit “sloppy” on longer runs and also when it rains during training, and he nearly got blisters. So he’s splashed out on some nice moisture-wicking merino socks. That is a fantastic and worthwhile investment. Of course, do NOT use new ones on race day, wear them in training first.

He’s also been practicing his long runs with the shorts he plans to race in to check that they don’t chafe his crotch.

GurneyGoo, anti-chafing, anti-blister goo is also perfect for training and race day. www.gurneygoo.com.

Week Twenty training schedule:

This is it! The toughest week of the lot! Only 3 weeks to the marathon!

So that means you’ll be able to put in that extra effort this week, knowing that it can only get easier after this week. Remember to practice all of your race breakfast, race food, and race apparel in training, including grabbing cups of drink and drinking it whilst jogging.

Day Date Exercise
Thr 30 Oct

Warm-up jog; 15 minutes

Intervals x 7 of the following:

3 mins hard; pace, unable to converse. Ideally up a hill

3 mins easy jog or walk, recovery; could be back down the hill to start again.

Warm-down jog; 15 minutes

Fri     31 Oct

Well earned REST DAY.  Treat yourself to a recovery sports massage, especially concentrating on tired / tender muscles. 

Sat     1 Nov

35 - 40 kilometers; long, easy endurance run / jog.

Start at 8 am.

Eat breakfast 2 hours prior.

Pace yourself to jog or run the entire time, (no walking) to show yourself the discipline for race day.

Soft trails such as dirt, gravel, grass etc to avoid injury.

Stretch straight after, and ideally get a massage to aid recovery.

Sun     2 Nov

Easy walk or hike, eg with friends or family. 60 to 90 mins. Make it scenic and fun.

Important to make it easy, to help recovery from yesterday’s long session. Alternatively, an easy bike ride or swim, or easy jog 45 mins.

Mon 3 Nov

Warm-up jog; 15 minutes

Intervals x 7 of the following:

3 mins hard; pace, unable to converse. Ideally up a hill

3 mins easy jog or walk, recovery; could be back down the hill to start again.

Warm-down jog; 15 minutes

Tue    4 Nov

Warm-up 10 mins brisk walk or easy jog

Time Trial #16. Time to really step it up.  Aim to "smash" your previous time. Your best Time Trial ever.  Do this in the morning if possible.

Warm-down 10 mins walking. Record your time.  Notice the overall improvement from Time Trial #1

Wed 5 Nov

Steve’s Strength and conditioning clinic:

5:30pm sharp! til 6:30 pm Meet 5:25pm at the Tennis courts on the grassy banks Lake Avenue, Frankton, Queenstown.

Alternative: 60 mins, easy pace jogging with fartlek = speed play.. with 4 x5 mins effort (fast run) in the middle.  Undulating small hills.