Tag Archives: Berlin Marathon 2013

Marathon Training Week 10 : Weekly Training Update

31 Jul

9 weeks to go…

Sincere apologies to my loyal readers, my usual Monday post is a few days late, but as you will see in a minute, I have a very good reason!!

My Plan:


What Actually Happened:

As you can see, this last week was a short week due to a trip to London we had planned for a friend’s wedding. Needless to say, this will be a shorter post than normal! Continue reading

Marathon Training Week 9 : The Joys of Runner’s Trots

22 Jul

10 weeks to go…

My Plan


What Actually Happened

This week was one of those good/bad weeks; good in the fact that I successfully completed each of the required runs at a reasonable pace and bad because it was a struggle to complete each run.

It had been another warm week and I did not sleep very well at all which meant that I struggled to get out of bed at 5:30am for my morning run. I was tired and lethargic during my runs as well so I had to push myself harder each kilometer than I would have normally.

On Wednesday morning I took the interval training on the road. I was a little bit silly and probably ran a little too fast (around 5:45 min/km) considering I was on the road and not on the grass, but I am fighting the overwhelming urge to run faster than I should. As I am getting more kilometers under my belt and as my legs are getting stronger (touch wood!) I want to run faster and to try again to aim for my 4hr marathon. My shins were a bit sore after this fast run so I know that I am not there yet. The Friday run was fairly uneventful. It was a struggle because I was tired and I was not in the right mood but I did what was required and recovered well again after the run.

On Saturday we helped a friend move house. She actually moved into our apartment and will be living with us for the next 6 weeks before she returns to Canada (boo!). I was on my feet all day until 8pm (very unusual since I have a desk job), cleaning the old apartment, moving boxes, running back and forth, on and off trams with suitcases etc, so needless to say my shins were aching on Saturday night. Nothing that an episode of Masterchef and lie down of the couch couldn’t fix though 🙂 Sunday morning and I was up at 5am again for a morning run. It was forecast to be 30 degrees and I desperately wanted to avoid an afternoon run however I was scheduled on to help out at church that morning which meant being ready at 9am hence the 5am wake up call. I had estimated that it would take me 2.5 hours to run the 22km at the suggested 6:50min/km pace and with the intention of being back home by 8am I set off at 5:30am. This week I was again running laps of the rugby field but it was an absolutely glorious morning with not a single soul in sight so I was thoroughly enjoying my run. I had even been able to empty my bowel the night before so I was pretty sure that I would not need to make a toilet stop this week. Boy was I wrong and at 11km I made my pit-stop. Since this is becoming quite a regular occurrence, I thought I would dedicate this post to this awful topic (apologies in advance). A bit more on that in a minute. I ran the first 11km at around 6:20min/km and the second half at an average pace of 6:10 min/km (again fighting the urge not to run faster). This was the first run where my legs (in general) have start to feel heavy and protesting and the last 4-5km were very tough indeed.  I finished in 2h18min which I was reasonably happy about. I did also spend the day in my compression tights which I can say has resulted in a very minimal tightness in my legs today. Seriously the best purchase ever!

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Marathon Training Week 8 : Compression Clothing for Recovery

17 Jul

11 weeks to go…

This last week of training was actually a great week of training. Here’s how it went

My Plan


What Actually Happened

For once it all went according to plan (except for the long run but I’ll get to that). I took my sprints out on the road on Wednesday morning. I need to start running back on the road again and it was difficult to decide between the Wednesday sprints or the Friday tempo run; Wednesday being faster and shorter compared to Friday being longer and slower. Since I’m not back to full speed yet, I opted for the short of the two distances. The “sprints” went well although I did have a little pain in my shins afterwards which my physiotherapist got to work on later that day.   The tempo run on Friday was a little more difficult; running 50+ laps of the school soccer field might have had something to do with or the 5:30am start. Either way I felt low in energy and sluggish all the way through the run. I still managed a reasonable pace of 6:26 min/km but I was sure glad to have a quiet day at work and a quiet night at home that day.

Underperforming on Friday filled me with a little “performance anxiety” as I headed out at 6:30am on Sunday for my 18km run.  It was a beautiful morning down at the rugby field in Meyrin, the sun had just popped up above the buildings and it was sure to be a gloriously hot summer’s day. My Garmin had some technical difficulties for the first two laps but then it righted itself and I had found a good slow pace. I was forcing myself to maintain a 6:20 min/km – 6:30 min/km pace to ensure I could make the 18km without causing further injury to my shins. It was hard at the start to keep it slow but I finally got myself into a rhythm after 2 or 3 kilometers. That was when the panic set in. I need to use the bathroom. In my previous half-marathon training I suffered (serveral times) with a bad case of the runners trots (I’ll let you look that one up if you haven’t heard the term before). This was when I was running on a Sunday afternoon during the time when I would normally need to use the bathroom. At 7am on Sunday morning however, this was very unexpected. I pushed through until 9km and by that time it was a tale of desperation. Fortunately there are public toilets right next to the rugby field so I made use of them before continuing my run in complete freedom. I am yet to figure out exactly what the problem is and how I can solve this issue but it does haunt me every time I go on a long run. Moving right along, I finished the 18km in 1h53mins with an average pace of 6:19 min/km. I was definitely happy with that and I thoroughly enjoyed a little bit of gelato in the afternoon, yum!

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Marathon Training Week 7 : Music to Run By

8 Jul

12 weeks to go…

It was another tough week of training last week as my shins were sore during each run and on the off days.

My plan:


What actually happened:

Wednesday morning was a little rainy but not enough to skip the run. I was back on the local primary school’s synthetic soccer field and being the first week of school holidays, it was deathly quiet.  These interval runs are meant to be run at a rather fast pace however with my current shin pain I have readjusted to running these at around 6:00 min/km instead of the required 4:46 min/km.  I do intent to “pick up the pace” as my legs get stronger but at the moment I’m in defence mode. Having said that, after 4 x 1km I called it quits. The rain was getting heavier but I was also feeling more pain in my shins with each lap so I stopped.

Friday was much the same. I had seen the physiotherapist on Wednesday afternoon where my legs received a good kneading and massaging however on Friday I was still experiencing some dull pain in my shins. For the past few weeks I have taken the Friday run to the road but this week I went back to the soccer field. I made the decision to shorten the run before I started and managed a total of 8km at 6:00 min/km pace rather than the 10km planned. It was a decent enough run and towards the end of the 6th kilometer I contemplated running the extra 2km but forced myself to stop at 8km and I know now that this was the right decision.

Because come Sunday, I was roaring to go for the 15km. I was up and running early again this week (5:30am for a 5:44am tram to the rugby field) because of my church commitments that day but to be honest I do not mind the early morning runs. It is so peaceful and quiet outside and I get to watch the sun rise over the buildings. The first 5km were a bit shabby so I took a quick drink and stretch at this point. The next 10km flew by. I really had to force myself to run at a slow pace but still struggle to maintain the 6:20 min/km pace I ran. Any slower and I surely would have been walking!! I remember this feeling when I was training for the half-marathon last year, of not being comfortable running at the slow pace recommended. I made it round in 1h35mins. Not too bad considering the circumstances.

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Marathon Training Week 6 : Weekly Training Update

1 Jul

13 weeks to go…

This last week was a great week! I managed a full week of training, plus cross training, plus physio, with minimal pain in my shins.

My plan:


What Actually Happened:

The short, fast run on Wednesday went really well. I was very pleased with my pace and finished in 30 minutes. This is still far off my optimal pace but considering I am working back up slowly I think this is a good effort. I had a little stiffness afterwards, but I stretched thoroughly and had a physio appointment that afternoon so by the evening I was feeling great. Unfortunately, for the next few days after my run, my shins were complaining more than I would have liked and this meant that I needed to cut down my road run to 6km rather than 8km to avoid further pain and injury. It was most definitely a wise decision because the 6km road run was tough on the shins. I rested all day on Saturday before my long run on Sunday to give my shins a chance to recover. The weekly physio sessions combined with the additional exercises and stretching I’ve been doing have certainly made a difference in strengthening my legs (shins and calves) and feet.

In the meantime, I purchased myself a new running buddy, an iPod Shuffle! In pink! Eeek! It’s only the small 2GB shuffle, but chf59 for 15 hours of music was exactly what I wanted. My dearest hubby set it all up for me including adding a whole lot of songs for me to run away to. I’ve started with the music we have on our computer currently but I am eagerly taking ideas of awesome running tunes for me to add so please send in your suggestions.  We might even be able to come up with a top ten list 🙂

On another side note, I needed a larger grassy area for my longer runs as the 170m round children’s soccer field was going to become tiresome (more than 50 laps for 10km, you get the idea). Once again, my darling hubby was on the case and found a rugby field about 3km away. Perfect!

So early Sunday morning (it was 7am so yes, it was early!) I boarded a tram and walked a short distance to the rugby field. It had rained all day Saturday and so it was a tad soggy underfoot but otherwise there was not a single soul in sight as I started out on my 13km run. I had planned to run at 6:40 min/km but somehow I could not force myself to run that slowly. I was so difficult to run at that pace, I felt as though I could have walked faster. It’s funny because I always thought that road running felt faster than running on grass, but it was certainly the opposite feeling that day. Perhaps it was the music that was making me run faster. I averaged 6:10 min/km for the 13km to finish in 1h18min. Again I had some pain in my shins after the run but not nearly as bad as earlier in the week, or even a few months ago. I am definitely improving however I need to stay mindful and keep my pace as slow as possible, for now.

Send in your best running songs this week and I’ll come back to you next week with some of our favourites.

Marathon Training Week 5 : My Tips for Training in the Heat

24 Jun

14 weeks to go…

It was a hot week last week in Geneva. The days were hot and the nights were hot. Restless nights of sleep were abundant. Early morning runs were dreaded.

I woke up with very blearing eyes on Tuesday morning. I had come back from Crete with a head cold and when combined with hot nights, it was not a good combination for a good night of sleep. I slept through my alarm which meant no early morning run. Hmm.. I packed my gym bag and decided I’d go to the gym during my lunch hour to make up for missing my run. Come 12pm and I decided I’d actually try out the pavement and run along the lake. This would be my first run on the road after training for a few weeks on the grass. This would also be my first run for a few weeks (as you will remember from last week I had only one very small run). It was also around 28 degrees (celsius). I set off at a slow 6:30min/km pace and a welcome breeze off the lake followed me on my 6km run. The run was hard, it felt more like 15km than just 6km, but I was happy that my shins were not too sore at the end.

Regardless of the slight breeze that I enjoyed during my run, I still ended up back in the changeroom dripping in sweat. Yep, I sweat, big time. Always have and probably always will. My water bottle was waiting for me in my locker and I instantly downed half a litre. If you’re like me, you gauge your level of hydration by the colour of your pee. I do this all year round but it’s much more important during the summer months so I was very conscious of monitoring my bathroom activity during the afternoon that followed my run. Another way I can tell if I am dehydrated is if I start to get a headache. I don’t get them very often and usually only when I am overtired or dehydrated. So my first tip for surviving training in the summer is to stay hydrated. Drink water before and after exercising.

I’ve also had to modify my running outfit a little. I’m back to running in shorts and a t-shirt. My gear is not fancy but it’s made of “technical” material meaning that it is lightweight and breathable. I plan to add a running singlet to my gear this summer as this is even lighter than a t-shirt. I have also added my cap and sunglasses to my gym bag, the essentials! So my second tip for surviving training in the summer is to wear lightweight clothing, a hat and sunglasses.

I was feeling much better by Friday morning so I roused myself early (6am) and ran another 6km, this time around the oval. It was about 18 degrees when I headed out on Friday morning, the sun was up but behind the apartment building so I ran in the cool of the shade. Lovely! So my third tip for surviving training in the summer is to run during the coolest part of the day; early morning or late late. My pace was a bit quicker (approx. 6:00min/km) and again the 6km was hard but there was no pain in my shins during or after the run. Yes!

On Sunday morning I again roused myself early to get a run in before church. It was about 12 degrees when I headed out, much more comfortable conditions for running. I had thought to run 8km to make a total of 20km for the week but my stubborn self decided I’d like to do 10km instead. I was at the oval again and after 40+ laps of the oval a bunch of kids arrived on the scene wanting to practice on the field. Crap! I still have 3km to go (about 16 laps) and I could feel them all watching me, waiting for me to finish. One by one the parents started to arrive. Crap! There must be a game on I thought. I checked my watch and it was 8:45am so I figured I had time to finish my last 2km before their practice stared at 9am. With 1km to go, the kids came out onto the field and started kicking the ball around. My pace had increased to 5:30min/km at this point as I was feeling the pressure. I did finish my 10km run in 1:01 and I was stocked! I felt good, my legs felt great, and I suffered no stiffness or soreness during the day at all, which was a bonus since we walked around town all afternoon enjoying the Fete de la Musique.

So with only 14 weeks to go, I ran 22km this week and I am full of positivity!

Marathon Training Week 4 : On Holiday Training

17 Jun

15 weeks to go…

Hello there! Please forgive me for not updating you on my recent weeks of training but I have been on holidays in Crete. Absolutely beautiful island and definitely worth a visit, but I will write a post about that later.

We were staying in a resort hotel right on the beach and I was so excited at the opportunity for a run along the beach each morning. We were travelling with my sister and her family and the kids were waking up at around 7:30am meaning that our breakfast was set for around 8:30am. On Monday morning I dragged myself out of bed at 7am (too early for holidays!!), donned my shorts, t-shirt and hat and walked to the beach. The strip of beach in front of our hotel was approximately 600m in length so after a warm-up I began running a few laps (not so different from running laps of the oval, but far more interesting scenery!). I was running barefoot and running well. The hubby was doing his interval training beside me and there was a few people out for an early morning swim, but other than that it was a quiet and peaceful run beside the sea. That was until the 3km mark when my feet started to hurt so I made a quick pit-stop by one of the beach lounges. I examined my feet and discovered no less than 4 ugly red swelling blisters on the tips of my toes. Ouch! The rough sand and salty water was not a good combination for my soft feet. Not only did this prevent me from running for the rest of the week but it also stopped me from walking very far as well. Note to self : run with shoes next time!

I’ll be honest with you. I had a little melt down on Friday afternoon. I hadn’t been able to train as much during the week as I had hoped to and seeing my hubby go out and run 24km made me a bit sad and I started to ask myself how I could possibly be ready for a full marathon in only 15 weeks given my recent poor form. My shins are certainly feeling better but a longer run will be the true test. I’m going to need to revisit my training schedule again and figure out what to do from here on in.

Now for my 2 cents worth about eating while on holidays. We had booked an all-inclusive holiday package meaning all meals, drinks and activities were all paid for in advance. That’s right, we could eat and drink whatever we wanted from 7am until 1am! Fortunately for us, the Cretan diet favours fresh local produce, salads, lamb, seafood etc. I was more than happy to stick to my usual muesli/cereal combinations for breakfast and the lamb or chicken gyros with salad and pita breads from lunch was to die for. But the real test is when you go to the bar in the afternoon for a round of soda’s and there in the cabinet on the bar is a selection of cakes and pastries and deep fried cheese. The harder part is travelling with family who are not training or watching what they’re eating and are encouraging you to eat more cake and pastries because, after all, you’re on holidays! I must admit that I do not have the same leve of self restraint that my husband does and I did succumb to an ice-cream or two but on the whole I ate relatively healthy meals and more importantly did not go back to the buffet for seconds!!

If you have any tips on eating while on holidays or advice on how I can train for a marathon in 15 weeks then please drop me a line.

It’s heating up here in Geneva so next week I’ll have an opinion on running in summer.

Marathon Training Week 2 : On Running Laps

31 May

17 weeks to go…

There’s actually not a lot to report on this week.

I had my sister and her family visiting last weekend for 4 days (post coming!) which interrupted my training schedule a little and then I hit an all time low when they left which led to me being a bit crook for a few days earlier this week so I didn’t end up going for a run until yesterday.

I saw my physio on mid-week (before I had actually done any running at all!) and got usual rub down. As expected, it was not nearly as painful as it has been in the past because I have not been running for a few day. Even this is a good sign! Hooray!

Not wanting to get ahead of myself too much and knowing that I am way behind in my training schedule, I did a little bit of research into the Berlin Marathon and discovered two things : 1) The Bad News – this event is not one that you can pull out of and get your money back; and 2) The Good News – the cut-off time for completing the marathon in 6.5 hours. And so I concluded two things : 1) I paid damned good money to enter this event so I will damned well be running; and 2) I can absolutely, definitely, 100% finish in less than 6.5 hours – a far cry from my original 4 hour goal.

Back to the training

I’m still running laps of the local primary school’s synthetic soccer oval and am now up to 2 x 15 minute “workouts” – the total of which is roughly 5km. I realised this morning however that I am going to have to seriously increase the number of training days per week until I am up to running longer distances. So I went out for another turn of the oval this morning. Two days in a row. What was I thinking? My calves have been quite tight all day (should have seen that one coming) but I have been dissecretely stretching them under my desk and in the ladies bathroom all day 🙂 I think, however, that there will need to be a longer stretch session tonight.

I will give the legs a good ol’ rest over the weekend and am planning on 4 training sessions next week (AIM : 20km in total).

Marathon Training Week 1 : On The Road Again

22 May

Well I might not be back on the road just yet but we are 18 weeks and 3 days from the Berlin Marathon 2013 so the time to get back into running has come.

As you might recall from my previous posts, I’ve developed a case of Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome (or Shin Splints on the inside of the leg) since the beginning of this year which has completely thrown out my initial race plans for the year. The Geneva Half-Marathon was run a few weeks ago without me and in fact I haven’t run more than a few kilometers in the last 8-10 weeks because of the pain in my legs.

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