TAKING MARATHON TRAINING TO THE NEXT LEVEL…
I’m not going for a Boston Qualifying time (BQ) in London next weekend, rather I’m pacing the 4.45 group and hoping to help some others run a PB. A BQ, for those that haven’t heard of it, is a Boston Qualifying time, which at my age, is a sub 3.35.
Part of me wonders what it will/would take for me to run a 3.30/3.35 in September (yes, I’ve signed up for my next goal race!)
I ran a big PB in Tokyo in February, knocking 5 mins off my previous best marathon time, and then I sort of crashed and burned in training. I found it really difficult to balance full time hospital placement, nannying, commuting, blogging and doing anything more than running. The strength and stretch sessions took more of a backseat, squeezing them in when I could. (Thank goodness for Tashi’s 30 min workouts that actually felt manageable).
However, with my final summer holidays looming, I though this might be my final chance to give a BQ my all without a full time 9-5 job. (walking around the wards I’m clocking up to 30,000 steps a day, not conducive to good recovery and tapering!)
I've chosen a course that has an average finishing time of 4.03 and 20% of runner’s BQ! Seems fairly good odds.
Oh and it’s net downhill.
Not to say it’s not going to be tough, and that downhill races don’t bring their own issues, but I’m hoping that it might help. Oh and it’s in a beautiful canyon, which might take my mind off things for a bit!
On September 8th, I’m running the Big Cottonwood Marathon in Utah!
I’m working with coach Tom Craggs, and I think his training style seems to really work (well the 5 min PB in Tokyo showed that!), so am hoping to continue with him writing my plans. However, I plan to cut my runs down to 4 per week maximum, and focus heavily on strength workouts to supplement my fitness.
Over the next few weeks, I’ll take a bit of a step back from running, and kick start the strength workouts. I’m even trying my first F45 class this week. And my plan is to continue with Tashi’s awesome running specific 30 min strength workouts 2-3 times a week, that way even when I’m travelling, I can get my strength work in. I’m also hoping to create a mini gym in our new house when we move!
So studying to be a dietitian, you’d think that I’d have the nutrition nailed. But the truth is, I turn to easy calories and have a bit of a sweet tooth, meaning that I have too many baked goodies. I’m booking an apt with the Sports Dietitian after placement to chat through areas that I can work on this training cycle…
And I’m also looking at the supplements I currently take. Alongside my Vitamin D and Magnesium that I currently take, I’ve been trying a couple of other additions;
I was recently sent a pack of CurraNZ to try in the lead up to the London Marathon. You might have read about the performance enhancing power of Beetroot. Well, research from the University of Chichester has shown that blackcurrant may be the next big supplement for endurance athletes…and lets just say, I’m willing to give it a go if it means being one step closer to a BQ.
A series of studies on endurance athletes who took New Zealand Blackcurrant saw significant effects on cardiovascular and metabolic responses both at rest and during exercise:
- Trained endurance athletes saw an increase in cardiac output by 26%, increased stroke volume by 25% and a decrease in peripheral resistance by 16%
- A 20%-35% increase in main arterial blood flow, resulting in enhanced muscle performance
- Lactate was reduced by 14% at maximum oxygen uptake, and by up to 27% at lower exercise intensities
- Fat oxidation was increased over 2 hours of endurance exercise
According to scientists, you can start to feel the effects of CurraNZ within 7 days (i’ve been taking it for just over a week), and haven’t felt any change so far…however that could have something to do with the post-Paris marathon recovery I’m going to continue to take the recommended 2 per day over the next 4+ months to see if they’ll make a difference on race day! My race starts at altitude, so I could definitely do with some extra blood flow! Not to mention, that they are supposed to help reduce DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness), helping you train harder.
Elite ultra runner Jo Zakrzewski said that she felt that CurraNZ helped improve her recovery and allowed her to race more often thanks to the ‘magic berries’. Pretty sure my post-run squash doesn’t do the same job!
The best bit though, if you’re feeling sceptical (OK I’m always sceptical about performance enhancers) is that the manufacturers of CurraNZ are so confident in its ability to significantly reduce muscle soreness post exercise, they offer a 100% money back guarantee! Why not give it a go…you can order them here.
Branch-chain Amino Acids, leucine, isoleucine and valine, are essential in our body but not produced internally. We have to eat them as part of our diet in proteins such as chicken, red meat, lentils, beans, eggs and dairy. They help with muscle and energy production during exercise, help with tissue recovery, and can help improve your immune system. Importantly for us runners, there have also been studies showing that BCAA’s can help with mental fatigue as well as improving physical performance.
When you’re building up big training blocks, your muscles become fatigued and your body becomes catabolic. Your body breaks down fat, muscle and tissue when you work hard, and so needs to be replaced to maintain your muscles strength.
I must add, that there has also been a study that showed that marathon runners had no change in performance or perceived muscle pain after taking BCAA’s for 7 days. However, I think that 7 days isn’t really enough time to make a performance difference!
I do actually have a whole post in drafts about the diff between Collagen Protein and Whey proteins, but in summary, collagen protein helps protect your bones, joints and skin. Studies have shown that it helps with the repair of connective tissue, as well as joint pain.
I’m sure I’m not the only runner who has been told that they’re damaging their knees…well here’s your comeback! Our body naturally slows down it’s collagen production as we grow older, and yet it isn’t something that many of us supplement. I like Vital Proteins if you’re looking to try Collagen proteins (look out for a full blog next week on this).
Regular Sports Massages
I do think that my regular sessions at Function 360 Physiotherapy made a huge difference to my Tokyo success. I was having twice monthly rehab sessions, physio appts when I felt any niggle and weekly/fortnightly massages. It meant that I didn’t let anything fester or get too painful before seeing someone, and the continuity of care was amazing. There is awesome communication between the staff at the practice so that you get supported through all areas, and your care plan can be specifically tailored. (using the code F360CW gives you 15% off treatments).
I hate it, but I saw on instagram the other day that stuck…’if you’re making the time to run, you need to be making the time to recover’. For me, that is prioritising stretching, foam rolling and yoga/pilates/barre. I don’t love yoga, but I do love Yin classes. I want to try to find a great Yin class nearby as well as some online videos to follow when I’m away.