Dublin Marathon 2014 training – month 1 review

Some bonus prizes from the first 4 weeks of training. (Out of picture: PBs at 5 miles, 10K and half marathon)

Some bonus prizes from the first 4 weeks of training. (Out of picture: PBs at 5 miles, 10K and half marathon)

My 15-mile long run this morning wrapped up week 4 of training for the 2014 Dublin Marathon. A good opportunity, then, to look back and see how my training has been going so far.

I won’t bore you with the minutiae of my schedule – though if that interests you, turn to page 156 of Advanced Marathoning by Pfitzinger and Douglas. I’m following the 18-week, up-to-55-miles-per-week plan; so far I’m up to 42 miles for the week just gone.

The Pf. & D. pfanatics among you will be cribbing that I haven’t yet finished the first 6-week phase of the plan – or as they call it: “Mesocycle 1 – Endurance”. Well, I’d prefer to stick to measuring my progress with a calendar rather than in what sounds like a geological era, unless the geology is intended to measure my current rock-hardness.

I’ve hit all the weekly mileage targets so far, although I’ve had to do some jigging around due to a couple of short races which I used as threshold runs. In week 1 the Irish Runner 5 Mile served as my hard workout instead of the prescribed 8-mile run with 4 miles at short-race pace. And the 13-mile marathon-pace run in week 2 fell exactly on the Clontarf Half Marathon, where I finished a half marathon P.B. and clocked a new 10K best en route.

The mileage isn’t a problem, though. It’s the fast-paced runs that I find the challenge. I used the 5-mile and half-marathon races as training runs because I can run faster and for longer with race-day adrenaline and the reassurance of a closed, marshalled course. Getting up to my 10K race pace is tougher for me in the mundane setting of my local park on a non-race day.

To test my speed at the end of the first month of training, I did my local parkrun yesterday morning. As I should have expected, I felt a little sluggish after a hard four weeks of training and racing – I got around in 21:05, a good bit slower than my parkrun P.B., but that still counts as a good hard threshold run at 6:47 mile pace. Perhaps I’ll throw in a parkrun every few weeks to gauge my progress or even to get a more satisfactory threshold session done.

Parkruns aside, I don’t have any races coming up in the next four weeks – my next race is the Frank Duffy 10 Mile at the end of August in Dublin. But I’ll still have to juggle the Pf. & D. schedule around in the next month, due to two successive weekends away at the start of August.

So, the first month has gone well: injury-free and with a plethora of P.B.s to boot. This time next month I hope to report further progress, and I’ll be four weeks closer to race day. Exciting, isn’t it?

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