Thursday, April 3, 2014

The Great Hansons Marathon Experiment, Round 2: Here we go again

After several weeks of dithering, I've picked this year's marathon: the Gold Coast Airport Marathon.

Based on what I can do for a half marathon, I'm shooting for 4:30* and those are the paces I'm training at, but given the unpredictability of my work schedule and my long history with muscle cramps, let's see how it goes!

*an almost entirely arbitrary number; I might as well pick a perfect square, or a prime number, or no number. At some point I will have a Conversation with Coach Shem about choosing a marathon goal. Hopefully sooner rather than later. It kind of dictates what paces I train at.

One of my mini goals this time around is to be able to finish strong, happy, and cramp-free. (Please, running gods? Can I have just one marathon without cramping? Internet, can you find me salt tabs I won't throw up?) In Perth, things were all right all the way until the last 5km, when the cramps hit and I had to sit down and wail for a while. I think the secret is more tempo runs. Long ones. Long, painful ones.

Gold Coast training, week 4 (March 24-30): 

Monday - 5km easy and yoga. Or rather, because I woke up late, yoga followed by half an hour on the treadmill to undo all the nice stretching that yoga did for my legs.

Tuesday - speedwork. 7x800 on the track - did a few of them at 4:00 with 30s rest, and a few of them at 3:45 with 2 minutes' rest. Very, very confused.

Wednesday - off

Thursday - 9.5km tempo run at roughly 6:08/km (a little bit faster than marathon goal pace - this is good)

Friday - 8km easy + strength work

Saturday - 18km to and around Macritchie Reservoir; met friends near the visitor centre and carried on around the reservoir with them

Saturday to Sunday - ultramarathon volunteering at the Twilight Ultra Challenge

Sunday - lots of sleep and 4.5km Running of the Errands

Total: 50.6km + yoga + strength training


  1. Exciting! What a cool place to run a race.

    Yeah, I kind of feel like there's just no replacing or getting around good, hard tempo runs....

    1. Ahh! I'm so excited. The thought of this racecation is what's keeping me going. And yes, it will be a proper vacation - koala bears, Movieworld rides, lazing about reading, and eating a lot. Waiting for some running friends to confirm they're in.

      Those tempo runs. Sometimes they're great, and sometimes, like yesterday, they're appalling and my legs are made of lead.

  2. I'm so excited that you're coming to do Gold Coast. We'll definitely have to meet. And if you have any questions about the event please don't hesitate to ask. This will be my tenth 10k in a row so I'm pretty familiar with how it works.

    1. Yes please! And thank you! When does the squad get there? I'll be at the back of the pack, please save me a cupcake... :)

  3. Please keep posting your progress re Hansons. I've got the book now so starting to study. Which week of the program are you on? I have a colleague who's running Boston in a couple of weeks and he has been dragging himself in in the mornings after 10 mile tempo runs. You got great results last time so I'm sure you will again. It would be interesting to hear what advice you get re setting goal time for the race.

    1. Good luck to your colleague! One day we'll qualify for Boston...even if it takes me 30 years to age in. :)

      I'm on week 5. I've been doing the Advanced programme to start off, because a leap from 24 miles to 36 miles from week 4 to 5 of the Beginner plan is a bit much (and a bit much to inflict on a marathon newbie - nobody should follow this to the letter, I hope people reading the book have more common sense than that). But I'm coming in with a decent base of 40-50km/ week.

      Yeah - those 10 mile tempo runs are intimidating! (Be prepared for lots of whingeing on Facebook...) The other thing I'm tweaking is doing a faster/ tempo segment in the middle or at the end of a long run to learn to finish fast.

  4. By the way - update your 5K PB on your main blog page - it would have been the first thing I did!

  5. I hate the thought of you getting most of the way round a marathon and then sitting and wailing by the side of the road - oh you poor thing. Maybe experiment with different salt tabs during your long runs when training (even if you don't need them REALLY badly) so that you know your body can tolerate them for race day?