Building speed during marathon training

Sprint for marathon training

This week was a race week, so I had to change my regular schedule a bit to account for it. This was not a major race, so I didn’t bother to make a taper week specifically for it (the one-two week time when you reduce the workload to allow your muscles to recover and overcompensate for the race).

It was a 6.1 km race and since most of my training now is spent gaining miles and working in aerobic mode, I decided to have only a couple of days of rest. The race was on Thursday, so I did a fartlek workout on Monday and spent Tuesday and Wednesday only on the bike. What I did is I’ve added a couple of stretching sessions to keep muscles fresh which was not a good idea.

I had a 40 min yoga session on Wednesday afternoon – the day before the race. That evening everything looked nice, I felt that there is no tension in my legs and 24 hours is sufficient time to recover from this. The problem was that my legs felt quite heavy the next day – not a nice thing when you need to run a short distance race.

Anyway, I’ve spent at least 40 min prior to the race in careful warm up mode to make sure I prepare every muscle and every joint. I even skipped 2-3 second sprints and only relied on twists, turns and a short 2-3min easy run before the race. Nothing else.

This worked and to my surprise I blasted off the start very quickly and did the first kilometer in a fastest time this year. Seeing that I slowed down for the middle part and finished strong. After the race I felt that my legs could have covered more distance in such pace, but my chest and my heart rate thought otherwise. Just another example how warm ups can benefit the performance and how wrong cool down can be a downside.

I think I did the best I could – I improved my time since last year by 3 min and will focus now on preparing for the marathon in autumn. I’ll need to increase my weekly mileage by quite a bit, because so far I spent a lot of time running 5-6K workouts and intervals to prepare for this run.

So far only my long run is up to the level – this week I did a half marathon in an easy pace, but with muscles still in recovery mode after the race it was tougher than I expected. Done for this week, let’s see what next week will bring!

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