About 30 days away

… to the MILO Manila Eliminations and I am wondering how on earth am I to fare this time that I am dreaming of beating the qualifying time – changed that to at least finish within the cut-off time – and noticed how low my entire mileage was.

Not to mention the incomplete schedules of speedworks and intervals and long runs, I am somehow at a limbo of disbelief over my work schedule. Without calling it panic, I devised some ways to still squeeze short runs at every time off. Yes, that means even after a graveyard duty. I don’t mind going home soaking in sweat. My family is just so used to that already.

About 12 weeks ago, when I first planned to follow a 16 week program in preparation for this ‘DREAM MARATHON’ of mine which is MILO, I was able to follow a close distance to what was written in the program. Now, given about 30 days to the big event, lots of questions suddenly arise.

WILL I still be able to ‘peak’ my performance?

Should I continue with the LONG RUNS i was not able to make? The speedworks?

Should I just stick to my Yasso work-out until I taper?

Should I even taper given a no-good training preparation?

Basically, I can say that I have enough good base to go the distance. The problem is, I am in doubt that I have the required speed. MILO Marathons has a cut-off time of 5 hours. We all know that that is not an easy task.

Lingering answers in my mind points to a continued effort to maintain if not increase gradually my weekly mileage. Add to that some strengthening, and core work-outs, run at marathon pace the measly short distances I can manage to squeeze in my pendulum workshift, and pray for a lot more efficiency and confidence come Marathon Race Day.

I guess I’d be following my conscience.

…and I will listen to the precious mini-inputs you guys will throw at me. So help me God.

Some MEDICINAL WORDS for my wounded plan:

Intensity is a much more potent producer of fitness than (mileage) volume miles).

As long as you are training regularly, you can go many months between long runs – and yet still run 26 miles at a time without stopping.

High fitness – not a high number of long runs – is the key factor which produces good marathon times.

…do enough interval training to spur fitness – but not enough to retard recovery.

The optimal strategy is to foster recovery, not increase the need for it.


38 thoughts on “About 30 days away

  1. you still have time to speed up your pace up to D-Day. try to push your limits through your speed works & listen to your body. just finish the race. good luck!

  2. for a change, let’s go low mileage and do speed naman.

    for all the ultras we have done so far this year,i think endurance-wise,confident na tayo. speed na lang usapan kung ang target ay sub-4.

  3. I checked the new registration form for the 34th Milo elims. The cut-off is now 6 hours from start. However, qualifying time for women in my age group (18-34) is 4:20. That means I have to maintain a speed of 6:00min/km over the entire distance! Shucks.

    I’m right across Park Square Toby’s right now and I cannot bring myself to register. :O

  4. Goodluck coach !!

    at sa lahat ng my mga target to qualify …=)

    don’t worry …”KAYA MO YAN” sabi nga ng milo

    have faith


  5. IF you have a solid mileage, and your goal is just to finish, you’d finish it. But if you want to qualify, it all depends, even if you have no break in training, if you can’t handle the pace for that target time, then you won’t make it.

    What you can do is try to find a 21k or 20k 4 weeks before the race. Run that at your target race pace.

    At this point in time, you should be doing LT (Lactate Threshold) runs or do race pace runs at between 16-20k x 1 week.

    Yes, continue your yasso workouts. This should push your VO2max still, and make your slower runs easier in terms of form. But make sure you run it properly. If it becomes easy as the week goes by, just lower the recovery interval by 20-30 sec per rep. Maintain the rep distance and pace. Just add 3-4x 100m windsprints at the end of the entire yasso reps, if you are still feeling preppy. 2-2:30 full recovery jog or walk.

    But also do your long runs at their appointed dates. However, I would not go farther than 28k for the longest, and I would no longer hazard to do one with 3 weeks to go. I’d rather stick with a race pace or your target marathon pace till 1 week before the race. This is the LT runs of around 16-18k, 20k tops.

    Taper by lowering volume (distance) by around 10%-15% per week. But don’t let up on the intensity. The race pace or marathon pace should stay the same. Take the distance off from your easy or off days. You can even take 1 day or 2 days off.

    Focus your runs on the long and the race pace training. The yasso is done on another day and if you find it tough, back off on the yasso, but not on the long (w/c should be easy or about 1-2 min off your km target marathon/race pace). Don’t do more than 24-25k on the long run, or 2:30 hours whichever comes first.

    Good luck!

  6. I forgot to add, if you find that you can’t maintain your race pace or marathon pace in your LT runs or that 16-18k runs 2 weeks before the race, best to revise your target times. At this point in time, with 1 month to go, no amount of training will you hit those times. We’re talking 42k here, not 21k or 10k. Even on 20-21k, it may even be touch and go. If you find it hard to do 16-21k on race pace and break down next week before you do the next same workout, then it means, you can’t hit your target times.

    But if you are just tired and can recover in 2-3 days, you’re in good hands. Again, concentrate only on the long, LT runs, and the yasso. The other days can be easy (very easy) days, or day off. This should carry you till race day.

    Again, listen to your body. Don’t push it, if you can’t hold it. It simply means you are not ready for that target race pace. Better you know it 2 weeks before the race, than on race day itself.

  7. forefoot,

    Glad to be of help. Just like to let you know, there is a way to take a peek if you can hit your target times. 42k is a long race where you can’t just say “bahala” na. Hitting that wall early is going to be very bad and psychologically, can affect your future attempts at the distance.

    The good news is that your sins are of less mileage or prep. But you do have a solid base. What you don’t know is if you can sustain your race pace for your target times. The 16k-18k race pace tests should give you a good idea if you can make it. It’s not a perfect indicator, but it is a very good guide.

    If in case, you find you can’t hold the pace, drop 30 sec per km on this 16-k tempo run. See if you can hold it. If you can’t, drop another 30 sec. That’s going to be 1 min down per km, so at least you know what is possible. But my guess is you just have to stick to 30 sec less if it is too much.

    If 30 sec drop per km is too easy, drop 15 sec from the original target race pace instead of 30 sec. If that works, stick to that.

    You’ll know you got the right pace if you can hold this pace for 16-18km and finish with a slight pleasant fatigue. That’s it should feel. You shouldn’t feel as if you’ve raced or you’re totally wiped out.

    Also, you don’t have to run that 16-18k tempo run straight. You can break it up to 4km x 4 with 1-1:30 min recovery per set. Just try to pick it up a bit (about 10-15 sec faster per km) on the last set. This is so that your body will be forced to give up more energy and run faster even when you are tired.

    Oh, as a final tip, you should be using your racing shoes that you will be using on race day.

    Again, good luck!

    1. Thanks again. I’d keep that in mind. 🙂 I can maintain a good pace for the 16 to 18kms. Even up to the 25th km. I’d let you know how I fared. Again, im grateful for your kind advices.

  8. I have a blog I started, but too lazy to update. And I am not sure if I want to really make it public at this time. But I was told to do so as my case is unique and I seem to be an “odd ball” when it comes to my body and how it adjusts to training. Some say it might prove useful for others to learn from.

    Will be peaking for a jan or feb 2010 marathon. Building a base now, but injured my right leg and recovering now. If I can run again, easy runs of 11min/mile is possible for 1-1.25 hours as been done 6 weeks or so ago.

    However, am doing x-training with bike and can do tempo and hold it with reserves for 1.5 hours. I just did one yesterday with HR at 145-155 bpm, a LT tempo, maybe even a 10k equiv race pace.

    So, I’m building my VO2max or VDot (as Dr Daniels more accurately calls it), while building the base. A shame because I can’t race yet, and the injury is a setback. And the good races are passing me by. 😦

    But like you, I guess, we all have our problems so I guess, like you, I will do the best with the cards dealt for me at this time.

    I will need to do timetrials on the 5k (or a 5k race) to see where my VO2max or Vdot really is. That’s the same thing you need to do with your marathon training, hence the 16-18k LT runs. And it’s good you can do that easily. At this time though, resist going for a 25k or more run. It’s almost too late for that. I’d go for an easy 20-21k two weeks before Milo, that’s it. What is your qualifying time for your age? Maybe I can give you some tempo times or LT times you can use to help you. When it comes to this, there is still time.

    Don’t worry, they will be doable workouts. The difference is they are really hitting the spots to make you hit your times for the distance you want to run, and based on where you are now.

    I notice your tempo runs and those are good. Try to avoid the trails from this time on though. Too tricky if you twist your ankle at this time. Besides, you will be racing on the roads. Best to train your neuro-musculature for that. But a little bit of hill work will also help to make you stronger. Do 50-100m x 4-6 hill windsprints at least once a week.

    The reason why I want to opt for the LT and 16-18k race pace or marathon pace (MP) times is that the effects of long runs can be reaped normally 4-6 weeks after they are done. As long as you maintain a 16-20k weekly long run, you are ok. No point now in going 25k or especially 32k, though you can gamble on that. But if you ask me, it would be best to improve your efficiency and economy at the marathon pace you intend to run it. After all, that’s what you’ll be doing, right? Your yasso runs will take care of the VO2 and efficiency runs, while the 16-18k will be for your economy and gettiing your body to be used to running at race pace.

    If you run a 25-32k at 30 sec/k slower than your MP or target pace it isn’t the same energy and efficiency or economics as you running it at your MP. For me, there is an illusion of progress simply because you ran 32k. But if you walk 42k now, no doubt you can do it! But as you can see, that’s not your race pace or MP! So, you’ll hit the wall anyway and not be ready for it. Look at it another way, you can even run 42k as your training in a 9min/k pace. But if your target is 7min/k, then do you think you’ll not fall apart at 7min/k simply because you ran 32-42k at 9min/k?

    The only reason Id do one or 2 28-32ks that is slower than my MP is to teach my body to be up and working for 2:30-2:45 hours. If it takes you 4-5 hours, that’s just what you are teaching your body to run long at a slower pace for 4-5 hours. But as you can see the energy usage is different between a 9min/k vs a 7min/k.

    Now running at your MP for 16-18, maybe even 20k tops, now readies you for the pace you actually will run the distance. It’s not 42k, or 25k, but the LT will be pushed and you couple that with your yasso, then your body will be accustomed to race pace and it will be very easy on race day. 16-18k is about 2.5x of 42k. If you can do that 16-18k easy, then your running economy should is increased, your fat-glycogen burning ratio is ready for that speed (more fat usage and less glycogen till later stages of the race), you will use less energy to reach that speed, and you have a better chance of hitting your target times.

    This is the logic why that 16-18k LT or MP run is so important. With 1 week to go, I’d do just 10k of that and some yasso’s on the other days, and really ease of on the mileage and repetitions, rather than intensity. Maintain intensity but taper by dropping mileage.

    Good luck and keep us posted on your times. And keep off the trails from now on, And use your shoes you will at race day. Also start practicing on your hydration and energy replenishment strategy at this time. You’ve got about 3 weeks to go, and it’s the LT/MP runs that will help you the most now, couple with the yasso’s.

  9. Thanks, again. That’s a lot of helpful information. At 39, my qualifying time is 3 hours and 50 minutes. I was able to do last Sunday Midnight a 19.54 kms in 2 hours and 6 minutes.

  10. Thanks for the data. They are very useful!

    Let’s analyze them, shall we? 🙂

    For you to qualify at your age of 3hr 50min for the 42k, the pace required for that is around 5:27 per km. 5:26/km to be exact if you want to dip 3:50.

    The question now is, in your LT run of 16-18k, have you been able to hold that pace? Running a fast last km in a 20-25km run does not guaranty anything because you could be jogging the 19km and doing a yasso on the last km. What it takes is a steady 5:26/km pace. As I said before, without a doubt, you could go out now and finish 42k today. No question you could do it. But will you be able to do it at 3:50? That is the reason for that workout. It trains you to run at the pace you need to run it. If you can’t hold that pace, then, don’t expect to finish faster than 3:50.

    If you answer yes, then these are good indications. If no, then you have to revise your marathon pace.

  11. Although we cannot and NEED NOT run the entire 42k at our target pace, it is possible to get a decent assessment if we can hit our target times. This is why I asked of you to focus on this 16-18k weekly MP/LT runs. That by itself lets you take a peek at your level of conditioning and if you can still improve it or if you have to revise your time.

    On July 20, a sunday, should be your last long run. That is 2 weeks before the Milo Elims. I would have recommended a special workout for that day, but without any confirmation if you can hold your MP or target pace of 5:26/km, I have to withold that last training.

    What you can just do for that is run a 16-18k (20k tops if you are not puckered at 18k), at race pace. Do a fast yasso pace at the last 1k. Cool down 15min.

    Take your HR the following day the moment you wake up and do anything else, preferably while still in bed. Count your heart beat for 30 x 2. If it is in the 90’s, skip any workout for that day.

    On the next day, do it again. If it goes down to your base HR (I don’t know your base, but typicaly most people are in the 72 bpm, but you could be lower). If you are still 8-10 beats higher than your base, just do an easy 40 min run. Really very easy.

    On the 3rd day, if your HR is close to your base resting HR, Do what ever it is you do. If you have no plans, do some 5-6-7 x 50-100mm hill repeats with full recovery jog, run at 5-10k race pace. Cool down as always.

    Do another easy 45-60 min run the next day. Really easy.

    Do your yasso’s the next day. I suppose you are in your 6-10 x 800m. Do what you do for that day.

    Going back to your last long run. If you can maintain 5:26/km for 16-20k, then you can make a go for qualifying. But I must qualify this statement. If you are falling apart after 3 days of this workout, or still feel wiped out after 3 days or your HR is still high (e.g. 80’s), revise your MP and forget going for the 3:50 cut off time. Add 20-30 sec/km for your adjusted marathon pace. Maybe 10 sec addition but this is still subject to validation. 15 sec might be the lower boundary.

    Of course, you can always ignore this advice of mine, but unless you have other impirical data to show you can hit 3:50 to qualify, then the best course is to simply revise your plan. If you can’t hit 5:26/km for 16-20k with 2 weeks to go, and you are still not recovered, then you know there’s not much you can do to improve your chances.

    Again, you can bury your head and say, “bahala na,” and that is up to you. But then again, at what pace do you intend to run to qualify? 5:26/km right? Well, in your practice, if you can’t hold it, well, you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to know you’ll be crawling by around 28k or 32k. You can always prove me wrong, and if you do, I’ll treat you out to Sbarro!

    So, your last chance is this June 20. Be honest in your times and assessment. If you are not going to be honest, then my I get even, or rather, your body gets even with you when you have to haul it to the finish line in great pain for the last 12-10k or maybe the next hour and a half. That’s not going to be a pretty sight. 😦

    1. Clarification re:

      Take your HR the following day the moment you wake up and do anything else, preferably while still in bed. Count your heart beat for 30 x 2. If it is in the 90′s, skip any workout for that day.

      Is that a 30 second count? done twice?

    2. Re this:

      If you can’t hit 5:26/km for 16-20k with 2 weeks to go, and you are still not recovered, then you know there’s not much you can do to improve your chances.

      Will inform you soonest.

      ..and I do not intend to prove you wrong. I see your good point, and Im glad to have been adviced. I will try my best to measure up – and will inform you of my progress.

      Thank you so much!

  12. The heart rate is really taken for 1 min. 30 sec times 2 is 60 sec. Count your HR for 30 sec then multiply by 2 = that is your HR.

    A 90+ HR after 24 hours hard workout means the body is not yet recovered. I am talking resting HR here, where you take your HR immediately when you wake up in the morning.

    Your yasso’s has enabled you to do sub 5mini/k. That is very good. Trouble is, your marathon pace (MP) is 5:26 for 42k. You can probably string 3km of sub 5min/k. But then again, your target is not 3k or 5k. Nor is it 5min or sub 5min/k. for 10k Even if you can run 5k in 17min, it does not mean you can run 5:26/k for 42.195k.

    As I write this, it’s already 21st June. Just came from a very hard week of treatment for my injuries and I am still very weak. For you, this week up to the race day is now tapering. Don’t ever start thinking now that you can “catch up” on training at this point in time. No more 20k runs. Your longest now is probably just 14k-15k, or around 60-75 min of runs, for your longest, and 45-min for the easy days. And they should be really be easy. Do your yasso’s but knock off 2 reps this week, and another 1-2 more reps next week. Same intensity. If you can run it slightly faster (maybe 2-3 sec per 800m) do so. But don’t fall apart in form or struggle. If you are struggling, back off. If all is good, keep it up. Another way of doing this is to still run it the old pace on the fast rep, but shorten by 20-3sec the interval or rest/recovery. That might even be better.

    I am just gambling now, that the yasso’s might push your VO2 max and make your more efficient. If so, it might buy you extra headroom, and less energy expenditure on the long aerobic race pace of 5:26min/k. It’s sort of pushing the boundary on the top end. What it should do is give you more headroom of aerobic endurance and manage lactate better while at the same time giving you lower energy requirements for the race pace. In short, it should make your race pace easier and less tiring. And maybe, we can push your wall further down the end.

    Your tempo or LT runs now is in the 45min- 1 hour range only and maybe down to 10k only. In short, it is tapering time!

    So, were you able to hit 5:26min/k on your last long LT run? Did you recover well in 2-3 days? If you can, you might have a chance. I say, “might,” because 1 month is too short and touch and go to start hitting that race pace. Typically, you start prepping 2 months or 6 weeks before race day.

    If you did recover well in just 2 days, that might get you trough for qualifying. I am just hoping that you had a 25-28k LSD at most 2 months prior to race day.

  13. The flu could be the result of overtraining, or sudden load in the body. Or, like you, I also caught it 3 days ago, from an LRT-2 passenger who sneezed at me without covering his mouth. Fever and effects were mild but I had a 3-day flu.

    It’s getting near July 4 now. Your best bet now is to rest and get well. Flu will weaken you, and I would not hesitate to recommend you pull out of the race if you are still out of it. No point in torturing yourself.

    Let us know how you are recovering. Get well soon!

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