I was planning this week to delve a bit deeper into what I think are the key elements for successful Six Foot Track Marathon training, but before that, I should confess to some stupidity this week on my part. Training was going well and I was getting into a good solid start to January: 34 km on Sunday, easy Monday run, followed by a hard Tuesday session of 8x 5 minute intervals in the midday heat with 5 km warm-up and 5 km cool-down. This is a long session for a lunchtime and so when I get back into the office I’m playing catch-up for the rest of the afternoon. Before I knew it, it was time to go home and I was absolutely parched! Despite drinking loads that night I must have still gone to bed dehydrated and woke up with kidney pain. So the second half of the week was spent visiting doctors, having a CT scan and then trying to pass a stone. This isn’t my first stone, and I know what causes them (dehydration), so it was plain stupidity.
Anyway, last week I outlined what I think are the three essential elements of a Six Foot Training plan: long runs, long tempo sessions and hills. So I’ll talk a little about long runs first. I’m not an expert, but what I’ve found works for me is to alternate between two types of long run: the shorter fast-finish long run, and the longer easy-paced run. The fast-finish run is race simulation and is best done with a training partner or a group. It trains you to run hard on tired legs and keep the “central governor” in its box. The longer easy-paced run serves quite a different purpose: it’s all about stimulating muscles to spare carbs, burn fat more efficiently and store more glycogen. For maximum effect, these runs need to be long enough so that the fuel tank really is empty by the end. For that reason, I usually try to do without breakfast or gels on the run. If you’re preparing for Six Foot Track then I don’t think your long runs need to be in the bush. Certainly it would help to include some hilly routes and some off-road running if that’s unfamiliar to you. But on the whole, I find it can be easier to keep yourself honest on the road, especially for the fast-finish long runs.
Sunday: 34 km
Monday: 12 km easy
Tuesday: 5 km warm-up, 8x 5 mins (off 90 secs), 5 km cool-down
Wednesday: 5 km easy (felt terrible)
Thursday: 20 km easy (felt even worse)
Hopefully back to normal next week!