"Albert Camus wrote that the only serious question is whether to kill yourself or not."

January 2014: Training Recap

I’d been thinking of writing a January training summary, but then I thought to myself “no one will enjoy that, don’t bother.”

Then I read some random blog post some chick in Calgary wrote about her ultramarathon training, and I thought “I enjoyed that.” So here I am. Recapping. Then I realized I have no idea what the word “recap” actually means. Isn’t that funny?

It turns out “recap” is short for recapitulate, which is:

1. to restate the main points of (an argument, speech, etc); summarize
2. (Biology) (tr) (of an animal) to repeat (stages of its evolutionary development) during the embryonic stages of its life
3. (Classical Music) to repeat at some point during a piece of music (material used earlier in the same work)

Which really makes no sense, because it comes from the Late Latin version, “recapitulatus” which comes from Medieval Latin “capitulatus” which means to surrender (capitulate). Romans, eh?

So anyway, let’s recap the first month of “steady-state” training.

Note: Recall that in the fall of 2013 I gradually increased my volume from zero to 100 km/week. So in January my goal was to run 100 km/week, consistently, jump to 115 km/wk for February, and so on.

First of all, the month looked like this:

  • Week 1: 100.01 km in 9:17:55
  • Week 2: 100.02 km in 9:50:19
  • Week 3: 100.39 km in 9:29:41
  • Week 4: 100.32 km in 9:11:50

Pretty damned consistent, if I do say so myself. The planned weeks looked like this:

  • Sat: 42.5 km – Long run
  • Sun: 5.5 km – Recovery jog
  • Mon AM: 8 km – E Pace
  • Mon PM: 8 km – Recovery jog
  • Tue: (off)
  • Wed AM: 10 km – E Pace
  • Wed PM: 8 km – Recovery jog
  • Thu: (off)
  • Fri AM: 13 km – E Pace
  • Fri PM: 5 km – Recovery jog

Note: Again, I want to reiterate that Tue and Thur are off because I don’t have time to run, not because I don’t want to. Ideally I would run every day.

Here is one of those weeks (the 4th one), run nearly perfectly:


A perfect week is a beautiful thing!

Training Paces

Going into this month, my Vdot was 53, so my Easy Pace was 5:07 min/km. My long runs typically are run nearer the 5:20 mark, although with pee breaks and stuff that ends up being more like 5:45. My recovery jogs are usually more like 6 min/km, which works out nearer to 7 min/km, since I bring the malamute.

In the 3rd week I ran a 10k Vdot test, in which I managed to pull off a 37:58. That bumped me up to a Vdot of 55. That puts my E pace at around 4:54 min/km.

You can see that my best week (100.32 km in ~ 9:12) averages out to 5:30 pace. So that is pretty good, I’m really happy with that. As the duration of my E pace runs increases, that will improve. There’s not much I can do to speed up the dog, and my long runs I don’t think I want to run much faster than 5 min/km, but we’ll see.

Measuring Progress

Since I’m running a marathon every Saturday, to kick off the week, the ease with which I complete those runs is kindof the yardstick I’ve been using to measure my progress. Down the road (no pun intended) I plan to run Vdot tests at regular intervals, to get an even better comparison. I don’t think I’ll be doing 10k though, it’s too painful! 5k sounds nicer. Yeah, a nice short sub-20 minute run in hell.

The first week’s long run (42.6 km @ 5:39 min/km), because I was on vacation and just getting into it, was really quite good. Almost irritatingly so:

Felt good. Left calf pain, and right ankle pain, primarily. Slight achilles pain when I put the hammer down to make it home. Ran a 3:58:35 marathon, fast 10 km home. Great run!

Second run (42.4 @ 5:45 min/km), similarly, went well.

Felt pretty good the entire way, was pretty chill. Left foot had some pain and left achilles but in general was fine. Tired at the end but maintained pace and kept myself slow.

After my second week, however, my achilles had been bothering me the entire time. This is a constant struggle for me, and if it’s not my achilles or some weird ligaments in my ankles, it’s my calves or my soleus. Soleii?

So things looked grim for week 3 (42.7 @ 5:48 min/km):

Didn’t think I’d be able to do it, but felt pretty good the entire way. Was fairly tired around the 30 km mark. Achilles were good, for the most part. Heavy rain after the 22 km mark. Good run!

As expected, things finally started to feel a bit easier by the 3rd week. Unfortunately, I went out and ran my 10k Vdot test that week! So that thrashed my calves, so that I was back on the injury caboose. My 4th long run (43.05 @ 5:56 min/km) was equally unsure. Plus it was pouring rain, and I ran with Ross for much of it:

Felt really quite tired the whole way. Was really paranoid about stiff left calf, but didn’t really cause an issue. I think my muscles were just tired from Wednesday. Other than exhaustion, no real pain.

I managed to finish off the week though, and get my 100 km in by Friday. Unfortunately, Friday night I began to feel slightly sick… But that’s a story for next month’s recap.


  1. Lindsay

    Haha. I’m honoured to be “some chick from Calgary” who changed your mind about writing a training recap. I quite enjoyed your post as well. It’s interesting to see how different people plan their weeks and to follow their progress. I’m extremely impressed by your weekly distance! A leisurely 42.5k on Saturday to start the week – you’re crazy (a runners favourite compliment). Interesting tidbit about the word “recap” it really doesn’t make any sense.

    Great photo and I hope you continue to post recaps!

    • Mitch

      Thanks again for the inspiration. My brother lives in Calgary, maybe he can meet up with you for a long run some weekend. He’s hoping to come out and crew for me in August.

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