James Bray's Training for Meridian Windsor Half Marathon - Part 2

Week 2 (3 weeks to race day)

Monday – 60 minute easy swim (as recovery)

After a tough weekend's training where I doubled up on the Saturday and had a long ride on Sunday I used this swim session as an active recovery session.

Nutrition wise for this I slightly reduce my carbohydrate intake and increase my fat and protein intake. I would typically have scrambled eggs on wholemeal toast for breakfast, chicken salad for lunch and snack in between meals. Just before I swim (after work) I would eat a banana or a nut bar. For dinner I would eat a well-balanced evening meal with plenty of veggies or salad.

 

Tuesday – 40 minute easy indoor bike session

During the middle 20 minutes of this workout I included some unstructured intervals, similar to a Fartlek session. This was leaning toward a recovery session, however the intervals were included to remind the body what hard exercise is like ahead of my local club duathlon on Wednesday (which is eyeballs out!).  

I did this session after work, so nutrition wise it was very similar to Monday’s intake. Although my evening meal would contain slightly more carbohydrates to best prepare me for the mid-week race (a mini carb-load).

 

Wednesday – 40 minute club duathlon. This is a 2 mile run into a 9 mile cycle

I belong to Barracuda triathlon club and throughout the summer every other Wednesday they run duathlons of varying distances. I love these midweek races and it give me a really tough session with a strong competitive edge!  

I made sure at each meal (breakfast and lunch) I ate some carbohydrates and also had a pre-session snack with some more carbs, just to top me up

This looked like; Breakfast – porridge with a spoonful of peanut butter stirred in. Lunch – chicken salad with either cous cous or quinoa. My pre training snack is a banana, a mini rice pudding and a nut bar. I will have this snack about 1.5 – 2 hours before training. If I feel like I need that extra boost I will also have an Americano (no milk). After a hard session like this I will have a recovery shake, followed by a well-balanced evening meal with plenty of veggies or salad.

 

Thursday – Rest day

 

Friday – Double session day

 – 45 minute fasted Fartlek run (before work). A Fartlek run is an unstructured interval session. The aim of this session is to vary the speed, length of effort and recovery. It is a form of speed work but far more relaxed than a track session.

I would then recovery properly with a big bowl of porridge and of course a nice big scoop of Meridian nut butter stirred into it! I would then have a chicken or tuna salad for lunch with either couscous or quinoa.

– S&C (Olympic lifting). I like to include strength/power training in as part of my training plan, mainly to keep me strong (strength that I can’t get from endurance training) and also as a form of injury prevention.

Before this session I would then have a pre-training snack of a banana and a nut bar. I will have this snack about 1.5 – 2 hours before training. Then just before I start training ~5 pm I will have an Americano to give me that extra boost. Post training I would drink a whey protein shake and then follow that up with a well-balanced evening meal.

Saturday – Long run

The premise of a long run is to run at a nice steady pace (known as conversation pace) to build up your endurance. For me a steady long run is anywhere between 10 - 15 miles. However, as it is getting closer to race day I now include some long intervals (10-20 minutes) at race pace. Therefore some of the latter intervals I will be running with slightly elevated lactate.

Before this run I had a light breakfast (small bowl of porridge) as I am trying to mimic my pre-race breakfast so I’m used to it on race day. After my long runs I will normally have a recovery shake, then about an hour later have a carb based lunch, I like a tuna bagel with salad. Then like before go for a balanced evening meal.

Sunday – 40 minute hard indoor bike session

The main session was 20 x 15 second sprints with 45 seconds active recovery. This is a super tough session but perfect for boosting your VO2max and really efficient on time as I was going to be out all day with my girlfriend.

Pre-training I ate a banana and drank a black coffee. After this session as it was a toughie I drank a recovery shake. I then followed this up with a big bowl of porridge, no nut butter this time as I knew I would be eating out so I could have a nice treat then. Then I would be back on the health eating with a well-balanced evening meal.  

 

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Week 3 (2 weeks to race day)

 

Monday – 60 minute easy swim (as recovery) 

Nutrition wise for this I slightly reduce my carbohydrate intake and increase my fat and protein intake. I would typically have scrambled eggs on wholemeal toast for breakfast, chicken salad for lunch and snack in between meals. Just before I swim (after work) I would eat a banana or a nut bar. For dinner I would eat a well-balanced evening meal with plenty of veggies or salad.

 

Tuesday – 50 minute interval run

 

The main session was 6 x 1 km efforts at 10 km race pace, separated by 3 minutes easy running. The purpose of this session is to work on your muscular endurance, so you can tolerate lactic acid better. I did this session after work, so to make sure I got the best out of this session I made sure at each meal (breakfast and lunch) I ate some carbohydrates and also had a pre-session snack with some more carbs, just to top me up.

This looked like; Breakfast – porridge with a spoonful of peanut butter stirred in. Lunch – chicken salad with either couscous or quinoa. My pre training snack was a banana, a nut bar and I drank a dbl. espresso. After a hard session like this I will normally have a recovery shake and follow it up with a well-balanced evening meal with plenty of veggies or salad.

 

Wednesday – 45 minute track session (excluding 15 minute warm-up and 10 minute cool down) 

I belong to City of Hull AC and they run this session every Wednesday evening. Derek the coach always plans the session and he typically aims for ~ 5 km of hard running. The purpose of this session is to predominantly work on your speed, so you should try and complete each rep as fast as possible, making sure you also take the allotted rest. This week I did 5 sets of 400m with 60 seconds rest followed by 500m then a 2 minute recovery, this was a beast of a session.  

Like Tuesday's session my nutrition during the day was very similar.

 

Thursday – 60 minute easy swim (as recovery)

After two really tough days training, I used this swim session as an active recovery session.

Nutrition wise for this I slightly reduce my carbohydrate intake and increase my fat and protein intake. I would typically have scrambled eggs on wholemeal toast for breakfast, chicken salad for lunch and snack in between meals. Just before I swim (after work) I would eat a banana or a nut bar. For dinner I would eat a well-balanced evening meal with plenty of veggies or salad.

Friday – Rest day

Saturday – 60 minute interval run 

The main session was 4 x 2 km efforts at 10 km race pace, separated by 3 minutes easy running. The purpose of this session is to work on your muscular endurance, so you can tolerate lactic acid better. 

Before this run I had a light breakfast (small bowl of porridge) as I am trying to mimic my pre-race breakfast so I’m used to it on race day. After this session, I went for a carb based lunch, I like a tuna bagel with salad. Then like before go for a balanced evening meal.

 

Sunday – long bike ride (~2 hours)

Like the long run, the purpose of this session is to build on endurance. I will be out for a long time, so I make sure I have a light breakfast first. However, as it is getting closer to race day I now include some long intervals (10-20 minutes) at race pace. Therefore some of the latter intervals I will be cycling with slightly elevated lactate.

To keep fuelled for this session I will keep topping up my energy stores by eating every hour, I’ve found that Meridian nut butter bars do the job nicely. It’s also important to keep hydrated so I will take a couple of low calorie electrolyte drinks. Once I get home I will again have a recovery shake, then about an hour later have a carb based lunch, I like a tuna bagel with salad.

 

Throughout the days I typically snack on apples, carrots, mixed nuts and Meridian nut bars. Apples and carrots are my go to everyday snacks, however I will change the mixed nuts and Meridian nut bars dependent on my training. If it’s an easy day I will typically have mixed nuts, however if it’s a harder session I will have the nut bar, as they contain more protein and carbohydrates, which is important for more strenuous exercise.  

I will be running for the BOS Foundation which Meridian supports throughout the year by sponsoring several orphaned orangutans until they are released back into the wild. 

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