Wednesday, 29 August 2007

Sh** Happens

If only today turned out a little differently the title of my post would say "Midweek Long Run". I had planned a mid-week long run as I am on a company training course on Friday and Saturday and I may not be able to get in my scheduled runs. I was tempted to run a 5 mile race in Cork this evening but decided in favour of the long run as I mustn't lose sight of what I am training for. In any event I had signed up a month ago for some waterskiing this evening with the company sports and social club (why not give it a shot) so everything seemed to fit into place.
When trying a new "sport" caution should be exercised. When I turned up for waterskiing this was the principle I adopted so i followed the advice of those that had gone before me. The available options for waterskiing were
(i) hold onto a bar fixed to the side of the speed boat (Beginners) and
(ii) use the traditional rope off the back of the boat (those who have successfully completed
option (i).
The conventional wisdom appeared to be that option (i) should be availed of first followed by option (ii) - if option (i) went well. I started with option (i) and after 1 or 2 falls/flips I managed to stay up and enjoy the view. Although I did not feel the "exhilaration" others felt - and I thought I liked watersports. When my second time came round I took option (ii) safe in the knowledge that if I failed I would revert to option (i). Sounds like a good plan. So after 1 minute of instruction - skis straight in front, knees bent, arms straight, let the boat do the work - and off we go - flip/splash head over heels into the water - skis came off boat circled back - ski's on again - ok lets go again - up,up and off we go - oops --- left legs goes left and right leg goes right and ski comes off --- f*** ---- pulled something in my left leg - think it's my hamstring. Boat circles back. "I'll go back to option (i)" ---more training required.
When I got back to shore I did a bit of stretching - definitely sore hamstring (start and end of my waterskiing career - not that I'm afraid of a little pain it's just that I feel I have started my taper for the half marathon on the 9th September a little early. That's if I'm lucky --- this could be the start of the long taper for the Dublin Marathon on the 29th October.
Now 2 hours later I'm a bit more optimistic - I can walk and jogging on the spot isn't too uncomfortable - maybe, just maybe this is going to be a blip on this weeks schedule only. I'll wait and see what tomorrow morning has in store for me. Fingers crossed.
Back to my running. I did a relatively easy 10 miles in the park yesterday in 01:20:45 (08:04 pace @ 131 HR) I was happy with the pace for that effort.
That was followed by my mid-week long run of 19.8 miles following a similar, but shorter, loop into Cork as for my Saturday long runs. However given that it was a weekday traffic was much heavier and I was forced to dart and dodge around vehicles to cross intersections. Note to self: keep out of the City during the week - unless it's 5 a.m. (no fear there). The run itself went well and I felt comfortable all the time. The pace appeared to be slightly faster than my previous long runs but my watch begged to differ - I finished the 19.8 miles in 02:40:58 (08:08 pace at 128 bpm).
Stay tuned - Here's hoping my next post is about running.

Monday, 27 August 2007

2000 Miles

My run this morning brought me over the 2000 mile mark on my Polar watch - since I got it on 14th October last year. The monthly mileage splits making up this total go something like this:-
Oct'06 - 51 miles (incl Dublin City Marathon)
Nov'06 - 127 miles
Dec'06 - 155 miles
Jan'07 - 221 miles
Feb'07 - 122 miles
Mar'07 - 153 miles (incl Barcelona Marathon & recovery)
Apr'07 - 277 miles
May'07 - 220 miles
Jun'07 - 97 miles (incl Cork City Marathon & recovery)
Jul'07 - 288 miles
Aug'07 - 298 miles (heading for a 300+ month)
If I add the 600 or so miles I recorded between starting running on 8th January 2006 and 14th October 2006 gives a total mileage on my legs of 2,600.
For this morning's run I had planned another 8 fast miles (150 HR) sandwiched between some easier miles. Before setting out I was wondering whether or not I was sufficiently recovered to take on a hard effort run. I ran a warmup mile from the gym to the park and stretched. There were two other runners stretching also. I don't know was it the presence of the other runners or what but I set off on my hard effort at little harder than necessary. I didn't know if I could sustain the effort for 8 miles and thought of cutting it short at 4 or 5 miles and call it a "bad" day. Everyone else seems to have one so why can't I (I did - I had a few last week)
However I persevered, all the time thinking this should be easier than it feels - how am I going to run a half marathon on Sunday week at a faster pace than this, and on a more hilly course and warmer - 11:00 o'clock start. I don't like it when self doubt creeps into my runs. While my HR went into the mid 150's during the second half of the run I did not ease the pace to keep to the target 150. HADD recommends increasing the HR by 5 bpm as fitness gains are achieved - this was my reasoning.
I finished the 8 fast miles and decided to add an extra lap of the park to my warmdown - no time pressures as I have the next three days off work (Kids back to school next week and all that).
When I finished the run and got home I had a look at the times as follows:-
12.4 Miles in 01:30:47 (07:19 pace @ 143 HR avg)
8 faster miles in 55:18 (06:55 pace @ 150 HR avg)
While I knew the effort was higher than normal I didn't think I was running sub 7 minute pace. I am pleased with the time, as first of all it explains why I felt more stressed than normal, secondly it shows I can run hard after a high mileage week (87 miles) and finally the 06:55 pace is faster than my half marathon PB pace of 07:04. Suddenly all thoughts of a hillier warmer course on Sunday week are gone (for the moment).

Sunday, 26 August 2007

Record Week

For my long run on Saturday I reversed the 23.4 mile loop I did last week. My intention was to do an evenly paced run at about a 135 HR (No speeding up at the end to see what was in the tank) The morning was warm and sunny for a change. The first 10 to 15 miles went by pretty easy - good to cover the hilly part early on. As I was running out of the City on the way home the heat got to me a bit (it's all relative - by heat I mean 20 to 22 deg C) and despite the fact that I was carrying a drink I was running out with 5 miles to go.
While the pace remained more or less the same, the effort was increasing - my Heart Rate was averaging 130 for the first 5 miles, moved into the 140's from mile 16 and stayed above 150 from mile 20/21. I am certainly glad when I finish theses long runs over 20 miles, as the last few miles always tend to stress my system much more that any other type of training run. There certainly was no sprint finish at the end of this run. My average HR for the run was 139 bpm - pace of 07:58 (very similar to last week)
A recovery run this morning saw me heading off at a leisurely pace on a 12.4 mile loop from my house into Cork and back at an even pace averaging at 09:01 minutes per mile (HR of 120 bpm)
The recovery run finished a week in which I recorded my highest mileage todate of 87.8 miles as follows:-
Mon - 12.1 Miles (07:33 pace @ 139 bpm - 9 miles @ 07:23 pace)
Tue - 9.5 Miles (08:01 pace @ 144 bpm)
Wed - 10.4 Miles (08:16 pace @ 139 bpm - Park)
Thur - 10 Miles (08:34 pace @ 124 bpm - park)
Fri - 10 Miles (07:22 Pace @ ??? bpm - 8 miles @ 07:16 pace - Park)
Sat 23.4 miles (07:58 miles @ 139 bpm)
Sun 12.4 miles (09:01 pace @ 120 bpm)

Friday, 24 August 2007

Another Hard Effort

Completed my second harder effort (150 HR) run of the week today, covering 10 miles in 01:13:44 (07:22 pace) with the middle 8 miles at 07:16 pace. My HR monitor decided to go on a roller coaster ride following the warmup mile registering a HR of 181 for the next 3 miles before dropping to 168 until mile 6. The effort however felt about right which was borne out my 07:16 pace (same pace for an identical run I complete Thursday of last week) . While I felt tired towards the end I think I am reasonably refreshed heading into tomorrow's long run. The average pace for the 10 miles is a few seconds faster than my most optimistic target marathon pace of 07:26 (3:15 Marathon) - I'm no fool however, while I might tough it out for another 10 miles, I'm well aware of the impact the last 6.22 miles of a marathon can have on a otherwise healthy body.

Thursday, 23 August 2007

A Series of 10 Milers

On Tuesday and Wednesday I was in the UK visiting water treatment plants to view activated carbon dosing systems (very exciting) that are used to remove pesticides and taste and odour issues associated with algae in raw water. Carbon is great for removing toxins and impurities and I'm told that it is administered in hospitals to junkies who overdose (as seen on ER). Carbon tablets are also supposed to be great for a hangover.
We stopped overnight in Higham in rural Derbyshire (at the edge of the peak district) and I managed to get in a run through the back lanes around Ogston reservoir. I followed a hilly bridle path down to the lake did a loop of the lake along quite roads and back to the village via. a steep hill which went on for a mile (HR shot up to 160 - easy pace) An attempt to run cross country via. a public path ended up in a farmyard with barking dogs (didn't wait around to see if I was on the right path) The loop was about 6.5 miles so I did a couple of laps through the village and got the distance up to 9.5 miles before deciding to call it a day. The pace average was 08:01 at 144 HR.
When the plane landed in Cork early yesterday evening I went to the gym so that I could get a run in before I went home. It was warm and sunny for a change so I ran to the park and did a couple of loops. I also tried some new paths for a change and ended up negotiating tree roots, nettles and ducking under fallen branches. By the time I had finished I was feeling tired and dehydrated. The result of my detour from my normal route was a slower 08:16 pace @ 139 HR.
This morning I went for an easy 10 Miler in the park. I was tired from my trip ( which as well as running involved a few late night drinks) and the previous evening's run and it showed. I ambled along at an easy pace as it was all I could manage finishing the 10 miles in 01:25;36 (08:34 pace @ 124 HR). I felt tired all day and found it difficult to concentrate. An early night is called for if I am to get a decent run in the morning.

Sunday, 19 August 2007

Cork 1-16 (19) Meath 0-9 (9)

Cork won the football semi-final against Meath yesterday which means they go on the meet the winners of the Kerry v's Dublin semi-final which takes place next weekend. I travelled to Dublin with Anbhthan yesterday to see the match in Croke Park (1990 was the last time I was there - shows how big a fan I am). Anyway it was Ani's day, which she enjoyed immensely. This was her first time at a football match and what a first time venue it was. It was more like a hotel than a football field. We were served drinks and lunch while the minor semi-final between Galway and Kerry was on (Galway won) - although Ani spent most of the match outside on the stand.
37,000 were in attendance, well short of the 80,000 capacity.

Afterwards she posed for photographs with her (Dublin) Cousin, Robert. It's easy to see who Robert will be supporting if Dublin make it through next weekends semi-final. I think he does it to rise his Dad (a true Dub supporter)

The rest day was certainly worth the smile on Ani's face.

Over the six running days I completed 74 odd miles as follows:-

  • Mon - 10 Miles (07:39 pace @ 136 bpm - park)
  • Tue - 10.75 Miles incl 2nd Hadd Test
  • Wed - 10 Miles (08:17 pace @ 131 bpm - park)
  • Thur - 10 Miles (07:28 pace @ 142 bpm incl 8 miles at 07:16 pace)
  • Fri - 10 Miles (08:07 pace @ 132 bpm - park)
  • Sat - 23.4 Miles (07:59 pace @ 136 bpm)
This morning was too wet and dark to run in the park so I completed 12.1 miles on road. As it started out wet and dark I ran in a running jacket with a reflective vest over it. At the end of the warmup mile I felt hot and clammy in the jacket and considered taking it off and holding it, before putting it back on as more rain threatened.
As I had a rest day yesterday and I am travelling to the UK for 2 days work tomorrow I decided to get one of my "harder" training runs in (i.e. circa 8 miles @ 150 HR). After a mile or two at the harder effort I felt I had enough as running in the jacket felt uncomfortably warm (the Irish answer to warm weather training). I ran on with the intention of finishing after 4 or 5 miles at the higher HR (before I hit the hills) However as the run progressed I felt more comfortable even though my HR had risen to 150 and beyond (hills).
I ran in to Cork along the Straight Road, Mardyke and Western Road and looped back via the College of Art, College Road and Model Farm Road against a headwind. I eventually completed 9 miles at the higher effort before warming down over the final 2 miles.
The total run of 12.1 miles took 01:31:20 (07:33 pace at 147 bpm avg) The 9 faster miles were at an average pace of 07:23 @ 152 bpm avg.

Saturday, 18 August 2007

All Ireland Football Semi-Final

I'm off to the all-Ireland football semi-final early tomorrow morning (Cork v Meath) with my youngest daughter, Anbhthan (Ani for short) so it looks like tomorrow will be a rest day (as far as running is concerned). I got the tickets through work - left over corporate hospitality - too many Clients on holiday. Ani is more of a fan than I am, she will be wearing the full team kit. Yesterday I completed another 10 mile run in the park at a target HR of 135. I completed the run in 08:07 pace @ 132 bpm HR. Today's long run saw me repeat last weeks run except that I extended it out the Blackrock Road to Blackrock Village and back into town along the Marina on the south bank of the River Lee. The run was fairly even paced throughout although I upped the pace and HR slightly over the last 3 miles (07:44 pace). Overall I completed 23.4 miles in 03:06:56 (07:59 pace @ 136 average HR). All in all a good run that I was comfortable with throughout, even for the increased effort at the end.

Thursday, 16 August 2007

A walk in the Park

Two more ten milers in the park yesterday and today but at different efforts. Wednesday mornings run was very much a recovery from the HADD test the night before. I felt very sluggish, especially for the first few miles. My legs loosened up after a while but the run was always at a reasonably low effort. This morning I increased the effort with the intention of running 8 of the 10 miles at a target HR of 150 bpm. After the warmup mile (08:15 pace) and stretching I increased the pace and my HR steadily rose into the 140's. I settled on a pace that I thought was at the right effort but as the miles passed my HR still remained in the mid 140's. It seemed like I was stuck in the same gear and I felt that I couldn't change up without a significant injection of energy (energy that I was not prepared to expend just to nudge the HR up a little). I complete the 8 miles at an average pace of 07:16 (avg HR of 146) which I was pleased with. For a similar run on 31st July my average pace was 07:21 over the 8 miles (avg HR of 150). However that run was on a warm sunny evening after a heavy lunch. The 07:16 pace is somewhere between my half marathon and marathon pace. I certainly could have kept going for another 5 or 6 miles. Wed 15th Aug - 10 miles in 1;22:53 (08:17 pace @ 131 bpm) Thur 16th Aug - 10 miles in 1:14:38 (07:28 pace @ 142 bpm - 8 miles @ 07:16 pace & 146 bpm)

Tuesday, 14 August 2007

2nd HADD Test

Monday morning called for 10 miles in the park (well actually that's what I did - there is no call to do anything as my training plan is very loose, consisting of running as many miles as I can in week at between 130 and 150 HR while fitting in family, some relaxation, work and sleep and now blogging).
I had planned an easy sub 135 bppm run but after the warmup mile I upped the effort slightly to sub-8 minute pace. I felt strong and comfortable for the entire run finishing the 10 miles in 01:16:28 (07:39 pace @ 136 HR).

This evening called for a repeat of the HADD test I did on 10th July (5 weeks ago). This test is supposed to be a measure of how my aerobic conditioning is going and, for me, involves running 2,400m (6 laps of a track) at increasing heart rates of 130, 140, 150, 160 and 170 bpm with 90 second rests in between. As lanes 1 and 2 at the track are off limits I run in lane 3 covering 2,496 m in 6 laps (416m per lap).

Ideally the test is to be run in the same conditions (temperature, wind speed, humidity etc.) so that the only variable is my change in fitness. However the only constant in an Irish weather forecasters vocabulary is the word "changeable" and so it was today. My last test was run in warm sunny conditions with a light breeze. This evening was cooler with with a mixture of light rain, sunny spells and intermittent gusts of wind.

Apart from the weather there are three things you need to do the HADD test

1) A Measurable Distance - Check (I was on a Track)
2) A Time Recording Device - Check (I had my stopwatch)
3) A Heart Rate Recording Device - Check (I was wearing my HR Monitor)

I started off with a 1 mile warmup and then straight into my first test run at 130 HR, which went fine. I took my 90 second rest (HR down to 84) and started off on my second test run. It was from here on in that things began to slightly askew. The recorded HR began to jump into the 180's and drop down again. In addition it rarely dropped below 140 which meant that by the end of the 6 laps the average HR recorded was 142. This happened again for the next two tests with average recorded HR's of 154 and 163 as opposed to 150 and 160. During the final test my HR was showing 175 during the 2nd lap and at some stage shot down to 0 and up to 189 and then settled in the 150's despite the fact that the effort felt as difficult as it had 5 weeks ago. While the average recorded HR for the last test was 169 (same as last time) I couldn't rely on it. I'd want to get my HR monitor checked out (perhaps it needs replacement or an new battery)

For what it's worth I have set out the results and compared them to those of 10th July in the following table:-

The results show an improvement at all HR's. However as the recorded HR's vary between tests and given the erratic behavior of my HR monitor they are not directly comparable. However I think the results for the first (130bpm) and last (170 bpm) test runs are comparable and show that I am taking a step in the right direction. Certainly the improvement at the lower HR is significant. However the first HADD test was only 5 weeks after the Cork Marathon and only one/two weeks into my return to serious training (previous 2 weeks mileage of 36 and 51 miles).

Between the test, warmup and warmdown I covered 10.75 Miles. I was contemplating taking the test in a week or two but may hold off until mid-September (another 5 weeks).

Sunday, 12 August 2007

Another week down

An easy 11.4 mile loop from the house this morning at recovery pace (08:58 @ 123 HR) rounded off my recovery week with a total of 67 Miles as follows:-

Mon Rest Day

Tue 9.14 Miles (07:49 pace @ 137 bpm - park)

Wed 9 Miles (07:40 pace avg - Incl 5k race in 19:20 - 06:13 pace)

Thur 6.8 Miles (08:58 pace @ 127 bpm - park)

Fri 10 Miles (08:05 pace @ ??? bpm - park)

Sat 20.8 Miles (08:05 pace @ ??? bpm)

Sun 11.4 Miles (08:58 @ 123 bpm)

I found my HR monitor for this mornings run (where I had left it !!!). The pace of this mornings run was the same as Thursday's recovery run but at a lower heart rate indicating recovery from Wednesday's 5k has gone well.

Saturday, 11 August 2007

What's my pace again

Couldn't find my heart rate monitor for the last 2 days so I had to run without it. I ran on effort/pace but could not assess whether I had recovered fully from Wednesday's 5k race. I guess I have. A 10 mile run in the park yesterday morning. Pace was 08:00 to 08:15 for the first 7 miles after which I upped it to between 07:40 to 07:50 for the last 3 miles just because I felt like it - no other reason. Steady pace/effort running is fine but gets a little monotonous at times. My long run this morning was practically the same route as last week (marginally longer @ 20.85 miles). Getting ready was like packing for a day out - running belt - drink, iPod, Phone & loose change (don't usually take the phone and change - but they are handy if stuck). There was a light misty rain for the first 13 miles. I wore a baseball cap to keep the rain off my glasses. However the rain was so light that it appeared to hang in the air and I had to hang my glasses off my running belt (It was beginning to feel like a tool belt). The weather reminded me of the West Cork Marathon that I ran in May, not bad for running as the light rain has a cooling affect - Thomas will know what I mean. When I stopped to stretch after the warmup mile a girl approached me and asked for 50 cent to call a taxi as she had missed the bus to work (she must have seen my tool belt) When I gave her a Euro she said she only wanted 50 cent. I replied that despite appearances I was out for a run and didn't bring my wallet. She thanked me and left. I ran at a fairly even effort at about 08:10 pace until the last mile when I decided to see if there was anything left in the tank (safe to do this when you're close to home). I was able to up the pace and completed the last mile (which is half up-hill/half flat) in 07:28 - felt faster but, hey! the watch doesn't lie. Total run took 02;48:42 (08:05 pace). The final mile was at the pace I am targeting for the Dublin Marathon in October - should get me close to 03:15 (If truth be told a sub 03:20 Boston qualification will do me fine). This got me thinking about target pace in general. After my race on Wednesday I plugged my time into the McMillian Running Calculator which spat out a 03:08:29 Marathon (07:12 pace) up from my last best prediction (from my half marathon PB) of 03:15:03 (07:27 pace - which is the basis for my current target). I certainly know, based on my last marathon in June, that 07:12 pace will not be achievable in October - 07:27 is an ambitious target as it is. On checking Wednesday's race results on the web ( I got accredited with a time of 19:19 btw) and comparing them against another 5k held two weeks ago I noticed that a number of the regular competitive runners (sub 18:00) had run Wednesday's race 20 to 30 seconds faster than the one two weeks ago. So If I had run the 5k two weeks ago as opposed to Wednesday my time possibly would have been closer to 20:00, which is equivalent to a 03:15 marathon (according to Mcmillian).
I know pace depends on the terrain and all that - which brings me back to Thomas's comment on Wednesday that he and I run similar paces because our 5K PB's are similar. As the West Cork Half Marathon is the only race we've both run and he finished a good 2.5 minutes ahead of me I conclude that Thomas is further down the road than I am. Apologies for the long wavering thread but those are my thoughts for the day.

Thursday, 9 August 2007

Staying with HADD

More thoughts on yesterdays 5k race. If my running watch had been working and showing a sub 6 minute pace during the first mile I probably would have eased back to target pace (06:20/25) to conserve energy and therefore not run as good a time as I did. I should not rely on my watch to set the pace during short races, feedback on every mile is enough to let you know how you're doing. Ewen is right, aerobic training is sufficient for a Marathon. I am inclined to stay with HADD and do the limited speedwork recommended, reducing the risk of injury and therefore allowing me to keep the weekly mileage relatively high, which I think is more important in improving marathon performance. It doesn't mean I won't have fast runs or avoid hills in my training. It will just be less structured. Following last nights race I did 6.8 recovery miles in the park this morning in 01:00:45 (08:56 pace @ 127 HR) with the intention of doing a few more recovery miles in the evening before Abina went to work - no such luck, I had to take the 3 girls to the cinema and Saran on a play date to keep him happy. I'm convinced that the morning is the best time to run - less unplanned interruptions.

Wednesday, 8 August 2007

Novartis 5k PB

Ran the Novartis 5 k this evening - my first race over this distance. I got to the venue in Ringaskiddy with a hour to spare and after getting my race number I decided to run the entire course as a warm-up and reconnaissance mission. The course was undulating with the first mile primarily downhill, the second primarily uphill and the third a bit of both. I covered the course and a bit more in 26:37 (3.26 Miles @ 140 heart rate - 08:09 pace) The relatively elevated heart rate worried me a bit and I thought how am I going to achieve a sub 06:30 pace (Now that I am finished I can reveal my goal pace - i.e. to finish as close to 20 minutes as possible - 06:25 pace) Following the warmup I put on my number and did a further warmup close to the starting line ( I read somewhere that a warmup is ineffective if there is a big gap betweeen finishing the warmup and starting the race). I got in line 3 or 4 rows from the front (300 plus runners in all) and headed off at a good pace. While I felt the effort was strenuous during the first donwhill mile my watch was showing a 7:05 pace Voice in my head: surely I should be doing better than this pace. Then I began to fall off the back of the group of runners that I had been running with. Voice in my head; f**k this if I can't keep under 7 minute pace I should go home at least the pain will be gone. Thankfully I persevered and as I passed the 1 mile marker there was a timekeeper calling out the times "05:51" he said as I passed him. Voice in my head:- Christ I'm going too fast - I could just make a sub-20 minute run. Spurred on by my first mile time (the fastest mile I've ever recorded) I maintained the effort during the second uphill mile ( I knew the pace was going to drop). I was overtaken by two men and a woman at about 1.5 miles but they never got too far ahead. The time keeper at mile 2 calling out "12:26" as I passed him (these guys are worth their weight in gold). I knew that I had to maintain the pace for the third mile if I was to get under 20 minutes. There was a good downhill stretch from about 2.25 to 2.75 miles, towards the end of which I was overtaken by a few guys. They didn't get very far ahead as we turned the corner for the final uphill push passed the 3 mile marker. "18:40" I'm sure I heard the timekeeper say - I knew I was going to make it and kept the effort up crossing under the clock as it struck 19:20. Two guys sprinted passed my in the final 50 yards - Voice in my head:- where did these guys come from. They obviously didn't have a good race strategy or they'd be coming in at 18:00. I didn't care I had set a new PB and one that I won't beat easily. The woman who passed me out at 1.5 miles was five places ahead of me in the finishing chute, which confirmed that my pace didn't slacken off relative to those around me. Following the race I did a 2 mile warm down at about 9 minute pace - watch malfuctioning at this stage. All in all I ran about 9 miles including 3.1 Miles at 6:13 Pace. My heart rate strap fell down around my waist at about 2.5 miles into the run (average recorded HR of 169 - in reality it was probably higher than 170 - max HR recorded was 181 )

Tuesday, 7 August 2007

Recovery Days - or ?

No running on monday in line with my committment last week to ease up on the effort and mileage to see if the twinge(s) in my left quad, IT Band and Hip would stop irritating me and just go away. However not complete rest as I was persuaded to go on a 35 mile cycle with my ex-running partner. Covered the 35 miles in less than two hours (something like 03:21 minutes per mile - sub two hour marathon here I come or should I say there I've gone) A 9 mile easy run in the park on the cards this morning. No let up in the left quad tenderness department so after two miles I decided to take the boring predictable pace out of the run and introduce a few fartleks over 150 to 300m to experience target 5k pace - for tomorrows race. While the effort was manageable over these short distances I don't know how I am going to keep it going for 5k. I prefer a slow build up to the pain and fatigue that a marathon gives you rather than the instant introduction to burning lungs/legs that these faster races bring. With the fartleks I covered the distance in 1:11:24 to give an average pace of 07:49 and HR of 137 over 9.14 miles. I have my second test run on the track under HADD next week to see what improvement I have made on foot of my aerobic conditioning runs. The test consists of running 6 laps of the track at average heart rates varying from 130 to 170 bpm (10 bpm intervals) with 90 second rests and recording the average pace for each HR - should be interesting. I was planning on continuing with this sort of training until the Dublin Marathon at the end of October, given that aerobic conditioning is 90 to 95% of what's required for long distance races. However I now am having second thoughts and am thinking of following a more traditional approach while I still have time (12 weeks to go) - i.e. 5 weeks of Endurance plus speedwork (mainly tempo runs), 4 weeks of sharpening/Intervals and 3 weeks of taper. I'll leave it another week to decide.

Sunday, 5 August 2007

Nice & Easy

Slow recovery run this morning of 13.6 Miles. The pace was pedestrian, the slowest I've run in a long time, but necessary. It's surprising how easy it is to run at the same pace and not drift up or down without consciously changing the effort - a daydreaming sort of run. I initially set out to run an 11.4 mile loop from my house but added a few additional miles to get over the magical number of 80 miles for the week - if I'm going to cut back next week I need something significant to cut back from (80 sounds a lot better than 79.5). I finished the run in 02:03:18 giving an average pace of 09:04 (What!!!) with 117 bpm as my average HR. A total of 80.2 miles for the week in a new PB (this should last for a couple of weeks) Mon 11.5 Miles (08:00 pace @ 131 bpm - Park) Tue 11.9 Miles (07:37 pace @ 147 bpm - Park) Wed 4.2 Miles (08:28 pace @ 124 bpm) Thur 9.14 Miles (08:01 pace @ 130 bpm - Park) Fri 9.14 Miles (08:10 pace @ 131 bpm - Park) Sat 20.75 Miles (07:56 pace @ 142 bpm) Sun 13.6 Miles (09:04 pace @ 117 bpm)

Saturday, 4 August 2007

Time for a recovery week

An easy run in the park again on Friday morning over the same distance as Thursday evening. This run was slightly slower as I covered the 9.14 Miles in 1:14;36 (08:10 pace @ 131 HR). Feeling more tired towards the end of the week. For today's long run I had planned to increase the effort for 8 to 10 miles. I did the same run around the City as last week except I added a 2 miles loop from the City centre out towards the Marina and in the Centre Park Road. I warmed up slowly, with the intention of gradually building up the pace, covering the first 3 miles in an average pace of 08:39 before increasing the effort towards 135 HR which gave me the next 6 miles in a average pace of 07:59. I was wondering how I was going to up the effort (target 150 HR) as I felt that I didn't have a higher gear. However I managed to increase the effort and pace for a mile or two and then noticed that the pace showing on my watch was more or less at the 08:00 showing for the earlier part of the run. While I was now running on more undulating terrain with some headwind I couldn't understand why my pace had not increased with the increase in effort. This pissed me off slightly and I felt like slowing down. However I kept going with my HR at or above the 150 bpm target (if the pace wasn't right at least the effort and therefore the training effect I was trying to achieve was). On checking my distance against the 4 marathon miles markers that were on my route I noticed that I recorded only 3.73 miles on my watch which means that my recorded pace was out by about 30 second per mile - my spirits lifted somewhat. However by mile 18 I had to ease up as my legs felt very heavy (my adjusted/real pace for the 9 "faster" miles was approximately 07:37 - somehow I was expecting better). I covered the last 2.75 miles in 08:07 pace however my HR never dropped below 145 until I stopped. I will have to give my long runs the respect they deserve. Overall time was 02:44;38 giving an average pace of 07:56 (HR of 142) One thing I concluded after the run was that for previous marathons I was better prepared for my long training runs which started at or after 10:30 on a Sunday morning after getting up at 8 am and having breakfast. This morning I was out at 7 am, 15 minutes after I got up. After a few heavy weeks I think it is time for a recovery week of easy running - except perhaps for Wednesday when I'm half thinking of doing a local 5k - guaranteed a PB as I have never done one.

Thursday, 2 August 2007

Gone Fishing

2 easy runs on Wednesday and Thursday. Woke up later than expected on wednesday morning so only managed 4.2 Miles from the Gym ( I don't want to resort to the alarm clock to wake up just yet - if my body doesn't wake naturally it aint running) - anyway I felt tired from tuesdays effort (12 hours previously) and kept to a slow pace (average of 08:28 @ 124 HR). I had it in the back of my mind to do an easy 6 miler in the evening, to make up the mileage, until I was reminded of a committment to go mackerel fishing with two guys from work - so I headed off to west cork in the late afternoon and took a boat out of Rosscarbery (boat is a strong word - we were in a 10 foot rib with an outboard motor) This was my first time fishing from a boat - had to move around a bit to find the fish and despite early disappointment we landed 10 mackerel between us which was five each (one of the guy's didn't take any as his wife doesn't like the smell of fish and won't allow them in the house). Not a bad way to spend the evening bobbing up and down in a boat with only the gulls and seals for company. As I was cooking dinner this evening "fish of the day" was on the menu - very tasty. Anyway back to running - as I did not get back from my fishing trip until after midnight I rested this morning (I normally try to get a swim in on tuesdays and thursdays) and did 9.14 miles in the local park after work. While my left quad still felt tender I took it easy. The run felt good (rest certainly does improve the running experience) and I finished the 9.14 miles in 1:13:20 (08:01 pace @ 130 HR - a good pace at this HR for me). I might incorporate my friday hard effort in saturdays long run instead (run 8 to 10 miles at 150 HR) and run easy tomorrow to see if the ache in my left quad eases. If the ache continues or worsens after the weekend I will consider doing all easy runs or, god forbid, rest for a day or two.