Saturday, 19 September 2009

How much speed do I need

The rebel cycle tour last Sunday is the longest lasting endurance event I have completed - just under 4.5 hours in the saddle with a break in the middle for tea, sandwiches and cake (and of course the obligatory banana). A very enjoyable day out in glorious sunshine with a couple of tough challenges thrown in - the 1,000 foot climb from Millstreet up over Mushera and the less daunting (but later in the day) long drag up to Nadd. The difference between drafting in a group and going solo is huge - like riding a train (provided you can jump aboard as it doesn't stop to pick up passengers).
With Monday as a rest day Tuesday saw me back at the track for the first time in months with 6 x 800m (832m in lane 3 to be exact) in 3:00 as my target. Shouldn't be too difficult surely. Given that it was a long time since I did track intervals I was less than confident starting off. My legs felt good but an overall sluggish feeling enveloped me as the intervals progressed. The first 2 went off fine in 2:59 & 2:58 but the remaining 4 pushed over the 3 minute mark 3:03/02/02/03 and any thought of extending the number to 8 that I had entertained at the outset quickly disappeared. Still I was reasonably happy with my effort and put the sluggishness down to residual tiredness from Sundays cycle and lack of recent track experience. Despite this sluggishness I was up at 5 on Wednesday morning for a 14 mile medium long run that went off without a hitch, although the tenderness in my left PF surfaced from the 10 mile mark on. It did not get any worse and there was no discomfort walking after the run. Thursday was my second speed session with a plan to run 2 x 3 miles @ about HM pace (6:40). I changed this to 3, 2 & 1 mile tempo runs with 0.5 mile recoveries as I convinced myself to take it easier lest I get an injury. The 6 tempo miles went off without a hitch although I was glad of the extra recovery before the final mile: 6:41/37/34 - 6:39/34 - 6:27. Average 6:36. Certainly my speedwork has been better in the past. In April I did 6 straight miles @ 6:29 pace, then again 8 days later I was pulled up with a calf tear. This time last year 2 x 4 miles @ 6:34 average pace followed 14 days later with a calf strain/tear. There's certainly a trend developing. I'm very conscious of this and my priority is to get to Dublin on 26th October injury free.
My weekly long run this morning included the hilly Maglin, Knockburden, Ballinora loop with Eagle AC. I decided to get my extra miles in first so I started from home shorty after 7 and ran 5 miles to UCC farm where I met up with the group and ran 11 miles of the loop with them before heading back to Ballincollig. On leaving the group I decided to stress the body with some marathon pace running from mile 16 to 20 settling for 7 minute pace which felt tough but manageable (I had taken 2 gels at miles 8.5 and 15 ) I extended the MP section to 5 miles which I covered in 34:45 (06:57 avg) and warmed down over a further 1.25 miles back home getting 22.25 miles in total. As I have a triathlon in Castlegregory next weekend my next long run is likely to be Cork to Cobh which I will use for longer MP training. Tomorrow will either be a recovery run or more than likely a bit of bike cross training. Tue 15th Sept 6.82 miles in 51:35 (07:34 pace @ 143HR) with 6 x 832m in 2:58 to 3:03. Wed 16th Sept 14.02 miles in 1:46:33 (07:36 pace @ 139HR) Thur 17th Sept 10 miles in 1:12:10 (07:13 @ 146HR) with 3 + 2 + 1 miles @ 6:36 avg pace Fri 18th Sept 2.5 miles in 19:49 (07:56 pace on the treadmill) Sat 19th Sept 22.25 miles in 2:50:09 (07:39 pace @ 143HR) with 5 miles @ MP Marathon Training Week 8/13 - 55.6 miles Postscript Sun 20th Sept 5.34 miles in 43:09 (8:04 pace @ 122HR) - following 21.3 mile cycle. 60.9 miles for the week.


  1. I hope you're counting all your steps!!

  2. Be careful not to overrace, neither in Castlegregory (very nice area for a race, btw) nor in Cork-to-Cobh.

    Your pace is never bad, but will you be in shape to sustain it over 26 miles? The long run was a good one, but with your lack of running over the summer it's very difficult to figure out where you stand.

  3. One can never have too much speed, but, if it comes at the risk of injury...

    You seem to be doing better this time around at keeping the injuries in check. Keep an eye on it though.

    Thanks for your comment about the 4th 5k split. I'll reply to that on the blog. Basically I think my cardio-vascular system is better conditioned than the muscular (not enough long runs?) - I just got tired in the legs, and couldn't sustain a racing HR.