Thursday, 22 October 2009

Dodging Bullets

Having got through my marathon build without an injury I thought I was on the home straight. Then illness hit my family with all four children out sick from school on Monday with varying complaints from colds, headaches & nausea - you name it they got it. To add to my worries I was feeling mild aches, pains and shivers which is a normal indication of worse to come, but I was hoping that it was a mild reaction to the flu jab I got at work last Thursday. As the week went on the feeling subsided and the kids began to drift back to school (not all there yet) so hopefully I have avoided catching anything.
I continued with my taper getting 43 miles in last week culminating in a 12.7 mile run with Eagle AC on Sunday (8 in all with 7 of us running Dublin - 5 of us with targets of between 7:00 and 7:15 pace - interesting!). This is the first year that there will be pacers in the marathon (I assume from 3hr pace and up @ 15 minute intervals) We had a bit of a laugh when someone (who shall remain nameless) concluded that the pacers will guarantee that you come in at a certain time - it'll be hard enough for the pacers to guarantee their own time not to mind yours.
Tuesdays track session was 3 x 1,600m at MP with no recoveries. A further discussion with Pat and Paul after the session on what pace we'll run on Sunday was inconclusive. They'll be heading out at 7:10 to 7:20 pace and perhaps ramp up to 7:00 pace after 2 miles. The advice from the coach (Liam - Laurence to some ;) was to certainly to go out slower than MP so as to avoid the early build up of lactic acid - 5 or 10 seconds per mile too fast could be enough to tip the balance in favour of hitting the wall early and often, and it is easy to make up 20 or 30 seconds from mile 3 to 20 compared to what could be lost later in the race if you head out too fast. Pace should be conversational (but without the conversation).
Wednesday's lunchtime run was an easy recovery run (needless to say Brendan was absent) just to keep my legs ticking over.
This evening was the dress rehearsal with 2 MP miles built into a 7 mile run. I even loaded 6 gels into the pockets of my shorts (3 more could fit on my running belt) for a more realistic simulation. The run went reasonably smoothly - the 2 warmup miles @ 7:30 pace went very smoothly, the 2nd MP mile felt a little tougher than the first although the HR's were similar (144/146) and the 3 warmdown miles felt a little tougher than the 7:5x pace @ 139/144/144 HR. Still I'm not worried as long as I can remain illness free for the next few days. All that's left now is 1 or 2 easy runs before heading to Dublin on Sunday.
Sat 17th Oct
5 miles in 40:20 (08:04 pace - treadmill)
Sun 18th Oct
12.66 miles in 1:43:50 (8:12 pace @ 128 HR)
Marathon Training Week #12/13 - 43.69 miles
Tue 20th Oct
6.39 miles in 48:54 (7:39 pace @ 136 HR) with 4,800m @ MP (07:00)
Wed 21st Oct
5.02 miles in 41:40 (8:18 pace @ 124 HR)
Thur 22nd Oct
7.03 miles in 52:53 (7:32 @ 139 HR) with 2 miles @ MP (7:01 pace)


  1. Sounds like the same bullets that just missed me last week. I think you are primed and ready and your coaches advice is spot on. Better a few seconds slow over the 1st few miles (so true but we never learn)! Good luck staying healthy and have a great race!

  2. Grellan,

    I'll gladly take your offer of starting out together. I'm still feeling the effects of that cold that started a fortnight ago and don't know how long I can keep it together in Dublin, but I'm definitely willing to give it a go.

  3. Same here on the illness front. I'm on Vit C, Lemsip (precaution) and echinacea to keep things at bay. I have a blocked nose but I had the same last year and plenty of Vick Vaporub did the job.

    I am interested in the 'going out too fast' scenario that your coach mentions. I always panic in the first 3 miles of the marathons when I think I'm off the pace. I then over-compensate with some tempo running.....followed by a bonk at mile 20! Hopefully I'll pace Monday a bit better.

  4. I am popping the odd multi-vitamin pill and eating more oranges than I normally would. I have also noticed I have also washed my hands more regularly, so far so...will not say anymore, to do so would invite being jinxed! Good luck to all on Monday.

  5. I just decided to stay away just in case you be tempted to run at an easy 6:45 pace!! :)

  6. Good luck Grellan. Don't let Thomas drive the 7:00 pace bus too fast. Sorry I couldn't back you for this one.

  7. Best of luck Monday. Sounds like you are well prepared. Handy does it the last few days.

  8. I wondered why you had been wearing that Micheal Jackson mask and sleeping in oxygen tent all week!
    Fingers crossed for Monday, about time you had a good en!
    Looking forward to the Grellan-Thomas dual! May the best man win.

  9. Best wishes for a good race in Dublin.