I certainly seem to be carrying more weight around recently. All the signs are there - I took a suit to be "taken in" this week (meaning to get it done over the last 6 months) and imagine my embarrassment when I tried on the pants and it fit perfectly - the seamstress must have though that there was a bit of wishful thinking going on. I’ve put on about 5 kg (11 lbs) since I last weighed myself 6 months ago. That's a lot of excess baggage to be hauling around the roads, especially over 26.2 miles. At a very simple level the linear relationship between energy, work and force (weight) tells me that carrying 6% excess weight takes 6% more energy. In other words the energy it took to run the Clonakilty Marathon last weekend would have carried me a further 1.6 miles had I been my normal svelte 82 kg (still not an ideal racing weight) or I could have used the same energy to complete the distance in 3:15. I know it’s not as simple as that and other factors come into play but I don’t like overcomplicating things. As the 39.3 miles I plan on doing next April will be very unforgiving on every excess lb that is not needed for essential bodily functions i'll have to reverse the current trend – well I’ll give it another week or two given the season that we’re in. When my daughter Keevsa asked me what I wanted for Christmas that was not running related I said she could get me a book on good diet written by Matt Fitzgerald called “Racing Weight” – technically not a running book. Maybe this will help motivate me to ease up on the crap I eat. I completed 35 miles this week following up Tuesday’s track session with two 5 milers on Thursday and Friday and a 16 miler in the park today. I ran 5 of those 16 miles with well known local runner Mary Sweeney. The time passed quickly as we chatted about last weekends marathon, in which Mary came 3rd, having faded from 1st place during the last 5 miles. We both agreed that the marathon was a great event and that we would be back next year. Mary’s highlight of the year was winning the F50 category in the national marathon championships in Dublin in October. While the Connemara Ultra is only 16 weeks away I have not devised, downloaded or even thought of a training plan. Perhaps I should - I like the heading of the Runners World ultra programme – “you don’t have to be crazy to run an ultramarathon. You just have to be ready”. Given that it’s a 16-week programme (albeit for a 50 mile ultra) I may just follow it loosely. While Thomas commented on my last post that reverting to 6:00 to 6:20 miles is a bit early in the season, I notice the runners world programme has me doing mile/2 mile repeats at 10 mile and half marathon pace, which for me (in my prime) is 6:15 to 6:30 pace. Seems a bit fast for ultra training. Tim Noakes in “Lore of Running” has a few ultra programmes – his own programme specifies various distances with jog, moderate and hard efforts. Another 14-week programme (Norrie Williamson’s) requires speedwork at 10k pace from week 2. So, on balance, I think I’ll introduce some speedwork over the coming weeks as I have entered for the Dungarvan and Ballycotton 10 milers in January and March and while I won’t be aiming for a PB, I won’t be jogging around either.