Sunday, 27 February 2011

Head for the hills

The last run of my cut-back week was an off-road session in the Nagle Mountains (hills really) with Paul and James from the club. Paul has spent a lot of his time running off road, having completed a few mountain races. He's planning on running the Wicklow Way Ultra 2 weeks before Connemara. James isn't that far behind him, having run this particular route twice before. That's if you can call it a route as we climbed gravel roads only to turn off and head back downhill along rock strewn trails, stopping to walk through overgrown paths (Paul had thought about bringing a slash hook to cut back the vegetation - what would it be like during the summer months) - back up a 20%+ gradient where if you reached out in front of you you'd touch the ground (I walked a bit here). Needless to say my 140 heart rate threshold was well and truly exceeded.

I soon discovered what separated me from the 2 guys....weight. They both clock in at about ten and a half stone (67kg) ...mountain goats, whereas i'm nearly 3 stone heavier (84kg)... means a lot when trying to drag your sorry ass up a hill. We finished up the run with 3.5 miles on road to get up to 15 miles total. A good strength session. On checking the garmin after I was surprised the average pace was below 9:00.

That was the second of my cutback 15 mile weekend back to back long runs. The first was on another (less) hilly route to the south west of the City between Spur Hill and Ballinora before finishing up for the final mile on the grass of UCC Farm.

A Thursday morning run in the vibrams pushing close to my self imposed 140HR limit yielding a 7:25 average pace over 12.2 miles left my legs feeling tired and achy - just hope they got enough rest before I head into the final 3 weeks of high volume. I still don't know how I'll fit next Sunday's Ballycotton 10 miler into this high volume schedule - needless to say I won't be aiming for a PB, with my target similar, if not slightly better, than Dungarvan (1:12:03).

Tue 22nd Feb 8.3 miles @ 8:21 pace & 130HR with 5 x 1 mile @ 7:16 pace & 2 min recoveries. Wed 23rd Feb 2.5 Miles @ 7:56 pace (Treadmill) Thur 24th Feb 12.2 miles @ 7:25 pace & 137HR - Vibrams Sat 26th Feb 15.82 miles @ 8:21 pace & 131HR Sun 27th Feb 15 miles @ 8:45 pace & 134 HR - Off-road hilly run. Base Week #5 (Run 54.1 miles, Bike NIL, Swim 3.5 km)


  1. When training for Dingle I did a lot of runs like that. It really served well to build up leg strength, but I lost a lot of speed in the process. It's good training, but hard to find the ideal combination between leg power and leg speed.

  2. As Thomas, but..

    Just make sure you don't do any hills too close to your race, otherwise you'll not have recovered and you'll run badly like I have when doing this type of training.

  3. Your Sunday run looks fantastic, mad, well done! I remember running terrain like that when training for a few ultras, I was also surprised at how the base translated into speed (with just a few sessions).

  4. Good observation from Thomas. I like Scott Brown's fast down/up hill intervals for more specific leg strength. Love those Garmin profile views too - looks like you'd need ropes to get up those hills!

    It'll be interesting to see how the 10 miler pans out. Wouldn't be surprised if you're close to the PB if you don't run too many hard/long miles the previous day.

  5. Love the sound of your mountain route.
    I think Scott's advice is good.
    Hope the 10 mile race goes well!

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