Monday, 30 May 2011

Plugging Away

The last few weeks have been pretty repetitive on the running front

Monday - Day off.
Tuesday - Speedwork in the form of intervals at the track
Wednesday - Easy recovery run or day off.
Thursday - Speedwork in the form of a 5k tempo run
Friday - Day off
Saturday - Long Run
Sunday - Longer run

With all the days off I'm able to recover from the back to back weekend long runs and still get 2 speed workouts in - although i'm not as fast as I used to be.

The key workouts for the 100k are obviously the long runs and I finally appear to be getting my head and body used to them. Simple as it may sound it took a while for me to get the last key training element nailed - eating. Twice in the last month, towards the end of a 4 and 5 hour long run I suffered badly due to lack of fuel. Over a period of 10 minutes I went from feeling reasonably ok to a state where every step was a huge effort - the classic bonk/hitting the wall experience. While a few gels and water will get me around a marathon course reasonably intact, going longer demands a higher and more varied calorific intake.

This weekend I completed my last and longest back to back runs covering 64 miles over two days. The 4:05 hour 29.8 mile run on Saturday was the faster of the two, leaving my legs in a suitably fatigued state for Sundays 5 hour run. I managed to get by on Perpeteum and High 5 on Saturday but I was up before 6 on Sunday morning with my chicken noodle soup simmering away on the hob. I had carb loaded on beer and food the night before celebrating a neighbour's son's communion so breakfast consisted of the a cup of coffee to wake me up. Luckily I had the company of Paul Daly, another 100k nutter, for the 5 hours, which included an 11.2 mile club run out the now "very" familiar Passage, Monkstown, Rafeen loop. I stuck to GU gels and perpeteum for the first 3 hours and thereafter resorted to picnicing on soup, fig rolls (newtons in the new world), jellies, coke and anything else we could hoover up, took a few walking breaks when energy levels dipped and while the legs would be stiff once we resumed running we were able to shake the feeling off after a few 100 yards.

To be honest when I set out at 6:40 I didn't know whether I could last 5 hours as I did not feel great - energy was so-so and legs were stiff. However 2 hours in I felt better and by the time i had finished I felt no worse than when I had started. The average pace for the 5 hours was 8:45 which we managed to reduce from 8:50 over the last mile and a half as we chased down a "hare" out for his Sunday run - both of us pleasantly surprised that out legs complied. `We finished on the Marina with a dip in the river to cool the legs down, joined by a few crabs crawling over our feet.

My biggset concern now is the weather - with a veritable heat wave forcast from next weekend, pacing 3:30 in Cork this day week may be harder work than I bargained for.


  1. Carbo-loading on beer between long runs? Blimey!

    I bonked quite a few times when training for Dingle, but it got better the more runs I did. Eating solid food never even crossed my mind, but when I tried it during the race itself (banana, chocolate, jelly babies), my stomach cramped very painfully each time.

    Looking back, my main worry is losing speed, not just top speed but cruising speed as well. I'm tempted to try something else next time, but obviously cannot guarantee that it would work.

  2. with that type of milage under the belt you will get the job done no bother on home turf..
    I dont suppose you know who the 4hr pacer is? I got a friend looking to break it in his first marathon.

  3. Thomas, I'd find it difficult to digest bananas during a race and as for chocolate and jelly babies after a few hours the anything sugary would certainly upset the stomach - hence the savory/salty soup is the perfect sntidote and enables the body to take on more sugar also.

    Cheers Rob, Paul Daly is now one of the 4:00 pacers. Fantastic run in Ballyandereen btw. Sub-30 for a hilly five miler is no mean achievement.

  4. That's a good pace for 5 hours. With the nutrition sorted I think you'll be fine.