Tuesday, 9 August 2011



At last I have decided to focus on another race as the 100k fades into the memory banks and some speed reluctantly returns to my legs. The 15 mile Maxi marathon in Killarney a few weeks back showed me that I still had some way to go to get back on form. Over the last few weeks I have jumped into the twice weekly speedwork sessions of a club group training for the upcoming national half marathon championships in Waterford on 3rd September. As I will be pacing the Dingle marathon on 3rd September I have signed up for the inaugural Charleville HM two weeks later on 18th September - hopefully the hills of Dingle will be out of my legs by then.

I had the opportunity to cycle the route of the Dingle marathon on Saturday evening as I dropped Ani and Saran to visit their cousin Robert who is on holiday there for a few weeks. An undulating course but more than made up for by the spectacular scenery - leaving the Killarney Maxi marathon (promoted as the worlds most beautiful road race) well in the shade. Similar perhaps to California's Big Sur Marathon, except the road is about 10 foot wide. On the Sunday morning I ran an 18 mile out and back run taking in the last 7 miles of the marathon course and the 1.2 mile brute of a hill at the 21 mile mark - it certainly will be a challenging pacing job, where pace will be based on effort and not speed - banking time on the downhills for the slower uphill sections - looking forward to the challenge. And there's always Thomas to fall back on.

I spent the rest of the day on the beach with the kids getting in my first swim of the summer - the water was surprisingly warm (relatively speaking) and the 15' waves great fun.

Training Pace

As I haven't raced a short distance in a year (my 5 mile PB at Churchtown South 2010) and my training for the ultra wasn't exactly peppered with fast runs I don't know what my training paces should be . Based on peak form in the past these would normally be:-

Repeats @ 5:00/20 (38 second half laps, 80 second laps) - 200s/400 - mile pace

Intervals @ 6:00 (90 second laps) - 400s to 1600s - 5k pace.

Tempo @ 6:20/30 (20 minutes and up) - 10k/HM pace up towards 6:50 MP for 60 minutes.

Steady @ 6:50 to 7:20 pace

Easy @ 7:20 to 8:00 pace

Recovery @ 8:00 to 8:40 pace

Any speedwork on the track up until the past month has been at a slower 6:30 to 6:40 pace for no other reason than I didn't think my ultra training needed anything faster and I didn't want to risk injury by combining high mileage and speedwork. Now that the long slow stuff is behind me (for the moment) and my weekly mileage has reduced considerably, my legs have recovered sufficiently to enable me to concentrate on getting familiar with faster paces again. I had nearly got into the mindset that 6 minute pace was too fast for me but getting pulled along in the group sessions the last few weeks at the track has proved otherwise, with paces varying from 6:13 for 2 miles to 5:44 for 800m.


My tempo pace has similarly proved fairly consistent with a 6:23 pace on a 30 minute club session last weekend, similar to the 6:24 pace average for the 25 minute session 2 weeks ago. These group tempo sessions are fairly tough and made more interesting by their split time out and back nature whereby at the 15 minute turnaround those that have covered more distance are chasing down the slower guys on the return leg - if everyone ran an even pace for the 30 minutes we should all end up where we started at the end of the 30 minutes. Of course you could take it relatively easy on the outbound leg and up the pace on the return but you'd only be fooling yourself.




I hit the track this evening with my HR monitor for a 5 mile evaluation run at a constant HR of 140. I completed 4 of these during my aerobic base training between January and March - progressing from 37:18 (7:28 pace) to 34:24 (6:53 pace) over the 2 months. While I knew my aerobic base was pretty solid I did not know what to expect - hoping to get somewhere close to my last evaluation on 29th March (6:53 pace @ 140.4 HR).


After a mile warmup, stretching and a lap to get the HR up to 140 I was on my way:-
Mile 1 - 6:43 (140 HR)
Mile 2 - 6:47 (141 HR)
Mile 3 - 6:53 (142 HR)
Mile 4 - 6:56 (140 HR)
Mile 5 - 6:58 (140 HR)


Overall 34:17 (6:51 pace @ 140.6 HR) - I won't get much better than that. The effort felt surprisingly comfortable for the paces achieved, although the variation over the 5 miles shows an appreciable reduction in speed.


  1. those photos are fantastic, i miss that so much with ireland, consider yourself very lucky. living on vancouver island there are very few places where we can swim in the ocean as it is FAR too cold. as for the race, sounds like a brilliant plan. good luck.

  2. Don't fall on me. You'd crush me with your weight!

  3. Hi Grellan
    your peak form data is much like mine have you thought about doing some 400 repeats on the road and some pyrimid repeats on road 200-1000. I found it good.I think theres defo pbs in the 5k and 5 mile for you but the long stuff might hold ya back a bit or maybe take a longer rest before the next short race..That said your flying at the long stuff best of luck with Dingle and the half M.

  4. That's a pretty good result for the evaluation run. Looks like a great marathon to be pacing - enjoying the scenery while keeping the group motivated. Had a paddle in the Atlantic while at Bar Harbor and it was bloody freezing!