Tuesday, 31 July 2007


I was away from the office today on business in Tramore so I had dinner in the middle of the day. As I was hungry I had a starter and main course - something I'm not used to. When I got home at 1830 hrs I headed for the local park instead of the usual track session as my daughter Safan, who also "trains" at the track did not want to go. There was an orienteering event on in the park when I arrived with people running all over the place with maps in their hands. I certainly looked the odd one out, running in the opposite direction to everyone else and without a map. I had planned 5 loops of 2.35 miles with 3 (7.05 miles) at a faster pace ( target HR of 150). The warm up mile felt tougher than usual with the pain still in my left quad (knee and hip felt fine) and a bloated feeling in my stomach - the heavy lunch was having a effect, even though it was now 4.5 hours later. I managed to up the pace for the next 8 miles but felt more uncomfortable than usual with a lot of gas generation in my stomach - thankfully it passed after mile 3 or 4 ( I though running would help reduce my carbon footprint - not today) and the heaviness eased somewhat. I eased up the pace for the final miles - although my HR remained relatively high ( HR monitor behaving erratically towards the end as it recorded a 178 HR during the last mile - didn't feel tough.) I finished up doing 11.9 miles in 1:30:52 (average pace of 07:37 @ 147 bpm). The average pace for the 8 faster miles was 07:21 per mile. This is the first month since I started running that I ran every day of the month leading to my highest monthly mileage of 288 Miles (up from 277 miles in April). Nothing compared to some of you mega milers out there.

Monday, 30 July 2007

Beautiful Day

As I increase weekly mileage during this conditioning phase I'm conscious of the fact that I should try and avoid injury by not doing any runs that could be interpreted as speedwork. In addition I should try and run off-road when ever I get the chance. Therefore this morning I headed for the local park again with more or less the same run as yesterday (except I ran from the gym). The sun was rising over a clear blue sky burning the mist off the scoccer pitches by the river - couldn't have asked for a better way to start the day. It started off cool and began to warmup towards the end of the run. I covered 11.5 Miles in 1:31:45 (08:00 pace at 131 HR). The twinge in my left quad is still there along with intermittent discomfort in the left knee and hip - hope it's not a sign of trouble ahead.

Sunday, 29 July 2007

Recovery Day

I read somewhere that it is very important to run recovery runs at recovery pace (i.e. do not be tempted to go fast just because it feels good) With this in mind and given that I was out with friends last night and didn't get to sleep until 0215 hrs I headed out to the park at the later time of 0910 this morning. I did a similar run to thursdays run except I added an extra 2.35 mile loop of the park to give a total of 11.5 miles. With a total time of 1:42:24 (08:54 pace at avg HR of 120) this was one of my slowest runs in a long time. Tom, thanks for your comments and encouragement yesterday. Like you and Amy I am just an ordinary runner sharing my experience with others and looking for advice on how I can run better. I had been reading running blogs for the past number of months before deciding to start my own less than two weeks ago. This week has seen my highest weekly total since I started running. A total of 75 miles run as follows:- Mon 8.7 Miles (08:47 pace @ 124 bpm) Tue 9.4 Miles (07:33 pace @ 149 bpm) Wed 8.7 Miles (08:13 pace @ 131 bpm) Thur 9.1 Miles (08:13 pace @ 130 bpm - Park) Fri 8.7 Miles (07:28 pace @ 145 bpm) Sat 18.8 Miles (08:08 pace @ 131 bpm) Sun 11.5 Miles (08:54 pace @ 120 bpm - Park)

Saturday, 28 July 2007

Confused but feelin fine

On friday I ran the same loop as monday and wednesday except at a target HR of 150. While the pace early on was steady I felt it dropping off towards the end of the run. I put it down to tiredness - can't believe that I get up early EVERY morning. The distance recorded was 8.53 miles (should have been 8.7 miles) in 1:04:56 =>average pave of 07:37 (actually closer to 07:28) with an average HR of 145. I am a bit confused as to how I can achieve a training pace of 07:30 with a 145 HR average when my average Marathon HR is 165 with a best pace of 07:51 (7 weeks ago). and I'm not talking about a starting HR of 145 building up to 175 over 26.2 miles - my HR for mile 1,2 & 3 was 167, 173 & 174 respectively - in miles 8,9 & 10 the HR dipped to 154, 159 & 159 only to rise to 171 for the last 2 miles. Today called for a long run (longer than last weeks 17 miles). Last night I went to the company BBQ but sensibly I took a lift with someone who was leaving early and was home by 10:30. I still managed 3 pints of Guiness and 2 plates of assorted meat - hardly the recommended diet before a long run. So this morning when I was heading out at 0730 hrs I told myself to take it easy on the effort with a view to doing the distance. I also took, for the first time since the marathon, a made up sports drink carried in my running belt. As soon as I started out I noticed that my back was getting wet from a small leak in the top of the drink container and decided to drink enough so that the leak would stop. However when I went for a drink at the end of mile 2 I noticed that I had only about 100 ml left in the 550 ml bottle with upwards of 15 planned miles to go. I decided to run on and only take a drink at Mile 10 so as to conserve my resources with a view to heading back home to take on more fluids and perhaps do a short loop. As the run went on I became more comfortable - I ran into Cork along the north quays of the River Lee crossed onto the southside of the City out to Turners Cross and followed the Marathon route for about 6 miles before heading for home. The 08:25 pace for the first few miles dropped to 08:15 by Mile 6 and 08:00 by mile 12. Spotting a marathon runner (telltale gel/drink belt) at mile 12 probably spurred me on to run faster than target pace - however I was always comfortable. Got down to 07:45 pace for mile 14 and more or less maintained a sub 08:00 pace until I got home. The drink at mile 10 was very welcome and I left a mouthful for Mile 14. I bumped into my Wife, Abina, a mile from home (she was getting the newspaper) and handed her my faulty drinks bottle with a request for a sports drink. She offered me a lift, which I reluctantly declined (had to do the distance). I finished the 18.8 miles with some stretching and the most welcome sports drink I tasted in years. All-in all I was very pleased with the run given my poor preparation and the mishap with my drink. Final time of 02:32:56 gave an average pace of 08:08 for the run with an avg HR of 131. My HR didn't go above 130 until mile 10 and averaged 143 for the last mile.

Thursday, 26 July 2007

Some Easy Running

The last two days called for easy runs at a target HR of 135 bpm. Headed out yesterday at 0600 hrs on the same loop as Monday covering 8.76 Miles in 1:12 (8:13 pace) with an Avg HR of 131 bpm. Mile splits varied from 8:03 to 8:22 generally depending on where I met the inclines. I'm still getting used to getting up to run this early as most of my previous training was in the evenings. However I wake naturally and never need to use an alarm clock. This may be different when winter darkness sets in. This morning I completed a similar distance (9.14 miles) but over different terrain. I warmed up over a downhill mile from my home to the local park where I did 3 loops of 2.35 miles on a combination of grass and gravel path. The ground was firm underfoot despite the overnight rain. Running in the park certainly feels different than on pavement. While the ground is less firm and sometimes I feel more effort is needed to push off from the yielding grass surface the pace and HR were almost identical to yesterday's run (8:13 at 130 bpm). While running on uneven surfaces poses a higher risk of injury the benefit, if I run sensibly, should be stronger ankles. Miles splits again varied from 8:03 to 8:23. Tomorrow calls for a increase in effort followed by a long run on Saturday morning. There is a dilemma looming in the form of the Company BBQ tomorrow evening. If I go I run the risk of drinking far too much to enable me to get up on Saturday morning let alone run. I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, 24 July 2007

Back on Track

A comfortably hard run was called for today at a target HR of 150 bpm. Went to the CIT track in the evening. 1830 hrs on tuesdays and thursdays is reserved for Eagle AC which I joined at the start of the year so as to use the track and get updates from the club on road races organised in the Cork region. A colleague at work told me that she brings her children to train with Belgooley AC, who train at the same time, while she runs with Eagle. I followed suit and brought my daughters, Anbhthan and Safan, along to see if they would be interested in track and field. Ani had no interest while Safan stayed the course and went once a week until the summer holidays (now that she has no school she goes less often - figure that one out) While I use the track I have rarely trained with the Club. As I am not doing speedwork at the moment I use the track to warmup and stretch before heading out on a road run. Following a mile warmup I completed a 7.4 mile circuit which includes the 2.5 mile flat straight road giving a total of 8.4 miles. It started out rainy so I wore a jacket. I warmed up quickly and after 2 miles the rain stopped and I took off the jacket and carried it (better than suffering - well used to carrying water bottles on long runs). While my heart rate hit the mid 150's later in the run it never felt uncomfortable and I finished the run feeling good and wasn't bothered by the fact that the rain had come back. Following yesterdays over measurement I made sure the polar footpod was securely fixed to my shoe before heading out. The footpod measured 8.2 miles for this circuit last week. However I think the correct distance is closer to 8.4 miles and a check against the 22 to 21 miles markers left from the Cork City marathon on the Model Farm Road showing 0.99 miles confirmed this (I also measured the distance on Google Earth - 8.43miles) I did say that the footpod had been underestimating distance by about 3% which explains the discrepance of 0.2 miles between last weeks and this weeks measurement. Perhaps the larger shoe size has an impact. Following the circuit I warmed own for a further mile to give a total of 9.4 miles in 1:1:09 (07:33 pace @ 149 bpm avg)

Monday, 23 July 2007

New Shoes

Out at 0600 hrs this morning for an easy run before the gym. Did the same loop as yesterday expect I started at the gym which shortens the distance by about 2.5 miles, so I should have recorded about 8.7 miles with the polar footpod. Instead I recorded 9.34 miles - must not have secured the footpod securely to my new shoes. Checked distance run between the Cork City Marathon 22 and 20 mile markers on the Model Farm Road and recorded 2.1 miles (about 5% over recording). Since the last time I calibrated the footpod I have generally under recorded distance by about 3% (What can I say I like to be conservative). I will have to keep a check on recorded distances over the coming week. The run itself was slow as the tightness in my left quad was still there and the legs were tired from yesterday. I didn't even try to get up to the training HR of 135 bpm safe in the knowledge that you can never run too slow. I figure a HR under 135 bpm would still yield the same training effect. The new shoes are half a size bigger than the last pair as I was beginning to feel the first stages of blisters developing on my toes. One of my toes on my right foot was bleeding yesterday following my run (must remember to cut toenails) Actual Distance of say 8.7 Miles in 1:16:25 (8.47 Pace @ 124 bpm)

Sunday, 22 July 2007

Up Tempo

Set out this morning for a MP run of 11 miles on a loop from my house in Ballincollig into Cork along the Model Farm Road and out the Straight Road (2.5 miles of flat straight road along the banks of the River Lee). The aim was to complete 10 miles at a target HR of 150 bpm. After the warmup mile I found it difficult to get my HR up to the targeted 150 bpm - managed to get there towards the end of mile 3 when I met my first hill. The stiffness in my left quad following yesterdays 17 mile long run disappeared during the warmup mile However it has returned as I sit writing this blog - may have something to do with the 45 k cycle Adrian broght me on afterwards - now that he has scaled back on his running. The effort felt easier after 4 or 5 miles as I got into my stride and left the few hills on the Model Farm Road behind me. Overall time of 1:23:41 @ avg HR of 146 bpm over 11.25 miles (7:26 pace) - 1:13:04 for 10 miles (7:18 pace). This is my fastest pace at this HR since following HADD Total mileage this week is 67.7 (nearing my PB of 71) as follows:- Mon 6.7 Miles (08:35 pace @ 130 bpm) Tue 8.2 Miles (07:44 pace @ 148 bpm) Wed 9.5 Miles (08:29 pace @ 132 bpm) Thur 9.0 Miles (08:21 pace @ 131 bpm) Fri 5.8 Miles (08:05 pace @ 133 bpm - Mainly on Grass/Trail) Sat 17.1 Miles (08:07 pace @ 137 bpm) Sun 11.2 Miles (07:26 pace @ 146 bpm)

Saturday, 21 July 2007

Return to Long Runs

Today was my longest run since the Cork Marathon on 4th June. I did 17.1 miles on a route I use quite frequently in and around the western surburbs of Cork City - all footpaths and reasonably flat (for the first 7.5 miles at least). I was trying to keep a steady effort at a heart rate of 135 bpm, but it did manage to increase above 140 bpm at times to give an average for the run of 137bpm. With a time of 2:19, the average pace was 8:07minutes per mile which I am happy with for that level of effort. Joints slightly stiff afterwards, time to get new shoes as the pair I have have clocked up at least 500 miles. Saturday is a busy day in our household as Abina generally has work & I do the weekly shopping and takes the kids to their swimming and horse-riding lessons so I headed out on my run reasonably early at 0800hrs. Also managed to get into town to pick up a new pair of Asics Gel Nimbus.

Friday, 20 July 2007

Here I go

I started running for the first time on 8th Januray 2006 to train (with a friend Adrian - who had just quit smoking) for the once in a lifetime Marathon (been there done that sort of thing ) and haven't stopped since. We started running 2 mile circuits for a month or two and then moved up to 5 milers before starting a 16 week marathon programme in July in preparation for the 2006 Dublin City Marathon at the end of October. While the marathon was the worst run I ever experienced (hit the wall(s) big time) I wasn't quitting. While I finished in a respectable 3:47 I knew I could do better and so targeted the March 2007 Barcelona Marathon as my next challenge. Training through the winter, although cold, wet and dark did not deter me (In some ways it's easier to run in the rain - less people in the way and cools you down) I also increased my weekly mileage and in particular my long runs (completing 3 no. 24 milers to ensure no wall loomed at the 20 mile mark) In Barcelona I took 13 minutes off my time and finished just under 3:34 in what is one of the most enjoyable runs ever (beautiful city, sun & no pain at all - some fatigue during the last mile or two). While my target had been 3:30 I was not disappointed and knew I didn't push myself too hard. Following Barcelona I trained for my local marathon here in Cork on 4th June 2007 (resurrected after an absence of 21 years) I followed a similar programme to that for Barcelona with a target of 3:20 (Boston qualification for me) However the day was hotter than expected and while not reaching my target I shaved another 8 minutes off my PB finishing under 3:26. I am now targeting Dublin City Marathon 2007 as my Boston qualifier and also to conquer the deamons experienced in 2006. (Whether I'll ever go to Boston is another story) As my friend Adrian was a dad for the second time recently most of my training since Cork has been on my own and so I decided to start this blog as no one else will listen to me rant on about pace, splits, fartleks, gels, carb loading etc. etc. My wife, Abina, thought and hoped I would give up running after my first Marathon in Dublin stating that it is bad for my health (my joints will be shot by the time i'm sixty and all that) - probably some truth there - I would have said the same two years ago when my only form of exercise was swimming. However onwards and upwards hopefully. I am currently following the advice in this article in my training for Dublin and getting up towards the 70 miles per week I did for Cork. Most of my runs are early in the morning so as not to interfere too much with the domestic balance. I am currently doing only aerobic training at two effort levels: 150 bpm for two runs a week with the remaining runs at 135 bpm. I have been using a polar running watch & heart rate monitor since October 2006 to record and log all my runs to the polar website. Mileage for this week so far total 39 miles. With a 15 miler tomorrow and perhaps 10 on Sunday I sould get up towards 65 miles this week.