Wednesday, 30 January 2008


Mon 28th Jan - Scheduled Rest Day. Start of a head cold, tried to avert it with hot whiskey's on monday night (Jameson 12 year old - went down too well), took too many and ended up tuesday morning (4 a.m.) with a worse cold and a hangover. Tue 29th Jan -Unscheduled rest day. Felt absolutely miserable at work. Took more conventional medicine on tuesday night - slept well. Wed 30th Jan -2nd Unscheduled Rest Day and stayed out of work to knock this thing on the head. I wonder is this the central governor's way of avoiding this mornings 8 x 2 min hill repetitions. Next week sees the last of these with 5 x 2 min reps (cut-back week). Then it's into the 400m interval stage for the next 4 weeks in preparation for my programmed 5k race/time trial on the 8th/9th March (I can't find a 5k race nearby and I don't like the idea of a time trial - the measurement could be out and if I get under 19:20 I can hardly call it a PB) Hopefully I will get out tomorrow for an easy run.

Saturday, 26 January 2008


...........................a few more seconds off my 4 mile PB today at the F.M.C. 4 Mile Road race at Little Island. 25:19 I measured.

I wasn't even planning on running it but 2 colleagues at work were running and they needed a third to make up a team. I didn't ease up on my training programme in preparation for it as the long term goals are more important.

It was a beautiful sunny morning with a little nip in the air and a larger than expected crowd turned up at the start line (a lot of new years resolutions), so much so that the 1100hrs scheduled start was put back to 1130hrs so that all participants could sign up.

The course is more or less an out and back along an industrial estate (not the most scenic) with only a few small inclines to deal with.

I purposely placed myself 10 rows back from the start so as to avoid going out too fast - I wasn't planning on busting a gut after my 16+ mile long run yesterday (although my legs felt fine).

The gun went and we were off. The first half mile involved a lot of ducking and weaving, slowing and surging just to find a piece of pavement to run comfortably on.

Mile 1 in 06:38 - not bad considering the congestion.

Over the 2nd mile the crowd began to thin out and I made steady progress passing those that had set out a bit faster than they should have - I could hear the laboured breathing as I passed.

Mile 2 in 06:31 - while there had been some slight inclines I thought I had been faster than that. I'll have to pick it up if I want to get under 26 minutes (06:30 average)

I began to pick up the pace slightly after I passed the 2nd mile mark continuing to pick off runners in front of me - this idea of starting easy is certainly good psychologically as picking up the pace later ensures that you do more passing than (whats the word?)

The 3rd mile had more descents (mile 2 in reverse - more or less) and I still felt strong and comfortable. The number of runners I was passing was declining as I approached my own pace group.

Mile 3 in 06:00. Good going! Just a mile to go keep the effort up - only 6+ minutes left.

I continued to concentrate on churning out the quick leg turnover - half a mile to go - a slight incline to the finish.

3 runners in front of me with 200 yards/m to go. I tried to pick off the nearest - he sensed me coming and surged ahead passing number 1 and 2. My surge took me past number 2 to finish in 25:19 (06:10 for the last mile).

While the last 200 yards was strenuous I was not gasping for air when I finished.

All in all an enjoyable run. Perhaps I could have shaved another few seconds off the time had I started closer to the front - but would I have enjoyed the race as much. McMillan says I could do 24:40 based on my recent 10 mile time - so I think I'll aim for sub-25 minutes later in the Year.

My energy this morning is a welcome change from the tiredness I felt during the week completing the scheduled runs as follows:-

Thu Jan 24th
- 8.6 Miles Easy in 01:09:41 (08:06 pace @ 123HR - seems a bit low) - Felt ok.

Fri Jan 25th
- 5.9 Mile Fartlek in 44;54 (07:37 pace @ 146HR)with 8 x 90 secs @ 3k pace . Run in the park at lunch time as I felt too tired to rise early in the morning. Footing a bit slippery on the grass sections. Felt very tired especially during the early reps.

Sat Jan 26th
- 16.7 Miles in 02:12:15 (07:55 pace @ 132 HR) Added 1 mile to last weeks long run - felt better than I would have expected following fridays effort. HR started in the mid 120's and rose to the mid 140's with no real change in pace.

Sun 27th Jan
- 9 miles including 4 mile road race in 25:19 (06:20 pace @ 158 HR)

Mile 1 - 06:38 (141HR) - certainly brought down the average
Mile 2 - 06:31 (161 HR)
Mile 3 - 06:00 (163 HR)
Mile 4 - 06:10 (168 HR)

Training week six - 58 Miles.

Wednesday, 23 January 2008

Jelly Legs

Started off the week with a rest day on Monday (did get in a 1 km swim) so my legs were pretty fresh for my Tuesday base pace run of 8.6 miles which I covered in 01:05:51 at a steady pace, which I pushed over the last 2 miles to get under 01:07 and the last half mile to get under 01:06 (you could say a bit of play with the fartlek principle) – overall a pretty good run at 07:39 pace @ 134 HR.
I topped Tuesday off with another steady 2.5 miles on the treadmill at the gym – again legs felt strong. . However the tide turned this morning as I faced my weekly nemesis, hill reps - today 8 x 90 second efforts were called for. To be quite honest while I was less apprehensive than last week, my legs were a bit tired and I was looking forward to getting them out of the way.
Reps 1 to 4 went reasonably smoothly. The pace slowed during the fifth rep as I did not get as far as the previous reps in the 90 seconds. I could feel the muscles of my legs turning to jelly over the last 30 seconds.
I'll try one more and get to 6, no point in doing them for the sake of it. Rep 6 was similar to rep 5. I'll run down again, I can always cut rep 7 short if the effort is too much.
Down again and up for rep 7, when I finished I hadn't much left and knew that attempting an 8th rep could be ugly so I called it a day and jogged back to the car.
As it turned out I could not have afforded the extra minutes down and up to complete the 8th rep as when I got home I had an hour to shower, eat and get Saran (4) and Ani (8) up and out the door with their lunches and drop them off at neighbours to take them to school as I had to be on the road for work by 0800hrs. It's more a case of coaxing and cajoling when it comes to young ones at that time in the morning - no point in rushing them it's counter productive.
During the two hour drive in the car each way to a meeting in Nenagh I could feel the aches along the backs of my legs - hopefully part of the process of building in "hill" memory that I can rely on in the future.
Overall 6.7 Miles today in 59:48 (08:56 pace @ 133 HR) - certainly the legs and not the heart controlled events this morning.

Sunday, 20 January 2008

Week 5 Done and Dusted.

Sat 19th Jan 15.7 Miles in 02:03:20 (07:51 pace @ No HR Monitor - left it at the gym on friday). Expecting slower pace after friday's fartlek - nice steady run. Sun 20th Jan 9.6 Miles in 01:19:50 (08:19 pace @ 124 HR) - took it nice and easy. Followed up with an easy 15 mile cycle (108 avg HR) with Adrian. Total of 63.4 miles for the week in 08:33 (08:05 pace)

Friday, 18 January 2008


The number of miles I have run on 3 occassions this week - the same route. An easy run over this distance in 01:09:28 (08:05 pace @ 131HR) on thursday morning after my little hill reps on wednesday and again this morning in 01:08:32 (07:58 pace @ 145HR) The only difference for this mornings run being that the programme called for 8 x 75 Secs @ 3k pace "sprinkled in". Sounds like a baking receipt with "sprinkling" conjuring up images of nice and relaxed movement - far from it. My 3k pace is now a challenging 05:48/mile according to McMillan (or 03:37/km to our metric brethren, don't get me wrong the EU is metric - it's just that it's a slow transition, 35 years and counting). For the four sprinkles that I actually measured afterwards (Google earth) my pace was between 05:15 and 05:30 - no wonder I found the going tough. I certainly must have slowed during the recoveries to give the 07:58 average pace for the run. Last week with only 5 x 60 second sprinkles the average pace was 07:53 @ 145HR. The main thing is the training effect of the sprinkles though not the overall pace. 2.5 miles on the treadmill at lunchtime finished off the days running. I do these treadmill runs over 4km -1km each @ 11.5, 12, 12.5 and 13 KPH (there you go transition in motion) and hope that the effort (HR) will come down over time (at least changes in HR for the same environmental conditions will indicate improvement or perhaps overtraining) Have a good weekend.

Wednesday, 16 January 2008

Mad Perhaps - But Definitely Crazy

Today's Hill repeats saw me rise a 5.30 a.m. get dressed, complete a few stretching exercises, drive 5 miles to the Lee Fields Car Park, run just over 2.2 miles in to town to my chosen hill (at that time in the morning street lighting is a necessity) and complete 8 x 75 second sprints up the hill with a slow jog down and run the 2+ miles back to the car and drive home for just after 7.
This new hill appears steeper than last weeks (pace about 07:00) or else i'm getting slower. Anyway the benefit should be the same as the effort was a "comfortably hard struggle" (one of these words is not like the other - to borrow a phrase from Sesame Street). As the hill is about a quarter of a mile long it will not do for my 8 x 2 min reps in 2 weeks time unless I run at 8:00 pace (tempting) or down the other side (more tempting).
As this is reasonably close to the city centre there were more people about, even at this time in the morning, wondering who's this "langer" (colloquial expression in Cork for a good for nothing a#*hole - brought back from India by Munster troops serving in the British Army in the nineteenth century - taken from the, now endangered, Langur monkey that used to rob food and provisions from the men) running up and down the hill at this time in the morning. Mad? perhaps, but it felt good - especially when it was over.
Mon 14th Jan:
Rest Day (Swim 1 km)
Tue 15th Jan:
a.m. - 8.6 Miles in 01:07:36 (07:52 pace @ 134 HR) - pushed last 2 miles to get under 01:08
p.m. - 2.5 Miles on the treadmill (07:49 pace @ 136 HR)
Wed 16th Jan:
a.m. - 7.3 miles in 01:03:47 (08:44 pace @ 134 HR) including 8 x 75 sec hill sprints.
p.m. - swim 1 km
Happy running.

Sunday, 13 January 2008

Just Shy of 60

.............miles for this week. 59.9 to be exact. Finished the week with a 13.5 mile run. Adrian felt it was too wet for a cycle this morning so I took the the roads on foot instead - no sign of rain. I ran in search of a longer hill for my repeats and found a 0.25 mile stretch in town that should do me nicely (well not quite - I find nothing nice about hill reps, except when they're over) Todays run felt much better that yesterday clocking in the 13.5 miles in 01:46:27 (07:53 pace @ 136 HR). Tomorrow's a rest day (ch*@# it's past midnight) - today's a rest day. Took my eldest to see the "Kite Runner" in the cinema tonight (last night) - excellent movie. I'd read the book so I knew what to expect. It was Keevsa who wanted to see it and delighted afterwards that she had. Goodnight.

Saturday, 12 January 2008

Sub 3 Hour Marathon

Ahh the stuff of dreams - for me anyway. At the moment it seems so far off despite what my recent form on other distances might indicate. I have a history (albeit short) of not performing as well at the marathon distance as my performance at other distances would indicate. Marc commented a few days ago "at this rate a sub 3 hr marathon will be in..." I was going to post "November, don't know what year though" but then I thought some more, how about "2:59:59" too flippant so I though some more and have now fixed on "2009 if I'm lucky" well maybe it will be less to do with luck and more to do with " 2009 if I continue to run and train responsibly" So 2009 it is. My objective this year is to qualify for Boston. As my current PB is just over 2 minutes shy of the mark it should be achievable - although this was my target for my last 2 marathons. Today's run of 11.4 miles in 01:35:40 (08:24 pace) felt so far off 3 hr or even 3:30 marathon performance that I'm glad I have 20 weeks to go before I have to churn out 26.2 big ones. Enjoy the rest of the weekend and happy running and convalescing.

Friday, 11 January 2008

Budweiser 12 Guinness 6

Pretty much standard close to the week on the running front. My left side did experience a few slight traumas that did niggle a bit. Following Tuesdays barefoot run the ligaments on the top of my left foot are tender (not enough to stop running) and today during my first mile pace rep I felt a slight twinge in my left glute/hamstring (again nothing of grave concern). . Week 4 on my programme is a "Recovery Week" so the number of hill reps on Wednesday were reduced to 5 x 60 secs @ mile pace which I completed at a comfortably hard "mile effort" pace instead (probably a minute down on mile pace - 06:30/40) to ensure I finished them and had enough in the bag to toddle home. . An easy 6.7 miles yesterday and a fartlek run with 5 x 60 secs at mile pace this morning was my lot. This time I pushed it a little during the reps getting down to 05:15 pace for 2 of them (ok so there was a slight downhill assistance). . A return to the gym this week after a 2 week absence got me another 5 miles on the treadmill and 2k swimming. . A bit of clearing up after the Christmas holidays was called for this evening as Abina could no longer stand the sight of the tree - can't blame her on that front, it's nearly mid-January. I just polished off a bottle of bud to help clear out the fridge also - at this rate I'll be done by June. 12 bud and 6 guinness to go. I'll have to have friends over. . Wed 9th - 8.0 miles in 01:09:17 (08:40 pace @ 134 HR) with 5 x 60 sec hills. 2.5 miles in 00:19:45 (07:53 pace @ 137 HR) -Treadmill Thu 10th - 6.7 miles in 00:56:23 (08:25 pace @ 129 HR) Fri 11th - 8.6 miles in 01:07:47 (07:53 pace @ 145 HR) with 5 x 60 secs @ mile pace. 2.5 miles in 00:19:45 (07:53 pace @ ???HR) -Treadmill

Tuesday, 8 January 2008

Two Years Running

This day 2 years ago I laced up a pair of runners and headed out for a 2.1 mile inaugural lap around the block with my friend Adrian as we embarked on our running careers with the aim of completing a marathon. Prior to that the total number of miles I had run in my lifetime was less than 20. Since then I have clocked up about 3,430 miles - so you could say I was hooked. However if it wasn't for Adrian and our common goal I would not have persevered through those initial months of slow slog and would probably have given up. My time for that run was 18:10 (08:39 pace). The first 100 yards went very well and from then on it was a struggle to get around. Adrian stopped and walked with a half mile to go (who could blame him, he had just quit smoking - I was 4 years ahead of him on that score). Having learnt our lesson we took it a bit easier on our second attempt the following day, completing the loop in over 22 minutes (10 minute pace plus). But persevere we did, completing our first marathon in Dublin 10 months later. Two years on and my pace for this morning's 6.7 mile "barefoot" recovery run of 08:33 wasn't far off that of my first run, the only difference being that I ran this morning at a very relaxed effort (120HR) despite the heavy rain and strong winds. While I was soaked through the barefoot experience spared me running in waterlogged shoes and socks. Splashing through puddles never felt better. Although the water felt cold to the feet they soon warmed up as the shoes drained quickly. Here's to the next two years of running. In the meantime I hope to give my PB sidebar a bit of a revamp before the third anniversary comes round.

Sunday, 6 January 2008

In the Groove

Saturday was my third day this week without running - a record. I opted instead for a 31 mile 2 hour cycle with Adrian to give the running muscles a bit of a rest after the heavy week.
My legs were reasonably fresh going into this mornings 10 mile Road Race in Mallow. I travelled the 24 miles to Mallow with my next door neighbour, Pat. I decided to give it a go as I had never done a 10 miler and I had a low 28 miles recorded for the week to-date, so I should be fresh following my rest day. My targert was sub-68 minutes (McMillan says that 67 is achievable on a good day) and Pat's was sub-75 minutes.
Following registration Pat and I jogged the mile to the start line and I did another half mile out and back to give a 2 mile warmup. The morning was reasonably cold (+1C) so I initially togged out in two tops (1 long sleeved), a wooly hat and gloves. I soon ditched the hat followed by the long sleeved top as the sun made an appearance close to the start time (1230hrs).
500+ runners turned out on the day from all over the province - this is the first of the Munster 10 Mile series (4 in all - 1 a month between January and April)
I placed myself mid-pack as I did not want to get carried out too fast. I guessed that Pat was somewhere in front of me as he tends to start fast (he did the same last week in the Bandon 5 miler)
The gun sounded and we were off. I maintained a reasonably steady pace from the gun and did not surge back or forth to keep pace with others. The first mile had a bit of a climb which was maneagable. Approaching the first mile mark I pulled alongside Pat. Mile 1 in 06:37, a bit faster than my target pace - way too fast for Pat's target & he knew it.
We wished each other luck as we headed into mile 2.
5 yards ahead I spotted the girl I had passed at the 4 mile mark in Bandon last week - "she'd be good to pace off" I thought. But she pulled ahead 10 yards and then 20. I did not give chase as it was too early in the race for surges and the like. "Get at least to the five mile mark before thinking abount any heroics" was my strategy.
Mile 2 in 06:43. Steady pace feeling reasonably comfortable. Girl in front still 15-20 yards off.
Mile 3 was a net downhill mile along the main Road - feeling comfortable - concentrating on the quick leg turnover as opposed to the long stride lengths of those around me. Mile 3 in 06:18.
The route turned west along the Killarney Road at about mile 3.3. I was now running very comfortably "in the groove" so to speak and decided to maintain pace/effort (assuming the groove lasted) until at least mile 8 before thinking about making any kind of move. I was now within 3 or 4 yards of the girl in front and thought I would tag along for as long as possible. However at mile 4.5 I found myself passing her and others as the "groove" carried me forward. While initially I thought I was speeding up, miles 4 and 5 in 06:34 & 06:40 told me they were slowing down. I got a mouthfull of water into me at the water station at mile 4.5 (drinking out of plastic cups is a tad difficult at sub 7 minute pace.)
Halfway mark in 32:52. "Just under 66 minute pace" the time keeper said as we passed.
"Christ 65 minutes isn't that far ahead of 66" - hold on let's see how far this "groove" carries me before I get carried away :).
Mile six turned south and east back towards Mallow along a minor road. A light rain began to fall at this stage -cold but relieveing. The road snaked it's way through the countryside with a few minor rises and falls. Mile 6 in 06:34. Mile 7 in 06:52 - this "groove" has carried me as far as it can - I'll have to inject a bit of my own effort to keep the pace up.
With 3 miles to go I increased my effort slightly so as to maintain pace. I was passed by one guy at this point but was still managing to pass one or two runners every half mile. Spilled a cup of water everywhere except down my gullet at the 7.5 mile water station. I'll have to take drinking classes.
Mile 8 in 06:27. Pace injection working.
2 miles to go - is 65 minutes still within my range - just under 53 minutes on the watch with 2 miles left - 13 minutes (06:30 pace) won't even do - it'll be a push to get under 66.
Push, Push, Push - pass a few more runners - Mile 9 in 06:35. Need to push some more.
Last mile - push, push - the groove is long gone, it was good while it lasted. Into the town, left over the bridge - push, push.
There's Nollaig Hunter ahead (03:15 marathoner, over a minute ahead of me in last sunday's five miler), I must be doing good.
"Just around the corner and up the hill" I hear someone shout. "Hill - you must be joking" I thought - but it was just a gentle rise over 100m to the finish.
I pass 3 or 4 in the final 200m, including Nollaig and get passed back out by three guys racing for the finish line. I push with all i've got and hold off another 2 guys to cross under the line - well that's if I could see a line - just kept pushing until one of the stewards told us to slow down - stopped the watch - 06:15 for the final mile - 65:35 in total.
My official time was recorded as 65:38 ( ok lets say 06:18 for the final mile). Very evenly paced run with 32:52 for the first 5 miles and 32:46 for the second 5. (Avg 163 HR)
Pat came in in 71:40something which was well under his target of 75.
A 3 mile cooldown, a shower, cup of tea, sandwiches and biscuits back at race HQ and I was ready for home.
The race was won in 53:15.
This is certainly a minor breakthrough of a run for me as my best prediction on Mcmillan gave 66:57. I liked this "groove" thang that I got into between miles 2 and 7. While the effort was more noticeable for the last 3 miles it was only the last mile that was really stressful.
The 15 miles today gave me 43/44 miles for the week. I'm not too bothered as the marathon programme I'm on doesn't demand higher mileage at this early stage (only I do).
oh and first PB of the year. (that's it now no PB's for a few months - 5k in March, 10k in April, HM in May & M in June)

Friday, 4 January 2008

Cold, Wet and Windy

Temperatures finally dropped below freezing last night giving an overnight frost. However this gave way to driving rain and heavy gusts in the morning before I headed out on my second speed session of the week. This time 6 miles with 8 x 45 second reps at mile pace "sprinkled in" (no hills - so this should be manageable).
I intended to run an 11.4 mile road loop (the final 5.4 "filler" miles being at an easy pace) but the minute I stepped on the pavement - "whoa" I was slip sliding all over the place. As it was raining steadily I had not expected icy conditions.
I quickly decided to head for the park, where at least I could run without too much fear of slipping. I don't have the steady legs of some of the more accustomed runners out there. I made it the mile to the park in a slow jog walk, keeping to the grass verge where possible and completed 4 x 2.35 mile loops with my 8 fast reps in the first 2 loops (4 on grass/mud and 4 on gravel). I must say it was the wettest, muddiest and one of the coldest runs I have ever completed. The only dry spots left on my return were my inner ears after pulling out my earphones. While the speed reps went reasonably well my legs were very heavy and dead during the warm down miles.
I reckon I haven't fully recovered from Sunday's Race, Monday's/Tuesday's tummy bug and Wednesday's Hill reps.
11.4 Miles in 01:37:40 (08:34 pace @ 137 HR including 8 x 45 seconds @ 06:00- pace).
The HR says it all. Depending on how I feel tomorrow I may give Sunday's 10 miler in Mallow a miss. I have to think of my long term training goal.

Thursday, 3 January 2008


A strong cold easterly wind greeted me on this mornings run of 8.6 miles. I felt sluggish throughout with my legs a bit stiff from yesterdays hill repeats. 8.6 miles in 01:11:34 (08:19 pace @ 127 HR)

Wednesday, 2 January 2008

Late Start to the Week/Year

While Monday was a scheduled rest day a tummy bug laid me up all day Tuesday - I didn't have the energy to move and every muscle in my body ached.
I have taken the rest of the week off work as Abina is working and the Kids are not back to school until Monday next. I also have a few odd jobs around the house to complete.

So - I missed Tuesdays scheduled easy 6 miler but was back in shape for todays :-

8 x 45 second hill repeats at mile pace with 2 min active recoveries
- holy Sh** - mile pace and hills, it must be wrong. Nope that what is says on the programme - 2 mile warm-up/down with 8 of these in between. I'm almost sorry I did the 5:40 mile on Christmas day now.

The hill I had in mind was about 3.1 miles from home so I adjusted the warm-up/down accordingly. I decided to run the hills at mile effort as opposed to pace as I knew that I wouldn't get beyond the first rep otherwise.

The first 2 reps, while hard, went reasonably well. However the continued loading was becoming more stressful - My active recoveries from rep 3 on consisted of 30 seconds of heavy gasping followed by a shuffle down the hill to the start of the next rep. I consciously reduced the pace slightly for the last 2 reps so that I could keep my form and an even pace for the full 45 seconds. The paces varied from 06:00 (rep 1) to 06:30 (rep 8).

Overall I completed about 8.6 miles in 01:13:07 (08:30 pace @ avg 143 HR -ouch)

Before I completed this post my four year old, Saran, threw up on the floor beside me. The bug I had has obviously spread. It didn't appear to knock an ounce out of him. It's great how kids can handle illness much better than adults. He's in the bath now which should calm him and help send him into a deep sleep for the night.