Sunday, 22 February 2009

Eagle AC 5 Mile Road Race

I headed out this morning at 9:15 for the Eagle AC 5 Mile Road Race in Carrigaline (21st Annual Tommy Ryan Memorial 5 Mile Race -11am start) I arrived 15 minutes later (a record) with laptop in hand as I had volunteered to help with inputting entries and results. I thought it would be easier than running the thing - I don't know about that now. This was the first time the club was using the "racemaster" software for the event so they called in the experts (don't know what I was doing there). About 80 had pre-registered for the race and had already been entered on the system. After a few glitches we got going in inputting details of those that had signed up on the day. Once this task was completed (after the race had finished) the results had to be input. Another few glitches had to be sorted with incorrect race numbers, double counting etc. and the results were out, but not as quickly as we would have hoped for. Thanks to John Walsh (East Cork AC) for trouble shooting. Brendan had a very good run in 30:40 over a hilly course. I finally left for home shortly after 3 pm. As this would have been a schedule "bike" day and I didn't fancy cycling to and from Carrigaline, especially with a laptop, I clocked a big fat zero on the bike this week. However I did manage to get a few runs in and keep the show on the road. Mondays run was a 2.5 miler on the treadmill (I thought I deserved a rest after Sundays long run) I compensated by doing a double run on Tuesday with an easy 5 miler in the morning and the usual visit to the track after work. My track session consisted of 10 x 400m intervals with 400m recoveries. I had done these for my two marathon buildups last year so I was in familiar training territory. The times (in lane 3) were between 82 and 86 seconds with the final one in 80, just to make sure that I was as strong finishing as I was starting. The 86 second lap involved a momentary lapse in concentration as I tried to run more on my toes (like the sprinters!). Adrian, who had brought his son to the Junior track session with Saran commented that I ran very upright with little body movement except for legs and arms. I generally took this to be good feedback except maybe that I should lean forward a little more. Hell I'm no expert. Wednesday mornings run was an easy 10 miler to help me recover from the speedwork the night before. By Wednesday lunchtime I was feeling more tired than usual which showed during my 1,500m swim where I clocked a time that was at least a minute down on my usual time. Come Wednesday night I had the symptoms of a head cold, which I sometimes get following a swim so I wasn't too concerned. However the symptoms, which persisted through the night, prevented me from going out for my Thursday morning hill session. (Un)fortunately I was well enough on Friday morning not only to go for a run but to get in the hill session I missed on Thursday. I decided to keep to the 30 second time (concentrating on speed and form) and up the number from last weeks 8 to 10. While my legs were noticeably leaden after the 4th rep they lasted for the full 10 with no significant drop off in pace (from slightly sub to slightly over 6 minute pace). Saturday was my scheduled 2.5 hour long run. Given the hill session the day before I wasn't expecting the same performance from my legs as last week. The route was more/or less the same as last week and the pace, which started slow improved throughout to give 20.12 miles for the 2.5 hours (07:27 pace @ 145HR) - slightly down on last week but not by much. My legs were certainly heavier during the last 5 miles or so and the general feeling of fatigue was stronger. As my HR for the first 2 miles averaged 168 (in error) my avg HR was closer to 142. I was incorrect when I said that last weeks run was the fastest long run ever (07:24 pace for 20 miles). While training for Cork last year (and just before I got injured) I ran a part marathon pace run at 07:14 pace @ 146 Avg HR for 17 miles (and the morning after 5 pints of Guinness) Mon 16th Feb 2.5 miles in 19:51 907:56 pace) treadmill Tue 17th Feb a.m. 5.27 miles in 41:57 (7:58 pace @ 132HR) p.m. 7.44 miles in 59:10 (7:57 @ 142HR) with 10 x 400m in 80 to 86 seconds Wed 18th Feb 10.2 miles in 01:22:28 (08:05 pace @ 133HR) Fri 20th Feb 9.26 miles in 01:15:07 (08:07 pace @ 150HR) with 10 x 30 s hills @ 06:00 pace Sat 21st Feb 20.12 miles in 02:30:00 (07:27 pace @ 145HR) Transition Week 3 (Run 54.8 miles, Bike NIL, Swim 1,500m)

Sunday, 15 February 2009


My endurance training got a bit of a boost at the end of the week with another late night/early morning on Friday/Saturday. This time I was doing the driving and so while I didn't get to bed until 0540 hrs on Saturday morning I woke with my head intact. Now that I think of it that's over 24 hours since I got up for my Friday morning unplanned progression run. Despite my clear head I was a little disappointed at missing the 0730 hrs hilly Eagle viaduct run - that surely would have been a test of endurance if I had managed to rise for the occasion.
I left Saturday as a rest day and headed out instead this morning for my 2.5 hour long run. This time I brought my running belt loaded with a drink (well some of the kids Ribena -the first time I took a drink with me on a run since before the Amsterdam marathon in October). I headed into Cork along my usual route from Ballincollig and extended my run out to Pairc Ui Caoimh and back along the North Quays, Sundays Well and the Straight Road. The first mile @ 7:58 proved to be the slowest as I felt strong and comfortable enough in the early miles with a faster pace. My HR still remained relatively low (high 130s/low 140s). I didn't know how long the comfort would last and felt some additional effort at mile 8 - but a quick look at the Garmin and the 7:10 pace explained this - so I motored on. Over the last few miles I did feel like slowing down as my HR went into the 150s. Still not very high but my legs were also feeling the effort. In the end the run felt better than last weeks long run and I managed to cover 20.29 miles in the 2.5 hours (07:24 pace @ 142 avg HR) - that's my fastest long run ever, I think. In fact I passed 20 miles in 2:27:56 which is about half a minute quicker than during my 3:17 marathon PB last year. If only I could have a 142 avg HR in my marathons or better still a sub 7 minute pace for my avg 166 marathon HR. Maybe the trick is to start slow to ensure the HR stays in the fat burning aerobic zone for as long as possible. The rest on Saturday certainly helped Wed 11th Feb 9.98 miles in 01:23:51 (08:24 pace) Recovery run from Tuesdays 400m Intervals. Thur 12th Feb 8.16 miles in 1:07:39 (08:18 pace) with 8 x 30 sec hills @ 05:55 to 06:10 pace) Fri 13th Feb 6.84 miles in 50:11 (07:20 pace @145 HR) progression run from 07:46 down to 06:54 pace. Sun 15th Feb 20.29 miles in 02:30:00 (07:24 pace @ 142 HR) Transition Week 2 (Run 66.55 , Bike Nil, Swim 2,500 m) These late nights at the weekend are messing up the opportunity to get out on the bike.

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Making It Up As I Go Along

I arrived at the track this evening with no specific plan other than I was going to do some speed.
I warmed up with Denis - he was aiming for 800s but probably at a slightly slower pace than would benefit me. We stretched with the rest of the club members that turned up. Those training for Ballycotton appeared to be doing the same 200s as last week. Niamh Roe said she was doing 8x 400s (with 400 recoveries) but that she would be taking them easy - about 81/82 seconds (compared to her 72's last week). I thought quickly that that pace was closest to what my 400 interval pace should be (around 85+ seconds) although the recoveries would be longer than what is prescribed so I said i'd join her and get pulled along behind. We used lane 2 as there was water ponding in places in lane 1.
The first 400 went by in 83- "ok but if this is not my Interval pace will I pay for it later - should I ease up a little"
The 400 recovery was approximately twice the time (165 seconds) so I was fairly refreshed before heading into each fast 400, which probably helped with the faster pace. The first 4 went by with Niamh finishing a yard or 2 in front with the times 83, 82, 84 & 81. During the 5th 400 Niamh began to pull that bit further away from me finishing a few seconds ahead of me..........
"that's it, the pace is too fast for me to maintain for the full 8, i'm slowing down"
However Mr Garmin showed 81 for the lap. "You must have been doing 78/79 I said to Niamh" and sure enough she admitted to going a bit faster. It's probably hard to control pace when taking it easy!!! Just ask Brendan.
The remaining laps were similar with Niamh finishing 2 or 3 seconds in front but my times were consistent enough at 80, 82 & 82 seconds. Not a bad workout.
I warmed down with Niamh and Paul. Paul had been doing 1600s with 400 recoveries in preparation for Ballycotton. I should be doing similar work but I need the shorter intervals first before I can face 2 or more fast laps. Anyway Ballycotton is not my main event. He was covering the 1600s in 5:45 to 5:55, which, while a little on the fast side for me, would be good training.
The comments on my last post are very much appreciated and I take solace from the fact that my current thinking is no different to that expressed by Mike and Rick. There are so many training paces that the lines between them blur, particularly when so many variables are at play (weather, time of day, sleep, environment, wellbeing etc.) and Ricks comment that the last interval should be as fast as the first rang very true this evening.
Have a good week and best of luck to Niamh in the national novice cross country (I think I got it right) in Dublin on Sunday.
Mon 9th Feb
a.m. 9.54 miles in 01:15:39 (7:56 pace @ battery packed up on HR monitor)
p.m. 2.5 miles in 19:51 (07:56 pace)
Tue 10th Feb
1,500m swim at lunch.
6.74 miles in 57:16 (08:30 pace) with 8 x 408m (lane 2) in 81 to 84 seconds.

Sunday, 8 February 2009


The few fast twitch fibres that I have got woken from their deep slumber this week as I put them through their paces. Nothing too taxing though, have to coax them along slowly. Their first outing was at the track on Tuesday where I intended doing about 10 of the 30/30 workouts that Thomas loves so much. On arrival (I was late) there was a group doing 200's with 200m recoveries so I thought I'd do the same (close enough although the recovery time would be longer). So after the warmup I launched into the first 200m - 38 seconds - short but hard. 66 second recovery - not fully recovered, HR down to 141 and into the next 200m - another 38 seconds. This continued for a total of 7 reps before I called it a day as I felt my legs tightening up a bit and the final 200m recovery left my HR slightly higher than previously (146 BPM). No point in pushing it 2 days after a race. All the 200's were either 37 or 38 seconds - close on 5:00 pace. I don't think that I could maintain that pace with recoveries of equal time (mine varied from 66 to 75 seconds) so I checked the paces in "Daniels Running Formula" when I got home. Repetition pace is the closest pace I could find which is a short fast interval (200/400m) pace followed by full recoveries. R pace for my current level of fitness is about 40 seconds for 200m (Mile race pace - don't know if I can do a 5:20 mile though) - no wonder I was feeling a bit tired. The quandary is that the 30/30 session should be run at vVO2 Max which is the pace you can sustain for 6 minutes - again not far off mile race pace - the difference being that Daniels recommends full recoveries and the 30/30 session doesn't. I suppose the important thing to remember about the 30/30 session is that it should terminate when you can't maintain vVO2 Max - which is probably halfway through the second rep for me. My legs were tired for my Wednesday morning recovery run. A visit from my Brother in London and the birth of a friends first child necessitated a trip to the pub on Wednesday night and needless to say Thursday was a no running day. Friday morning saw my second fast twitch fibre workout with 7 x 30 second hill sprints - this time the speed was slower (06:10 to 06:20 pace) but the recoveries more or less the same. I counted strides (45) as opposed to setting time on the Garmin. My legs were pretty beat up by the end but I don't think I'll fear the fast hills as much as I did last year. Lest I think speedwork is going to be a doddle I must remember that my total speedwork for the week amounted to just over 7 minutes. I returned to Dungarvan on Friday night for a retirement function and did not see bed until 4:10 on Saturday morning. An overdose of Guinness twice in the one week is a bit careless and doesn't have the same beneficial effects as the speedwork (well not the following morning anyway). I still managed to blow the cobwebs off on Saturday afternoon with a 10 mile progression run - well once the cobwebs left I upped the pace to about 7 minute miles for the last 2 miles. I left my two and a half hour long run until this morning covering 18.9 miles in the allotted time. The 7:56 average pace felt tougher than it should have - I think the end of week dehydration level was higher than normal - I wonder why? Between the Guinness and a few busy lunchtimes my week was completely devoid of any swimming and cycling - there's always next week. Mon 2nd Feb 5.28 miles in 44:57 (08:31 pace @ 122 HR) - recovery run Tue 3rd Feb a.m. 2.5 miles in 20:02 (08:01 pace @ 137 HR) - treadmill p.m. 5.07 miles in 39:53 (07:52 pace @ 138 HR) with 7 x 200m @ 05:00 pace Wed 4th Feb 5.25 miles in 45:31 (08:40 pace @ 121 HR) - recovery run Fri 6th Feb 7.9 miles in 01:07:27 (08:32 pace @ 135) with 7 x 30s hills @ 06:10/06;20 pace Sat 7th Feb 10.04 miles in 01:15;50 (07:33 pace @ 140 HR) Sun 8th Feb 18.9 miles in 02:30:00 (0-7:56 pace - Forgot to charge Garmin) Transition Week #1 (Run 54.94 miles, Bike NIL, Swim NIL)

Sunday, 1 February 2009


Todays 10 mile road race in Dungarvan proved that I'm consistent if nothing else. This is my 4th 10 mile race in a year and they have all been between 65 and 66 minutes. I hope with a bit of speedwork that i'll breakthrough the 65 minute barrier in Ballycotton next month. I travelled to Dungarvan with Brendan, arriving with about 2 hours to spare. After signing up we braced the elements (cold easterly wind) over a 3.6 mile warmup which took us past the finish area - no harm to check out the terrain and identify the landmarks that would tell us later that we only had a few 100 yards of pain left to endure. We returned to the registration sports hall to fix our timing chips and for Brendan to change into his racing gear. I opted to keep on my training shoes and the 2XU compression tights I had recently purchased - wanted to see if it would make any difference. Brendan reckoned that I could lose between 5 and 10 seconds per mile. We waited inside in the relative warmth of the hall before we all got kicked out with 10 minutes to start time. There was a good turnout of about 1,000 runners. I warmed up with a few sprints before we got the call to line up at the start and soon enough we were off. I told Brendan to pace off his watch and not me. "You're going out at 6:30 pace aren't you" he had said earlier. But as soon as the gun sounded he was off in front of me and I don't think I saw him after the first 100 yards. The first mile was a short loop through the town before heading along the ring road. Miles one and two were 06:27 and 06:32 respectively, however the mile markers were a few yards beyond where the Garmin had calculated. There was a timekeeper at each mile marker and at the 2 mile mark 13:09 was called out as I passed. John Desmond passed me out during the first mile but I kept pace with him to mile 5. Every so often he would put in a surge, that looked so effortless, and suddenly he was 20 yards in front but then he would come back to me. As he is a 61/62:xx 10 miler I was expecting him to be well out in front. Miles 3 to 5 took us through winding country roads with the wind at our back, no sign of the cold. A guy in front of me took off his woolly hat ("toque" to those in the know) and threw it into the ditch. I felt reasonably comfortable through this stretch with the garmin giving me 6:31, 6:26 and 6:31 for miles 3, 4 and 5 totalling 32:27 for the halfway mark although the clock down the road showed 32:45 when I passed. "5 seconds slower than Mallow last month - if I have the same finish as Mallow a sub-66 is doubtful. I ploughed on keeping the pace steady. At about mile 5.4 we turned a sharp bend and we were now running south east with the cold wind coming against us. That, coupled with a short rise towards the 6 mile mark, was enough to dent the confidence. Still I was keeping pace with those around me and even passing 1 or 2 every half mile. Around the corner after the 6 mile mark (06:32 on the Garmin) and down a steepish gradient where my pace picked up and I passed 2 or 3 more. On towards the 7 mile mark keeping the pace steady (06:33 for mile 7). After the 7 mile mark things started to feel heavy - my legs, my mood (running into the wind), my arms - sub-66 seemed to be slipping away. Still I remained on auto-pilot as the only alternative was to stop and I wasn't that bad. Mile 8 in 06:37 as we headed up a short incline and turned left on the main Cork/Waterford Road. A slight downward slope to the river Brickey bridge and then a gradual incline to the 9 mile mark (Mile 9 in 06:38) I came up on the shoulder of a guy and said "not long now until we have the tea and sandwiches". This seemed to spur him on as he put in a surge and moved 5 yards ahead - I had only one gear and let him go. He kept looking over his shoulder and as soon as I was breathing down his ear he'd put in another surge. This happened a few times until he managed to lengthen the gap between us. I did manage to pass 2 stragglers over the last half mile and knew I had enough pace in my legs to keep my position until the finish line and was pleasantly surprised that the clock said 65:40 as I crossed under it. I had maintained my sub-66 record. Mile 10 was in 06:35, but I had another 18 seconds on the Garmin at 06:23 pace to get me across the line - not much of a sprint finish. Total distance on the garmin was 10.05 miles. Brendan and John Meade (ex work colleague who got sub-60) were cheering me on over the last 50 yards. Brendan had a fantastic run putting in a great time - I'm sure Thomas will be checking his blog with interest as the competition hots up for Ballycotton next month. Brendan and I warmed down/strolled the half mile back to the sports hall and had a feed of tea and sandwiches before heading home. While Dungarvan is a faster course than last months Mallow 10 I am satisfied with my time and am looking forward to putting in a bit of speedwork over the next month to see what improvement will come. I'll leave the competition to Brendan and Thomas. What it's all about for me is being able to run and race against myself and the feeling of exhilaration (and relief) in running down the home straight having ran as well as I could have. While it is great to have a bit of competition with someone else I know that there will always be someone behind and in front of me at the finish line. If my enjoyment of running was all in the race result I would have stopped a long time ago. sat 31st Jan 8.62 miles in 01:06:31 (07:43 pace @ 135HR) Sun 1st Feb about 15 miles with 10 miles in 01:05:40 (06:34 pace @ 164HR) half way splits - 32:45/32:55 Conditioning week 11 (Run - 60.8 miles, Bike - Nil, Swim - 3,000m) January Total (Run 261 miles, Bike 56.2 miles, Swim - 9,675m) I'll have to get on my bike.