Sunday, 2 June 2013

Marathon Training Week 8 of 10 (First PB of the year)

Most of the work is done. The two most challenging session of the final 3 weeks are

  • 18 Days out - 17 mile run with 15 @ MP (5, 4, 3, 2 & 1 mile with 2 minute rests)
  • 11 days out - 5/6 x 1 mile @ 10M Pace (LT pace and no faster)
As I traditionally pace the Cork City Marathon on the June weekend (12 days out) I opted to pace the first half of the 3 hour marathon instead as part of my scheduled 15 miles @ MP - close enough and certainly more training benefit than pacing the full distance at a slower pace.

This meant that I would have to run the 5/6 x 1 mile @ 10M pace as part of my scheduled track session on Tuesday. However as most of the club would be running the John Buckley 5k at the Marina I decided last minute to give that a go instead - ok the pace would be faster and the distance shorter, but it sounded far more attractive than running laps of the track to a specific time. Yet I was half afraid to race it as I didn't think I had the necessary speed in my legs and the willingness to go through the pain that normally comes with the shoter races. Afterall my attempt at 5 x 1 mile @ 6 minute pace a few weeks ago did not inspire me and i'd need to break 6 minute pace average to get a PB (sub 18:39).

For me the thing about racing a short race is to get a good long warmup in, gradually increasing the pace from a gentle jog to a few minutes at race pace within 5 to 10 minutes of the start, so my body is ready for the hard effort from the gun. With all my preparation I managed to leave the Garmin on the kitchen counter at home - the HR monitor around my chest would be no good. This was probably a blessing in disguise because I know I would be guided by my watch/pace throughout the race as opposed to listening to my body. I managed a 3 mile warmup with nieghbout Ian, whom I had coaxed into coming along. A few minutes of fast pace running (no garmin, so I can't say what pace - oh the freedom) and I am on the start line a few rows back. It's pretty tight as we are pushed back behind the start line before the race can start. After the gun I take it easy as there is a mad rush to get started and one wrong step and you'd end up on the deck with hundreds of feet trampling over you. The course is pancake flat - my last run here was 3 years ago when I came within 1 second of my PB (18:40).

I set off at a comfortably hard pace passing Mile 1 in 5:46 (timekeeper) in the shadow of Clubmate Ronan, who was aiming for beating his previous time of 18:26. I was pleasantly surprised by the time, but had been there before in a 5k, early days. The pace/effort remained the same, passing Mile 2 in 11:33, still on the same pace, although I translated this time in my head as a need to run a sub 5:30 last mile to get under 18 minutes - in hindsight I was thinking of a 5:27 mile to get 17:00 for 3 miles.

I continued on pushing the pace and passing one or two runners who were flagging more than me, the pace still hard but manageable. Past the 3 Mile mark (no timekeeper) so running blind towards the finish line (no glasses either) delighted to see 17:5x as the finishing clock came into focus, pushing to cross over the line in 17:57 (5:46 pace - even all the way). Delighted!

The race between 3rd and 4th Female was taking place around me over the closing stages, with both finishing just in front of me. They obviously had a bigger incentive than I to run "eyeballs out". My Pb got me 70th overall out of 968 finishers, showing how strong the field was. I thought it was a breakthrough race (and it was in terms of breaking a 5 year Pb) but my 1:22:32 HM in 2011 suggests that my 5k equivalent should be 17:50.

Mile 2.8 - surrounded by Clubmates Austin and Ronan

The remainder of a week was spent running 5 to 8 milers at a reasonable pace with my medium long run deferred until tomorrow's MP session at the Cork City Marathon - should be fun. Best of luck to all those running/pacing the full, half and relay.

Weekly Mileage - 44 Miles
Avg Weight - 76.8 Kg
RHR 37


  1. awesome 5k result, grellan. have fun in cork.

  2. Great race Grellan. Congratulations. Sub-18 is definitely a breakthrough. Wouldn't be surprised is you went 17:30-50 after the marathon and with a few more short races under the belt. 5k times respond to practising racing the distance.