Sunday, December 14, 2014

Ballinderreen 10km

Woke up and could hear the wind and rain outside. Initial thought was that it wasn't going to be a good day for running. How wrong.

By lunchtime the weather had cleared. Still quite breezy but no rain. Arrived at registration and did a warm-up with Mike and was looking forward to having a good hit-out. The plan was to try and run sub 16 for the first 5km. If that happened I'd go for it; if not I'd pull back.

The race started and I took the lead. It's a quick first km and nobody went with me and I felt great following the lead cyclist. The first km arrived and I left the watch on auto-lap and I got the beep with my split just as I passed the first marker in 2:57, Game on.

I settled into my running and it was all about focus. The road narrowed and I was concentrating on keeping the legs ticking over. The cyclist was doing a great job and would signal all the turns coming up - all I had to do was keep running hard, Another good split at 2km (3:09) and I was well under 32 pace so good to get some time in the bank.

The next few kms didn't seem to pass that quickly and I don't have much recollection of any details of the course. I knew by my splits though that I was still going well and at 4km I was 12:30 so barring a disaster the sub 16 goal for halfway was definitely on. Soon onto the main road and then a lovely downhill section on the cycle path that flattened out but was still quick. Halfway came and went in 15:41 so it was time to get down to business...

A tough section after turning left - maybe a short drag and a section into the wind and the thought of the wheels coming off. But another turn and then back into it and although the 6th km was slow (3;16), I knew I still had time in the bank and a good section of course to come.

Back firing through the next 2kms - nice and flat and the wind wasn't a factor and with a 3:10 and then a 3:11 it was all about hanging on. The 9th km has a bit of a drag and perhaps I was saving myself a bit for the run home but the split was still okay (3:15) and it was time to lift the pace for the run home.

You always seem to find something at the end and despite feeling the pinch, I started to wind it up as I spotted the bollards near the finish. That finishing chute seemed to last forever but I eventually crossed the line in 31:42 for the win and a 17 second PB. Job done.

Very happy with that - and certainly not what I expected. A great course and I don't think you'll find a quicker one in County Galway. Conditions were good but perhaps not ideal so with the right day and some company I reckon I can improve on that!

A warm-down with the lads and then back to the hall for the presentation. Some great performances by other Harriers today with lots of PB's! The perfect day! And Spurs won! Now beers!

All up 16.0kms for the day and 75.6kms for the week, I may keep this recovery running going now until the Fields of Athenry on Dec 26th!

Saturday, December 13, 2014


Busy day of lactate threshold testing with 4 appointments so no time to run. Great fun putting people through their paces and some good quality on show today!

4 beers and lots of crisps. Ballinderreen 10km tomorrow!

Friday, December 12, 2014

The wingman and I

Run with Fintan. Back outside and a bit of a cold one but it was dry albeit a little breezy.

Total of 14.8kms in 55:51 (3:46's). A bit slower than last week but conditions weren't as good. Still throwing in plenty of sub 3:40's at the end.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Treadmill #3

Not feeling great - bit of a cold and generally not quite firing.

Still got into my zone but didn't push it at all today - 10km in 38:13 (3:49's).

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Treadmill #2

10km in 37:39 (3:46's). Plus 5 lots of strides at the end (20 seconds each time).

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Treadmill #1

The weather has turned so back on the treadmill. Gradually wound up the pace and into that recovery zone by around 4km. Total 10kms in 37:58 (3:48's).

Monday, December 08, 2014

Third week of RR

I think another week of recovery running is in order.....hopefully maintaining fitness without doing the killer threshold runs.

Legs felt good today. 14.8kms in 55:27 (3:45's).

Sunday, December 07, 2014

Turkey Trot 5km

Very cold today and a stiff breeze. I did a few kms warm-up and then lined up at the start. We were into the wind for the first half of the race, and then had the benefit coming back.

A tough start - I hit the lead and pushed on but was struggling a little. Through the first km and then mid-way through the second km we turned left onto the Lydican Road and that was also tough going. Just through the second km it was a right hand turn and then it was a long uphill drag. At the top it got a lot easier and it was nice to hammer the downhill section passing through the third km.

Splits to this point were slow so I knew I'd have to lift the pace for the run home if I was to break 16 minutes. Even though the wind was now helping there were some small drags and I was going through the motions a bit. I ran the last km hard and managed to cross the finish line in 15:52 for the win. My quickest time on this course and a new course record but I was hoping I'd run 20 seconds quicker. Next time.

A bit of a warm-down and then back to the clubhouse for the presentation and a welcome hot drink. I do like this race and I haven't missed it since its inception in 2010. With around 200 participants it is going from strength to strength.

A few more beers in the evening. I'm not sure what to read into that performance - I don't think I've lost any fitness but I did feel a little flat today. I'll have another hit-out next weekend in the 10km as I think that will suit me more.

That's 77.4kms for the week.......splits for the race were 3:11 / 3:13 / 3:17 / 3:10 / 3:01. Total 15:52.

Snooker in the evening was great. Ronnie went 9-4 up only for Judd to peg it back to 9-9. Then in the deciding frame Ronnie lays a superb snooker and gets in to get the match winning break. A real nerve jangler but great viewing.

Saturday, December 06, 2014

Gentle trot

Easy run on the treadmill just to turn the legs over - I'm going to race the Turkey Trot 5km tomorrow so nothing too taxing.

A few beers in the evening watching the snooker. A Ronnie v Judd final tomorrow.

Friday, December 05, 2014

Darts night

11.1kms in 40:57 (3:41's).

Darts in the evening. I won both my pairs and singles. I hit a 180 in the deciding leg of the singles to give me a bit of breathing space on the doubles. Overall we won 7-2. Just the 2am finish....

Thursday, December 04, 2014

Ronnie 147

A short 9.5kms in 36:23 (3:50's).

Watched the snooker in the evening with Ronnie beating Matthew Selt 6-0 in the UK Champs. And in the last frame he hit his 13th 147 of his career. What a break it was. Playing with a broken ankle and nobody can touch him....

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Wingman run

Another run with Fintan. Started slow but the pace soon picked up after the first 2km and we were ticking along very nicely at sub 3:40/km pace for the guts of the run.

All up 14.8kms in 55:24 (3:45's). Fintan sounded a lot healthier this week.

Snooker in the evening. Played well in patches - had lots of chances for a decent break but kept missing silly shots....

Tuesday, December 02, 2014


Still no session. Might just keep this recovery running going for another week as I still don't feel quite right.

Today back outside - 11.1kms in 43:34 (3:55's). That was a real struggle...

Monday, December 01, 2014

Come on Matt get motivated

Well after a week of great running weather it was raining so decided to turn the legs over on the treadmill.

Started slow and gradually wound up the pace to get up into that recovery zone for the second half. A total of 10.0kms in around 38:20.

Sunday, November 30, 2014


Much better today. Same route as yesterday but over 2 and a half minutes quicker.

14.8kms in 54:48 (3:42's). Zone-wise it was perfect.

End of the week. A total of 79.1kms. Must try a few sessions next week.

Saturday, November 29, 2014


14.8kms in 57:21 (3:53's).......still struggling to hit zone.

Went to watch Ham Sandwich in the evening in the Roisin Dubh. Great venue and a great band. Really enjoyed it.

Friday, November 28, 2014


12.5kms in 48:58 (3:55's). Still no good.

Thursday, November 27, 2014


Another struggle today. 11.1kms in 42:58 (3:52's). One good run, one bad one. Could be a pattern emerging here.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014


14.8kms in 55:45 (3:46's). Much better today though lots of soreness still in the legs. Ran with Fintan and thought he was going to die. I've heard better sounding tractors....

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Recovery running

No sessions planned all week. Just recovery running until the legs feel right.

Well they didn't feel right today - an out of zone wobble. Total 11.1kms in 44:36 (4:01's).

Monday, November 24, 2014


Woke up feeling far removed from my athletic endeavours the day before (read big drink up yesterday). A bit of a look around the shops and then the long journey back to Galway.

No run - legs in bits as is other parts of my body.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Norwich Half Marathon 2014

Well it was very wet as expected. I delayed my warm-up for as long as possible and got out there about 25 minutes before the race was due to start. A 10 minute gentle run, and then a 3 minute hard effort to lift that heart rate into race mode. Then a quick change of shoes and lined up at the start. Hardly anyone warming up - that's how bad it was...

The race started and 2 sponsored athletes took it out, with 3 others chasing (that includes me), So a nice lead group of 5 as we made our way around the showground. A horrible muddy wet section with ankle deep water in the first mile where I lost about 5m, and then had to work to get back onto the group.

As we exited the showground we passed the first mile marker and the pace was on. I stuck at the back of the group getting some shelter from the wind and was running strongly. I knew the pace was quick but that was okay as long as the HR stayed in my threshold zone. Through the second mile and then a long uphill drag up to mile 3. As we passed a drinks station I checked the HR and it was too high so I had to pull back, If it was a 10km you'd just get on with it but I had to be sensible as there were still 10 miles to go. I watched as the other 4 slowly drift up the road. I had a decent gap on any chasers so it was time-trial mode for which I'm well used to.

Miles 4 and 5 were great. Some lovely long downhills and I was moving well. The course was slightly different this year - in previous years there was a long uphill drag back into the showground. This year it was still the same climb but a much shorter sharper hill - around 500m of lung-busting effort. That pegged me back but I got going again and as I ran into the showground again we had a new section to cover where you were running on long wet grass for what seemed like 400m. Back onto a path and good to get running again but miles 6 and 7 were slow and that wasn't due to lack of effort.

Exiting the showground again for the start of lap 2 and it was tougher now as I had no protection from the elements. I knew 8 and 9 would be tricky but there was the good section to look forward to for miles 10 and 11. I pushed on and felt strong but knew the pace wasn't as quick as the first lap. The splits for 8 and 9 were good and then I made a big effort on the quick part of the course. Through 10 miles in 53:11 (a new PB)  and managed to keep it going well until mile 11, Then it got a lot tougher. Lots of backmarkers to lap by this stage (I reckon I passed 200) and the lanes are quite narrow and with either side of the road flanked by water everyone was running in the middle of the road. When people run 2 a breast it blocks the dry line so you either shout to move people out of the way or run in the water. I tried to shout but not easy when you don't have much spare oxygen.

The sharp climb back into the showground and I was really feeling it. I was passing people but not going that much quicker than those 6 miles behind me. Still plenty of shouts of encouragement which was great. Into the showground at mile 12 and it was all about hanging on. Another section of water/mud with around 1km to go and this time I slipped and went down - I grabbed the fence which prevented a full face dunk but I lost a good bit of momentum and somehow managed to keep it going. The last stretch was tough - there was nobody on the course just one volunteer and I had to ask what the route was. Then just get on with it - a couple more turns and I could see the finish and just ran as hard as I could to cross the line in 1:10:31 for a new PB and 5th position overall.

Happy with the run in those conditions - but I know I can do better. Putting the weather aside it's still a tough enough course so I think I need to find something flatter and faster to have another dig on.

Here are the splits. You can see the tough miles 6, 7 and 12, 13 which cost me the sub 70.

Split       Time      Pace      Avg HR  Max HR
1              05:07.3  03:12     142         152
2              05:05.7  03:11     149         152
3              05:10.6  03:12     160         182
4              05:05.5  03:11     165         186
5              05:18.4  03:16     153         174
6              05:40.5  03:32     147         154
7              05:38.8  03:28     144         157
8              05:26.1  03:23     160         167
9              05:24.9  03:21     148         162
10            05:13.7  03:12     144         146
11            05:20.2  03:19     144         147
12            05:46.8  03:35     146         148
13.1         06:13.8  03:29     146         151
Sum        1:10:32   03:20     150         186

Here's some photos to give you an idea of what it was like:

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Travel and gentle 20 minutes

Long trip to Norwich, Then a gentle 20 minute run just to turn the legs over. Out in the pub with a few mates to watch the Arsenal v Man Utd game whilst drinking water. Than an early night. The forecast for tomorrow looks pretty bad - very wet and some wind...

Friday, November 21, 2014

Rest day 2

Another rest day. A couple of lactate tests to do which kept me busy and were good fun. And one beer in the evening just before I went to bed. Up early tomorrow for the trip to Norwich.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Mini session

Treadmill as weather not good. A 3km warm-up then 10 x 30 seconds off 30 seconds. Then a 3km warm-down to finish.

I was running the 30 second efforts at sub 3:10 pace and it felt very comfortable. The heart rate wasn't even getting into my recovery zone during the 30 second effort. Feeling good.

All up 7.6kms.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

All good

Tentative start to the run. After 2km there was no reaction so wound up the pace to get into that recovery zone. All up 11.1kms in 40:55 (3:41's).

Can still feel it slightly but no problem me running - probably just a slight strain or nerves as the coach calls it. Bullet dodged.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Rest day 1

No running. Just the drugs and some icing. Can feel it in the Achilles but it's not pulling so think I'll be fine. Will try a run tomorrow.

Monday, November 17, 2014


Recovery run. Felt a sharp pain in my lower calf/top of Achilles not long into the run. Pulled back the pace and jogged the rest of the lap as could feel something wasn't right.

All up 11.1kms in 43:29 (3:55's).

Luckily had a massage booked. Had a rub and some dry needling for the first time and don't think it's nothing serious. Just need to rest for a few days and ice and take the old anti-inflams. Frustrating but remain confident.