Friday, December 31, 2010

Yearly Review

Today I did the same route as yesterday - this time a bit quicker in 36:53 (3:53's). So that's it for 2010. Total running for the year 3,782.9kms so well over 10kms each and every day. Plus my beer intake is up on 2009!

It's been easily my best year to date. I've run PB's for 5km, 10km, half and full marathon. You can't really ask for more than that. Here's a quick summary:

5km track - from 15:57 down to 15:14
10km road - from 33:30 down to 32:49
Half - from 1:13:48 down to 1:11:54
Full - from 2:34:49 down to 2:28:20

After never winning a single road race in Oz in over 10 years, my record in Ireland is much better. Since arriving I've won 7 out of 10 road races. Smaller pond and all that but I'll take it!

Below is a summary of my 2010 races:



So here is my top 5:

5th Galway Half Marathon

My first big win - a tough course and a big PB and running with the world ultra guys was a great experience.

4th NSW State 10,000m

I was hoping for a crack at sub 32 but conditions on the night were too humid. That said I still ran only 3 seconds slower than my PB and with the conditions in mind, it was worth at least half a minute.

3rd Streets of Galway 8km

An unusual distance for me. I finished up with a time of 25:38 running into a headwind the last 2km which everyone told me never happens. I reckon this was worth sub 32:20 in terms of a 10km race.

2nd Tullamore 5000m

This race felt like a 12.5 lap sprint. I was comfortable at 3km in 9:05 then things got really hard. I gritted out the last 5 laps and was rewarded with a massive PB.

1st Dublin Marathon

What can you say? A 6 minute plus PB and the realisation of a dream to break 2 hours 30 minutes. I still can't believe it happened.

As you move into a new year it's always difficult to see where the next PB is coming from. I certainly need to get a bit more serious with my training but the weather makes that hard. I'll target the 10km and half marathon. Sub 32 and sub 70 respectively would be nice.

Happy New Year and may 2011 be a great year for all. I might have to get a job this year - I've really impressed myself by adding a spreadsheet to my blog so I feel I've lots of skills to offer!! TTFN.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

More of the same

Just going through the motions really - just good to be out there burning off some of the Christmas excess. I squeezed in my 9.5km run in 38:11 (4:01's). I'm subscribing to the David Sweeney training philosophy where all runs have to be at sub 4 minutes per km pace so today I didn't quite make it!

I may try and run some intervals tomorrow at the track. Yearly review will also follow.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Hour Run

A lunchtime run in typical Irish conditions. One of those days when it's not actually raining but you still get wet due to the Irish mist. I ran my 14.4km double loop course (first time since Nov 18th!) in a time of 57:43 (4:00/km pace). I think that's a course PB (edit: no it isn't, my best is 57:04) but that said I only cruise these routes. Felt good but the knees seem to be a little sore post run. I'm on a running streak now - 3 days and counting...

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Ashes

Well I stayed up to watch England retain the Ashes. Well done boys, much deserved.

Earlier in the day I squeezed in a 9km run in the gym in 38:04 (still no water - 4 days now). That's a run 2 days on the trot now - serious stuff.

I also bought a new pair of 2150s in the sale.

Spurs keep winning. Life is good.

Monday, December 27, 2010

The thaw

Well the weather has improved - the snow and ice has gone to be replaced with rain. I took the opportunity to run outside and it was good to get back out there. I ran 9.4km in 39:29 starting and finishing at the gym. The reason for that is that we don't have any water at present as the mains have frozen so after 3 days of no water I was in need of a decent shower. So a quick jacuzzi, steam and shower to finish off with.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

End of week

No running on Sunday so another pathetic week of only 2 runs and 21.0km in total. Cricket looking good though!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Catch Up

Well no posts since Wednesday. You guessed it, the race was postponed so any thought of trying to being sensible went out of the window.

No running for 3 days now. Still freezing cold with ice everywhere. Minus double figures, no water in the house as the pipes are all frozen. But the Guinness keeps flowing. Christmas Eve turned into a right bender and today was a day for the cure. All thoughts now turn to the cricket. I can't wait and will try and at least watch the first session which could decide the whole series.

Health and happiness to one and all. I'll finish up the year with a race summary of all my performances in 2010. I bet you'll never guess what my #1 pick was?

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Midweek sports special

Still no sign of a thaw. Unbelievably cold - it was minus 12 last night...

So another gym session. I ran 10km and threw in 4 x 1km in the middle with 500m float recovery. I was running them in 3:23's wearing my heavy hoofs and felt pretty cruisey. The total running time was 39:27.

I still doubt the race will happen on Sunday - I kind of hope it does as the standard will be very good. They should get about 500 runners and last year there were 4 guys under 33 with the winner running 29:57!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Rest

No running today. My sporting fix was watching the darts world champs with Freddy Flintoff as a guest commentator.

Track is cancelled tomorrow so it will be back to the gym...

Monday, December 20, 2010

New week

The knee pulled up okay after yesterday so I went back on the treadmill for more. I think I mentioned I wasn't going to run back-to-back treadmill sessions but at the moment that would mean no running as it's minus 8 degrees and icy outside...

The session was 10 mins easy, then 3km at 3:24/km pace, then 3 mins float recovery, then 3km at 3:23/km pace, then 2km warm-down. All up 11.0km in 42:36.

I felt pretty good - hopefully I can run at that pace for 10km in the race on Boxing Day. Having said that, I'd say there is a very good chance that the race won't go ahead...

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Sunday

No running on Saturday - I was willing but the weather prevented a run. Today it was back to the gym for 10km in 42:26. Very boring - difficult to get into any sort of routine when all the roads are iced over.

Cricket was rubbish. It's good for the series that the Aussies are back in it but I can't help feeling that a couple of good days for the Aussies has papered over a lot of the cracks. They still have a lot of players out of form and without Hussey and Johnson in Perth, there wouldn't be too much to worry about.

Friday, December 17, 2010

10km

More snow in Galway so it was 10km in the gym. Time 41:09.

Cricket not so good. The Aussies are putting up a fight. Early wickets needed....

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Nowt

Another rest day. A good start to the cricket for the England.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Track

After a longish warm-up of 6.5km, it was time for my first track session in 3 weeks. Conditions were as good as could be expected - very little breeze and mild for this time of year (6 degrees). Not even raining!

The session was to be 15 x 400m with 30 seconds recovery. I eased into it and felt pretty good throughout. I was at the front and lapped the next quickest group so I ended up running a bonus 16th lap effort which I didn't time but would estimate around 71 secs. Here are the splits for the first 15 laps:

73/75/72/72/73/72/73/72/72/72/72/70/72/73/72

So I averaged around 72 which was the intention as these were supposed to be run at target 5km pace. But there is no way I could have kept that pace up for long at the moment...

All in all a good session. I ended up with a couple of kms warm-down so a total of 14.9km for the session.

I best get to bed early so I can get up in the morning to watch the last few hours of the cricket.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Rest Day

No running today - a planned rest day.

I'm hoping to make the track tomorrow. That said there is more bad weather forecast so we shall see.

The third test starts tomorrow so looking forward to that. I won't be watching the start though as it's a 2:30am start...

Monday, December 13, 2010

New Week

Another pounding of the knees on the treadmill. A 10km run in 42:11.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Carnmore 6km Turkey Trot

A very small race, I'd be surprised if there were more than 100 runners. Well organised, and after a 4km warm-up it was game on. I took the lead straight away following the lead car. After about 500m I was surprised to hear some heavy footfall behind me getting closer Sure enough a taller runner eventually drew level with me as we approached the first km marker. He was wearing football gear so knew it was a probable quick starter who (I hoped) would slow any minute. That happened as we passed the first km in 3:10. From then on I was left by myself. I was running well but didn't have that edge to really push each km (fitness and lack of concentration), and that was reflected in the kms which got slower and slower. So 2km was reached with a 3:16, 3km 3:20, 4km 3:22, then I missed 5km (doh) and ran the last 2km in 6:44 to finish in 19:52. A few hills and long drags but all in all a pretty good course. I won by just over a minute with my GCH team-mate Ian coming in second. So a good day for the Harriers.

My prize was a turkey (not live) and after a 2km warm-down there was hot tea and biscuits served in the community centre. I was watching the European XC on the TV during the presentation as GCH had an Irish representative running. His name is Gary Thornton and I think he finished 44th overall in the senior event. Well done Gary.

The rest of the year I'll stick with running 5 sessions a week (weather permitting). That way I shouldn't lose too much fitness. There is a race on Boxing Day which I've been asked to run in. It's a 10km race called the Fields of Athenry. If I decide to run it could curtail my normal Xmas day boozing....

A total of 53.5km for the week. Piss poor really but that said, it has been a Stella year.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

On the road again

Finally the ice had cleared. I only had the cold and wet to deal with....

I ran my 9.5km road route in 39:52. Good to be out there again. I've definitely lost a good piece of fitness which you can detect from breathing a lot harder than was previously the case.

I noticed there is a local race tomorrow. It's titled the "Carnmore 6km Turkey Trot". I'll give that a bash and see how I go. I've set myself a soft target of 21 minutes but to be honest, I don't think I'll better that by much.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Friday

I ran 10km in the gym. I started slowly and wound the pace up a bit at the end. Time 41:31.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Wednesday

No running yesterday, all I could think about was cricket. Not sure why...

Well today the track was closed due to ice.....so it was back to the gym. I decided to get out of my comfort zone and break into a bit of a sweat so it was to be a 2km warm-up, then 6 x 1km cruise intervals with 400m float, then 2km warm-down. All up a dozen of the best.

All went well. I started the first km rep at 3:45/km pace and worked down to 3:29/km for the last one. It felt pretty easy - it should do really as even the quickest rep was close to my marathon pace from a few weeks back. The knee was a little sore afterwards and as a precaution I don't think I'll be able to run back to back days on the treadmill. Hopefully the ice thaws soon and I can get back onto the road.

Another update on Friday as tomorrow I have to prepare for a job interview. I think that after nearly 18 months as a stay-at-home Dad/athlete, it's time to get back into the workforce. The company is about 2 minutes from the athletics track. Umm.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Please don't rain

The weather is still atrocious. Black ice everywhere so I headed to the gym for 10km in 42 minutes. Knee still sore...

England need 6 wickets to wrap up the second test match. I'm feeling confident.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

End of another poor week

No running Friday or Saturday. I then got smashed Saturday night and was licking my wounds all day Sunday. I managed a stumble around on the ice in the afternoon. Very treacherous (read stupid to even consider running) and my normal 9.5km route took me over 47 minutes.

So only 3 runs for the week and a massive total of 31.5kms. My left knee is sore - I think the treadmill running must have triggered that. I've gone from hero to zero in the space of 2 weeks. At least the cricket is looking good...

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Welcome Back

Well here goes. On Friday I travelled to Dublin to watch my favourite band (The Wedding Present). My first Weddoes gig in over a decade - brilliant. No time to train, plus it was too cold. A few pints was had - all good.

Woke up on Saturday to quite a lot of snow. I made it to Dublin airport for my 11:30am flight and all was well as we queued up at the gate for departure - apart from the small fact that there was no plane to board. Anyway, after being told the flight was delayed by at least 2 hours, I went for a wander only to receive a phone call to tell me that the race on Sunday had been postponed due to bad weather. So that was that, straight to the airport bar......

Eventually the flight left after a 5 hour delay. It wasn't so bad for me, but I did feel sorry for my old man who was waiting to pick me up at Stansted. At least I had alcohol - even if it was a fiver a pint.

So a bit disappointing - I was in decent shape and was looking to have a crack at sub 1:11. My race plan would have been to go out hard (33:30 for 10km), then hang on. Yes, it's the same for all of my races. So the time I spent in Norwich was spent predominantly in the pub. No running, as it was too cold with lots of snow and ice.

I got back to Galway late on Tuesday evening. Luckily no delays coming back. I was feeling guilty about not running for 5 days (unheard of), so I joined the gym last night (Wed) and ran 12km in 49:12. Then today I ran 10km in the gym in 43:35. Very boring but there is no chance of running outside as the paths are all iced over and the temps are currently minus 6 degrees. Pleasant if you are an Eskimo but not to my liking.

I need to find some motivation now. I'll have a look at the race calendar and see if I can target something. It may involve skis or ice skates if in the Irish winter though...

The positive was the cricket. I'd pretty much given up on the first test after day 3. And what a fightback it was. The second test is an hour from starting as I type this and I'm now full of nervous anticpation. Barmy Army.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Mini taper

A repeat of Monday's session. This time the 6.5km took me 28:16 so a little quicker. I hope to do something similar tomorrow, then rest on Saturday before the race Sunday. Speaking of which, there has been snow in Norwich with more forecast on the weekend. So I may have to get some of those snow shoes that look like tennis rackets....

Okay, so the cricket was ordinary if you are an England fan. Thanks for your comments David. But I don't think you can get the brass band out until the Aussies have at least had a bat. Plus being a Spurs fan I can always harp on about our recent win over the scum. You still there David?!?

I tried watching the cricket sober last night and that didn't work. So a few beers tonight....

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Km Reps

Out at the track again this evening. About 30 hardy souls for 6 x 1km with 200 jog recovery. I was planning to run them feeling relaxed and in control as opposed to red lining them. I forgot my racing flats so was wearing my normal jogging shoes as an added handicap.

After a 3km warm-up it was on. I was running well within myself and focused on keeping the upper body relaxed. The weather was cold (approx 4 degrees) but much better than the previous week as it was dry (ish). My times were:

3:20, 3:21, 3:21, 3:19, 3:17, 3:13

The average jog recovery was approx 80 secs.

Happy with that. I finished up with a 2km warm-down and now watching the build-up to the Ashes. England have won the toss and are batting. Please let it be a good day for the England. Barmy Army.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Rest day

I didn't get a chance to run today - that said, I would have only done an easy half hour so no big deal in the scheme of things.

Tomorrow it's back to the track. Please don't rain...

Monday, November 22, 2010

Clothing

It was 4:45pm when I went out for my run. A cool 4 degrees at that time with temperatures forecast to go 4 negative during the evening. The central heating is getting a real workover...

I think I set a new record for the number of garments worn for a run. Two long-sleeve tops, tights, gloves, beanie, socks, shoes and my watch. Are you supposed to wear anything under or over running tights? I've no idea so I went commando. Oh yeah, the gloves. This was a running first, I've turned into one of those poncy footballers who I find myself swearing at on the tele.

Anyway, I did a very easy half hour run. I had to come up with a new route that stuck to the main roads as the country lanes are now a complete no go. It would be like running through Lane Cove National Park in the pitch black with the occasional car whizzing by at 80km/hour. Not recommended.

The exact run measured 6.5kms and this was covered in 28:43 (4:25/km). Basically an out and back run along the main road where I have the benefit of a footpath and street lights.

This week I'll do some km reps on the track on Wednesday. The rest of the week will be easy running. I may throw in a mile at race pace at some point which gets me thinking that I need to decide what time I should be targeting. A PB to finish off the year would be nice...

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Sunday

Very cold today, but good for running after warming up. I did a repeat of the session from Nov 12th. So a 15 minute warm-up, then 2 x 12 minute efforts with 3 mins walk/slow jog recovery, followed by 15 minutes warm-down.

The efforts felt really good. I did my first 12 minutes and ran about 5 seconds quicker than last time to the same end point and continued running on. On the return leg I really pushed it and got to the start in 11:47 and continued to run until the 12 minutes was up. One of those runs where the breathing felt really good. I was running as quick as my legs would allow and I still felt in control. No sign of the hamstring problem so all good - I can stop being a drama queen. All up 13.7km for the session.

This week it's another 64.8km for the annual total. I have now run more kms in 2010 than in any other year and there is still another 5 or 6 weeks to go...

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Dodging a bullet

I headed out to see how the leg was. A horrible feeling not knowing, just hoping that each stride brings no pain. A very slow start, and after about 10 minutes I was still running with no pain. I completed my 9.5km route in 41:10 (4:20/km). The hamstring was a little tight at the end - bit at the top of the thigh and not where the pain was before. So all looks good and a smile on my boat.

I'll try some longer intervals tomorrow. Maybe 2 x 12 minutes or something similar. That will really test it...

Friday, November 19, 2010

McMillan

No run today. Just resting up and hoping the hammy will come good. It feels okay - no twinges all day, but obviously the most exercise I've done is going up and down the stairs...

So on to McMillan. I know a lot of runners use his race calculator which is a very useful tool. So I entered my recent marathon time and this is what it predicted across various distances:

3km 8:43 (15 seconds quicker than my PB)
5km 15:13 (1 second quicker than my PB)
8km 25:05 (33 seconds quicker than my PB)
10km 31:36 (59 seconds quicker than my PB)
Half 1:10:20 (1 minute 34 seconds quicker than my PB)

So according to McM, that marathon was my best ever race. That's very surprising as I've always considered it to be my weakest distance. Having said that, for me the marathon is where the challenge lies and so that has been my focus. If you have a bad 5km or 10km race, no problem, you simply do another race. You can't do that with the marathon. If you are lucky you get to run a couple of marathons in a year. It's the ultimate test.

In the build-up to this marathon, I was using McM and the best I could hope for according to my races was 2:31 ish. And that's what I believed I was going to run. But I took a chance and went for the sub 2:30 by running a 1:14 first half. And the rest is history. So don't believe all that McM tells you. It pays to roll the dice every now and then...

I'll see how I am tomorrow. I'm hoping I can get out for a few km to see if there is any improvement...

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Sidelined

I headed out for my lunchtime run and pretty much straight away I could feel a pain at the base of my right hamstring (about 6 inches above the back of the knee). Not a real severe pain, just a sharp jolt every now and then as if someone was pricking the back of my leg with a needle. I had felt a bit of pain in that region on the track the previous evening but didn't think nothing of it at the time...

Anyway, in true runners style I decided I would run it off....but it didn't seem to be getting any better (or worse). So I soldiered on and completed the run at a very sedate pace. I ended up running my 14.4km double loop in 1:02:15 (4:19/km).

As I type this I can still feel it (aching slightly) so I may have to take a few days on the sidelines and see how I pull up. I can't really complain as I've had a golden run with injuries and if I'm sensible I think I'll still be okay for the half in just over a week. I'll take some Nurofen and hope for an improvement by tomorrow. Fingers crossed.

So instead of running tomorrow I'll have to bore everyone with some running stats analysis...

Can I have a few beers if I'm taking painkillers? I don't suppose a couple will harm...

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Weather Watch

This blog is starting to read more like a weather report. Today it was very ugly. Torrential rain, windy but not as cold as it could be. So there could be worse to come....one of the guys mentioned it was the worst conditions he had experienced in his year of doing track. Which is nice.

So after a longer warm-up (2 laps of the football fields followed by 3 laps of the track = 5.7km), I lined up for some 4 lappers with 60 seconds recovery. The plan was to run 6, using the first one to get into the session, and then take it from there. The lap itself was a bit like running a fartlek - an easy 200m (wind benefit), then hitting the wall down the finishing bend/straight. I'd made the decision not to check the watch for lap updates and would run on feel. Well the first effort was clocked at 5:34. That was very slow. But I soldiered on with the session removing my jacket after the first 2 efforts (completely waterlogged). The remaining 5 "miles" were timed at:

5:22, 5:20, 5:20, 5:21, 5:23

Pretty consistent but very slow. The conditions played a big part - the effort level was up there but it simply did not translate into speed. I'd challenge anyone to run quick in those conditions.

I finished up with 6 laps warm-down so all up 17.7km for the session. Tired.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Rain stopped play?

It was a case of "you are not going out in that are you?" - well I did. Wet, windy and cold - all the bases covered. Plus it was getting dark...

Despite all that I had a great run. I ran 9.5kms easy in 38:35 (4:04/km). If it's like this at the track tomorrow it's going to be ugly.

Monday, November 15, 2010

More Rest

No running today.

This week will be similar to last week. A track session on Wednesday, long efforts on Friday and race on Sunday. The problem being that the race scheduled for Sunday has been postponed by a fortnight! I may have to do a long tempo run instead...

So my time yesterday equates to a 1:13:43 half according to McMillan. I think I can do better than that with a few more decent sessions under my belt.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Corofin 8km

The weather was as good as I could have hoped for - a barmy 9 degrees. The sun was out, and there was very little breeze. Perfect for running. I arrived in good time, registered, then ran 3km as a warm-up. The start of the race took me by surprise - without warning we were off and despite being on the front row, I lost a few metres. No problem, I was quickly into my running and within the first 500m I had hit the front.

From then on I was following the lead car, and after a quick uphill first km of 3:11, I had opened up a decent lead. I was feeling pretty good - and was just concentrating on running with good form. From then on the km markers seemed to tick round nicely - 2km with a 3:15 split, 3km with a 3:27 km (slow but uphill), then I reached halfway in 13:08 (3:15). Feeling good.

I was expecting to slow down a bit but that didn't really happen. The 5km marker passed in 16:27 (3:19), 6km 19:45 (3:18), 7km 23:08 (3:23) - then time to try and run a quick last km which was helped by a nice 500m downhill stretch. I crossed the line in 26:17 so a very pleasing 3:09 last km split. My time trial was over!

No warm-down - just straight to the community centre for hot cups of tea and biscuits. Very nice. I picked up my prize at the presentation, then headed home for a few celebratory beers.

All up 11km for the day and 78.5km for the week. After struggling a bit post marathon I now feel I've turned the corner and this race has given me the confidence that I can run a decent half in 2 weeks time.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Saturday

I rolled out an easy 9.5kms in 41:15 (4:21/km). Just to turn the legs over before tomorrow's race. Talking of which I have absolutely no idea how I'll go. The legs still aren't right. I've definitely lost some speed but that's par for the marathon. If I break 27 minutes I'll be happy enough.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Threshold or tempo?

Not sure of the difference. Perhaps someone in the know will tell me...

Anyway, after a 3.4km warm-up, I ran 2 x 12 minute efforts (hard). I had the luxury of 3 minutes rest between efforts (walk/slow jog). I estimate the pace to be sub 3:30 per km but not by much.

I finished up with a 3.4km warm-down. All up 13.7km for the session.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Treadmill

Well the weather has taken a real turn for the worse. Galeforce winds, horizontal rain and very cold. Am I a fair weather runner? Obviously yes as I decided the only way I was going to run today was to check out the local gym.

An hour on the treadmill later I had notched up 14.6kms. It felt tougher than running on the road. I'm not a big fan of treadmill running but having said that, treadmill running is better than no running. It's going to get colder still so I think I'll sign up for 3 months. I tested out the top-end on the treadmills and they go up to 18.5km per hour (3:15/km). A bit quicker than the ones I used to use in Pymble...

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Trackwork

More nasty weather, but that's to be expected...

After a 20 minute warm-up (4.5km), I did some drills on the track and then started proceedings with an 800m effort in 2:40. That felt like hard work as the wind on the home straight was blowing right in my face. Anyway, the rest of the group disappeared to run some longer efforts on the road so I decided to stay on the track and run 5 x 4 lappers (miles) with 60 seconds recovery. After a couple of minutes I started with a 5:15. Again, that was a real struggle. From then on it was a case of hanging in there and the remaining 4 efforts were knocked off in 5:20, 5:19, 5:20 and 5;19. Not a great session and it seems like I have lost around 10 seconds per mile compared to other times I have run this session pre marathon. Oh well, it's a start.

The group returned as I had finished the session and I decided to do one final 800m effort with them. After a slow first lap I managed to run a quickish second lap to finish with a 2:33. Again, nothing flash but it gives me hope. I finished up with a warm-down of 3 laps so a total of 15.3km for the session.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Start of 2 week training block

More of the same today. An easy 14.4km in 58:38 (4:04/km). Cold (estimate 6-7 degrees) but good for running.
I've edited a few of my PB's removing the Corporate Chase, and adding my 5km road and 8km road PB's. Eight kms seems to be a common race distance here in Ireland, not sure why?


Monday, November 08, 2010

Rest Day

No running today. The plan for this week is to do a track session on Wednesday, some threshold stuff on Friday, then race on Sunday (8km). Easy running either side of those sessions.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Stats round-up

I finished off the week with a slightly longer run of 14.4km. Time 59:45 so 4:09/km. That's 46.8km for the week and happy to be back running.

So I'm up to 3,413.4km for the year thus far. That's an average of 11.0km every day of the year or 76.8km per week. Consistency is king - that's my philosophy.

I've been running now since the year 2000 - but I've only been keeping my training diary since 2001. Here's a quick snapshot by year:

2001 1,193.3kms
2002 1,835.1kms
2003 2,428.4kms
2004 2,689.7kms
2005 2,631.5kms
2006 205.8kms (injured - tendinitis of the left knee)
2007 1,954.5kms
2008 3,268.8kms
2009 3,528.4kms

So it looks like I'll easily eclipse last year if I remain injury free for the remainder of 2010.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

More easy stuff

Same run again as yesterday. Today I was a bit quicker (39:12) so that's 4:10/km.
Legs feeling better still, I must be close to 90% recovered now. A great night for running - cold and damp - Ireland at its finest.
I'll aim for an easy hour tomorrow. Then into some proper stuff next week.


Friday, November 05, 2010

Getting Better

Same run as last Saturday, this time covering the 9.4km in 39:40 (4:13's). I felt a lot better today, the calves are still tight but I think I'm well on the mend.

It's Friday so a few Guinness tonight. After all, it's good for you...

More photos to follow each day:



Probably a good time to say a few thanks for the help in the lead up to the marathon:

- my wife for putting up with this running obsession
- the Galway Harriers who have made me very welcome the last few months
- Matt for the help with the training
- Conor for the massage
- Brian who was my wingman for the weekend
- Clare and Christy for the fun bit after the race
- Fred for the photos

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Rest day

No running today, legs still buggered.
Here is a nice photo from the marathon:


Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Running ugly

The weather the last few days has been absolutely awful. Very wet and windy. But I had the opportunity to do a group session at the track so I wasn't going to let that up.

I did a 20 minute warm-up wearing many layers. It wasn't that cold but by the end of it I was pretty soaked. But the legs were feeling a lot better. On the track there was a solid turn-out of about 20 people - I wasn't expecting anyone to show...

The session was a pyramid. Starting with 1 minute, working up to 5 minutes in 1 minute increments. Then work back down to 1 minute with 60 seconds recovery between efforts. Sounds easy enough.

Straight away my calves felt sore (again). I just ignored it and ran at a hard pace, but not red lining as I wanted to ease back into things. My breathing felt good, but the legs were gone. I concentrated on running around 80 second laps throughout which was taking more effort than it should have. Umm, still not recovered by a long chalk.

I finished the session and then did a few more laps of the track as a warm-down. So all up it was about 25 minutes hard running and good to be back of sorts.

It was around 13.6kms all up. The half marathon is in 3 and a half weeks time so I'll do some easy running for the rest of the week. Then hopefully 2 solid weeks training after that.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Ouch

I've done one run since the marathon. On Saturday I ran a lap of the block and after a couple of kms my calves were very sore. By the end of the run it was like I was back in the closing stages of the marathon. Not good. I ran 9.4km in 41:52 so that's 4:27 per km. So it was time for more rest/recovery and I'll knuckle down with some proper training starting tomorrow at the track.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Dublin Marathon 2:28:20

The race wasn't scheduled to start until 9am so no need to rush about in the morning. I woke up at 6:30am and had my breakfast including half a banana and a Le Rice. I then went back to bed and eventually got up just after 8am. I had a quick cup of coffee, then made my way down into the foyer. I should mention I had 2 visits to the toilet which was always good. Outside it was very cold but I wasn't complaining - no wind or rain so it was looking just about perfect.

I made my way down to the start area and was struggling to get through the crowds. After about 10 minutes I found my way down to the elite start area where I met up with a few familiar faces. I had a little light jog, then soon it was time to drop off the gear and line up at the start.

The wheelies were off a few minutes before the main race. The atmosphere at the start was really good. There was a band playing and there was also the singing of the national anthem. Then the gun sounded and we were off.

I was quickly into my running. I settled into what felt like a comfortable pace and had the usual nervous anticipation of getting feedback from the first mile marker. That quickly passed and I was very uneasy when my watch read 5:09. That was way too fast but I didn't panic as I suspected the first mile was short. We made our way over the Liffey, along O'Connell street heading south towards Phoenix Park. I was feeling great and already I was running with a small pack. All good so far.

My next mile split was 6:01. Okay, so the markers are not accurate but assuming the 2 mile mark was in the right place I was averaging 5:35s which was a little quick but about right. A lot of the detail of the run has been erased from my memory but by mile 4 we entered Phoenix Park. This part of the run was amazing. It was very cold and frosty, and our group was soon joined by the 2 lead women so now we had a group of 9. At one point about 100m ahead there must have been at least 50 deer charging across the road. This was a fantastic sight and would have been scary if we were a little closer. By 10km, we were still in the group and the time on the clock read 35:25. Bang on schedule.

After leaving Phoenix Park it was back on the roads. There were numerous water stops which had bottled water - very good. Again, my memory fails me but despite a few little hills and drags the course remained very flat. I recall seeing the 15km marker in 52:52, again that was target pace. The group was still tightly formed and we were following the lead car for the women. The constant reminder of having the clock in your face was good and bad. Could I keep this up for another hour and a half?

The next point I recall clearly was the halfway point. We rolled under a big archway, still in the group in about 1:14 but the timing mat was a good few meters past that and my official halfway time was 1:14:12. That was 18 seconds quicker than target and I was still in the pack getting dragged round. Things were hotting up and looking good.

Again, I'm lacking detail from this point of the race but my feedback was the splits each mile and these were consistently around the 5:40 mark. My thought process was get to 20 miles and then try and push for home. I'd say at about 16 miles, the race started to develop and one of the lead females made a break. I decided that I was happy running at the pace I was but I think it was about at this point that our group got strung out. I was still running well, no need to do anything brash with 10 miles still to go.

I found myself running with one other guy, and I could hear a few of the others not too far behind. The crowd support around the course was generally very good. The course was by no means lined by people but there were pockets where the were lots of people cheering you on. The miles kept ticking by, again on target, and I was closing in on 20 miles.

At 19 miles I had a wobble. I can't recall if it was a hill, but it felt like I was struggling to run in a straight line. Keep focused. This is where mental toughness was paramount. I was still running with the other guy and could see the lead female up front, though it looked like she was pulling away. I briefly spoke with my wing-man and he mentioned he wasn't feeling great and would try and put the foot down at 20 miles. Well that soon came and the clock read 1:53 round numbers. Quick mental arithmetic - I could run 6 minute miles plus 1 minute for the final 0.2 miles and I had my sub 2:30. It was time to start believing.

It was probably some point before that the eventual winner of the women's race came screaming past. And I mean screaming - she went past me like I was barely moving. Very impressive. She went on the win the race running the second half in 1:11 and change. Incredible. I thought I had slowed but thankfully the mile splits didn't show that.

So it was mind games from here on in. My old trick of breaking it down into smaller segments. I was focusing on each mile and my new target of 6 minutes per mile was ingrained into my thinking. My partner had sped up, or that was what I was hoping and then I reached mile 21 with a mile split of 5:48. A little slower but the mile markers were definitely dodgy and well under 6 minutes so still good.

All the feedback from the body was telling me I was slowing. The legs were getting heavy, the calves were very sore, and I was getting the occasional tweak in the muscles as a reminder that a cramp was a possibility. But 22 miles came and went and I was still running big sub 6's. Only 4 and a bit miles to go. I was putting more time in the bank and was starting to get myself fired up by giving myself a motivational speech. Out loud. Thankfully nobody around me could hear so I could just about get away with it.

At 23 miles I was well on the way back to the city. The crowd was getting bigger and I was still running target pace. No slow down. This cannot be right - my legs were absolutely gone and I was still running quickly. I couldn't explain it but I'll take it. I could hear a fellow runner not far behind and that helped spur me on.

At this point I was running on pure adrenaline. I was very focused, I'd waited over 10 years for this. I only had to run for another 18 minutes or so. This was my big chance. Again, 24 miles arrived probably quicker than I would have expected. A glance to the watch showed a 5:51 split. More time in the bank.

The next mile was a real effort but I was still travelling nicely. I think you can gauge the pain factor by how often you look at your watch. I recall looking when the split was around 3 minutes. In times gone by, that may have been only 1 minute. I was hurting but still covering ground. And I recognised some of the city by this point so almost home.

At 25 miles I'd run a 5:39 split. Wow, that was quick and again more time up the sleeve. I knew I could have a real blow-up and still have a good chance of sub 2:30. I got to Trinity College and was running along Nassau Street and that is where I started my fist pumping to get really fired up. The crowd was huge and it felt like the finishing straight. With hindsight that was a bit of a mistake as at the end of this section the crowd thinned and I still had half a mile or so to go.

And then I could see the finishing chute. No need to sprint, just enjoy this. This was 10 years in the making. Time for more fist pumps and the aeroplane. I crossed the line in 2:28:23 and was almost in tears. The time was incredible and was beyond my wildest expectations.

So I'd done it. The sub 2:30 dream was now a reality. I still can't quite believe it - the race went perfectly. I'm not sure how I could have improved on it. Drugs perhaps?

The second half was covered in 1:14:11 so on gun time I ran a 1 second negative split. That's a new one on me, I think my previous best was a 3 minute positive split. That's testament to the shape I was in.

My 5km splits were:

5 - 17:41
10 - 17:44
15 - 17:16
20 - 17:39
25 - 17:27
30 - 17:23
35 - 17:52
40 - 17:36
42.2 - 7:45

Gun time 2:28:23, chip time 2:28:20. 27th overall and 9th in the Irish Championships.

More thoughts to follow when I come back down to earth. I'll be dining (boozing) out on this for years.

Here is the video:

BeerMatt Video

Here are some photos:

BeerMatt Photos

Here are the 12 weeks training in kms up to and inlcuding the marathon:

Week 1 - 101.2kms
Week 2 - 94.6kms
Week 3 - 96.4kms
Week 4 - 84.3kms
Week 5 - 14.4kms
Week 6 - 119.1kms
Week 7 - 104.0kms
Week 8 - 107.9kms
Week 9 - 101.0kms
Week 10 - 101.5kms
Week 11 - 87.1kms
Week 12 - 79.4kms (8 day week up to and including the marathon)

Total 1,090.9kms, Average 90.9kms.

So why the breakthrough in this marathon. I can think of:

1) The conditions - flat course and very cool conditions. Much colder than Oz
2) Injury free - no niggles to speak of
3) Consistency - I haven't missed a session all year. I just keep plugging away
4) More tempo/threshold runs - I have done a lot more of these than in previous build-ups
5) More volume - I've upped my training 10% and noticed a big improvement. Could be more to come - London 2012!
6) Increasing the pace of my easy runs - I was running these at around 4:10/km

Perhaps it's time to go public with my Blog. Originally I was doing this for my kids for when they get a bit older but they probably won't be interested. It could however be of some use to fellow hackers who want to improve on their marathon time.

So what now? I'm considering retirement from the marathon. At 39 years of age I'm in the twilight of my running days. That said, I still seem to be improving at a rate of knots. I have one race left this year - the Norwich Half Marathon on Nov 28th. I'll take this week off and then start blogging again in the build-up to the half. Next year I may focus on the shorter stuff - 5km through to the half. It would be nice to give sub 32 a shake for 10km, and also try and run under 70 for the half. But I've achieved pretty much everything now I've set out to do on this running journey over the last 10 years and boy does this beer taste nice. Until next time...

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Travel to Dublin, Expo, etc

I left Galway at lunchtime. I had a lift with my wingman for the weekend (Brian). All good.

The journey went quickly and despite a bit of traffic in Dublin city, we arrived at the expo to pick up the race numbers, register for the Irish Champs, meet Clare, and have a good look around all the stands. Very impressive set-up though I was keen to leave to get to the hotel, eat and have an early night.

That evening I met up with Clare - in the pub! Then on to a cheap and cheerful pasta joint which served a really decent pasta dish with loads of garlic bread. Just what I needed. On the way to the hotel I stocked up with more food for morning, then it was time for a big sleep.

The weather forecast was still looking good...

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Last run

Just a light run tonight. I ran 7.0km in 31:17. All done now until showtime on Monday. The forecast looks really good. But that could change being Ireland...

Friday, October 22, 2010

Rest

I'm thinking that if I'm going to have a crack at breaking 2:30 I need to be going through the halfway point in 1:14:30. That's a pretty honest pace and only allows me (up to) a 1 minute fall-off in the second half. Ummm...

So 1:14:30 is 3:32/km, then follow that up with 1:15:29 (3:35/km). Total 2:29:59 (3:33/km).

Or in miles: 5:41/mile for the first half, 5:45/mile for the second half. Overall 5:43/mile...

Wow, sounds very quick. To be honest, I think it's a little bit out of reach but I need to aim high. I think 2:32 would be a more sensible target (as per what the race calculators are saying). I'll ignore them as I don't have too many more throws of the dice.

No running today. Feeling tired so will get a good nights sleep.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Thursday

A repeat of Tuesday's session. The only difference being I was wearing my racing flats. The time was a little quicker coming in at 34:06 for the 8.1km.

Rest day tomorrow. I need to work out my race plan...

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Positive thinking

Okay, so I was on a downer yesterday. Time to put that to bed.

I ran well tonight. It felt really easy and I covered my 7.0km route in 29:45 (4:15/km).

Here is why I'm going to run a PB on Monday:

- I'm injury free. The left knee has been very good the last 6 months
- I've run the most volume in all my marathon preps i.e. consistent 100km+ weeks
- I've improved my half PB by almost 2 minutes since I ran my last marathon
- The weather in Dublin will be better suited for running
- There will be more runners to hook up with in Dublin

Until tomorrow...

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Chewsday

Another easy 30 minutes. I ran 5 mins 30 at marathon pace mid-way through the run and it felt awful. That's normal, don't worry. Total distance 8.1km in 35:40.

I'm trying to get fired up for the marathon. I'm in the negative thoughts stage at the moment:

- have I done enough long runs?
- have I done enough strength and hill work?
- am I too old for all this?

Again, perfectly normal for me.

Monday, October 18, 2010

One week today

Just a very easy 30 minutes today. I did an out and back run and finished up with 7.0km in the legs in a time of 31:29.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Getting close

Another easy run today. I was down for 70 minutes so I decided to run my 16.4km route and this was achieved in a time of 1:09:32. Felt pretty good.

Afterwards I had my first massage in about 6 months. Since arriving in Ireland I have taken the "if it's not broken then don't fix it" approach. Basically I have been lucky injury-wise but I was offered a free massage so decided to have a light pre-race rub. All good, not at all painful and I'll be back for more after the marathon is completed.

That's 87.1km for the week. So the first week of the taper is over. Only 8 more sleeps until showdown...

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Saturday

I am now a fully qualified management accountant...job hunt starts proper. The weather in Dublin this morning was perfect for running. If it's like this next week I won't be able to use the weather as an excuse...

Today I ran an easy 14.4km in 59:32. That's the same run 3 times this week all under the hour. So much for variety.

Accommodation is booked for Dublin. I spoke with my coach and I'm to run most days next week, though only 30 minutes just to turn the legs over. Maybe drop in a mile at marathon pace here and there. Need to decide what marathon pace actually is now...

Friday, October 15, 2010

Rest Day

Nothing today. Just getting ready for my CIMA interview tomorrow in Dublin.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Laps of the track

Back to Dangan for what I would imagine will be my last track session before Dublin. After a 3.2km warm-up, I was to run 12 x 400 with 30 seconds recovery.

Someone had left the steeplechase hurdles out on the straights so rather than move them, I decided I would run wide. Made me work a bit harder so all for the good. My times were:

71/71/71/71/71/71/71/72/71/72/70/70

Nice and consistent. I didn't run them eyeballs out, but still hard and not an easy session with such a short recovery.

I finished up with a 3.2km warm-down and bumped into Brian for a chat along the way.

All up 11.2km.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Same old

Another 14.4km run in the bag. Time was 58:26 so a bit quicker than Monday (4:03/km). A solid enough "easy run".

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Threshold Running

Today I was down for 3 x 12 minute threshold efforts. Another session you like to see the back of.

I ran on the old Claregalway 10km course. After a 10 minute warm-up, I started my first effort. I tried to keep it relaxed and push hard. It was a perfect evening for running so no excuses. Soon the first effort was over and it was nice to get slightly further than when I last did a similar session to this (see Aug 19th). After 3 minutes walk/slow jog, I turned to run the same effort in reverse. Again, I pushed hard and the return section is definitely quicker with more downhill. I just managed to run past the initial starting point so again, that was encouraging. The third effort was soon underway after another 3 minute break. I pushed this one all the way and again ran past my finishing point on the first effort by a good few seconds.

I finished up with a good 16 minute warm-down. All up this was 16.3km in a time of 1:02:34 (after removing the 6 minutes of recovery). Almost there.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Start of the taper

The race is 2 weeks today so time to start reducing the volume. After travelling back from Norwich, plus another night on the terps, I decided to run an easy hour. I ran 14.4kms in 58:54 (4:05/km) so pretty happy with that.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Long Enough

After a biggish night on the sauce with my old man, my running window was lunchtime. Not feeling good, and with what seemed like a scorching summers day, this was always going to be a struggle. The plan was 1hr 45 which I stuck with - running a similar route to the day before, but this time adding on a much bigger section after reaching the city centre. Finished up running 23.5km in 1:45:49 (4:30/km pace). Ideally I would have run some of this at marathon pace but that wasn't going to happen today. Just pleased to get it out of the way - talk about going through the motions...

All up 101.5km for the week. That's 5 weeks on the trot now where I've exceed 100kms...

Saturday, October 09, 2010

New Runners

In Sprowston staying at my grandparents. The weather was glorious and I had a very pleasant run of 14.6km which was covered in a time of 1:03:26. I took in a few of the sights of Norwich - nice to have a change of scenery. Feeling good.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Friday

Today is a rest day. Good really as I'm travelling to Norwich to see the family. More socialising!

Thursday, October 07, 2010

More Easy

I ran the 16.4km route today in 1:08:45 (4:12/km). The legs were a little sore after yesterday's track session but I felt better as the run progressed.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

KM Reps

Back to the track. After a 3.2km warm-up, I was on the track for 10 (ten) by 1kms with 1 minute recovery. The plan was to run them at 10km pace so I thought 3:10 per rep would be a very solid hit-out.

After a few run-throughs it was time to get started. The first one was to be the gauge and after running quite hard I was a little disappointed to see the time of 3:14. This was going to be a tough session. Anyway, I knuckled down and the remaining reps were all 3:10 or thereabouts. Here are the exact times:

3:14 / 3:10 / 3:11 / 3:11 / 3:10 / 3:12 / 3:11 / 3:10 / 3:11 / 3:07

Whilst I felt strong and could have run a few more of these, my lack of speed is a bit of a concern. It must be all the kms I'm racking up at the moment.

I finished up with a 3km warm-down. All up 16.2km for the day.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Tuesday

Another easy run today. I ran 14.4km in 59:53 after lifting the pace a little over the last 10 minutes to duck under the hour.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Start of a new week

I had a 16km run down in the plan with a few kms at marathon pace towards the end. I decided that was a bit optimistic as the legs were still not recovered from the half, plus the weather outside was atrocious - swirling winds and driving rain. Not good.

I headed out in my new warm weather gear - a long-sleeve top and my new running tights. Very gay. I ran my 16.4km route and was a drowned rat by the end. That said, I ran quite well covering the course in 1:06:43 so over 6 minutes quicker than the day previous (4:04/km). A few sections I had the wind on my back so I lifted the pace to run the odd km here and there quite hard (estimate 3:30/km pace).

By the time I finished the weather was improving. Bloody typical...

Sunday, October 03, 2010

End of another week

I took it really easy today. I ran my 16.4 km route (just over 10 miles) in a time of 1:12:48 so that works out to 4:26/km. Legs were a little sore from yesterday - especially the calves. Understandable when you've run a half marathon on the roads in racing flats.

That's 101.0km for the week. Notice a trend here? Another biggish week next week than will be a 2 week reduction in volume in the lead-up to Oct 25th.

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Galway Bay Half Marathon 1st in 1:13:39

It was a windy day down at the Bay so we were going to cop it running away from the city. Didn't bother me, just wanted to get stuck in. It looked like none of the gun runners were going to show so that left me in with a good shout. After a 10 minute warm-up, I changed into my race singlet, dropped off the bag, had a quick toilet break, then made my way to the start where I did a few run-throughs. Soon we were off.

I found myself at the front straight away with 2 other Irish runners. I was sticking to my race plan to take the first few miles easy so good to settle into a mini group and try to get out of the wind. All good. The course itself was flat, and after a mini-lap at the start which had us at 5:36 for the first mile, the pace slowed a bit as we made the long drag out of town running into the wind for a couple of miles.

I was still in the group and miles 2 and 3 passed in 5:49 and 6:00 and we had a decent gap on anyone behind. We reached the turnaround point at about 3.5 miles and after a downhill section leading onto the sea, I decided to lift the pace and take the lead. Nobody responded so from this point on it was me against the clock. I had the 2 lead motorbikes to follow so no chance of getting lost but I must say the constant sirens were vary annoying.

With the wind now on the back it felt really easy and miles 4 and 5 passed in 5:30 and 5:27. There was a lot of support on the course from runners streaming in the other direction, plus from others who were watching the race and I was surprised by how many people knew my name and were giving me a big cheer. There was a horrible section where we had to run out and back along this jetty - straight into the wind on the way out and then wind behind for the return. By the end of the first lap I had opened up a good 40 second gap and decided I would run relaxed as I headed out for the second lap running straight into the wind once more.

I missed the mile markers for 6 and 7 but by mile 8 the previous 3 miles had passed in 16:55 so I was still running okay. Mile 9 was still into the wind and that passed in 5:49 and when I reached the turnaround for the run home it was time to lift the pace. The mile splits dropped straight away and miles 10 and 11 were covered in 5:35 and 5:32. I was really enjoying this run, I was taking in the crowd and it was nice to not be red-lining the whole race. Another trip up and down the windy jetty and mile 12 was covered in 5:27. So getting quicker still and now the last mile and a bit. Soon I could see the finishing area and after rounding the last corner I was soon running down the finishing chute to cross the line in 1:13:39. The last 1.1 miles taking me 5:59.

The second place runner was a good 2 minutes or so I had increased the gap significantly the second lap. Another prize cheque and my best win to date as there were well over 1,000 runners in the race. A perfect training run and felt comfortable the whole way.

I finished up with a couple of kms warm-down so all up 25.1km for the day.

Friday, October 01, 2010

Pre-race Rambling

Today was a rest day - nice to have a 1 day taper for the half tomorrow.

The plan is to use the half as a training session for the marathon in just over 3 weeks time. The ideal plan would be to run the first 3 miles steady, the next 5 miles at marathon pace, then the last 5 miles hard. That would give me a time of around 1:14 to 1:15.

That plan could go out of the window if I have a chance of winning the race - my competitive spirit may kick in! We shall see who fronts up and take it from there.

The course is potentially quicker than the half course from last month - if, and this is a big if, the wind is not blowing. It's nice and flat, but chances are you are going to cop the wind at some point...fingers crossed the weather gods are smiling.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Mile Reps

Headed out to Dangan so I could run my miles on the track. After a 3.2km warm-up, I changed shoes for the track and after 4 run-throughs, I was off. My target was sub 5:10 per mile (well 4 laps to be exact) and the first one felt comfortable in 5:08. After 1 minute recovery, I ran the second rep in 5:07. All good so far. The third was completed in 5:06 so still getting quicker. I pushed the last one to run 4:59 so was pleased with the set - I felt pretty comfortable throughout so that was good after feeling tired all week.

I ended up running a couple of warm-down laps with Brian so that's another 6.8km. So all up the session was 16.4km.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Eze

Still feeling tired. I can't remember if this is normal in the middle of marathon training - probably is.

I did my 14.4km route in 1:02:40 so 4:21/km. Took it easy and that is reflected in the slowish time. Mile reps tomorrow, rest on Friday and the half marathon on Saturday. At this stage I'm feeling like I'm in for a shocker.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

40 Minute Threshold

I did a 10 minute warm-up. I was going to use the 9.3km loop for this run and despite perfect running weather, I was not looking forward to this.

The plan was to run at half-marathon pace for 40 minutes. The legs still felt shot but I decided to get on with it. Once underway, I didn't feel too bad and after completing the lap in 31:24 it suddenly felt a lot harder. I toughed it out but the pace may have fell away a little in the last 8 minutes. Anyway, all up I covered 11.8km in the 40 minutes so was averaging 3:23/km. I estimate I went through 10km in about 33:48 so a good session, especially running by yourself on very tired legs.

I finished up with a few kms warm-down to finish with 16.5km for the day.

Monday, September 27, 2010

A New Week

Legs feeling really tired at the moment and I seem to have developed a sore left hip. I decided to take it really easy and head to the local sports field to do some running on the grass. After 10 laps I was getting bored so did a 4.9km loop of the new Claregalway 10km course to finish with 12.2km in 56:04.

Hip still sore but I think I'll be okay. Tough session tomorrow...

Sunday, September 26, 2010

The Accelerator

The plan was to do a 20 miler and increase the pace throughout and run some towards the end of the session at marathon pace.

I was going to use my 9.3km Claregalway loop. Run the first lap easy, the second lap quicker, then the third lap at marathon pace. Then finish up with a few kms to get to 20 miles.

The first lap felt really easy. Good to get back to cooler climates and was running freely. This lap passed in 41:16 (4:26/km). I then upped the pace and again felt comfortable. The second lap was completed in 36:56 (3:58/km). Time for a quick drink, and I also changed into my racing flats for lap 3. I went off quick and didn't feel too bad. That said, I lost a bit of concentration in places and let the pace slip, especially towards the end of the lap. Despite that, I still covered the loop in 33:01 (3:33/km).

I finished up with a slow 4.9k warm-down. All up 32.8km for the day in 2:14:09 (4:05/km) average.

A good but hard session. Pleased to get it out of the way. That's 107.9km for the week so the 100km+ weeks continue.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Rest

Nothing today. We are up at 3am to make our flight so a long day. Got home unscathed and was tempted to roll the legs over but resisted as wanted to freshen up for tomorrow's accelerator session...

Friday, September 24, 2010

Friday

Same double loop in 1:04:30. I'm getting quicker - perhaps I'm getting used to this climate?

No training tomorrow as we are heading back to Ireland. A great week was had but far too hot for serious training. Just pleased to get out there and get the sessions out of the way.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Long intervals

I woke up early not feeling too bad so decided to head out first thing to get this session out of the way. It was 3 x 15 minutes with 3 minutes recovery.

Again, I was using the flattish maze of paths - throwing in a section of road to come up with an out and back run that I thought would be around 15 minutes. After a 10 minute warm-up the fun began. Luckily the sun was lurking behind some clouds which gave me a little respite from the morning rays.

The pace was what felt like 10km race pace. I fell short of reaching my starting point after the first effort. So after 3 minutes of walking I was into take 2. This was tougher - the temp was rising and I was dehydrating rapidly. Again I fell short of my starting point - this time by a further margin than the first effort (only by about 20m). The shirt came off for the third effort. Despite really pushing this one, I only managed to get back to where I finished the first rep. Thank god that's over. A few kms warm-down and the session was complete.

All up I covered 17.8km. I would estimate I was running around 4.4km each 15 minute effort. Not a great pace but I certainly wasn't holding back.

And I passed my last CIMA exam today. More celebrating tonight!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Birthday

39 today. I'm in the bestest nick of me life...

An easy 14.4km double loop in 1:06:39. I say easy - it was not. Still hot and humid...

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Intervals

Was dreading this. Waited until late in the day where the temps drop slightly. I did a 10 minute warm-up and made my way to the start of a fairly flat 1km stretch of path for my 10 x 3 minute efforts with 1 minute standing recovery.

These went okay - I was sweating profusely but managing to cover around 920m to 940m in the 3 minutes running out and then back. One way was slightly more uphill, the other was more in the wind. Swings and roundabouts. Finished up with a couple of kms warm-down.

All up 14.1km running for the day.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Monday easy

My new loop takes me in the hills, then a loop around the border of the town, finishing with a lap of the docks, past the beach then back past the apartment. Each lap is 7.2km and I covered the double loop in 1:07:14. Again, it was hot, hot, hot. Like being back in Oz...

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Long run

My window for running was midday. Yes, that's the hottest part of the day. I set up my drinks station outside the apartment and headed off into the 30+ degree hot - not pleasant. I essentially did 4 loops of the town heading back past the apartment each lap for a gallon or two of water. The total running time was 2:21:36 and I estimate I covered about 29.1km so not quick but certainly up there in terms of effort level. A good session for mental toughness. I could have given up on this run at least a dozen times.

A total of 104.0km for the week. These 100km+ weeks are becoming a habit now...

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Espana

No training today. Arrived in Spain and it's hot - very hot. About 35 degrees to be exact. Let the drinking commence...

Friday, September 17, 2010

Friday

A wobble around Claregalway. I covered 15.8km in 1:04:51. Flying to Spain tomorrow for some warm weather training for a week so a rest day on Saturday.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

"Tursdee"

I rolled around my new 10 mile route. Time was 1:08:01. A glorious day for running - the sun was out and very little wind. The weather is so changeable here - raining one minute, sunshine the next. I can't wait for winter...

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Track

I was a bit short of time so only managed 2 laps of the track as a warm-up. The session was 16 x 400s of reducing recovery. The session was split into 4 sets of 4 with recoveries of 60 secs, 45 secs, 30 secs and finally 15 secs.

I felt really good throughout and didn't feel like I was pushing it at all. The times were all around the 73 second mark so not quick but it was supposed to be run at 5km pace. Times were:

75/73/73/74/74/72/73/74/74/73/73/73/74/73/73/70

I finished up with a 3.6km warm-down. Total 10.8km.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Tuesday

I was down for an easy 10 miles so I had to work out a new 16km route. This was achieved by doing my normal 9km, then adding a shorter version of the 5km and 3km loop at the back of supermarket. It worked out at 16.4km in total in a time of 1:07:44. That's 4:08 per km.

I can't believe I'm running these times in what is supposed to be any easy run. Not so long back easy was 4:30-5:00 minute clicks. At this rate I'll soon be running sub 4's on easy runs...

Monday, September 13, 2010

Start of a new week

I'm following a marathon plan supplied by the GCH coach Matt from here on in. It's good to be told what to do - like following a recipe. Also, you do some new sessions you wouldn't normally do.

Today was 8km out and back. The aim was to run the return leg at least 2 minutes quicker than the first outward leg. The weather was pretty bad - very wet and windy but surprisingly not cold. I rugged up but once out there it wasn't too bad. In fact I was too hot! I ran my outward section in 35:09 (7.75km), then turned to run the return leg in 31:13 (approx 4 minute kms). I was pleased with that as I had the benefit of the wind more so on the outward section so the second half was tough enough.

Total 15.5km in 1:06:22.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Sunday

Wasn't looking forward to this as my legs felt shot to bits. Anyway, headed out at lunchtime and after 10 minutes or so, I was feeling pretty good. I did my normal 9.4km loop, then added on an extra 7.7km to get it up to 17.1km. Time was 1:12:45 so that works out to 4:15 per km so all in all a pretty good run.

Weekly distance of 119.1km. That's another PB. A few more big weeks like this and I'll be a) injured, b) knackered, or c) hitting my straps.

A few beers me thinks. Cheers.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Very long

Met with the 2 Brian's and Johnny. Started with 4 laps of Dangan, then headed out on the roads through the city out to Salthill. Got caught up in a few heavy downpours put they soon cleared. We were joined by Enda so good to run in a group as it helps to pass the time. By about 2 hours I was getting tired and by the time we arrived back in Dangan we had "only" clocked up 20 miles. So we tagged on another lap to get us up to 22 miles. Running time was 2:43:19. That's 4:37 per km so certainly not quick.

Very tired by the end of the run and glad to get it over with. Another 3 or 4 of these 20 milers needed in the build-up to Dublin. I'll throw in some marathon pace soon just to make it extra hard.

Thoughts are now turning to what time I should be targeting in Dublin. Do I have a crack at sub 2:30? Umm, what's the worst thing that could happen...

Friday, September 10, 2010

PB

Same course for the 4th time this week. A nice drizzle and no wind and felt good. Finished in 57:04 so that's a PB for my "jog".

Long run tomorrow. Maybe 20 miles+.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Thursday

14.4km in 59:50. Pushed the last couple of kms to break the hour...

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Maree 5km

Weather was not looking good - wet and windy. Still decided I'd have a 5km hit-out to see if the old legs were still working.

There must have been well over 200 runners and one of the best local runners was also racing so good to have someone to chase. I went out hard running the first km in 3:01 but I was still a good 10 seconds behind the lead runner. I was a bit blown away by that and settled into second place. The second km was uphill and that was reflected in the time (3:24). I tried to push on but was not running with any conviction. The last few kms were fairly flat, in fact it was a good quick course. I thought I had a decent gap on the runner behind but at about 4km I realised there was another runner only about 10m behind! So I tried to lift for a final push to the finish and managed to hang-on to cross the line in 16:10. The winner ran 15:10. Amazing time - showed me a very clean pair of heels!

With a couple of kms warm-up and down it was 9km for the day. Not disappointed not to win - good to be back in Australia mode where I am the chaser. Not a bad time - though to be honest, I should have probably run 15:50. That's what a week on the shant does!

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Tuesday

Same as yesterday. Pushed it a bit to break the hour in 58:39. Feeling almost normal. Race tomorrow!

Monday, September 06, 2010

Dublin build-up

Time to up the miles if I'm going to run Dublin next month. So I thought I'd start with a high volume week, before getting in some serious sessions.

So today was a sober-up run on my normal route of 1:02:27. Felt awful. I'm sure it will get better.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Catch-up

Only one run this week on Thursday where I wobbled round my 14.4km route in a slow 1:02:29...nice to have a break.

A few thousand beers were had as my old man and a couple of mates were over from Norwich. Getting too old for this! Still, good to let the hair down.

I did play golf on Sat/Sun. Badly. Exercise of sorts.

Back into it next week.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Galway Half Marathon

First place in a time of 1:11:54!

I nearly missed the start and lined up just as the gun was about to go. Settled into the front group with the ultra guys and a nice flat start with the first mile passing in 5:18. Feeling pretty good and although I hadn't slowed, about 4 or 5 ultra runners soon picked up the pace and started to gap me. I was left running with a Japanese runner who was also doing the 50km with no other half marathoners in sight. That's how it stayed really for the rest of the race - me running with the Jap, slowing ticking off the miles.

A tough course with some sharp uphills and drags - difficult to get into a rhythm. By 10 miles I was looking for the finish. The hardest part was the trip up and down the jetty where the return section was running straight into the wind for about 500m. Anyway, I gritted out the last few miles and despite thinking that I was slowing a lot, that wasn't really the case. I approached the city and the final section around the docks and crossed the finish line in 1:11:54 feeling pretty happy with myself.

So that's almost a 2 minute PB. Very happy with the time - especially on that course. A lot of runners were way slower than what they expected - ranging from 1 to 4 minutes. So that makes it all the more pleasing. I'd put it down as a similar course to the Sydney half in May in terms of toughness. I won by over 1 minute, then a big gap to 3rd place:

http://www.galwaycitymarathon.com/news/156-marathon-results

That's 84.3km for the week. The biggest result so far in my running "career". And a few Euros in prize money for doing something you enjoy. Wow.

Mile splits were:

1 5:18
2 5:19
3 5:26
4 5:43
5 5:21
6 5:34
7 5:22
8 5:39
10 10:57
12 11:01
13.1 6:14

Saturday, August 28, 2010

The Rest Day

Nothing today on the exercise front. Except study for my next (last) exam on Wednesday.

My thoughts turn to tomorrow's half. The weather forecast is good and I'm in great nick so I'll go with:

A goal - sub 72 minutes
B goal - sub 73 minutes
C goal - sub 73:35 (current PB)

Go out hard and hang on. Hopefully run with some of the ultra guys. Looking forward to it.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Friday

A very easy 7.0km run in 32:04. Knee a little sore so I'll pop some anti-inflammatories so it settles down. Should be okay.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Thursday

Today was a little taste of half marathon pace. After a 3.8km warm-up, I ran 3.4km at target pace (sub 3:30/km), then finished with a 3.4km warm-down. All up 10.6km in 44:19.

I wouldn't call the pace comfortable or cruisey. Umm, please let me be right for Sunday.

An easy jog tomorrow - then I'll rest up on Saturday.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Wednesday

My normal local run which I completed in 58:54.

Not long now...

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Tuesday

Out to the track for something different. I did my 3.2km warm-up loop on the grass. Then the session went 4 x 400m on the track with 30 seconds recovery. Then 2 minutes recovery followed by a 15 minute threshold run on the grass. Then a further 2 minutes recovery and back to the track for 4 x 400m off 30 seconds. I finished with a 3.2km warm-down.

The 400 times were:

73 / 71 / 71 / 72 and 73 / 71 / 70 / 69

I didn't feel great - the cold has taken the edge off me. Hopefully I'm right for Sunday.

A total of 13.8km for the day.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Monday

My usual route of 14.4km in 1:00:51. Nice and easy.

I seem to have developed a bit of a sore throat and cold. Typical...

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Oughterard 10km

Yes, I struggled with the pronunciation also. Moving on.

I dropped the kids at the out-laws and arrived in good time to register and do my warm-up. I ran the first 2.5km of the course to get the legs moving, then doubled back to the start area. My initial thoughts cannot be repeated here. Lots of rolling hills.

We started a bit late, but were soon underway. For the first 500m I was running side-by-side with a GCH teammate - Barry. As we made the first turn up over the bridge, I took the lead and continued to push the pace. The first km came and a quick glance at my watch showed 2:54. That can't be right, so I moved on. Then the hills started. Lots of them. I was trying to keep the legs moving but it was difficult to get into any sort of rhythm. The second km split showed 3:44 - I didn't think it was that slow but hoped the 1km was short which would mean I was averaging just under 3:20 pace. Battling on behind the lead police car, I was still going mainly up, but not as steep as before. The 3rd km was timed at 3:33 which felt about right. Still more long drags and by 4km (3:30) it seemed to flatten out. Then it went steep downhill. This felt a lot better and the legs were now moving nicely, and despite running quick, you could almost take a bit of a breather. The 5th km of 3:08 meant that at halfway I was 16:48. Time to push on to the finish.

By this stage I imagine I had opened up a good lead. So it was a case of racing the clock. The 6th km was also quick (3:14) which highlighted another downhill section. As we approached 7km things had flattened out again, as we had almost reached water level. So I was hoping the final stretch would be mainly flat. The 7th km of 3:16 showed I was still travelling nicely. Then it started raining. And got quite windy. Straight at me. Not good. Keep working hard was all I could do and by 8km (3:24) I had slowed a bit and was looking forward to seeing the finishing line. There were a few little hills to contend with, nothing too bad and by 9km (3:24) I was kicking on towards the finish. The last km we ran back up into town and I crossed the finish line in 33:24 so a 3:17 last km.

Pretty happy with the race. Yes, it is a tough course. On a par with the Lane Cove 10km, but once you get through the first 4km, it was a good finish.

Finished up with a 2km warm-down then had to dash home to pick up the kids. Another victory for the old boy. This has set me up nicely for the half next week.

17km for the day and 96.4km for the week.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Nowt

Easy rest day today. Both kids struggling and only managed a few hours sleep last night. All good though. Eating lots today and no beers in the fridge to tempt me.

Tomorrow's race is a tough 10km. Everyone I've spoken to have said there are lots of hills and not a course for a quick time. So I've set myself a target of sub 34. Watch this space.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Easy Friday

Well that was the plan. Ran my normal 14.4km and it was very windy. I received the benefit of the strong wind and by the first checkpoint (2km), I was on track for a quick time despite not pushing it. From there on I was cruising - I had to work a few sections running into the wind but that's good for strength.

All up the 14.4km was covered in 57:42 so that's 4 minute clicks.

Rest tomorrow then race on Sunday. I have the kids this weekend as Marion is visiting her sister in Dublin. It could be a long weekend as they both have colds!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Half marathon pace

Today's session was to run a few efforts at half marathon pace to get used to it. Should feel nice and easy, etc, etc.

After a 4.6km warm-up, I had a section of road marked out that I thought was about 3.2km. So I was aiming to run this in about 11 minutes. Wrong, I ran hard and stopped after 12 minutes. A little dumbstruck as it felt like I was running really hard. I then ran 1.6km easy, doubling back halfway to run the same effort as before in the opposite direction. Again I ran hard, returning to the start point in the same 12 minutes. After a 4.6km warm-down, I was back home and checking what I had actually run on MapMyRun...

It turns out it was 3.4kms for each effort, which is 3:32/km pace. A little worrying as I was running hard, not even at target half marathon pace, and certainly not at a pace I could maintain. I'll put it down as a bad day and move on. Must be tired.

So all up 17.5km for the day.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

MLR

I got a bit of help with my plan in the lead-up to the half. Today it had me down for 75 minutes easy. Again, the window for running was the evening as I played golf around lunchtime (poorly in atrocious wet conditions - we pulled the pin after 8 holes).

The run was 3 loops - 5km, 9km and 3km. All up 17.1km in 1:13:56 (4:19s). Did not feel good today. Legs were sore and the knees were giving me a bit of grief. I'm looking forward to freshening up for the half next week...

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Mile reps

More reps which are suited towards the half/full. After a 3.2km warm-up I did 6 x 1 mile (4 laps of the track) off 1 minute. I finished with a 3.2km warm-down.

The times were:

5:10 / 5:10 / 5:09 / 5:08 / 5:08 / 5:01

Happy enough with them. The legs felt heavy on the last couple but that wasn't reflected in the time. A tough session by yourself so pleased to have this one in the bag.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Back to easy

My normal 14.4km in 59:51.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Long Enough

It was Maeve's christening today so my window for running was the evening. After lots of food and a few glasses of wine in the afternoon I wasn't looking forward to this. Anyway, I started with a new 5km loop (the Claregalway 10km course) which was tough. Then I followed up with my normal 9km and 5km loop. All up 19.4km in 1:26:57 (4:29's). Almost dark by the time I finished this run at nearly 9:30pm.

So that's 94.6km for the week. A good week with a new PB. Happy with that. Bigger things just around the corner.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

New PB!

Managed to organise a lift to Tullamore for the track 5km. It was about an hour and a half drive - a long way to go for a 5km!

There was a lot of hanging around. We arrived at about 12pm and I wasn't racing until 4pm. Still a good chance to meet some new people, and watch some pretty good athletics in the process.

At about 3pm I did a bit of a warm-up. Then I made my way to the start area. A few strides and soon we were under starters orders. The first lap was a real mess. I had to check my run many times as we all strived for our positions. I settled mid-pack and was a little disappointed with the time for the first lap of 76 seconds.

After that, the pace started to pick up and sure enough the gaps started to emerge. I worked my way up a few places into 4th overall and concentrated on each lap and not getting gapped. The pace was now up to 71 second laps which felt tough but manageable.

The same mind games as always with these races. Knowing full well how many laps you have left but always disappointed when you see the actual proof on the lap board. I wasn't wearing a watch so don't have splits but I was told that at 3km I went through in 9:05. That was good. Only 2km to go...

I was still in 4th but it was getting really tough. The 3 lead runners had found another gear, whilst I was red-lining. I was overtaken at this point by another runner so my battle was to try and hang on the back of him. This went on for a few laps and I think I went in front again, but with 2 laps to go I was overtaken a second time. I wanted to lift the pace for a quick finish but it wasn't happening. I think I managed to surge a little the last 200m but I could not close the gap on the runner in front. So I finished in 5th overall and was told my time was 15:14. My first PB on Irish soil (or track to be more exact).

Very happy with the run. Conditions were perfect and it was a good race. I'm sure the 3 leaders were under 15 so not too far in front. These are some of the best runners going round in Ireland at the moment so nice to be mixing it with them for a while.

I finished up with a good warm-down. All up 11km for the day.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Rest

No exercise today. I'm hoping for a good run and I've set myself an ambitious target of sub 15:20 for the 5km. For that to happen I need the pace to be on from the gun. It would be nice to go through 2km in around 6 minutes, then try to hang on. I have the strength but need to see where I'm at speedwise. Hopefully we get good weather (no wind).

Mo ran low 7:40s for 3km tonight and didn't win. That pace is illegal...

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Thursday

My normal 14.4km route in 58:11 (4:02s). Last nights run was a distant memory and today it felt really easy. How that can happen I'm not sure. A PB for the run though I've never really pushed this loop. I'm now focusing on the 5km on Saturday so I'll rest tomorrow in an effort to freshen up.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

MLR

I met with Brian to run the upcoming half marathon course. We started at Dangan and had to run 1km to get on the course. Then we ran the loop and finished with 1km back to Dangan. All up 23km in 1:50:10. Not quick in the slightest. To be honest I felt awful in this run. Low on energy, and couldn't wait for it to be over. Not many positives in regards to the course either - it's pretty flat with a few drags here and there. Not very inspiring. I may change my opinion if I run well on the course in a few weeks time!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

400m reps

Out to the track for 15 x 400 off one minute. After a 3.2km warm-up, I was straight into it. The weather was glorious and despite the dread associated with this type of session, I found it to be not too bad. My times were:

70 / 69 / 69 / 68 / 67 / 68 / 68 / 68 / 67 / 67 / 67 / 67 / 67 / 67 / 65

Good to see them get a bit quicker through the session - and a little quicker than when I last did this session 2 weeks back. I have to say I think I could have pushed them a little bit harder but I'm not one for getting myself into the vomiting state. Not through running anyway.

Finished up with a 3.2km warm-down. Great session. I seem to be running really well at the moment. I'm pretty fit and also in form. Looking forward to cranking out a good 5km on the track this Saturday. A PB is wanted.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Easy Monday

My usual 14.4km route in 1:01:56. A bit slower than recent times but took it really easy.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Slow and Long

Met with Paul at Dangan and after a 15 minute warm-up, we ran down to the cathedral to meet some other GCH runners for the normal 9am start. There was a group of 12 or so. Not running at quick pace, just a nice pace to get to meet the other runners and have a chat. We did the normal 11.5 mile loop back to the start, then we headed back to Dangan. All up the run was 2:14:11 and I estimate a total of 28km. Not a quick pace but perfect after the race the night before.

So that's 101.2km for the week. Nice to crack the ton with a days rest. My left knee seems really good at the moment - strange - when you consider the bigger kms I am running.

I've decided to knock the August marathon on the head. Instead I will run the half. This will give me the best chance of running a quicker time in Dublin. And that's what my #1 goal will be for 2010. Is sub 2:30 in the marathon a possibility? Watch this space to find out.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

The Streets

I felt really good all day. Despite not being a fan of the evening race (best to get it out of the way in the morning), I was feeling full of beans. No excuses at hand. This was strange - I prefer to feel not good as this is a sign I will run well. Perhaps I'm reading too much into all this.

Anyway, drove into Galway and parked a good 3km from the start to allow a decent warm-up. I spoke with a few fellow Harriers down at the start area and soon we were lining up at the start. I was right at the front and soon we were under starters orders.

The gun fired and I expected the guns to push the pace straight away. No, I was leading the entire 2,000+ field! I felt very uncomfortable and after about 200m my thoughts were that something was not right here. Perhaps I could win this...

That thought was quickly erased when the Dublin runners decided to start running. By the 1km marker (3:10) a few guys had gone off the front and I was left to concentrate on my own race. We ran through the city, past Eyre Square and then out of the back of the city (unfamiliar ground for me). The road was dead flat and with cool weather/no wind conditions were pretty perfect. I missed the 2km marker and was having a battle with 2 other runners. We hit 3km in 9:35 so still quick. I was feeling okay - not out and out red line but at the same time, still conscious that there is a long way to go. By 4km (12:39), I had edged past the other 2 runners and I was pretty confident that I was in 6th position.

I could see 2 other runners in front and despite my best efforts I wasn't closing any gaps. At the same time though I seemed to be gapping the runners behind. At 5km (15:57) my thoughts had turned to hanging on. We had a nice downhill section for 200m or so before the final 2.5km for home. This was run into a slight headwind (not typical) and by 6km (19:11) I was looking for the finish line. A slow 7th km of 3:21 had me nervous but I managed to pick up the pace when I got a sniff of the finishing chute. A final 400m "sprint" and I crossed the line in 25:38. Still not closing on the runner in front but nonetheless a great run. Very happy.

It turns out I was first Galway athlete to cross the line. Plus there was a few Euros prize money. And Galway finished 2nd in the team category. At the presentation I got a bigger cheer than the winner. Honest!

McMillan says I am now in low 32 minute shape for 10km. Wow.

I did a 3km warm-down. After arriving home a few beers was called for. Okay, not as good as racing the City to Surf but nonetheless a great day.

Friday, August 06, 2010

Ramblings

Okay, no running today. Though I did buy myself a nice new running jacket in preparation of colder/wetter weather to come.

So what can I expect tomorrow night in the "Streets of Galway 8km?" Course conditions will play a big part though I'm told it's traditionally a flat/quick course with the wind at your back for the last 3km or so. To be honest, I'll be happy to run around the same time as I did at Headford a few weeks back (26:08). If I break 26 minutes I'll be very happy but wouldn't be surprised if it's 26:30. We shall see. It will be a crackerjack field with all the guns arriving from all over Ireland. To make the top 10 will be good going so that's my target.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Another easy one

My usual 14.4km in 59:52. That's the same run now 3 times in 4 days...I need to start doing some different stuff.

I will rest-up tomorrow in preparation for the big race on Saturday.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

6 x 4 lappers off a minute

Drove to the track for a tough session. I did my 2 mile warm-up, then started my session of 6 x 4 lappers. I allowed myself 60 seconds recovery which is not long....to be ran at 10km speed which I calculated should be around 5:12 for each effort (78 second laps or 3:15 per km pace).

Actual times were:

5:13 / 5:12 / 5:11 / 5:11 / 5:09 / 5:07

Was pleased with that - it was a swirling wind so you had to keep working different sections of the lap to keep the pace up. Also good to get them slightly quicker as the session progressed - despite feeling a little out of sorts today. There was certainly nothing in the tank come the end.

Finished up with a 2 mile warm down. So a total of 10 miles in old money or 16kms if you prefer.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Tuesday

Ran the same session as yesterday. Felt really easy - a little drizzle and nice and cool. Time was 58:30 which I think is my quickest time for this route. That's 4:04 per km for an easy run...