Monday, January 31, 2011

January Summary

Back to the gym for 10km easy in 42:32.

A great start to the year for me. I've run 5 races in January, winning 3, with all the races ran at sub 3:20 per km pace including road PB's for 5km and 10km. I've run 348.8km for the month so whilst not huge mileage, I'm feeling fit and fresh with no niggles to speak of. Hopefully bigger things to come soon...

This week I'll be at the track Wednesday, and I may throw in some more speedwork on Friday. Then rest Saturday in preparation for the XC Sunday afternoon. Which reminds me, I need to get some longer spikes for the run.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Long Run

In preparation for the half in March I decided it was time to start doing some longer runs. So today I ran from Dangan to the city to meet up with the Harriers for the Cathedral run. Some people would say the long run is the most important part of your training and for me it has been sadly lacking...

The pace was very tame - just what I needed. All up 24km with the run back to Dangan at the end which was covered in 1:50:32. I felt very comfortable throughout.

So that's 100km exactly for the week. Finally some decent volume.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Castledaly 10km

Very cold once again but no wind so after a 4km warm-up it was perfect for running. The course was a 10km loop and after speaking to a few marshals it didn't sound too bad. A few drags but mainly flat I was told....

A small enough field of about 100 hardy souls. The race started with a countdown from 10 (novel!) and we were racing. I went straight to the front and concentrated on following the lead vehicle. The first km was very twisty and soon passed in 3:10 but I was aware of another runner just behind me. We then started to climb which was pretty much the trend for the next 4km. Not a steep climb but a gradual rise that meant you were constantly working hard. This was reflected in the km splits for 2, 3, 4 and 5 of 3:23, 3:24, 3:18 and 3:16 respectively. So I was 16:31 at halfway and felt in decent shape but I was still aware of the runner just behind me.

At 5km the top of the climb had been reached. The next 5km I was hoping would be quick and sure enough the trend was basically downhill for the run home. The 6th km passed in 3:09 after a nice gradual downhill section and then the descent became a little steeper. I was liking this but was conscious that I didn't have the leg-speed to really take advantage of it. Sure enough the 7th km was a 3:16 and should have been a 3 flat. I was hanging on.

The 8th km was another very generous downhill stretch but again I was disappointed to run another 3:16. A further missed opportunity. So 8km in 26:12 so still in with a good shot of a PB with a strong run home. But unlike last week I was spent and didn't have the legs to finish off this race. The 9th km was basically flat and a 3:18 meant I was still there or thereabouts but my mindset was that any slight hill in the last km was going to finish me. Sure enough there were 2 or 3 slight climbs up to the finish and that put pay to my time as I crossed the line in 32:48. That's 4 seconds slower than last Sunday....

I was slightly downbeat post race but I have to take a lot of positives from this race. It was definitely a tougher course. I didn't feel as fresh. 2 sub 33's in 7 days. Another win (just - by 15 seconds or so)!

It's a horrible feeling have someone run just behind you all race. Never sure what the hell is happening!

I finished up with a 3km warm-down. All up 17km for the day. Back to the sports hall for hot soup, bread and 6 (six) Kit Kats. Lovely. My prize today - wine. Finally something I can put to good use.

So the next race will be the XC a week tomorrow. It's a 10km course and I'll take a sub 35 if offered.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Non Rest Day

The plan was to rest but I couldn't resist turning the legs over. Why not? I happen to quite like running.

Same run as yesterday. The 9.5kms took me 39:02.

The nights are already starting to draw out. Already we have daylight until 5:30pm which means I can squeeze in a run when the other half gets home from work. I'll be able to do some big evening mileage once the clocks change in March.

Thursday, January 27, 2011


I squeezed in my 9.5km run in 39:40 (4:11's).

I'll probably take a rest day tomorrow. Then race on Saturday. It's a hilly one apparently so won't be quick. But a good hit-out before the XC in one weeks time.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

8 x 1km

Back to the track tonight for a long session. I started running 2 laps of the playing fields around the University (3.2km per lap). I then changed into my flats and ran a further 3 laps of the track warm-up. So 7.6km done and it was now time to start...

I decided to ease into the session. Run the first one comfortably and then wind up the pace throughout. I was running with Ian who was going to run 800's using me as the pacer. I was to get 200m jog recovery (50 walk/150 jog in actuality) in no more than 90 seconds; he was obviously getting a lot more recovery.

The times were as follows:

3:19, 3:14, 3:12, 3:12, 3:12, 3:10, 3:07, 3:03

I'm pleased enough considering:

- I was running the back straight 3 times each km into a slight headwind
- lots of running wide to lap slower runners
- the legs still a little sluggish after Sunday's race
- still carrying a cold/cough/sore throat

I ended up with 6 laps warm-down. All up 19km when you do the math.

The club are trying to put together a team for the intermediate XC on Feb 6th in Dublin. I've agreed to run. XC just doesn't do it for me - but I'll give it another go just to reiterate the fact.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Night Running

My window for running today was late. I left home at 8:30pm and decided to run mainly up and down the main road which is well lit and has a footpath. Not much fun but better than the treadmill.

All up I covered 11km in 46:46 (4:15's). I took it really easy so surprised to still be running at a decent enough pace. Track tomorrow for 8 x 1km...

Monday, January 24, 2011

Gym Run

Back to the gym for a recovery run of 10km in 42:17. A guy started chatting to me who recognised me from the race yesterday. Fame at last.

The left knee seems to be fantastic lately. The tendinitis has been there for well over 2 years now I'm guessing, but I've had very little pain the last few weeks. Still not as good as new but very close. Such a strange condition - it seems to come and go when it's ready defying any logic.

I'm really hungry for some more races now. I'm of the mentality that races push you more than a training session and I use regular races to improve fitness. I think sub 32:30 isn't too far away for the ten - with a decent course and a few runners to hang on to. There's another 10km on this Saturday about 20 miles away. I may give it a shot.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Clarinbridge 10km

With recent beer/darts/snooker training, I went into this race with low expectations. It was again very cold (0.5 degrees), so a long warm-up was required (estimate 4kms), and then it was time to start racing. No obvious quicks at the start so decided to take it out hard, and see what happened.

The course itself was a belter. Mainly road but a couple of kms through a forest trail in the front half of the race. It didn't sound quick but after the first km was passed with me solo running in 3:06 I was starting to reassess. I was again following the lead car and I think it was just after 2km (3:17) that the terrain changed from road to forest trail. It was certainly tougher at this stage as although the trend was flat, it was rolling slight uphill/slight downhill. Me not like.

The third km passed in 3:00 (clearly a dodgy km marker) and I think it was around this point that I nearly got taken out by a couple walking their dog. I only lost a few seconds and that spurred me on. Already there was a decent gap behind me and with a 4th km of 3:48 I guessed that 6:48 for the last 2kms felt about right.

As we got back onto road I immediately felt more at home. I decided to focus on each km and try and keep them under 3:20. Before long it was halfway and the split showed a 3:17 making me 16:28 at halfway. So on track for a sub 33?

The road at this point had been resurfaced and it was also slightly downhill. I felt like I was running quickly but after a couple of minutes of this, there was a slight uphill followed by a sharp turn and this took the edge of the split of 3:17. It was now time for my usual soft-cock approach of saving myself for the last 3km so I cruised the 7th km in 3:25. Does anyone else do that?

I was thinking it would be nice to run the last 3km in under 10 minutes and that would give me a decent time. I was rewarded with a 3:16 through 8km so 26:26 with 2 to go and a great chance of a sub 33. At this point of the course it seemed to be more down than up and I started to feel really good - oh for this to happen more often. The 9th km was a 3:15 so I knew I would have to run a really quick last km for a shot at my PB...

It was one of those strange feelings where I was running at max leg speed and despite this my breathing felt totally in control. The last km was again slightly downhill and despite several twists and turns I was motoring. The last 100m was a little uphill and I kicked to cross the line in 32:44 (a 3:03 last km). A 5 second road PB.

You seldom get surprises in running but I am more than a little surprised by this. I'll certainly take it. Running in temperatures close to freezing isn't everyone's cup of tea but I think if you are going for a time, then for me it's worth at least 30 seconds over 10km compared to the heat and humidity of Sydney.

I finished up with a 3km warm-down running back up the course to watch the other runners coming in. My prize was another crystal vase - I now need to start buying the wife more flowers...

All up 76.9km for the week. A little better than last week.

A couple of photos. Got to love the fog:

Saturday, January 22, 2011


An easy 9.5km in 38:44 (4:05's).

Fully appreciate I'm not doing any quality training at the moment. Racing once per week, plus intervals mid-week, with easy runs either side simply isn't enough to improve. I'm considering something radical. Maybe try 6 weeks of big mileage. My biggest week ever I think is 119km so try say 6 weeks @ 120km/week and see what happens. I can't do this at the moment but maybe at the end of March. Something to think about and won't come easily as I've always been a low mileage runner. But you can't ignore the facts - as I up my mileage year-on-year, my times get better. Quicker times or injury? Ummm....

Race tomorrow. I'll ignore the sore throat, cough and runny nose and run it off/sweat it out. Could be a Barry....

Friday, January 21, 2011


A hattrick of the run done earlier in the week. This time I clocked 49:54 so getting slower....

Dad left today. On the darts front we had 3 head-to-head games during his stay. I lost the first 5-4 after missing a few darts for the match. Then I got stuffed 13-3 in a best of 25 where I couldn't hit a double for toffee. Last night my pride was restored with a 5-3 victory where I couldn't miss the doubles. You are only as good as your last game and all that.

Easy run tomorrow than race 10km again on Sunday. Not sure what the course is like but sub 34 will be another solid hit-out.

Thursday, January 20, 2011


Rest day. Well not entirely, I took the young lad swimming and I had a go at pool running. I managed 3 x 18m lengths and got bored.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


I decided to run 2 by 12 minute efforts. I had recently measured the course and I had an accurate 3.6km marked out. The goal was to run slightly longer than this distance within the 12 minutes.

After a 15 minute warm-up, I went straight into it. The outward section is more uphill and I settled into a good rhythm. Soon the 12 minutes were up and I had passed my target point by 5 seconds so that indicated sub 3:20/km pace. After a 3 minute walk, I did the same route in reverse. Again, reaching the start point and running on for 5 seconds so very consistent. Happy enough. I finished up with a 15 minute warm-down so all up 14.1km for the session.

My Dad has extended his stay until Friday so any training is being nullified by many beers. At least I'm not going backwards...

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


Same run as yesterday. Time a little slower being 49:32 (4:06s).

I had a game of snooker tonight after dusting off the snooker cue. In the last 15 years it had slightly warped, the ferrule had gone rusty and the tip was non-existent. Plus my eyesight has deteriorated significantly. That's enough excuses to get going with. Despite this, in the second frame there was some old touches of magic. I managed a 41 break and wobbled a red in the jaws to leave me perfect on the black. A long way from my best from about 20 years ago but not bad after a long sabbatical. It would be nice to get a full-size table but sadly not enough room in our house! Maybe next there you have it, the only 3 sports I have any sort of talent for: running, darts and snooker. A lot of people would argue the latter 2 are not sports. Yes they are. Plus you can drink while playing them.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Normal loop plus a bit

I took the opportunity to run at lunchtime. I used my normal loop and added a smaller section on the end. I just measured it using and it tallied 12.1kms. The time was 48:51 so that's 4:02/km. Happy with the pace.

There's another race on this weekend. It's a 10km and I have to say I'm tempted. My plan is to try and string together some 80km+ weeks now for the next 4 weeks and do the odd race here and there to see where I'm at. It's about 2 months now until the half so still plenty of time to string some decent training together.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Dad's Home

My Dad arrived on Friday for a few days. Running has suffered as a result - Friday was a trip into Galway to watch Luka Bloom in the Crane (superb gig). Then on Saturday we went out for a few quiet local drinks and ended up rolling in at 1:45am. Ouch. So two nights on the shant with no running. So well rested for today's race in Tuam...

Arrived in time for a 10 minute warm-up and a few strides. It was cold and there was a strong wind which made certain parts of the course pretty tough. There was a very strong field - a fair bit of prize money up for grabs which was good. The first km was clocked in 2:55 and although I was running quick with wind on the back, I immediately was questioning the km markers. Three runners were edging out in front leaving me solo running in 4th place. That's pretty much how the race remained. The second km was another quick one - a 3:06 again with wind benefit. Then we turned to head back into town and running into the wind was much tougher. The course itself was basically 2 x 4km loops so it was good to get an idea of the run on the first lap. The third 3km was a 3:28, and then there was a nasty climb as we approached the town centre and I went through the 4th km in 3:23.

So basically one lap down and one to go. I tried to push the quick section and managed to drop in a 3:09 and 3:12 for kms 5 and 6. I was still running by myself with the leaders now out of view and no one close behind me. I died a bit in the run home and the 7th km was a 3:21 so I thought a similar split for the final km would see me run a decent enough time. But the last km went on and on and despite really running hard, it was clocked at 3:55 leaving me crossing the line in 26:29. Yes, dodgy km markers!

I finished up with a couple of kms warm-down. All up 12km for the day. Then had to rush home to watch Spurs play Utd.

Only 57.6kms for the week...

Thursday, January 13, 2011


10km in the gym in 42:17...

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Mile reps

Back to Dangan. After a longish warm-up of 6.5km, the session was to be 5 x 1 mile reps with one minute recovery.

I didn't fancy running the extra 9 metres so I decided to run 4 lappers. The first one was a feeler with the intention of speeding up throughout. Oh yeah, the weather. Mild (10 degrees) but wet and a headwind on the home straight. Times were as follows:

5:22, 5:16, 5:14, 5:14, 5:08

One of those sessions where it seemed to get easier throughout. That said, the last one I pushed and was blowing at the end. Pleased enough especially when you constantly have to run wide to lap some of the slower runners.

Finished up with a 4 lap warm-down. Total for the session 16.1km. Then home for 30 minutes practice on the dartboard. Phil Taylor I am not, more like Elizabeth Taylor...

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Another run

My usual route of 9.5km in 39:15 (4:08's). I may try for some intervals tomorrow.

Darts practice is underway. I have a touch of the Mitchell Johnsons at the moment. Not good. Lets just remind ourselves of that wonderful Barmy Army song:

He bowls to the left
He bowls to the right
That Mitchell Johnson
His bowling is shite

which is nice...

Monday, January 10, 2011

Running and darts

Back on the treadmill for 10km in 42:32.

After watching a lot of darts over Christmas (the Sky coverage was brilliant) I couldn't resist buying a board for the games room. It's now installed and my old man sent me over 2 new sets of darts that arrived this morning. Needless to say I've been hitting a bit of red bit today. I need to get more practice in before the weekend as my Dad is coming over from England for a few days and he fancies himself a bit. He does have 86 county caps but that was in the days of black and white TVs. Watch this space for the results...

Oh yeah, there is an 8km road race on in Tuam on Sunday that I may try and get to. Need a babysitter and all that.

Sunday, January 09, 2011


A double loop around Claregalway. All up 17.6km in 1:13:00 so 4:09/km. Legs felt really tired towards the end. A good week of training in the bag.

I may have suffered a little stomach strain after yesterday's run and whilst I could feel it a little today, it certainly wasn't troubling me.

So that's 84.3km for the week.

I've booked my flights for the Norwich Half Marathon (take #2). This will be my first real target for the year and the aim is to run 71 minutes or thereabouts. I have a good base so with a couple of months of decent training, it should be achievable.

Saturday, January 08, 2011


Back out to Dangan where the track is for a tempo session. We were to use the surrounding sports fields for a session of 15 mins, 10 mins, 5 mins of tempo with 3 minutes recovery in between.

After a 20 minute warm-up the session was underway. Today it was packed full of good runners - probably 10 runners who can rub sub 35 for 10km. If only they would all turn up to race...

Anyway, the lap we were running was approx 1.25km. When I've done a similar session before I knew that 4:30 per lap was a good pace. Well the first lap passed in 4:11 and I knew I'd gone too hard. I kept running the first 15 minute effort and each subsequent lap was a little slower. The weather was fairly brutal - bitterly cold, and the wind and rain picked up throughout the session to really test your resolve.

So about 3.5 laps for the first 15 minutes. 2 and a bit laps for the 10 minute effort. And 1 and a smaller bit for the last 5 minutes. The pace I ran was fairly consistent if you ignore the first lap (say 4:20 per lap so just under 3:30 per km pace). Ideally it would have been better to pick up the pace throughout the session.

I finished up with a good 20 minute warm-down. All up I estimate 17.7km for the session.

Friday, January 07, 2011


Easy 9.5km run outdoors. Time 38 minutes and 57 seconds (4:06/km pace). Feeling good.

Oh yeah, we won! I can get some early nights now...

Thursday, January 06, 2011


Nowt today. Just the cricket to watch tonight.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

3rd tough session in 5 days

I headed to track but it was too slippery so we regrouped in the surrounding rugby field for some 2.5 minute efforts with one minute jog recovery. I'd run a very long warm-up of 8.1km and was feeling quite tired but the presence of some good runners soon perked me up.

The efforts were pretty consistent - I was averaging about 720m or thereabouts each 2.5 mins so just under 3:30/km pace. This was good considering the state of the field which was spongy in the odd spot. I had runners behind me the whole time so this was good to keep me honest. At the end of the effort everyone jogged over to the same start point to regroup so there was no lapping other runners to worry about.

I finished up with a 1.6km warm-down and was absolutely knackered. That's 2 races and a tough interval session in the space of 5 days. I'll probably take tomorrow off, then try and easy run on Friday with a longer tempo session on Saturday. Then long on Sunday.

Total 15.5km for the session.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

More recovery

An easy 10km in the gym in 42:15. Too bloody cold and windy to run outside.

The cricket is in the balance. England need a good first hour and a first innings lead of 50 or more which will put the Aussies under a lot of pressure.

Monday, January 03, 2011

Fields of Athenry

Today was another race - originally scheduled for Boxing Day, but postponed due to the bad weather. Originally this had sold out with all 1,500 spots taken, but due to the delay numbers were significantly down - less than half that number turned up to race today.

It was a very cold day, with temps at -2.5 degrees as I arrived to collect my number and then warm-up. I was running a bit short of time so I only managed a 10 minute warm-up with a few run throughs thrown in. The race started at 11am and from the gun a small group formed at the front which I was part of. A quick uphill first km of 3:07 and it was at this point that 2 runners broke away to leave me running in third. I wasn't feeling particularly great - the race had taken the edge off me from 2 days previous and I couldn't find that extra gear to really hammer the flat and downhill sections.

I was joined by another runner at around 2km after a 3:15 split and that was how the race remained for the next 5km. We were taking turns running in 3rd spot, whilst the lead 2 runners gradually disappeared from view. Splits were 3km - 3:16, 4km - 3:25, 5km - 3:28 (16:31), 6km - 3:21 and 7km - 3:18. At this point it would have been nice to push for home but there was nothing in the tank. But the other runner started to drop-off so I simply maintained my pace as best I could running through 8km with a 3:22, 9km with a 3:23 and a downhill km to finish of 3:16 to finish in 33:11 and 3rd place overall.

I'm pleased with the placing and the time given my training over the last few weeks. It's my second quickest road 10km ever. The placing flattered me though as if this race had taken place as was originally planned I would have been lucky to make the top 5.

Gerry Ryan won the race in 31:12 - an incredible time given that he is 47 years of age which he wasn't happy with. Second place went to a Dublin based runner with a time of 31:41. So a big gap back to me in third!

I did a couple of kms warm-down so a total of 14kms for the day.

Lots of prizes at the presentation. I picked up a crystal vase and glasses for my efforts. Another great race and has given me the hunger to try and go a bit quicker.

Darts and cricket to be watched tonight...

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Recovery Run

An easy trot outdoors of 9.5km in 39:42 (4:11/km).

So that's 20.0km exactly for this 2 day calendar week.

Looking forward to the 10km race tomorrow. I've only run one 10km in the last 8 months! McM suggests sub 33 is possible based on yesterday's 5km but I think low 33 is more realistic.

More cricket watching tonight!

Saturday, January 01, 2011


After a late night, I woke up feeling not great. There was a 5km race on near the city starting at 1:11pm (on the 01/01/11). I decided to give it a go and I went in with very low expectations. I'm glad I did as it turned into a cracking race...

After registering I headed out for a 3km warm-up. The course was a 2.5km double-loop so I ran the loop then added a bit on. There were some new faces about and the word was that it was going to be a good standard of race.

We were soon underway and the first 400m were slightly uphill. I settled into the lead group of 5 or so, letting 2 young lads up front dictate the pace. The course was undulating and after the initial climb, it flattened out then we had a nice downhill section. The first km arrived in 3:06 and I knew I wasn't in the shape to keep that going so it was a case of hanging on as best I could. To my surprise I moved into second spot but the group remained tightly formed. The second km seemed predominantly downhill and another quick km was recorded of 3:04 so I expected a blow-up deluxe any moment.

I was flirting with the lead on the odd occasion but the whippet seemed to be doing it fairly easy. As we completed the first lap there were 2 uphill slogs and this was reflected in the 3rd km split of 3:22. At this stage the leader gapped the field and broke away by 10m or so. I wasn't feeling great and I slipped into 3rd spot and knew that any chance of winning the race was slipping away. I was hanging on to 3rd but managed to make up a bit of ground on the downhill section to move back into 2nd but was still 10m or more back on the leader. At this point I'd pretty much resigned myself that the best I could hope for was 2nd. It's at this point of the race that when you think back you wish you'd have pushed it a bit harder but I was absolutely red-lining.

The 4th km was a 3:07 and I knew that there was 2 uphill sections to come which I wasn't looking forward to. The guy behind me was right on my shoulder so the battle was still on. After the first uphill I held second place and may have even made up a metre or so on the lead runner. As we rounded the last corner I decided to kick for home. More so to protect my second position but to my surprise, I was suddenly closing in on the leader. With about 50m to go I drew level with him and I thought that would be the sign for him to pull the trigger and sprint ahead to the finish. But he didn't respond in anyway - nothing at all. So I maintained my pace and crossed the line in 15:51. Finally some great racing as opposed to a time trial.

I'm not sure where that time came from. I would have been happy with 16:30 but to break 16:00 just goes to show what you can do when you have other runners to feed off. I should mention that I have absolutely no kick so to overtake a young 'un in the finishing straight was strange.

So my first race of the year and another win. I finished up with a 2.5km warm-down so all up 10.5km for the day.

Edit: Being a complete numpty, I just realised this is a 5km road PB (very soft - previous 16:10). I'll take it. So that's where my next PB is coming from! Beer now.