Sunday, July 31, 2011

Swinford 8km

Added pressure today as my old man and the nipper had made the trip to Swinford to watch me race. A couple of kms warm-up and soon we were lining up at the start. Not many runners in attendance as the race clashed with the football (Mayo Vs Cork) which was a shame. Roger Barrett was running who I'd had a couple of good battles with at Carramore and Westport and with one win each, it was shaping into a decent race. I certainly needed to break my recent run of finishing second (4 races on the trot now!)...

I hit the front with Roger and we raced stride for stride. The start of the race had us climbing up through the town, then it flattened out. I wasn't looking at my watch but was taking splits at the km markers. After a few kms we took a left turn which brought us onto a main road and this section was gradual uphill (at least one km). At this point I tried to up the pace and to my surprise I managed to work a bit of a lead on the hill and that's how it remained. The second half of the race was all fairly flat as the course took us back into town. The last km was a nice downhill section and I crossed the line in 25:41 for the win.

The splits suggest that some of the km markers were a bit dodgy but the overall distance felt right:

1km 3:14
2km 3:17
3km 3:19
4km 3:23
5km 3:10
6km 3:14
7km 3:16
8km 2:48 (if only!)

Total 25:41

A good run, and it was nice to finish a race feeling very strong after taking the start of the race a bit easier. Only 3 seconds slower than my PB over 8km and with the quick Streets of Galway course next week I'll be looking to run sub 25:30. Interesting that McM equates that time to a 32:22 10km. I'm confident I would have gone a bit quicker than that today had it been a 10km race.

I finished up with 2 miles warm-down so all up 13.2km for the day and exactly 70kms for the week.

Heading into town tonight for a few celebratory beers served in plastic glasses...

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Licking my wounds

A great time was had last night. I managed to pick 3 winners and survived 2 stewards enquiries in the process. Drinking like a witch so today was painful and with no plans to run I couldn't do my usual trick of sweating it all out.

Tomorrow will be interesting. Not ideal race preparation...

Friday, July 29, 2011

Studying the form

Squeezed in a run at lunchtime - again easy and short. Total 9.5kms in 38:19 (4:02's). Hot and humid.

Galway races tonight...

Thursday, July 28, 2011


I always prefer to run a set distance rather than a time. So rather than 2 x 10 minutes, I was to use my local 3.6km marked route which meant more than 10 minutes for each rep...

I've used this course a number of times in the past - though not recently. The outward section is all gradual uphill, made worse today by the fact that I was running into a stiff breeze. Coming back was a lot easier and I'm of the mindset that's easier to get the tough rep out of the way knowing full well the second one was going to be a lot easier. Times were 11:54 going out (3:18 pace) and 11:19 coming back (3:09 pace). In between I had 2 and a half minutes recovery.

With warm-up and warm down (6.9km), I knocked out 14.1km for the day.

Here's a race report from the Balla 10km. I like the video of the finish line. I didn't realise the gate over the finish line was so low! People having to duck under the banner!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Same old

Another easy run - 9.5kms in 39:27 (4:09's). Feeling a bit sore and niggly after yesterdays track session so didn't push it along at all. Should be fine.

Tomorrow will be 2 x 10 minutes.

I hit my 50th 180 of the year today (at darts if you're wondering). If I practice about 15 minutes I seem to hit a couple. I don't think I'm getting any better, just luckier. Dad arrives tomorrow so we shall see.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Hitting my straps

Another track session. This time we were down for 4 sets of 600/500/400 off one minute with 2 minutes between sets. The goal was to up the pace as you stepped down the distance.

During the 5km warm-up we were all complaining that it was too hot. Runners are never happy, it is always too something. After stretches and strides it was time to get going. Here are my times:


The first 600 was very conservative but after that I tried to run them all hard. Some decent 400 times in there with the last couple sub 64 (63.7 and 63.6). All up the efforts totalled 6km in 16:53 (67.5 lap pace). That's about the same pace as a couple of my standalone 400m sessions so nice to maintain that pace for a slightly longer distance.

I finished up with a 3.2km warm-down. All up 14.2km for the day.

Monday, July 25, 2011

This week

An easy run to start the week off. My 9.5km local loop in 38:24 (4:03's).

The plan this week is to run track on Tuesday, some longer reps on Thursday and race on Sunday. Easy running in between apart from Saturday where I'll take a rest day to recover from the Friday night visit to the races...

Sunday's race is an 8km on a fairly flat course. I'll be aiming to run quicker than I did in Headford and anything sub 25:45 would be very nice.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Finishing Long

An evening run today. I did my local "long run" covering 22.5km in 1:34:11 (4:11's). Very humid and was absolutely knackered and dehydrated come the end. Just glad to get it out of the way.

That's another week in the eighties - this time 85.7km. I'm happy with how things are going and will be looking to peak for the Streets of Galway in 2 weeks time.

My 10km running has been so consistent this year. I've run 32:4x on no less than 5 occasions. A big improvement is just around the corner...

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Balla 10km

Conditions were not to my liking. A hilly course and very humid but I'd been running well so was hoping for a decent outing. After a 3km warm-up around the start of the course, I was already sweating up, and after changing into my racing flats it was time to line up at the start.

There was a good buzz around town and this was made all the better by a marching band playing at the start as they welcomed Enda Kenny to officially get the race underway. No security that I could see and I was literally standing next to him at the start line. After a 3-2-1 we were off and racing.

I quickly hit the front as we took a sharp left turn and then the first long climb of about 500m which took us up and around the school. After that there were some twists and turns, a section along some loose gravel and rocks, a cattle grid, then back onto the roads. I wasn't looking at splits and was just running on feel. After the first km, the course remained on the road as we headed out of town. More gradual climbs in the second km where I was joined by another runner (Martin Conroy) and we raced stride for stride. The start of the 3rd km was some welcome downhill but this was quickly followed by more up and this was pretty much the pattern of the course from here on in. Constant ups and downs, not steep hills but difficult to get into any sort of rhythm.

We continued running together for the next few kms but as we passed 5km (16:07!) I knew I wasn't going to be able to maintain the pace. We were still together through 6km but it was around this point that I was gapped and it was time to hang on in there. The hills were still coming and after every turn you were looking up the road to see where the next hill was. The gap was about 7-8 seconds and wasn't growing as I went through kms 7, 8 and 9 and I was still of the belief that I could get close with a quick last km. But that wasn't to be and after kicking down the last 200m I crossed the finish line in 32:43 for second place (the winner ran 32:30).

Very happy with the time. Two seconds slower than my PB on a tough course and some good racing. I think the heat effected me more than the hills and I know the sub 32:30 is there on a better day. Overall a great evening with tea and sandwiches after the race and a few Euros prize money thrown in. One of the most memorable races of the year so far.

I forgot to mention I did the same 3kms warm-down. That's 16kms for the day. Hopefully some photos to follow...


1km 3:09
2km 3:19
3km 3:16
4km 3:14
5km 3:08
6km 3:17
7km 3:29 (where I was gapped)
8km 3:22
9km 3:15
10km 3:14

Total 32:43

Friday, July 22, 2011

Feet Up

No running today after my 13 day training block...

Instead it was time for a few beers, crisps, chocolate, etc - all good race prep.

Loving the darts.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Races Approaching

Another local run. This time slightly longer running 2 local loops totalling 14.4km in 57:54 (4:01/km). That's it now before the race on Saturday evening.

I ordered a new dartboard which arrived today. I'd worn out the 5 and 1 on the old one...I need to put in some practice as the old man is in town again next week for the races. That's the famous Galway races where the whole town comes to a standstill for a week. The pubs are mobbed and it's party time. Should be fun, especially if I can pick a few winners.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

More of the easy stuff

Another easy local run of 9.5km in 39:24 (4:09's). My left knee is still a little sore, but that aside I'm feeling really good. I'll do some final tuning up tomorrow, then rest on Friday before the 10km race on Saturday evening.

I'm hoping for cool weather on the weekend as I always seem to run well when it's cold. It's a hilly course but I still think I'm in PB shape. Looking forward to it.

Darts on TV again this week. Loving that.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Going Well

My weekly track session. Arrived and did the normal 2 miles (3.2km) around the University pitches. Then onto the track for some strides before the session.

It was a repeat of the session from April 27th here.

So 4 x 400, then 3 x 1600, finishing with 4 x 400.

60 seconds recovery between 400's, 90 seconds between the 1600's, and 90 seconds between sets. Times were as follows:


Very happy with those. The middle 1600 I ran too quick and it took me a while to recover but the last few 400's I felt really good. Nice to finish with a 64.4. I think I've moved up a notch so I need this form to be replicated on Saturday in the road 10km.

Another 3.2km warm-down so all up 14.4km for the day.

Monday, July 18, 2011

More Dublin

A shorter version of yesterday's run. This time 8.9km in 37:30. Back to Galway tomorrow for a track session.

Sunday, July 17, 2011


A few days in Dublin with the family. I did a late run around Ballsbridge and Sandymount and covered 11.6km in the process in a time of 50:12. That's 4:20/km so not particularly quick. It was just nice to run somewhere different.

A weekly total of 88.8km. That's the third week on the trot where I've been in the 80's for the week. I really struggle to get it up above that...

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Token Hills

My lack of hillwork is so apparent in races. I seem to almost give up on the tough hills and knowing that there is a hilly 10km on my race aganda, I though I'd do a token hills session...

I drove to Dangan and did a longish warm-up of 7.2km with Owen. Then to Chestnut lane where I ran some 30 second uphill sprints. I used the downhill as slow walk/jog recovery and that was taking around 70 seconds. I broke the session up into 3 sets with 2 and a half minutes recovery bewteen sets and managed a total of 16 x 30 seconds (5 in the first set, 5 in the second and 6 to finish with).

A tough enough session. Only 8 minutes of hard running but it really has you gasping for air if you run them hard. I finished up with a 4km warm-down so all up 15.2km for the day.

Friday, July 15, 2011


More easy running. My local loop fo 9.5km in 38:56. Conditions wet and windy but I forced myself out of the door...glad to get it over with.

Thursday, July 14, 2011


Not a Medium Long Run, a Matt Long Run. The first time I've run for more than an hour and a half since early June. I ran local and did some of my local loops tagging bits on to get me over the 90 minute mark. Total running time 1:31:46 in which time I knocked off 22.5kms (4:05/km pace). Pretty tired come the end of that...

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Maree 5km

A very warm day, the first proper day of summer! The race was a late start at 8pm, and by that time it had cooled a bit, and there was a bit of a breeze around.

I ran about 3kms warm-up, then lined up at the start. Just before the start I had a disagreement with a bramble bush and the bush won. Scratches all down my arm, not a good look...

The start itself warrants a mention. I can't remember such a bad start from myself. The race started and I stalled, my fault as I didn't have my watch ready and I was fumbling around trying to find the stopwatch. By the time I started running I had switched over to the stopwatch but then I needed to reset it. After fixing that I was way down on the leaders and I then had to start pegging people back. With hindsight this probably wasn't a bad thing...

After 400m I was in 3rd position. The first km was undulating and up front Gerry Ryan and Michael Shannon were taking it out really hard and I was a good distance back. I knew I was running hard so there was no point trying to catch them so I just focused on my own race. I decided not to look at my splits during the race as I didn't want any distractions.

The second km was much tougher. Some uphill drags and as I took a right hand turn, it was then time to run into the breeze which seemed like it had picked up. The third km was all downhill and I really started to feel good and was closing in on 2nd place. At the bottom of the hill it was another left turn and it was now pancake flat running down by the water. Through the 4th km and I was now just behind 2nd and it was time to make a move. I ran into second place and after a right turn, the last 800m was an undulating run in to the finish...

It was hurting but I managed a decent finish crossing the line in 15:33 for 2nd place. Gerry won in 15:12 so in our second meeting in 4 days he again beats me convincingly. Splits were as follows (last years times in brackets):

1km 3:00 (3:01)
2km 3:16 (3:25)
3km 3:08 (3:18)
4km 3:06 (3:15)
5km 3:03 (3:11)

Very happy with a 12 second road PB. I think the 3 days of easy running before the race made a big difference as I felt really fresh tonight.

3kms warm-down to make it 11kms for the day.

There was a legend of the running scene watching the race tonight - Steve Jones - what a class marathon runner he was during the 1980's. I think he was over on holiday as he now lives in America. My pace tonight doesn't even come close to his marathon pace!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

More easyish stuff

Another easy run to see how the legs were post massage. I was feeling good tonight and pushed the pace along a little so you wouldn't call it easy, whatever the next level above easy is called. The same route as the last 2 days, this time covering the 9.5kms in 37:09 (3:55/km).

Perhaps I was feeling a little guilty after consuming 5 chocolate doughnuts in one sitting...

Maree 5km tomorrow. Last year I ran 2nd in 16:10....

Monday, July 11, 2011

Easy running and massage

The same run as yesterday (9.5kms in 38:20). My left knee has been a little sore of late so I had a rub to try and iron out any muscles that could be impacting the tracking of the knee.

I've updated my race schedule. There's a 5km on this Wednesday which will be a decent hit-out. No racing this weekend but then the following 3 weekends I have pencilled in some races.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

10km PB?

Today was a struggle. The run happened late and my Sunday "long run" was 9.5kms in a time of 38:42. Everything was hurting - time for a massage.

Interesting that McMillan gives my 25:51 8km yesterday as an equivalent performance of 32:35 for 10km (6 second PB). That's encouraging, especially as there is more to come on a flatter/cooler day.

That's 82.3km for the week. Not bad considering I had a rest day.

It's now time to get back on the horse...

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Headford 8km

I arrived in good time for registration and warm-up. The weather was hot, close to 20 degrees which was a little too hot for racing but better than the torrential rain from last year. Gerry Ryan was running after a long break from racing and I knew he was in good from after posting a low 31 minute 10km the week before.

The race was underway at 7pm sharp. The first part of the race had us running through the main street up through town. A tough enough uphill drag of about 600m before taking a left turn onto the main road heading towards Galway. I settled into second position trying to keep Gerry in my sights. The run along the main road saw me going through kms 1, 2 and 3 and with splits of 3:02, 3:08 and 3:10 I was moving along nicely.

Shortly after 3km it was time to take another left through the smaller country lanes. I hit 4km with a split of 3:14 and that meant 12:34 at halfway which was way better than planned. Then the hills started. Not steep hills but long uphill stretches and I just couldn't get the legs going. This continued through kms 5 and 6 and the times of 3:26 and 3:20 showed I had slowed significantly. I could occasionally see Gerry up front which helped to spur me on a little. I managed to find an extra gear (other than reverse) in the last couple of clicks and with kms 7 and 8 passing in 3:18 and 3:13 I crossed the finish line in 25:51 for second place. Gerry won in 24:59 and I thought before the race that if I could get within a minute of him I'd be doing well.

That's 17 seconds quicker than last year and the course was much tougher than I remembered. The heat didn't help after training in cooler weather the last few weeks. Overall I'm fairly happy with that and I'll be looking to run sub 25:30 on the back of that for the Streets of Galway 8km in early August.

A few kms warm down so all up approx 15kms for the day. Then into town for umpteen beers with the lads. Home at 3am and feeling less than the full one hundred as I write this. The thought of running later today isn't filling me with much glee...

Friday, July 08, 2011

Repeat Racing

No running. A few beers tonight as a final preparation for tomorrow's 8km.

The Headford 8km was another race that I won last year - in a time of 26:08. A good course which from memory was fairly flat. Perhaps there was a drag in the 5th km? Here are last years splits:

1 3:10
2 3:16
3 3:15
4 3:16
5 3:24
6 3:17
7 3:17
8 3:13

I'm sure I'm in slightly better nick this year so will be looking to duck under 26. A lot will depend on the weather which has been very wet of late. Fingers crossed.

The best bit is that there are a few of us going for beers in town after the race. I'll be the thirsty one.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Persistent Rain

It rained all day but once I got out there it was quite nice. I did my usual hour double loop and knocked off the 14.4km in 58:54 (4:05's). I was pretty tired so looking forward to a rest day tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Cruise Intervals

Track night. I did a couple of kms warm-up and hooked up with Matt and Owen for a session of 400's (just for a change). They were planning 72 second laps which suited me as I didn't want to run flat out.

The session itself was slightly different to my normal session of 400's. We did 4 sets of 4 (total 16) off 30 seconds with 3 minutes recovery between sets (including a 200m very slow jog). It felt pretty comfortable throughout and the times were:


Average of 71.

I finished up with an easy 6.9km warm-down. All up 15.9km for the day.

I nearly forgot to mention the weather. Raining most of the day but by the time the session started it had cleared. No breeze to speak of so apart from the damp track, conditions couldn't have been much better.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Short and Sweet

My local loop of 9.5km in 37:12 (3:55's). A perfect evening for running.

Monday, July 04, 2011

Winding back

I decided to do the long run today that I missed on Sunday. I was aiming for an hour and a half and I'd plotted out a new local route that took in a new loop that I'd discovered. I was out the door quite late (8:30pm) and it was a case of going through the motions. I had to add an extra bit on at the end to get me nearer my target but I still pulled up short running for 1:24:23. A quick check on Mapmyrun and it turns out I covered exactly 20kms at a pace of 4:13/km.

The rest of the week I'll take it fairly easy. A light track session on Wednesday, with easy running to fill in the gaps. I'll rest up on Friday before the race on Saturday. Hopefully some post race boozing in Headford as well!

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Darting Biathlon

My planned long run was put on hold as I decided it was time to make my darts debut in a ranking competition where points could be accumulated towards making the county darts side. I still managed to squeeze in an hours run - the same run as Monday covering the 14.4km in 57:30 (4 minute kms).

So on the running front that's 87.5km for the week with 3 solid speed sessions thrown in. A very good week.

Moving on to the darts, I hit the practice board and quickly hit a couple of maximums. Upon arrival at the pub (which is only 4km up the road), I registered and played a few warm-up games where I hit another maximum. Then the comp started and we were split into groups of 5 players where we had to play a round robin format with the 2 highest leg scorers in the group progressing to the quarter finals. Every leg counted and you played all 3 legs against the other 4 players in the group regardless of the scoreline.

In my first game I won 3-0 after playing well after a slow start. In the next game I lost 3-0 after playing very poorly. I returned to winning ways in game 3 with a 2-1 victory then lost my last game 3-0 after scoring well but missing chances on doubles. Scoring for show and doubles for dough and all that...

So my for and against read 5-7 and had I won one more leg I would have progressed through to the quarters. Not a bad debut and there are more of these comps coming up so I'm sure I'll give it another crack. Hopefully I'll be less nervous next time or perhaps I just need to drink more...

Saturday, July 02, 2011

Sloppy Seconds

Time trial day. I used to run these regularly in Sydney on the first Tuesday of each month. In fact, I've just had a look at my record and I've ran 24 3,000 time trials at Mingara between August 2007 and December 2009. I also raced the distance 3 times during that time at Homebush. My first ever 3,000m I ran 10:22 on 07/08/07. My current PB was ran during a time trial the week leading up to the Melbourne Marathon where I ran 8:58 on 06/10/09. I find these good sessions as they don't take too much out of you and they are a good indication of where you are at.

After my normal 3.2km warm-up, I made my way over to the track for a few strides. The weather was glorious - quite sunny and a bit of breeze to deal with coming down the finishing straight. There was 10 or so of us running. A good standard so it would be clean track with no lapping other runners to worry about.

We quickly got going and I hit the front. I took my splits each km but didn't look at the watch. As is normal, I ran a good first and last km, but the second one was a little sloppy. I finished in 9:05 and the splits were 3:00, 3:05, 3:00. So not the sub 9 I was after but not to worry. I'm sure in a proper race I could find a few seconds to get me well under 9.

I finished up with a 6.7km warm-down. All up 12.9km for the day.

Friday, July 01, 2011

Ouch on the Oche

A glorious day. I took it really easy covering my local 9.5km in 40:48 (4:18's). That's as slow a lap I can remember for a long time - running at a slower pace than you are used to just feels a little awkward and laboured. That plus the heat and I was pleased to get it over with.

I suffered a minor injury earlier in the day. I was throwing a few darts and one bounced out and lodged in the top of my foot. I think I'll live...