Friday, September 30, 2011


Apologies for the lack of blog updates. Basically I made no attempt to get on the world wide super highway whilst I was on holiday...

Here's a quick snapshot of what happened. Arrived in Skiathos and stayed in a quiet resort called Troulos Bay (highly recommended). An extremely nice resort but it was quickly apparent that any serious running was going to be difficult. The temperatures were way too hot (30 degrees plus), and the terrain was very hilly (read mountainous). I tried to get out there and do a bit but it was more to sweat out excess alcohol as opposed to getting any serious training benefit. Here are my efforts and all distances are approx:

Fri - a 9km out and back run to Banana Beach (40:22) - very hilly

Sat - a 9km out and back run to Aselinos Beach (41:18) - less hilly

Sun - a 13km out and back run to the Monastery (59:54) - this was my attempt at a longer run but without water I daren't risk going further than an hour. The climb up to the Monastery was one of the toughest climbs I have ever done - at least 10 minutes of shuffling up a steep hill.

Mon - a 9km out and back run to Aselinos Beach (39:59)

Tue - a 3km warm-up, 4 x 1 miles off 90 seconds, 3km down. All up 12.4km. I was running in my heavy joggers, I was dehydrated, it was too hot, my times were painfully slow. Nuff said.

Wed - a 9km out and back run to Aselinos Beach (40:41)

Thu - a 9km out and back run to Aselinos Beach (40:54). Midway through I stopped do run 6 x 200m efforts. All up 10.2km.

Fri - a rest day before Saturday's half. Fly back to Gatwick in the afternoon feeling pretty ordinary after another big night on the sauce. Head on to Stansted in preparation for a connecting flight to Ireland in the morning. Stay in a hotel and manage 4 hours sleep.

So that was my Skiathos training in a nutshell. Not ideal preparation for the half...

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Happy 40th to me

Life begins as of today and all that. I'm now in a new age category for racing and that's one of the few positives I can take from being this old...

No running today. I'm flying to London this afternoon, and then on to Greece early tomorrow morning. A few beers tonight in celebration.

Blog updates may be a bit thin on the ground in the coming week but all being well I'll be on the start line for the half on October 1st. I'm cutting it fine as I touch down in Knock at 8am and the race starts 11am. I'm sure it will all work out...


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Midweek meander

A midweek longer run of sorts. Very windy but ran okay covering the same route I've done the last few weeks (16.1km) in 1:05:11 (4:03/km).

My dip in form of late may also be due to illness. Whilst I don't feel too bad I've been coughing up a lung the last few days. Hopefully I can get myself in some shape before toeing the line in the Galway Bay Half.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Speed Gone

I arrived at the track and did a warm-up with the middle distance guys of around 3.8km. The session tonight was again off track with 8 to 10 by 3 minutes around the pitches off 1 minute. After the second rep I pulled the pin as it was very slippery on the corners and I nearly went A over T a few times.

So after jogging back to the track I decided to do 8 x 1km off 200 jog recovery on my lonesome. The breathing felt fine but the reps were slow. I'm not sure where my speed has gone as it seems I can't even run a 72 second lap at the moment. A few months back I could run my 400's in 67 no problem. Old age, poor training and too much booze perhaps.

Anyway, the recovery was about 50m walk, then 150m slow jog which was taking 70 to 75 seconds before starting each 1km at the start/finish line. The rep times were:

3:16, 3:14, 3:15, 3:15, 3:15, 3:14, 3:13, 3:12

Consistent and some longer stuff in the bag with the upcoming half marathon. That said, I should be able to run sub 3:10 for kms feeling comfortable but it certainly wasn't happening tonight. One of my poorest sessions this year...

I finished up with a 3.2km warm-down so around 18kms for the day.

Monday, September 19, 2011

No Daylight

With the evenings drawing in, I was forced to use the path flanking the N17 through Claregalway. It's a run I was doing at the start of the year and isn't much fun. I knocked out the 11kms in 47:01 (4:16's) and felt pretty ordinary. It was windy running towards town and easy going away from town. Glad to get it over with.

The countdown is on for the big birthday. I'm flying to London on Thursday and then on to Skiathos Friday morning. Training may suffer. Perhaps it's time to let myself go a bit...

Sunday, September 18, 2011

The Racecourse

Not feeling great at all today...

I headed out late to the Galway racecourse for a run that has been recommended to me by several different people. There is a path around the circumference of the racetrack and I decided to run some laps...

The first lap was a feeler to get used to the new terrain. I ran 9:47 so I estimated that it was about 1.5 miles. So based on that I set my target of 10 laps which would get me running for a good hour and a half and I also wanted to keep each lap under 10 minutes.

A nice run but it gets a bit boring running lap after lap. I was running the same direction as what the horses race and my start/finish was about 100m past where the parade ring is. The run itself is fairly flat except a downhill section towards the end of the lap followed by a long uphill around the final bend leading up to the finish line. Nothing too daunting.

I tried to run a little quicker after 5 laps and I finished off running the 10 laps in 1:37:04. I've been informed each lap is actually 1.47 miles so it turns out I ran 14.7 miles or 23.7kms. Quite quick averaging 4:06/km.

The lap times were:


Happy enough with that. That's 80.5kms for the week. Not a great week as I only really got one decent session in. Must do better...

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Another Night Out

I squeezed in a run before another visit to the pub...

Distance 13.5kms in 54:23 (4:02's). The legs felt fresh after a couple of rest days and it was good to sweat out some booze. I need to take this running more seriously as my training of late has been shocking...

Friday, September 16, 2011

Pub Crawl

Another day of zero running. Instead I headed into town with my mate and we visited 7 pubs. Lots of fun.

Thursday, September 15, 2011


No running today...too busy to fit it in. Nice to have a rest day and chances are it won't be the last one this week.

A meal out and the pub instead...

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Midweek hour

I ran the same route as last Thursday. A total of 16.1kms in 1:06:37 (4:08's).

Training will be hit and miss for the rest of the week. Lots of socialising on the horizon with a mate in town and the build-up to the big birthday...a case of fitting in a run when I can...

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Track surprise

The weekly session at Dangan. I did a 25 minute warm-up and ran with Brian. A slow pace and estimate just over 5km.

Then to the track where we were given our session instructions. The main point being we weren't on the track tonight. It was a 5 minute tempo run along the paths to a new location where a small grass hill awaited. Then 16 minutes continuous hills, finishing off with 5 minutes tempo back to the track. The rest interval between each was 2 minutes.

The session went okay. The hill loop was taking just over 1 minute and you had to keep the pace moving both up and down the hill. It was made harder by constant overtaking which meant that you had to run through the longer grass. All for the good I suppose. I think I managed 14 complete laps and was about three quarters of the way through the 15th lap. A tough session for me (I hate hills) but a good strength session for upcoming longer races.

After the tempo run back to the track, myself, Owen and Timmie decided to do another 4 laps on the track (well I bullied them into it). After a good couple of minutes rest we set off and I started to feel a lot more at home running 5:03.

I finished up with a further 2 miles warm down and that equates to around 17.2km for the evening. I started to feel better as this session progressed and hopefully I'm now on the mend after a week or so of feeling not quite right.

Monday, September 12, 2011


Very windy still. I didn't fancy running outside so I was back to the gym for 10kms on the treadmill (41:20). You sweat so much more running indoors and I was pretty spent at the end. Track tomorrow.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Ballina 10km

I'm glad I checked the map as I thought Ballina was only about an hour away. It turns out it is nearer an hour and a half - quite a long drive for a race. The conditions were terrible. Lots of rain around and the wind was picking up during the day as we copped the backend of some hurricane or other. The trees were arching over and this resulted in lots of negative thoughts on the long drive.

Arrived in Ballina and had time to register and get a few kms warm-up in with Timmie. The wind didn't seem too bad in town but I suppose we were quite sheltered. Gerry Ryan had also made the long trip from Galway so I was automatically racing for second (not a good way to think I know). We lined up at 3pm and were soon underway.

The start of the race had us climbing for about 500m into the wind. Gerry and a guy who looked like a triathlete hit the front leaving a small group chasing. At the top of the road we took a right turn and descended into town to cross the river. Gerry had opened up a gap, the tri guy had slowed and I was in a group of 3 trying to keep Gerry in sight.

After crossing the river we took a left turn and shortly after we turned right and were faced with a short sharp climb of about 100m. A few more twists and turns and then we were running out of town along a fairly flat section (into the wind). I was still part of the group of 3 which contained Roger Barrett and Michael Canty who I'd been sparring with all series. I felt pretty awful at this stage, the legs were feeling heavy and I knew it was going to be a real struggle.

After the long straight we took a right turn at the roundabout and there was another long climb. At the top of the hill I tried a surge and managed to break away from the other two. This was the only point of the race I was feeling okay. That's because it was downhill with wind behind....through a housing estate (5km) and then another left turn and another long straight section (slightly uphill?). I could still see Gerry ahead and I daren't look at my watch as it was going to be ugly. After a mile or so I took a right turn and then it was time to grit out the last 3km to the finish.

I could still hear Roger behind me so I knew my gap was at most 10 seconds. This section seemed to drag on and after reaching 8km I was done for. Then there was another awful climb with the wind coming straight at you. I literally wasn't moving. At the top of the climb it flattened out again and after passing some football pitches and a running track it was into the last km. Thankfully this was mostly downhill but I just didn't have the legs to hammer this section. I nearly went the wrong way missing the last turn but was soon crossing the line in second position. The time was 33:15. That's my slowest road 10km of the year...

Bloody tough conditions and although the course was billed as being fast, I'm not so sure. There seemed to be several hills when you least wanted them. Times were slow for all runners and Gerry couldn't have been more than a minute in front of me and he normally runs low 31 for 10km. Perhaps the course was long!

So a disappointing time but a good result. I think the fact that I had not been feeling well all week, plus the half marathon were also factors today. The points I accumulated today mean that I have now completed 6 races in the Mayo league and I'm fairly confident in saying that I am the 2011 men's winner (3 wins and 3 seconds).

I finished up by running the course again just to see if the course was really that tough. Yes it was. I was feeling very low on energy and had to walk up a few hills. I can't recall doing that in a very long time. All up 22kms for the day and 82.8kms for the week.

Here are the splits:

1km 3:09
3km 6:46
4km 3:19
5km 3:13 (16:27)
6km 3:15
7km 3:41
8km 3:07
9km 3:27
10km 3:18 (16:48)

Total 33:15

Saturday, September 10, 2011

10km Progression

A rest day today. Hopefully I feel a bit better tomorrow but currently I'm not getting the race vibe.

I just had a quick look at my progression in 10km times. I've run 14 PB's at the distance:

Just looking through that list, I don't recall all the races. But here are some I do remember:

Mosman (25/06/00). My race debut over the distance. I had a shocking hangover and ran with my mate. I got in front in the last km and stopped to encourage him as we approached the finish line. My mate then proceeded to drop in a sprint finish and beat me...

Berowra (04/09/00). Billed as the toughest 10km in Sydney. I was running sub 4 minute clicks up until the hill at 7km. Then the wheels came off. I was struggling to walk up this steep hill and it all got very ugly. I think this was the last running of this race which was a shame.

Bridge Run (28/10/01). This was the old course starting at North Sydney and finishing out at Fox Studios. I smashed through the 40 minute barrier for the first time running 37:03. At the time I thought that's it, I can't get any quicker...

Bridge Run (14/09/03). I thought I had a chance of a sub 35. I recall I picked up an injury midway through the race and was limping the last couple of kms as we finished down by the Opera House.

Lane Cove (05/06/04). I was feeling sick and I wasn't going to run. I felt terrible in the warm-up but this all disappeared during the race. This was a tough course and the time of 35:46 would be worth maybe 30 seconds quicker on a flatter course.

North Head (01/03/08). I was never a fan of this course but that opinion changed a little when I posted my first sub 35. I remember feeling strong at the finish and was being cheered home by Paul Arthur who I think won that day. He went on to say that I'd break 32 if I stuck with it...

Homebush (03/05/08). I ran a few weeks after the Canberra Marathon. I was going well at halfway but really struggled home. This race was the NSW champs and I was chicked by Eliza Stewart in the last couple of kms. She beat me again by a few seconds in the Sydney Half Marathon a couple of weeks later...

North Head (07/06/08). A breakthrough race. Out of nowhere I suddenly found a minute. I had a great battle with Keith Bateman, Vlad Shatrov and Timmy Cochrane and managed to hold them all off. I still was some 30 seconds behind Tom though...

The last 3 races I have my race reports here on this blog:




Hopefully PB number 15 is just around the corner...

Friday, September 09, 2011

More on tempo running

I'm still not feeling great - cold and sore throat. I headed out for a short run and ran to the river and back adding on an extra bit on the way out. All up 9.9km in 41:18 (4:10's).

In relation to my earlier post on tempo running, Kanser recently added the comment below which I'm sure he wouldn't mind me posting here for everyone's benefit:

In relation to a question you asked about tempo pace, Daniel's in the 2nd edition of the running formula covers this topic. Based on a 10k time of 32:11, your V02 = 67 and your tempo pace = 3.21. This is the pace you should run at for 20 mins. There's been loads of tests completed to show that 20 mins at tempo pace provides significant benefits.If you want to run longer then 25 mins - 3.24 pace, 30 mins - 3.27 pace, etc. Keep adding 2-3 secs...for every 5 mins.
Very useful and many thanks. I don't have a copy of the table but I'm sure it's out there somewhere on the web so you can look up other tempo paces for differing 10k times. Please let me know if anyone has a link and I'll post it.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

An hour and five

I developed a sore throat so rather than do some speedwork, it's probably sensible I take it easy for a few days. Instead I went out for an hour at lunchtime and ran some of the local loops. I ran for exactly 65 minutes and covered 16.1km in the process (4:02's). The legs still feel tired and heavy - I suppose that's a hangover from the half last Sunday.

I'll do an easy 40 minutes tomorrow followed by a rest day on Saturday and I should be good to go on Sunday. A 10km PB is the target...time to break 32:30...

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Bridge Gone

Back in Galway and the weather is still wet. I headed out early evening and was going to run my local loop only to find that the bridge has finally been knocked down so there was nowhere to cross the river. Doubling back I added in part of the Rock Road to get me up to 9.9km in 41:59 (4:14's). Legs tired and generally not feeling great.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Schoolboy Error

Today it was time for some intervals. No track to use so I had to use my imagination. Initially I thought about using the long straight road up and down the Quay towards Roman Island but the wind was so strong it wasn't practical. So instead I decided on part of the Westport 5km course inside the grounds of Westport House (more sheltered from wind and rain, plus some give in the ground).

The start point was the large gate at the start of the trail near Hotel Westport. The end was the metal gate outside the part of the park where you can go zorbing. I estimate it was around 650m and the terrain is about 2/3rds trail/gravel and 1/3 footpath. Heading out of town was more downhill, but it was into the wind. Coming back you had the wind on the back but with some uphill drags. In terms of effort, each direction was very similar.

I was initially planning on 12 intervals (off 1 minute recovery); this was quickly revised down to 10 as I approached the halfway mark of the session. Then as I was getting close to finishing I started feeling guilty so reverted back to 12. Upon completing what I thought was my 12th rep, I then had a brain snap and couldn't remember which gate I had started the session at. I quickly decided I had only ran 11 reps so had 1 more to do. Off I set but upon finishing I realised I had in fact done 13. Bad luck to finish on an odd number and all that, especially 13, but I was knackered so I called it a day...

The quickest was a 2:02 and my slowest a 2:09 with the average around 2:05 (so approx 3:12/km pace). With my 3.2km warm-up and down, all up I estimate 14.9kms for the day.

Later that night I headed into town finishing up in Matt Molloys. A great pub with good Guinness and excellent traditional music. Needless to say I was in there until closing time...

Monday, September 05, 2011

Drowned rat

Today's rain made yesterday look tee-total. Hammering down most of the day. I eventually headed out around 5pm and had reached saturation point about 5 minutes later. I did 2 laps of the Westport 5km course to give the legs a shake out and didn't see any other runners. Funny that. Total 10km in 41:58 (4:12's). Then I jumped straight into the jacuzzi to try and dry out a bit....

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Coastal Charity Challenge Half Marathon

I headed down to registration which was only about a minute down the road from where we were staying. I picked up my number and being a point-to-point race we were bussed to the start at Louisburgh. The weather wasn't looking good, lots of rain and a bit of a wind to deal with.

I did a couple of kms warm-up and lined up at the start. We could drop bags at the start line which were then transported back to the finish. I was trying to think of other point-to-point races I had done and the only one I could think of was the Bay to Bay in Gosford. I don't have fond memories of that race as I got stung by a bee as I crossed the finish line and then managed to injure my Achilles in the warm-down but I digress...

The race started and I went straight to the front. The race was basically along the coastal road and the road wasn't closed which made for a few interesting moments as we were running on the left hand side of the road (dodging large puddles) with cars overtaking from behind. I was fortunate as I had the lead vehicle to follow but with very little traffic it was safe enough. The first mile had a lot of downhill and with the plan being to start slow and build the pace - I had started way too quickly. It seemed like what breeze there was was coming straight at you and with persistent rain, heavy in places, it wasn't that pleasant.

The scenery was pretty spectacular. Croagh Patrick on your right and the coast on your left. The race plan had gone out of the window and I decided to try and maintain around 5:40 per mile pace, and lift in a few spots on the run for home. The miles kept clicking by and I was overtaking walkers who had started 45 minutes before the main race. I had opened up a large gap and was feeling fine. After 11 miles it was time to take a turn off the main road to follow a smaller coastal road into Westport. Still very wet but I was still feeling strong and I really tried to push the last couple of miles. There were a few ups and downs but in general this was a fairly flat course. Soon I was running down the finishing straight crossing the line in 1st place in 1:13:30.

A good hit-out and although I wanted to run the last 5 miles hard, this was never going to happen running into the rain and wind. I felt comfortable all the way and the groin behaved so all in all a good day. I got back to the apartment to the news that Mo had won the 5,000m. The icing on the cake.

All up 23.1km today and 84.5km for the week. The race today left me thinking about the marathon and whether I could maintain that pace. Umm, when's Dublin?

Here are the splits:

1m 5:15
2m 5:41
3m 5:37
4m 5:47
5m 5:36
6m 5:49
7m 5:40
8m 5:33
9m 5:40
10m 5:40
11m 5:46
12m 5:24
13.1m 6:02

Total 1:13:30

Saturday, September 03, 2011


No running today. The family travelled to Westport and we are staying in a really nice apartment overlooking the quay. I would post a photo but I forgot my camera....

Coincidentally, our apartment is overlooking the exact spot where I got dropped in the Westport 5km race (report here). Which is nice.

I've entered the half marathon tomorrow. The plan is to use it as a training run and attempt to finish strong running the last 5 miles at target half marathon pace (3:19/km). That could all go out of the window if it turns into a race from the gun...

Still a problem in the down below region. Fingers (legs) crossed I'll be okay tomorrow...

Friday, September 02, 2011


I did a one lap version of the long run I did last Sunday. Total 11.1kms in 45:28. A few niggles still. Guinness will fix it...

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Tempo Running

A quick 15 minutes warm-up, then 20 minutes tempo running, finishing with a similar warm-down. All up 13.3kms in 52:18 (ave 3:56's).

I'm never quite sure what pace you should run these tempo runs at. According to McMillan, based on my target 10km pace (32 mins), it gives a range of 3:14 to 3:23 per km for tempo running. I guess the wide range is dependent on the length of the tempo effort. I reckon I covered about 6km today in my 20 minutes so that works out to 3:20 per km which is nicely inside that range. You hear people say that tempo runs should be completed at a pace slower than your race pace. That's not very scientific/accurate as race pace varies greatly dependent on the distance. Today illustrates this - I was basically running at my target half marathon race pace but approx 15 seconds per km slower than my 5km race pace. If you're confused then have a look at the pacing charts and McMillan is a good place to start.

Some great athletics today at Daegu. I really enjoyed watching the mens steeple final, the womens 1,500 final and the mens 400 hurdles final. Fantastic viewing.