Monday, October 31, 2011

That Monday Feeling

After spending 6+ hours in the pub the previous evening, I wasn't feeling my greatest today. I decided to play in the county darts ranking tournament and surprised myself by getting down to the semi-finals. At which point I bottled it but a good experience nonetheless...

I ventured out quite late and ran my local Rockmount loop of 11.3km in 46:13 (4:05's).

Earlier in the day I watched the Dublin Marathon on the TV (it was a public holiday today in Ireland). I decided not to make the journey over as conditions were not forecast to be great. Anyway, a good race and despite quite humid and windy conditions, plus rain later on, the winner from Kenya ran a classy course record of 2:08:33.

Owen lead the Harriers home in a great time of 2:42 for a huge PB. Much deserved as he has been collecting miles over the last months regularly notching up 80+ mile weeks. Well done and I hope to catch up for a beer soon! In general times looked to be down on expectation and that was due to the tough conditions. The marathon is one cruel mistress...

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Long Run

Up early for the Cathedral Run. I started off at Dangan and ran into town before meeting the main group. We then ran the 11 mile loop before tagging on an extra loop at the end before finishing back at Dangan. All up 26kms in 2:00:10 so that's a nice and easy pace of 4:37/km.

That gives me 113.0kms for the week. My third triple figure week on the trot and I'm training more than I was when I ran my last marathon!

Dublin marathon to watch tomorrow. Good luck to all runners!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Tough day at the office

The session today was a tempo style run. The efforts were 3,5,20,5 and 3 minutes (total 36 minutes) and the recovery was 90 seconds between the 3 and 5 minute efforts, and 3 minutes before and after the 20 minutes.

I decided to use the out and back course that I've been using for my 10 minute efforts (5 minutes out, 5 minutes back). After a longish warm-up of 3.9km I positioned myself a couple of minutes into the 5 minute outward section as after a 3 minute effort I would be somewhere near the turnaround. That's how it worked out and I felt great. I then had my 90 second recovery and turned for the 5 minutes back to the start. Wow, suddenly I was running into a very stiff wind and it was a real effort. I decided to keep running to the end of the course which had me crossing the finish point in 5:22. At times when the wind picked up I was barely moving (it doesn't help being tall with wide shoulders - basically a sail).

Then a big 3 minutes recovery but to be honest this was most welcome. I knew the next 20 minutes were going to be tough and had to resist the temptation to pull the pin. Anyway, I started and again felt like I was floating along with the wind on the back. I reached the turnaround in under 5 minutes and then it was the tough return section running into the wind. All I could think of was that I had this to do again. Not a great mindset. I reached the finish point in 10:27 and turned again ready to go again. I tried to push this outward section and again would have been just under 5 minutes at the turn. The return section second time round was leg sapping and I felt like I had slowed a lot. I crossed the line in 10:33 (positive split of only 6 seconds) so that was a total effort of 21 minutes exactly (1 minute more than scheduled).

After 3 minutes recovery I hammered out the next 5 minute effort with the benefit of the wind. I reached my turnaround point in 4:50 and stopped. I then had the final 3 minute effort running into the wind and I basically ran as hard as I could. Finally the session was complete...

Another very tough session. A mixture of easy/hard running. I estimate I covered 11kms exactly in 37:12 of tempo running so that's an average pace of 3:23/km. About what I was after but a difficult way of going about it. I finished up with the same 3.9km warm-down and that's a total of 18.8km for the day.

A few well earned beers and a game of darts planned this evening. Then a long run in the morning...

Friday, October 28, 2011

A local loop

An easy run around the Rockmount loop covering 11.3kms in 46:29 (4:07's). The first 4km is basically uphill into the wind and just when I thought I had the worst bit out of the way it started raining. Not pleasant.

Tomorrow is a big session. A total of 36 minutes of quick running. I don't think the weather gods are going to be kind. Talking of which the forecast for Dublin on Monday is not looking too good at this stage (heavy rain and wind). That being the case I'll stay in Galway and watch the race on the tele!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Rock Road

Back to the start of the Rock Road for another hill session. The warm-up was 3.4km and the session was a good bit different to last time in that I was to run 15 x 1 minute uphill and then run back down to the start ready to go again (continuos loops). The difference being the much shorter recovery. I must say this was one of the tougher sessions that I have done.

The total session lasted 35:04 and this shows that after my hard minute of running uphill I was taking about 1:20 to turn at the top, run back down past the start, turn again, then start the next effort. It was quite a breezy day and to make matters worse I was running into the wind as I ran uphill. There was also a nasty lip of the hill at around the 45 second mark which made the last 15 seconds even tougher.

At one point I was asked by a man walking his dog if I got bored running up and down the hill. Bored was not the word I would use to describe my state at that point. Anyway, I finished up with the same warm-down so all up 14.8kms for the day (I put the hill session down as 8km but in all honesty it was probably a bit more than that). Cream crackered now.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Run then bed

A late night N17 run. I didn't start until about 9:15pm and ran up and down the N17 for nearly an hour. Easy running away from the city with wind behind but tough running into the rain and breeze the other way. All up 13.3kms in 56:38 (4:15's).

A slight change to the plan tomorrow with another hill session pencilled in. Then a long tempo run on Saturday.

I may go to watch the Dublin Marathon on Monday. A lot will depend on the weather forecast.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

More track, more darts

Out to the track. Similar to the previous couple of weeks I ran a lap of the block and then 3 laps of the track to give me a 5.1km warm-up. The session today was 800's to be run at a quicker pace than your target 10km. The main group was doing 8 but I upsized to 10 and the recovery was a 200m jog. I wanted to keep this under 60 seconds which I just about managed. Times were as follows:


Happy with that as I felt strong throughout and the breathing was under control but again no killer speed. If I had to drop in say a 2:25 then I'd have no chance. But for the half this session shows I'm in decent nick.

I finished up with a 3.9km warm-down and that's a total of 18.8km for the day.

Then darts. We were playing the best team in the league (away) packed full of county players. We lost 6-3 and I lost both my singles and pairs game 2-1. Close but no cigar. I need to get on the practice board a bit more often...

Monday, October 24, 2011

Pounding the rubber mat

A late night and early morning and I was shattered. I dragged myself out to the gym and knocked out 10km in 40:57. Home and in bed before 10pm. I just can't function on 5 hours sleep...

Billy Bragg was brilliant. I really enjoyed the gig and got to have a brief chat with him after the show. My first gig in the Roisin Dubh and thought that the venue was fantastic. Whilst talking music I managed to get a ticket for the Stone Roses gigs next year in Manchester. Hopefully there will be a few more gigs between now and then.

Track tomorrow. My guess is that it will be very wet.

Sunday, October 23, 2011


I met up with 4 of the Harriers who were putting the finishing touches to their Dublin marathon preparation. The pace was very sluggush but that worked perfectly for me as this was my first long long run in a long long time. I ran 13 miles with them starting and finishing at Dangan basically running the guts of the Cathedral run. It started off dry but by the time we had got back to Dangan it was steady rain. I decided to tag a bit extra on to get me up around 2 hours so I ran the Dangan 5km course used in the Galway series. All up 26kms in 2:01:23 so that's around 4:40/km pace and I was like a drowned rat come the end.

That's 110.0kms for the week. A proper weeks training in the bag and feeling very tired as a result. I think my body is in shock at what I consider to be high mileage but in all honesty is still quite lame.

Off to see Billy Bragg in town tonight...

Saturday, October 22, 2011

3 x 10 minutes take 2

The same session that I did on October 13th. The only difference being that my recovery was to be 2 minutes instead of 2.5 minutes.

I did a slightly longer warm-up (3.4km) and went straight into it. I felt a bit more comfortable today and my times were a big improvement on the previous session clocking 10:07, 9:57 and 9:57 for the 3 out and back sections. That's over 40 seconds quicker than last time off less recovery. Finally some progress and a session that I'm happy with - it has been a while coming.

I finished up with 3.4km warm-down and a total of 16.1km for the day. I'll be doing lots more of these volume sessions in the coming weeks. The goal being to get between 9 to 12km of quick running around 10km PB pace 2 times each week. So the key sessions for this will be the track on Tuesday and the longer intervals on Saturday. The tempo run on Thursday and long run on Sunday will complete the weekly structure.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Rest Day

Well not quite. A very easy 9.8km in 42 minutes. I don't have the exact time as I forgot to stop my watch...

I've earned a few beers tonight.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Cold, wet and windy

A typical Galway weather day. I started by jogging 3.6km to get the body ticking over. I decided to use the Claregalway 5km/10km course for my tempo run. Pros - an accurate course, cons - a bloody tough course. I started at the 8km marker and decided to run the opposite direction to the races this year. So after getting underway, I was quickly faced with the tough climb up the Rock Road which I used for my hill reps on the weekend.

The first km was therefore slow (3:33) and I was left chasing hard to bring the session in on target. The second km is also quite tough as you have another climb as you work your way up onto the Oranmore Road and I was a disappointed with my 2nd km split of 3:25. After continuing to climb for a short section on the main road you have the benefit of the long 600m downhill. Sure enough my pace improved and the 3rd km of 3:10 and I was back on track. The last couple of kms are predominantly flat except for a long drag followed by a downhill section to the finish. My last 2 km splits were 3:18 and 3:14 to give me a time of 16:40 (finishing at the 3km marker).

Whilst the time was okay, the effort level involved was way up there and I basically couldn't have gone much quicker. The theme of my recent sessions seems to be a big loss in speed so I guess I'm just going through a bad patch. I raced 5km on this course back in May in 15:48 and then 10km in August in 32:58 (2 laps) so I'm currently way off that. I'll take a rest today tomorrow (probably) and come out swinging again on the weekend.

I finished up with a 4.8km warm-down so all up 13.4kms for the day. Snooker on the TV and a few beers tonight and I'll be right.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


I dragged myself out at lunchtime feeling very tired. I ran my local 3 loop course covering 16.1kms in 1:07:50 (4:13's).

More sleep required. I may take a rest day Friday but I'm still hopeful I can get over 100kms in for the week with some decent sessions on the weekend.

I'm going to do a tempo run tomorrow. I need to get used to running at target half marathon pace (3:19/km or 5:20/mile) so that will be the goal pace for the session. I'll start with a 5km tempo and build that up over the next few weeks.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Quad Laps

Similar to last I did my warm-up on the road and then ran 3 laps of the track (5.1km). Conditions looked pretty good, a bit colder than you'd like but very little breeze. That was short lived as when the session got underway it started raining and the wind picked up...

The plan was to run these quicker than my 10km PB pace. I thought if I could keep them under 5:10 I'd be doing well. Here's how it went:


Not too bad but similar to recent sessions I seem to have lost a good bit of speed. It must be old age kicking in. I should add that I had to work pretty hard throughout this session and at no point did I feel like I was cruising. Glad to see the back of that one and the minute recovery never felt like enough. Basically a tough old session running 24 laps of the track...

I finished up with a 3.9km warm-down. All up 18.6km for the day.

Then out later in the evening for darts. I lost my game of pairs but made amends in the singles. Our team lost 5-4 and after being 3-0 down that wasn't a bad result. Another late night made worse by the youngest becoming nocturnal. I eventually got to sleep around 5am...

Monday, October 17, 2011


The weather has turned cold so I wimped out of running outside and went to the gym. I ran 10km in 40:49 and that was that. Mile reps on the track tomorrow...the target is 6 off one minute.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Doubles and Trebles

It's all about squeezing it in. I managed to get someone to look after the kids for an hour at lunchtime so I hot-footed it out the door and ran my local 16.1km course in 1:03:40 (3:57/km). I felt really good today despite a very stiff breeze and although I wouldn't say I was running easy, it wasn't far short.

That didn't really suffice as a long run so I headed out again in the evening for a much more sedate affair. This time I covered 8.7km running up and down the N17 in a time of 39:29 (4:32/km). The wind had picked up even more by this stage. So I think that's my first double run for the year...

That makes it 101.6km for the week. So that's the treble reference. Again, my first 100km week for a very long time (end of April). I'm very happy with how this week has gone - 3 decent sessions in there and the only disappointing thing being missing the long run though I attempted to make up for that by doubling up. Not sure that has the same training benefit though...

All being well I plan to keep this going for the next 3 to 4 weeks. Fingers crossed.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Hills Are My Friend

I had a funny turn this week and decided I should do a few hill sessions. I don't normally train much on the hills but the reality is that hills makes you stronger and all that and looking back on this year, my lack of strength has cost me a few races. So here goes with my "making it up as you go along" style of training...

Again I was staying local. I warmed up by running down to the bottom of the Rock Road (3.4km) and this is where I ran the session. Anyone who has run the Claregalway 5km/10km will be familiar with the hill on the Rock Road. The guts of the hill is between 450m and 500m and I decided to run 30 minutes continuous with effort going up the hill and float back down. I stopped on 30 minutes which had me running 8 ups and 7 downs (7km approx). I then ran back home as a warm-down (3km). All up 13.4km for the day.

I took my splits for the hill each lap. Times were:

1:50/1:49/1:50/1:47/1:47/1:45/1:44/1:42 (total 29:51 including downs)

Hopefully a few more sessions like this will put me in good stead for the Norwich Half which has its fair share of drags. Not an easy session by any stretch of the imagination and had me working up a good sweat. I suspect muscles will be sore tomorrow for my long run.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Easy 40 minutes

I had even less time to train today. A quick run at lunchtime covering 9.8km in 41:05 (4:12/km). Hills tomorrow.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

3 x 10 minutes

I ran early (5pm) so still had the benefit of daylight. Conditions were excellent (yes you read that correctly). Very little breeze about, no rain and quite mild for this time of year. I only had an hour so after running a 2.2km warm-up, I ran 3 x 10 minute efforts using part of my now defunct local lap due to the demolition of the bridge.

The 10 minute effort was an out and back affair. I used the first one to mark out my course and turned at a recognisable point on 5:10. I got back to my start point in 10:23 (note I prefer to run a set distance rather than stop on 10 minutes exactly). The next 2 were ran in 10:09 and 10:13 with 2 and a half minute walk recovery in between. I'd estimate the distance to be just over 3km for each effort so I was running just below 3:20/km pace.

I finished up with a 2.2km warm-down. All up 13.7km for the day. Session completed within the hour. I'll do more of these type of session in the build-up to the half increasing either the length of the effort or the number of reps to get the total running time up.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


A longer run. Legs felt a little sore after yesterday's track session. I covered 16.1kms in 1:07:32 (4:12/km). It's getting hard now to run in the evening with the nights drawing in. I started my run at just gone 6pm and it was almost dark when I had finished. I may try one of those headtorches that someone suggested. If all else fails I could get a job as a miner.

The aim is to do some longer reps tomorrow. A lot will depend on when I can squeeze it in.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Back on track

My first track session in 3 weeks. Weather was still poor being very damp. I decided to do a warm-up around the roads (estimate 3.9km) before 3 more laps of the track. Then stretches, drills and strides. The main group were using the pitches for their session so I decided to stay on the track by my lonesome.

Although not an ideal session for half marathon training, I decided to try some 400's. I had it in my mind that I'd lost a lot of speed so I wanted to see where I was at with some shorter stuff and compare my times to similar sessions earlier in the year. I planned on running 12 off 1 minute.

Times were as follows:


Not too bad averaging around 70 per 400. Back in June I got down to 67's but I'm happy enough with today as it was a) better than I expected, and b) quite good considering the track was full of water and quite slippery.

I finished up with another lap of the local roads to give me 13.8km for the day. I'll do some mile reps on the track next week...

Then I headed straight home for a shower and a quick bight to eat then out the door for my darts league debut. The format was 3 pairs and then six singles. I played in the second game of pairs which we won 2-0 (each game is best of 3 legs 501). I played well especially in the second leg hitting a 100 and a 140, before hitting the winning double top. I then played in the third singles match again winning 2-0. I didn't play as well as in the pairs but I finished nicely hitting 86 out for the match. A good debut and hopefully I'll be a bit more relaxed from now on. Our team won 6-3 overall so a nice start to the campaign. A late night for midweek not getting home until gone 1am...

Monday, October 10, 2011

On the improve

I couldn't face running in the miserable weather for a third day on the trot so I took the easy option and went to the gym. After 10kms (41:50) on the treadmill I quickly realised this was not the easy option. I was sweating like only an indoor run can make you and was running at a slower pace than I would normally...

I'm still not feeling 100% but I think I'm getting close. Certainly the appetite has returned but the most alarming fact being that I haven't had any alcohol for 5 whole days. NoBeerMatt. But that will likely change tomorrow as I'm making my league debut in the Galway City Darts League...

Talking of darts, did anyone catch the nine-darter on the weekend by Brendan Dolan? It was the first televised nine-darter where you have to hit a double to start and finish the leg. The darts went 40,60,60 (160) - 60,60,60 (180) - 60,51,50 (161). Magic darts. For the record my best leg was an 11 darter (no double in) against my old man many moons ago. My Dad's best leg being a 10 darter (double in). He has always been very lucky...

Also track tomorrow all being could be ugly...

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Same again

Basically a carbon copy of yesterday's run. If anything the weather was a little worse today and that resulted in a slower time of 47:06 for the 11.3kms (4:10/km). Still very hard work and that tells me I haven't fully shaken this bug. I was originally planning on a slightly longer run but once I got into it I knew that wasn't going to happen (zero energy).

So my first week of getting back into serious training has been a bit of a disaster. In the grand scheme of things a few weeks of easy running won't do my any harm but like most runners I hate the feeling of knowing that what fitness I have is ebbing away.

A total of 48.6kms for the week. That's my lowest weekly total of the year.

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Testing the water

Still not feeling great. But I had to get out and try a run. The elements were conspiring against me - damp and windy. I did my local 11.3km Rockmount loop in 46:56 and despite feeling okay at the start, the last 15 minutes were a real struggle. The breathing was laboured, the legs felt heavy and the energy reserves were non-existent. Still, it has stopped the rot.

Friday, October 07, 2011

3 Days

of laying around feeling sorry for myself. Still no running, very little energy or appetite...

The only plus is that I've probably lost a few pounds in weight so I'll be super lean when I make my comeback...

Thursday, October 06, 2011


After spending all night throwing up, I slept all day trying to recover. I have no energy and have aches and pains all over. I get sick very rarely but this has really knocked me.

So no running again today. I think it's a 24 hour bug that's going round so hopefully I'll be right tomorrow.

Darts and snooker on the box tonight so that should keep me entertained.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011


Not mine, the better half. So I decided on a rest day and then as I was about to go to bed, I got real sick...

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Still no intervals

I couldn't make track tonight as my Dad is in town so instead I did a longer run. I wasn't too disappointed to miss the faster stuff as my legs don't feel like they have fully recovered from the half on the weekend.

Instead I did a longer local run of 16.1kms in 1:04:56 (4:02/km). It was very windy but I seemed to be running quite nicely without exerting myself.

The aim will be to get at least 2 decent sessions in per week for the next 6 weeks in the build-up to my next half. The first of which will be this Thursday...

Monday, October 03, 2011

A Run

Trying to get back into some sort of routine. I did one of my new local routes whilst the bridge is being repaired covering 9.9kms in 40:46 (4:07/km). It's a start.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

More Rest

Another rest day today as the legs were very sore. I probably should have got out to try and run a few kms but I basically couldn't be bothered. I seem to be lacking motivation at the moment and hope that I get my running mojo back soon. Perhaps that will happen if I go to watch the Dublin Marathon next month to cheer on the lads. I hope so.

That's only 65.7km for the week. The week before last I managed 76.1km so I can't even muster up 80kms a week at the moment. Pathetic really.

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Galway Bay Half Marathon

Touched down in Knock just after 8am and arrived back in Galway around 9:30am. I quickly changed and headed straight out of the door. Arrived at the start by jogging a couple of kilometers after parking the car. I had arranged for my number to be picked up and I literally pinned on my number and laced in my timing chip about 15 minutes before the race start. I was feeling tired and dehydrated but was ready to rumble.

The course itself was very similar to last year - 2 laps up and down Galway promenade. We were lucky as the weather was very good - no rain and only a slight breeze which was unusual being right on the Bay. The race started and there was 3 of us who made a break to the front. The pace was quick as we went through the first couple of kms at sub 3:10/km pace. I knew I was punching above my weight so sat back to let the other 2 runners take the lead. I was left alone in 3rd place and that's how it remained for the next few kms. After the first turnaround point near the golf course I was joined by a fellow Harrier (Michael O'Connor) who was encouraging me to stick with him to try and wind in the 2 leaders. But that wasn't going to happen as I was already red-lining and Michael quickly gapped me leaving me alone in fourth.

I found the second half of the lap running back to the start quite tough. What wind there was we were now running straight into it and there were 2 sections which were offshoots from the main course in order to get the correct distance for each loop. Neither of these extra sections were very runner friendly. The first towards the end of the prom basically had us running around a twisty (gravel) path for a few minutes cross country style. The second section had us running out and back towards Mutton Island. Whilst this part of the course was very flat, it's very hard going running-wise as you have to make a sharp turn at the end of the jetty, only to have to then run directly into the wind as you run back onto the main loop.

I wasn't looking at splits as I was too ashamed but I think I went through 10km in just under 34 minutes. As we finished the first lap I remained in fourth position and I knew the second lap was going to be a real struggle. I don't recall too much of the detail but certainly on the outward section of the course I seemed to be running a little better and sure enough I was closing in on 3rd place. I caught Michael around the turnaround point near the golf course and gradually worked a small gap. The last 5 kms were really hard going and I knew I still had the 2 tough sections which I previously described. I had slowed and I couldn't manage 3:30 kms but thankfully it seemed to be enough to get me round to the finish line in a time of 1:12:41 for 3rd place.

I was absolutely spent at the finish. My legs were very wobbly and I was staggering around like an old drunk (which basically I am). I'd given it my all and the time was about as good as I could have hoped for. A big congratulations to the race winner Michael Shannon who ran a terrific time of 69:48 breaking 70 minutes for the first time. I've had several battles with Michael in the last year but in the last couple of months he has improved out of sight and I'm sure it won't be long before he is winning some big national races. Well done again.

I tried jogging some of the way back to the car but it was more walk/shuffle. All up 25.1km for the day. I don't have the splits for the race as I deleted them! I'd say my 10km splits were about 34 minutes then 35 minutes.

So I think it's time to knuckle down and get some proper training done. Looking at the last 3 weeks I have only been managing one decent session a week with the balance of my running being easy. That's just not good enough and I will strive to do better for my next race which looks like being the Norwich Half Marathon at the end of November.

Well done to everyone who finished the 10km and half on Saturday. The event has certainly blossomed and I think the organisers have the potential to make this a really big event. My only gripe would be those 2 sections in the second half of each lap. Get rid of them somehow and you have the potential for a very quick course! Finally a big well done to the Galway City Harriers who scooped the team prize in the half plus the 2 Brians for taking out the first 2 spots in the 10km. I believe the celebrations went on well into the night...