Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Look out

Awful conditiions for running (wet/windy). It was a lunchtime wobble covering 9.6km in 43:42 (4:33's). I should have played darts instead.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Back in training

No running again but that didn't stop me playing darts. We didn't have a league match tonight but instead we got together for a round robin competition. I won both the pairs and singles and receieved a bottle of vodka for my efforts. Gotta love the arrers.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Nothing to report

A large hangover thanks to Timothy Taylor Landlord. Then travel back to the Emerald Isle. No running.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Norwich Half Marathon 2011

Cold and extremely windy conditions greeted me on arrival at the Norfolk Showground. I delayed my warm-up until about 20 minutes before the race start and attempted to keep warm by staying indoors. I jogged a few kms and straight away it became apparent that it was going to be a tough day. The course being 2 laps meant you were running into the wind for the first half of the lap, with wind on the back for majority of the second half. Times were going to suffer.

I lined up at the start and the race got underway bang on 11am. A large group formed at the front and nobody was prepared to take it on as we ran a mile around the showground. As we exited and switched to the main road there must have been a good dozen or so runners in the lead group. I was trying to find some shelter from the wind and at the same time avoiding clipping of heels and the bumping and barging.

Through the first mile in 5:42 and then a long straight directly into the wind. The group remained together and I decided to ignore the watch and focus on racing. I was feeling good as we made a left turn to take us through the second mile. A long uphill drag followed until we made a sharp left turn to finally give some shelter from the wind. At this point I decided to pull the trigger and I made a quick break which quickly opened up the race. I held the lead for only a short while as a couple of other runners went with me. To my surprise they continued to push on leaving me in 3rd position with lots of runners in pursuit.

Running out of the wind felt effortless. With some quick miles I was feeling solid and I was again surprised to be caught and passed by another runner moving me down into 4th. Closing out the lap you have the long climb back to the showground, then a few twists and turns to make within the grounds and that meant being exposed to the wind again. I could still see the 3 runners in front of me and I was confident that I had plenty to offer on the second lap.

Sure enough I had started to close on third place. I caught him somewhere around 8 miles and we then ran together for a mile and a half being buffeted around all over the place. The same point where I made the move in the first lap arrived and again I made another break to quickly take outright third. I pushed on running a decent couple of miles and I still thought I had a chance for second but that wasn't to be. The final climb into the showground and I knew I still had a tricky mile to finish with. Lots of lapping runners and another couple of minutes running directly into the wind and as I rounded the final bend I could see another runner only a few seconds back. That was my cue to put in a spurt and I managed to hold on to cross the line in 3rd place in a time of 1:14:07.

Very disappointed with the time but the conditions were not good for distance running. I felt strong throughout which was a good sign so maybe I'll have to see if there is another half I can do before the year is out.

Here are the splits:

1 5:42
2 5:43
3 5:42
4 5:12
5 5:19
6 5:38
7 5:50
8 5:57
9 6:19
10 5:24
11 5:23
12 5:42
13.1 6:16

Total 1:14:07

I have a report from the local paper that I will scan and add when I get a moment. The guy who won clocked up his 4th title and described it as one of the toughest races he had done. He's a regular sub 70 minute runner so to get within 90 seconds of him today wasn't too bad.

A couple of kms warm-down so all up 25.1kms for the day and 64.9km for the week.

Time for the pub to spend my winnings...

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Final Prep

Rest day today. I had a look around the city in the morning, fish and chips for lunch, and pub/darts/cards in the afternoon. I limited myself to 2 pints in the pub, lost to my Dad at darts 14-13 (I bottled it), then broke even at cribbage. Quality.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Arrived Okay

An easy run today just to check the legs were okay. I ran around the block (total 5.1km in 21:56). Feeling good.

Snooker and a few beers in the evening.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

A roight noice place hintut

Another easy run. This time 33:15 with a quick mile thrown in the middle at something close to HMP. Difficult to tell really as the weather was so bad making quick running virtually impossible (a combination of wind and rain that makes your face sting). Plus I was wearing my heavy clogs. Excuses, excuses. Enjoyment factor - less than zero.

That's about it now. I travel to Norwich this evening so will probably be offline until early next week (the internet doesn't yet exist in Norwich). For anyone that is interested the results should be up here on Sunday afternoon.

I can't remember having put so much training into a half marathon before (or any race for that matter). Some decent mileage in the bank and a good recent 10km has given me a lot of confidence. Fingers crossed.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Rolling round

An easy run today. My local 11.3km loop which was very windy and also raining. Time 49:29 (4:23's). Drenched come the end. An enjoyment factor of zero.

The first photo from the recent Hollymount 10km courtesy of edenhill. Sitting in bludging as is the norm:

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Final Track Session

This was to be the last effort session before the half. The schedule called for a mile, 3 miles, then a mile with the miles to be run at 5 minute mile pace and the 3 miles to be run at HMP. In between it was 2 minutes jog recovery.

After a 3.9km warm-up it was time to get moving. I jumped in with Keith and he paced me for the first 2 laps of my opening mile. I went on to complete this is 4:59. Then 2 minutes jog and straight into 12 laps @ 80 seconds per lap pace. I wouldn't call the pace comfortable and the windy conditions made it a bit tough but I managed to stick to the lap times with metronome like accuracy. I completed this in 15:59 and then had another 2 minute jog. The final mile was going to be tough. After an initial 75 second lap I was struggling and another 75 second lap meant I was hanging on. I then started to feel good and lifted the pace to finish with a 4:57. Job done.

The same 3.9km warm-down. The usual thoughts that there was no way I could maintain 3:20/km pace for 70 minutes. Ignore.

Then darts. A late night (home at 1:30am) but a good 8-1 win away. I won both my pairs (played well hitting 104 out in the first leg) and my singles (not so good and should have lost). My record to date is played 14, won 9, lost 5. Not bad for a first season.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Half Marathon Progression

No running today being a taper week. I have a track session tomorrow then I'll do a bit of easy running for the rest of the week.

Here's a quick summary of my half marathon progression:

Prior to this I had run one previous half marathon (also Norwich) some time in the late 90's. It was one of those "I can do that" bets and I got round on the back of very little training in just over an hour and a half (from memory). I'll have to see if I still have the result somewhere.

Just looking at the list you can see I had a good record in the Sydney Half (the Sydney Morning Herald Half Marathon). In total I ran this race 8 times and I recorded 7 PB's.

I don't remember too much of the detail of these races. The 2002 race was a good one as I had a long battle in the Hickson Road finishing straight with my mate Johnny Gallagher. He caught me and I immediately kicked and put 10m into him which gave me the victory.

The 2004 race was also a good one as it was my first sub 80 minute run. Again at the time I remember saying in the pub that I couldn't go any quicker.

A big improvement in 2009 in the Sydney Running Festival Half Marathon. I got into a good group that day running with Saxon Moseley and Matt Palmer and although I wasn't a big fan of the course, it was nice to maintain 3:30/km pace.

Here are the reports of the Galway Half Marathon and the Norwich Half Marathon that complete the list. Hopefully I can get somewhere neat those times again on Sunday.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

One week to go

After my run yesterday I was feeling decidedly ordinary. Maybe a bug/virus. Lots of stomach cramps and a few night sweats. Not pleasant. Anyway I decided to try a long run around 4pm. I got out and did a few of my local loops finishing off with a stretch of the N17 (as it had turned dark by then). My heart wasn't in it and I was simply going through the motions wanting it to be over. The stomach still wasn't feeling great and I had very little energy and heavy legs. A run to forget.

Total 22.9kms in 1:44:26 (4:34's).

That's 113.3kms for the week. A good week apart from today. A nice easy week next week with the only session of note being a final hit-out on Tuesday. Here are some photos I found from the 2010 Norwich Half that was actually run earlier this year due to postponement for bad weather:

Saturday, November 19, 2011

8 x 5 minutes off 1 minute

A beatiful day today. Nice and cool and some winter sunshine with very little breeze. I decided to do the session locally so that meant using my out (slightly uphill) and back (slightly downhill) course. After a 3.4km warm-up I went straight into it.

The first one was a bit sluggish but after that it was very consistent. I was working the uphill section more to keep the times similar:


Legs were getting tired at the end but the times didn't reflect this so that was good. I wasn't running them flat out, just getting used to running close to HMP. The 1 minute recovery felt adequate. My breathing and heart rate would fall quickly during that time ready to knock out the next rep.

I finished up with the same warm-down. All up 19.2kms.

Friday, November 18, 2011

The Central Governor

An easy run of 9.8km in 43:40 (4:27's).

With regards to the title, this theory suggests that athletic performance is linked closely to what your mind (your central governor) believes is possible from the body. I've been a bit guilty of this in the past when you predict you'll run a certain time for a race and low and behold you run very close to that expectation. The key is to try and ignore your central governor (as I did for the Dublin Marathon in 2010). I'm sure there are many ways and means of doing this. One of these would be to not use your watch and just run on feel.

I know some of the guys in Australia are big on this e.g.Kanser. I would welcome any input you have in regards to this as I certainly think the theory has its merits.

Tough session tomorrow...

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Mr Softee

The weather turned today and what a turn. Very windy plus rain. I had a running slot at lunchtime but there was no way I was going to do my session outside so instead it went like this:

- run to gym (800m)
- straight on to treadmill
- a further 3.2km warm-up
- 3.2km at HMP (3:20/km)
- 3 minutes recovery (700m)
- 3.2km at HMP (3:19/km)
- a 3.2km warm-down
- run back home (800m)

Total running time 59:48 covering 15.2km (ave 3:56/km). I was ticking along quite nicely on the treadmill and boy do you work up a sweat running indoors. I did have the thought that there is no way I can keep the quicker pace up for 21.1kms but that's perfectly normal. No room for those negative thoughts.

Easy run tomorrow, more quick stuff on Saturday and a long run on Sunday. That will be the bulk of the training done.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Minimalist

The schedule called for 75 to 90 minutes. Straight away I took that as 75 minutes - no need to kill yourself and all that. My window for running was early evening. It was dark so I had the choice of the main road or the treadmill. So I settled for the main road and conditions were again good. Only a slight breeze, no rain and cold but bearable.

A rattled up an down the N17 doing 4 x 4km stretches. Plus an extra 1.5km to get me over the 75 minute mark. Total 17.5kms in 1:17:28 (4:26's). It felt quicker than that? I don't have a GPS watch so I often use MapMyRun to measure my routes. I have my suspicions that it's a long way from being accurate though...

Starting to think about the half now. What time to target and all that. In my 2 most recent halfs I've run 1:13:30 (training run in Sep) and then 1:12:41 (flat out in Oct - felt like I was going to die). I think sub 72 is definitely achievable and the closer I get to 71 the happier I will be.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Coming into form?

Arrived at the weekly track session for 10 x 800's off 75 seconds. After a 5.5km warm-up and a few strides it was time to get into it. Conditions were absolutely perfect: cool, dry and no wind whatsoever. No excuses at the ready.

The brief was to try and run them under 2:30 (sub 5 minute mile pace). I was on my own today and my times were:


A shocking second lap for the first rep gave me a slow 2:33. But that spurred me into action and I got progressively quicker throughout. I was feeling great and didn't feel like I was running on the limit. A good sign. Eddie jumped in to help me out with the last rep and it made a huge difference to have someone to tuck in behind. I perhaps got a bit carried away but I nice way to finish (average 2:27 per rep).

I finished up with a 3.9km warm-down and 17.4kms for the day.

Later in the evening it was out to Clarinbridge for the darts. We won 6-3 and I won both my pairs and singles game. I hit my first 180 in the league with the first 3 darts of my singles game. The 4th dart was just below the wire which put pay to the 9 time...

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Ballroom Blitz

An easy 11.3km to reset the legs. Time 48:12 (4:16's). Feeling pretty good.

As promised here is the karaoke footage from the big party night in Spain:

What do you think of it so far? All together now "Rubbish"...

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Hollymount 10km

Arrived in good time to register and then run the 3km loop in reverse as a warm-up. My initial thought was that it wasn't flat, but at the same time the hills didn't look too taxing. The road surface was pretty good except for a small road which was 2 strips of road with grass growing in the middle. Plenty of breeze around and would you believe it was 16 degrees. All in all not too bad.

I lined up at the start and all the usual suspects were there from the Mayo league. I couldn't see any obvious gun runners but at the same time there were lots of unfamiliar faces. The race started and we had a slight climb up to the high street which we basically had to cover 4 times (1km and then 3 x 3km). I was in 4th or 5th position, with some runners going off the front. At the 1km marker (3:27) I had decided that the km markers were dodgy (time to ignore the watch) so I just focused on chasing down the leaders.

Slowly but surely the gap started to close and I had Roger Barrett for company as we hit the front. That was how it remained for the majority of the race. I would sit in behind Roger, then try a surge (usually on a downhill section) that he would cover off with ease. I would then go into recovery mode ready for my next surge. After the first lap (approx 4km) we were nicely out in front and we continued our battle.

The second lap was fairly uneventful. Roger was doing the majority of the work in front and I would sit behind and continue my surging. To no avail. I couldn't see any easy way of winning the race at this point as every move was being covered so I thought I'd stick in for as long as possible and try and pull something out of the bag on the last lap.

At 7km we crossed the finish line ready for the last lap. Not too much was happening. I lifted the pace in a few spots but wasn't doing any damage. I'd say I'd tried at least 7-8 surges at this point so I'd almost resigned myself to a sprint finish. As we approached 9km there was a slight uphill before we took a left turn onto a main road. I took off again and to my surprise I opened up a slight gap. I then pressed for home with 800m still to go. I wasn't feeling too bad, and after rounding the final corner I was confident I had the race won. I ran the final couple of hundred metres hard which was slightly uphill which had me crossing the finish line in 1st place in a time of 32:47.

A solid win in a time I was very happy with. That said, all the gun runners didn't show which was a bit of a shame for the organisers as this race has a really good tradition. But as one of the lads said "You can only dance with the ladies in the hall". I really enjoyed the race with Roger and I'm sure we'll have a few more battles next year!

I finished up running a couple more laps of the course so all up 19kms for the day. Well done to the organisers on putting on a great event. There were loads of prizes at the end, plus more than enough food and drink to keep everyone happy. All for the bargain price of 15 Euros.

A good confidence booster 2 weeks before the half. I had that extra zip in the legs today that you don't get when you race frequently as I have been very guilty of doing. So a big week next week, then I'll taper down for the half.

Only 67.6kms for the week. But it was a reduced week of training that was much needed. Time for a few beers now.


1km 3:27
2km 3:06
3km 3:32
4km 2:59
5km 3:26 (16:30)
6km 3:14
7km 3:14
8km 3:19
9km 3:14
10km 3:16 (16:17)

Total 32:47

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Racing tomorrow

So with that in mind I did a very easy local run of 9.8km in 44:15. I ran up to see what was happening with the new bridge that is being constructed but couldn't see much as they had closed off the site. Hopefully my old training route comes good by the new year...

A decision has been made to race at Hollymount tomorrow. It's a 10km course consisting of a 1km start, then 3 x 3km loops. It seems to attract a really good field (last year the top 2 runners ran 30:3x). I'm hoping the same will happen this year as I might then have a few people to hang on to. Absolutely no idea of how I'll go having not raced for so long (only 1 race in the last 2 months would you believe). If I can get somewhere near 33 that would be good but the feedback I'm getting from my training is that I'm not setting the world on fire. Watch this space.

After the race there is the presentation for the Mayo League that I somehow managed to win. I may have to shave so I look my best for the photos!

Friday, November 11, 2011

All the ones today

I squeezed in an easy hour today covering 13.8kms in 57:29 (4:10's). Very windy for the first 4km but it was a lot easier after I changed direction.

I'm feeling very tired at the moment. That always seems to happen when you have an easy week or take a day off. I guess the body is doing its thing and absorbing all the training. At least I hope that's what is happening...

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Mixing it up

I managed to get out at lunchtime thanks to the brother-in-law who looked after the nippers. This should have been yesterday's session so I've thrown my schedule out again this week.

The session was 5 x 1 mile off 75 seconds. Then 3 minutes recovery. Then 2 x 400m off 60 seconds. As I was running local I had to improvise so I was going to use my 10 minute out and back course for the mile reps and then run for 72 seconds hard to hopefully have me covering 400m.

After a 3.4km warm-up my times were as follows:


As mentioned previosuly the 5 minutes out and back are not 1 mile. Probably just over 1.5km if the truth be known. I really should make the effort to measure them properly as I hate playing the guessing game. That's why I like the track and the fact that the distances and times don't lie.

Moving on - the 72 second efforts were over-cooked by 1 extra second both times. That extra second of training (x2) could make all the difference in just over 2 weeks time....

Then a 2.3km warm-down to give me 14.2kms for the day.

As this week is shaping up into a recovery week I'm considering racing at the weekend to give the body a bit of a test. I have a couple of options with a local 8km on Sunday, or a 10km at Hollymount in Co Mayo on the same day. What would you do?

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Backing Up

No running again today. This is becoming a habit.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

More travel and darts

Hence no running. A long journey of around 9 hours keeping the young nipper amused. Arrived back in Galway in time to make the weekly darts match. I was very ordinary in the pairs but hit both winning doubles to help register a win. Then in the singles I scored as well as I can remember narrowly missing the bull for a 170 finish in the first leg (I hit the semi-bull). I ended up losing 2-1 after numerous ton plus scores. I just couldn't hit the winning double (read I bottled it)...

Monday, November 07, 2011

Last day in Spain

An easy run today. Running from the apartment I did a similar loop to the long run from the previous day an added on a bit extra to get me up to 10.8kms in 48:11 (4:28/km).

Sunday, November 06, 2011

A long wobble

Not the full quid today...can't think why???

I put the long run off until the last of the daylight and eventually headed out around 4pm. I wanted to run for 1 hour 45 mins and that was going to be a real effort in my condition. I ended up running 3 x 7.2km loops and added on a little more at the end to get my total distance up to 23.5km in 1:44:06 (4:26's). Not pretty.

The weekly tally again exceeds 100km coming in at 100.8kms. And that includes a rest day. I don't feel like I'm getting any fitter but I guess time will tell.

Going back to last night there may be some karaoke footage of yours truly soon to be made this space...

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Breaking all the rules

I tend not to do consecutive days of hard running but if I was to squeeze in all my sessions this week than that rule had to be broken. Today I was to do 7 x 6 minutes off 1 minute. Again I used the same section of path as yesterday taking turns doing my efforts out then back running the full length of the path irrespective of the time. After a 2.6km warm-up I knocked out the following efforts:


You can see from the times that the outward section was much tougher. This was run into the wind with the double whammy of more uphill. Happy with the times as they were consistent but again the speed wasn't what it should be. Back to back sessions could explain that as I felt a little flat.

I finished up with a 2.1km warm-down. Another 17.3kms in the bank. Mum's birthday party tonight...

Friday, November 04, 2011

A longish run with some half marathon pace

The session was 2 x 2 miles of half marathon pace running thrown into a longish 10 mile run. After a 4.4km warm-up I was going to use a section of path that out and back would be just over 2 miles. Generally flat, but there is one nasty little climb.

True to form, I ran the whole course each effort which was about 3.6km so about 400m longer than schedule. My times for each effort were 12:06 and 12:13 so around low 3:20/km pace but the problem was it felt more like 10km pace. Perhaps the higher humidity was a factor. I ran 1.9km easy between those 2 efforts and finished with the same 4.4km warm-down. All up 17.9kms for the day.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Travel & Rest

Spent most of the day travelling to Moriara, Spain. Arrived and straight out to the pub so no training. I was quite happy to have a rest day after 26 days of training on the bounce. The problem being I now have some sessions to squeeze in the rest of the week so I'll be playing catch-up...

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Train in Spain

Feeling really tired at the moment so just did a lazy local hour covering 13.8kms in 58:57 (4:16's). My hamstrings are feeling tight so gave them a good stretch after the run.

Off to Spain tomorrow morning for a few days with my young lad. A catch up with family and a very big birthday to celebrate for my mum. Training could suffer as I'm down for some half marathon pace running tomorrow but I can't see that happening as I'm basically travelling most of the day.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

8 x 1km off 90 seconds

Track night. Same warm-up as previous weeks (5.1km) then a few dynamic stretches and strides and it was showtime.

Conditions were quite windy but there was no rain in the air. The track was therefore bone dry which seemed to help me no end. I think I've under called how much a wet track can slow you down in the past. Despite feeling tired I seemed to be running a lot more comfortably tonight.

The first couple of reps I was running with Keith which made the start of the session much easier. I then worked in front of him and finished running the last 6 reps by myself. Times were:


Being windy I cheated slightly by starting each rep at the start/finish line which meant you had the benefit of the quick back straight 3 times each rep. So that meant walking diagonally across the oval back to the start after finishing each rep at the 200m mark during the 90 seconds recovery.

Very happy with that as I felt in control throughout. I was running at a quicker pace than the 800's from the previous week. Some of that can be attributed to the extra 30 seconds recovery but that aside I felt much better this evening.

A 3.9km warm-down and 18kms for the day.

Then darts. We were playing in town and we won 6-3. I lost my pairs and won my singles...