Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Midweek longish run

Same run as the last 2 weeks. The first 25 minutes were tough going as the lower body is still sore, plus it was into a stiff wind. The time seemed to drag and it was another effort just to keep going. Pleased to get it out of the way covering 19.4kms in 1:22:11 (4:14's).

If the legs don't improve then I'll take another rest day on Friday. Talking of which I'm heading down to Cork for the weekend for a few days R&R. Never been to Cork so looking forward to checking it out and seeing what running routes I can discover whilst there. If anyone has any recommendations please let me know...

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Legs heavier than lead balloons

It's all part of marathon training running on tired legs. I guess you are trying to simulate running the last 6 miles/10kms of the marathon that can make or break your time. Well tonight was another tough one. A track session of 1600m followed by 400m and 5 sets to keep you honest. That's 25 laps of the track which is enough to send anyone dizzy.

Usual warm-up of 3.9kms. Recoveries were tight tonight - 45 seconds after the 1600m, then a minute after the 400m. Target times were 10km pace for the miles (5:12), and target 5km pace for the 400s (72 seconds).

Here are the times:


After the first mile the coach said that I looked too comfortable and that I needed to come down to 5:08's (insert swear words). I responded and ran the next 4 under that pace but it was a real effort. The legs were in bits so it was nice to turn in a decent session when the legs and the brain were not as one.

Another 5 laps of the track as warm-down. All up 15.9kms for the day.

Darts in the evening and finally a decent win of 8-1. Our team was at full strength and I won both my pairs and singles. The singles went to a deciding leg and I took out 76 to win the match in very unconventional style - single 1, semi-bull, bull. Game shot.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Moving on

What should have been an easy run was a real struggle as my legs were heavy and the calves were screaming (32kms in racing flats will do that...). Time 46:59 for 11.3kms (4:09's).

Sunday, February 26, 2012

The Accelerator II

Today was a nastier version of the "Accelerator" run that I last did here in the build up to the Dublin Marathon in 2010.

As mentioned earlier, the brief was 30-40 minutes relaxed, then 35-40 minutes at marathon pace, then 20-40 minutes at half marathon pace. I decided to take the relaxed section really easy, then target 3:30/km pace for the marathon pace section, then try and lift the pace in any shape or form for the last effort.

The conditions weren't too bad. A bit of wind about but nice and cool. I'd plotted the route locally as best I could to make the last part easy - at least that was the intention. I was using my local 11km loop for the majority of the run, with a bit of flat running at the end. Here is how it went (distances courtesy of MapMyRun so could be slightly out):

9.69km - 42:36 - 4:24/km pace (relaxed)
11.04km - 38:29 - 3:29/km pace (marathon pace)
8.58km - 29:32 - 3:27/km pace (half marathon pace)
3.49km - 16:09 - 4:38/km pace (warm-down)

Total - 32.8km - 2:06:46 - 3:52/km pace (2:43 marathon pace)

Pleased enough with that. It was very difficult to lift the pace for the last effort at HMP but I managed a slight improvement (this should have been at sub 3:25/km pace but the legs disagreed with that). I was pretty spent come the end and had a very slow jog back home. Another 20 miler in the legs and almost 20km of that at marathon pace or better (note I took no breaks for the entire run).

This is why it will be a lot easier come London:

- fresh legs after the taper
- fitter (still 7 weeks to go)
- better nutrition (today I took no water or gels for the entire run)
- better conditions (you can but hope)
- people to race with (get in a group)

Now I'm sitting down ready for the Spurs match against the unmentionables. There is beer in the fridge which won't be there for long...

Oh yeah, 112.3kms for the week. That's 3 ton plus weeks on the spin now and pleased to report the hammie was no problem today.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Double fitness test

A rare double session for me. I did my local 11.3km loop in the morning at a "steady" pace. Time 44:29 which works out to 3:56/km pace. The hammie felt fine but the legs were feeling very heavy. That was a bit disappointing after yesterday's rest day but was probably residual tiredness from the massage.

Then in the afternoon I did a very easy 8.6km run in 38:43 (4:30's). Hammie behaved again. I'm now primed for tomorrow's horror session. Please let it be good weather...

Friday, February 24, 2012

Rest from running

I didn't feel the hamstring pull at all today so I'm hoping it will be okay. A bullet dodged and all that.

Instead I had a few beers, threw a few darts, watched some tele and built some lego. Which is nice.

Up to now the structure of the marathon training has been 3 speed sessions per week (Tue/Thu/Sat) and a long run on Sunday. For the next few weeks that will change slightly and the quick session on Saturday will be incorporated into the Sunday long run. This session then becomes a real toughie....this Sunday the sessions calls for 30-40 minutes relaxed, then 35-40 minutes at marathon pace, then 20-40 minutes at half marathon pace. Clucking bell...

Thursday, February 23, 2012


It was wet and windy and after delaying my run I inevitably missed the last of the daylight so I ended up at the gym for 2 x 14 minutes at half marathon pace.

I ran to the gym (900m) and did a further 2.3km warm-up. I then stopped the treadmill and started the session from a standstill. It took at least 30 seconds for the belt to reach target pace (18.1km/hour) so I decided I would keep running for the full 15 minutes.

The first one I covered 4.43km, and after 3 minutes recovery I notched up the pace very slightly and covered 4.47km for the second rep. Sweating like you wouldn't believe...

Then a 2.1km warm-down, followed by the 900m run home. All up 15.1km.

After stepping off the treadmill I could feel a slight twinge/pull in my left hamstring. The massage had come just at the right time. I was given a right good going over and was in a fair bit of discomfort. Obviously I didn't complain though....the verdict was that the hamstring didn't seem too bad so again tomorrow's rest day sits very well. Fingers crossed I'll be okay for the weekend.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Frank Carson RIP

The same run as last Wednesday covering 19.4kms in 1:23:32 (4:18's). That's over 2 minutes slower than last week but not too bothered as my legs were sore after yesterday's track session, plus it was blowing a gale.

Massage booked for tomorrow and rest day planned for Friday.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Click click

Track day. Windy and wet and soaked after a heavy shower in the 3.9km warm-up.

Today was a sharpening up session before 6 weeks of marathon specific trackwork. This was great as it meant the middle distance and long distance guys could train together to push things along.

The session was 5 sets of 600m/500m/400m. One minute recovery between efforts and 3 minutes between sets. That was plenty. Our group of 8 or so decided to target lap pace of 76/73/70 seconds for each rep which gives target times of 1:54/1:31/1:10 (the aim was to run the 600m at 5km pace and then work the subsequent shorter reps a few seconds a lap quicker). There was a stiff wind around the final bend/home straight that made each lap easy then hard in terms of effort.

Despite the wet track I felt great from the get go. Times were as follows:


This is the best I have run all year. Okay the times are flattered by the long recovery but it was nice to run some quick laps again and being in the group meant the session seemed to tick along nicely.

I finished up with a 2.4km warm-down so all up 13.8kms for the day.

Our team finally won at darts 5-4. Not helped by me much though - I won my pairs but played a shocker in the singles losing in a deciding leg. No consistency on the match board at the moment. I think the running is taking too much out of me!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Another day another run

Start the week off with an easy run of 11.3kms in 47:17 (4:11's). Still feeling tired after yesterday's run.

That's all for today...

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Matt runs decent mileage shocker

Long run day. Out to Dangan with Barry and Owen for the Cathedral Run. Conditions were brilliant with very little breeze about and plenty of winter sunshine. We added in a loop of the Galway Bay half marathon course down on the prom to get the distance up and then added in another extra loop on the approach to Dangan. Then Owen decided to lift the pace the last few miles and me and Barry were hanging on for dear life. A couple of 6 minute miles to finish with as we hit the rugby pitches certainly had me rattled.

A good hit-out. All up 32.6kms (my first 20 miler) in 2:14:56. That's 4:08/km pace on average so a decent clip (around 2:55 marathon pace).

That gets me a weekly total of 126.1kms. Another PB in terms of weekly distance. The body seems to be holding up okay apart from feeling knackered most of the time. I'll pull back a bit next week and throw in a rest day and also get a massage. Only 9 weeks now until race day...

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Four seasons in one run

I know I rattle on about the weather and running conditions but today was the most bizarre day I can ever recall. It went from blue sky, to white cloud, then grey clouds, wind picks up, black clouds, icy hale storm, snow, rain, then back to clear blue skies. All in the space of just over an hour.

The session was a mixed bag of 10 minutes tempo, then 15 minutes continuous hills, then finishing up with another 10 minute tempo. With the luxury of 3 minutes recovery between each discipline. Didn't sound too bad...

I was running locally and was to use my 10 minute out and back route for the tempo, and the start of the Rock Road for the hills. Normal warm-up of 3.5kms and ready for action. The first 10 minute effort and I turned on 5:12 finishing up on 10:34 (3:27/km pace). The return leg was slower due to the wind.

Then a slow walk of just over a minute to the start of the hills. The effort was to be continuous which meant keeping the heart rate up throughout. So rather than roll back down the hill I wanted to run them at a decent pace (quicker than the ascent). I was using my normal turnaround point which is about 1 minute of uphill when running well. The 15 minutes quickly passed by and I ended up doing 8 ups and downs in a total of 16:25. I'd say the uphill part was taking just over one minute and I was running down in a minute or quicker.

Then back to the tempo course for the final effort. By this stage the clouds were becoming much darker and I reached the turnaround point in 5:08. I then felt really strong and I think I was helped by a change in wind direction as the clouds continued to roll in. The last 2 minutes turned really nasty and I was suddenly running in a freezing cold hale storm. I had to put my hand up to cover my face and I considered stopping but decided to lift the pace and run as hard as I could to the end. I finished in 10:11 (3:19 pace). Very pleasing.

Then the same warm-down back to the house. After a few minutes the hale had turned to snow and I was now soaked through and all I could think of was the need for a hot shower. Then the rain came and after losing the will to live the clouds cleared to reveal clear blue skies. I enjoyed that I told myself as I got back to the house shivering...

All up 17.1km for the day.

Friday, February 17, 2012

No Beer

Almost the same run as Monday - except that I started at the in-laws just round the corner after dropping the kids off which added a couple of hundred metres. Very blustery today with the wind going up another notch. All up 11.5kms in 48:34 (4:13's).

Watched Descendants at the cinema in the evening. Very slow but a good performance from Clooney. Not really my cup of tea...

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Changing Gears

Not a session I was looking forward to. I was feeling tired from the late night, and coupled with poor weather it was a struggle to get motivated. Get out the door and get it over with...

Today was an out and back run. The brief was to take the first half of the run steady (sub 4 minute kms), then lift the pace to be running quicker than marathon pace for the return leg. This was going to be tough with a strong wind and I plotted a route that I thought would give me more of a tailwind on the return leg. That's not how it turned out...

After a 3.1km warm-up I went straight into it. I used my now bog standard local loop (more like a rectangle) and I was to run 3 sides of the rectangle (6.8km), then turn and repeat. The first section was straight into the wind, then the longest section of around 3kms dealing with a cross-wind, finishing with a tail-wind. The pace was fluctuating with the wind direction but I tried to keep the effort level consistent and I reached the turnaround point in 26:55 (3:58's).

Then time to pick it up. This was tough as it was now straight into the wind. The long middle section was also tough as it's more up than down, and the cross-wind seemed more troublesome. The run for home was good though and I really picked it up the last 5 minutes or so. I got back in 23:26 (3:27's) and that just about achieved what I set out to do.

Finishing up with a shortened warm-down of 1.7km as I was running out of time. Another big day of 18.4kms. What doesn't kill you will make you more tired and all that...

Darts and snooker to watch tonight. I may be asleep before it ends.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


A longer mid-week run today. Similar to last week but I added a bit extra on at the end. All up 19.4kms in 1:20:55 (4:10's).

Then darts. Very little practice before the big match against the top of the table side which wasn't ideal. I lost the pairs 2-1 after missing doubles to win. Then in the singles I played poorly chalking up another loss. And our team got hammered 7-2 in the process and the rot continues. Next week, next week...

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentines Track Session

Another track session focused purely on marathon training. It was to be 5 x 1600m (4 laps) off one minute. I was going to try and run them slightly quicker than my km reps from the previous week.

Conditions were dry but there was a stiff wind that made the back straight tough. I was leading out the reps and was happy enough as I again felt strong throughout. Times were:


That works out to be around 3:15/km pace on average.

With warm-up/down it was 15.8kms for the day.

No darts tonight - moved to tomorrow night due to Valentines!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Here we go again

An easy run today to flush out the legs. Despite feeling great yesterday I was struggling a bit today. I knocked out my usual 11.3kms in 47:05 (4:10's).

Some photos from yesterday's race courtesy of Amphibian King.

Chatting at the start:

Approaching the finish line:

Crossing the line:

The podium:

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Maree 8km

My speed session today was to be a local race in Maree. An 8km that I managed to win last year and I decided to incorporate it into my long run to get two workouts rolled into one.

I arrived in good time to allow me time for a decent lap of the course as a warm-up. The conditions were splendid - nice and cool and no wind to speak of. This is a lovely part of the world and on the warm-up lap I had sufficient time to take in some of the fabulous views around Maree. I completed the 8km in 35 minutes exactly and then changed into my race gear and it was time for the off.

I got a decent start and there was a few young lads who sprinted off leaving us all to chase. The course has 3 decent hills. A long climb of about 500m as you approach the 2km marker, then hills after the 5km and 6km markers. You wouldn't call it super quick, but at the same time there are some lovely flat sections where you can tick along very nicely.

At about 500m I took the lead with a few runners hot on my heels. I wasn't looking at the watch but I took the time to record my splits at each of the km signs. At the start of the climb around 1.5km I knew that I had gapped the field and I pushed on up the hill. At the summit there is a welcome downhill stretch followed by a flat section that takes you out to the turnaround point at around 3.5km.

At this point I could see I had opened up a 50m lead and following the lead motorbike I had no issues running against the flow of runners coming the opposite direction. This flat section continues for about a km then it was time for a right turn to take you closer to the water for the trickier back half of the race. Through 5km and I still felt strong and shortly after it was time to take a left turn onto a much smaller road with a grass median strip.

Another climb of no more than 400m, then it flattened out again through to the next km marker. After 6km there was a shorter steeper climb, and I find this the toughest of the lot. But it was soon behind me and then it was a fairly flat run through to the finish. I tried to push the last km but despite feeling strong, I lacked some leg speed to really kick in a quick finish. That's to be expected when in marathon mode and I was very pleased to cross the finish line with a nice win to defend my title in a time of 26:22 (3:18/km pace). A bit slower than last year (19 secs) but that's explainable now that I'm an old codger.

I only have positive feedback about this race. The organisation was first class - very well marshaled and the signage was brilliant. Chip timed (the chip was in the race number - not sure if that was meant to be returned?) and the results were published within a few hours of the race being completed. A great prize as well thanks to the sponsors Amphibian King and Asics and I picked up a pair of racing flats (Asics DS racers). How good is that?

Then more running. Another lap of the course with Gerard, Paul and Paddy at a nice sedate pace. Still not content with that I then ran a further 5.2km with Paddy around the 5km course that I set my road 5km PB on back in July of last year.

All up 29.2kms for the day (total running time 2:03:32 at an average of 4:14/km).

That's 119.6kms for the week. I've just checked my training diary (read Excel spreadsheet) for the last 10 years and that's my biggest weekly distance ever! Okay not the huge distances that some people cover but I seem to be moving in the right direction.

Here are the splits:

1km 3:12
2km 3:19
3km 3:15
4km 3:19
5km 3:19
6km 3:24
7km 3:20
8km 3:14

Total 26:22

Ps, just remembered - where is my bag of nose candy I was promised from last year?!?!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Change of plan

I was going to do some faster stuff today but after consulting the coach I decided I'd incorporate it into my Sunday long run instead. It therefore opened up the window for another easy run and being a splendid day I perhaps did a bit too much.

Total run of 16.4kms in 1:09:19 (4:14's). I did a new-ish out-and-back route around the back road near the Abbey in Claregalway. Made for a pleasant change of scenery.

Now watching the mighty Spurs play. They are two nil up and there is only 5 minutes played!!!

Friday, February 10, 2012


An easy run to break up the week. Weather was again very good and I trotted round my local loop in 45:54 (11.3km at 4:04 per km). At one point a kid yelled out "jogger". I nearly gave him a piece of my mind...

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Marathon pace efforts

Today's session was 3 x 2 miles at marathon pace with 2 minutes recovery. I decided to use my short mile course (my latest estimate is that it is 3.07km out and back). So what's my marathon pace? It was 3:31/km at Dublin in my last marathon and whilst I think that's going to be beyond me that's what I went with. My target was therefore 10:48 for each rep...didn't sound too bad.

Conditions were great today. Very little wind about and nice and cool. I felt pretty comfortable throughout but had the usual thoughts of "there is no way I can keep this pace up for 42.2kms"....

Here are the times:


The 2 minutes recovery felt too long but I took it nonetheless...

All up 16.0kms with warm-up and down.

Darts premier league starts tonight. That's the next 15 weeks of Thursday nights sorted!

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Hour Plus

The session called for 70 to 80 minutes. I headed out around 4:30pm and managed to catch just over an hour of daylight which allowed for a few loops around the back roads. Conditions were very windy but the rain just about held off. All up 17.7kms in 1:16:33 (4:19's).

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Practice Pays Off

Back to the track for another marathon specific session. No ice to deal with tonight - but there was a stiff breeze in the home straight but all in all good conditions. After the normal 3.9km warm-up it was to be 10 x 1km at 10km pace with 200m jog+ recovery of around 55 to 60 seconds.

I led most of the reps and was consistently running them in the 3:16 to 3:19 range. Felt strong throughout apart from the last couple where the legs started to become tired. Good to have some company today with Barry and Owen who are both also running London right on my heels. Here are the times:


A 2.0km warm-down on the track and a hasty exit for darts.....all up 35 laps of the track in my racing flats. Tough going!

I practiced for about an hour and a half during the day and was reeling off the big scores (9 x 180s). Played okay in the pairs but lost and going into my singles the team was losing 7-0....well I managed a win after hitting another 180 followed with a 93 finish in the deciding leg. We also won the last game so it ended up as a 7-2 drubbing. Our league form has been woeful since Christmas....we will be lucky to stay second at this rate...

Monday, February 06, 2012

Big week

I need to start hitting my straps this week. I felt a lot better today and headed out for an easy loop of 11.3kms. I felt good from the start and covered the loop in 44:20 (3:55's). Amazing what a rest day can do - even if it was enforced.

A couple of big sessions required this week. Starting with km reps on the track tomorrow night. Maybe 10 at 10km pace...

Sunday, February 05, 2012

More sickness

Got home around midnight and started to feel very ill. Spent all night being/feeling sick. I eventually went to bed at 10am and had to pull the pin on XC as a result. Apologies for letting the team down - I would have given anything to be feeling better than I was - even if that meant running XC! Not sure if it was food poisining or a bug. I suspect the former as I could still taste the curry 24 hours later. Not good.

So no run today. A pretty poor week to be honest. Ice skating on the track Tuesday, a poor session on the treadmill on Thursday and nothing of note for the weekend. Looking at the positives my legs should have at least freshened up after the massage and rest day...

85.kms for the week.

England won the World Cup of darts and Ronnie won the German Masters. Get in.

Saturday, February 04, 2012


Same run as yesterday which completes the mini taper before the XC. Conditions were awful being wet and windy. Time 47:25 for 11.3km (4:12's).

A curry then went to see Gemma Hayes at the Roisin Dubh in the evening. It was all going well until.....

Friday, February 03, 2012

Leg test

An easy run to test the legs post massage. A slow 49:17 for 11.3kms (4:22's). Legs seemed a lot better.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Progressive run

The session today was an 8 mile progressive run starting at MP and finishing at HMP. My lunchtime running window disappeared and that meant an evening visit to the gym on the treadmill. I started off at 16.5km/hour and every km I notched it up by 0.1km/hour. At 10km I notched it up 0.2km/hour and repeated that at 11km and 11.5km finishing with 12km in close to 42 minutes (ave 3:30/km pace). With the run to and from the gym plus an additional 2km warm-up/down on the treadmill I registered 17.8km for the day. A bloody good sweat but not as hard as this session would have been on the road.

Later that evening I finally managed a massage. Wasn't too painful except for a few sore spots around my calves. A couple of easy days now before XC on Sunday. Yes I'm racing XC on Sunday - Masters at Boyle (7km in the mud). Hating the thought of it...

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Longer midweek run

I'll try and get this run up to an hour and a half over the next couple of months. Today I managed just over and hour and was tired going into the session after a late night/early morning. A total of 16.1kms all up in a time of 1:07:21 (4:11's).