Saturday, March 31, 2012

Nothing Day

No running today. A bit of freshening up before tomorrow's race. The course profile shows a big hill of around 2 miles at the start, then a further hill of similar distance at about three quarters of the way through. It's a net uphill course and as I mentioned earlier in the week I'll be happy with a time around 1hr 15.

Heading into town this afternoon to pick up my race number, get some new gels, and to purchase some new gear at the sports shop. Will aim for a beer free night tonight...

Friday, March 30, 2012

Big discrepancy

An easy run around my local loop of 11.3km (from MapMyRun). It turns out that the Garmin measures it closer to 11.0km. That's a big difference. Not sure what to believe!

Anyway, the time was 45:22 and if I trust the Garmin that's 4:07/km pace. Feeling good and looking forward to the race on Sunday.

Thursday, March 29, 2012


Another longish session today. The brief was 2 miles warm-up, then alternate between a mile at MP followed by a relaxed mile stopping at 10 miles (all up 4 miles at MP). I ran my local loop and added a bit on at the end and the flats/downhills all seemed to come in the right places! My splits for the miles were:

5:34, 5:40, 5:41, 5:31

All up 16.4km in 1:04:12 (3:55/km pace). Nice change from imperial to metric right there...

I didn't feel that good on the efforts to be honest. I seemed to be working a lot harder than you should be running at MP. You need to be comfortable running at your target MP - almost like you're jogging along. Today it didn't feel like that at all...

Finally, Dad left at lunchtime to fly back to the UK. So the socialising should be more scarce in the final 3 plus weeks to the marathon...a good chance to catch up on some sleep!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Running a half soon

I headed out at lunchtime in the midday sun. I wasn't at my best after a late night coupled with a few too many beers the night before. Once I got going it wasn't too bad but the last 30 minutes were a real grind. All up 21.1kms in 1:28:04 (4:10's).

Thoughts turn to the half on Sunday. It's a really tough hilly course and in speaking to people if you get within a few minutes of your PB you are doing well. I might set myself a goal time of sub 1hr 15 as that would be target marathon pace. If I could achieve that then running the same pace on a flat London course should be a lot more comfortable. So with this race in mind I'll be taking it relatively easy for the remainder of the week...

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Almost as hot as Sydney...

Out to Dangan for a session that promised to be a tough one (in 20 degree plus heat!). The session for those in marathon training was 4 x 400, 4 x 1600, 4 x 400. All off one minute...

Luckily the start of the session tied in with the middle distance runners who were to run 10 x 400 off a minute. I led out the first lap in a sluggish 74 seconds, but after that things improved. Here are the times:


Really pleased to keep the miles consistent at 5 minutes. Running these off a minute is tough and I was having to work harder than I would have liked in doing so. The legs were feeling tired going into the session so it was pleasing to put together some good reps. I have to say that the final 4 x 400 were like desert. Whilst the minute recovery seemed tough between the miles, it was more than enough between the one lappers and they felt a lot easier in comparison.

All up 15.3km with a 3.7km warm-up and 2.0km warm-down.

Darts in the evening and we were playing the top team who dished out a right hiding of 7-2. I played very well and lost both games. I had 2 darts to win both the pairs and singles in the deciding leg but it was not to be. You really have to take those chances against the top players. To give you an idea of the standard, in my singles game I lost the first leg in 15 darts. The second leg was a bit scrappy and I managed to win after my opponent missed a few darts on the double. In the decider I was on 96 after 15 darts and missed 2 darts at double 18 after hitting treble 20 with my first dart. My opponent then took out 94 for the match. Close but no cigar...I have to mention that my Dad won both his games after making a guest appearance for the team. I'm not going to hear the end of that for a very long time...

Monday, March 26, 2012


Beautiful running conditions at the moment. Hot and sunny. Rolled out my normal loop of 11.3km in 45:32 (4:02's).

Another victory for me against the old man at darts last night. Not our best game but managed to win a marathon best of 31 legs...

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Longest Sunday

I met with Owen, Barry and Fintan out at Dangan. We started on the Cathedral Run but added an extra section out towards Ferbo which made for a very pleasant change. The pace started slow with a few 5 minutes kms to kick off with, but the pace gradually picked up as we made our way back to Dangan. The weather was glorious today - blue sky and sunshine and for the first time this last week you could really feel the warmth of the sun.

I never felt comfortable today. It has been a big week of training and with 3 good sessions in the legs already I was looking at the watch more than I normally would. I've been lacking sleep and losing an hour overnight with the clocks changing didn't help things. On the positive it's another very good week of training in the bag and I think I'll be jumping out of my skin when I finally freshen up.

All up 34.2km for the day in 2:26:01 (4:15's). That's 115.9kms for the week and nice to get back over triple figures.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Saturday session

Another speed session today. This time it was 3 minutes, 6 x 6 minutes, 3 minutes (off 90 seconds recovery). After a 2.4km warm-up I eased into the session and armed with some Garmin data I can report the following:

Duration Pace Distance

3:01 3:30/km 863m
6:00 3:27/km 1.74km
6:00 3:21/km 1.80km
5:59 3:22/km 1.78km
6:01 3:22/km 1.79km
6:01 3:21/km 1.80km
6:02 3:19/km 1.82km
3:00 3:11/km 944m

I ran local and after a slow start, I managed to run well enough for the last 6 efforts. Very tired again after a late night and another night on the beers...

Very impressed with the Garmin. A very useful training aid. I should have got one of these years ago...

All up 18kms for the day after a couple of kms warm-down. A very long run planned for tomorrow...

Friday, March 23, 2012

Fields of Athenry

I didn't run today. Instead my exercise was a game of golf out at Athenry. I was awful which is as per the norm. Good fun nonetheless and finally my Dad has something to brag about with a narrow victory...

That was short-lived as I beat him again at darts. I hit 6 x 180's during the match and had a couple of chances for 11 dart legs (down to below 100 after 9 darts). Poor finishing was the theme of the night...

Feeling knackered after my "rest day"...

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Speeding Up

Another acceleration session. The brief was to get quicker and try and run 5 to 8km at marathon pace or better towards the end of the run. I was again using the garmin and the km laps were as follows:


All up 16.3kms in 1:01:29.

Legs felt heavy and tired so pleased to get through it in one piece.

Rest day planned tomorrow.

Darts and beer in the evening. Played well at darts dishing out another hiding to my old man!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Longest Wednesday

The brief was to run 1hr30 today. I headed out at lunchtime and armed with a Garmin that I have on loan (thanks Brendan!), I decided to run a new route. Basically I ran from Claregalway to Oranmore village (8kms), then ran a further 3km along the coast road heading towards Galway. At 11kms I then turned and ran the same route in reverse giving me 22kms all up in 1:31:21 (4:09's).

I felt pretty tired throughout but despite that the pace was quite quick. I'll take that as being a good sign that I'm running well. My first ever Garmin run and I feel like I bonded well. My eyesight is not the greatest without glasses so I need to reconfigure the display to make the text a bit bigger. Looking at the manual that seems to be fairly straight-forward. Impressed thus far.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Pyramid session with bells on

Out to Dangan for another track session. I made the decision to run the session comfortably and wouldn't be pushing the pace but again I felt pretty good and was very happy with the outcome.

After an initial 3.7km warm-up and a few drills it was time to find out what delights were in store. The group session was 400/800/1200/1600/1200/800/400 off one minute but the marathon guys (me and Owen) had to run a bonus km at the start and end of the session. Cheers.

I eased into it and ran the first km very controlled. Then we joined the main group and rolled out the session. Here are my times:

1km 3:12
400m 1:13
800m 2:27
1200m 3:39
1600m 4:57
1200m 3:43
800m 2:24
400m 1:06
1km 3:04

I was getting more than a minute recovery as we were taking the minute from the middle of the quick group so I was getting an extra 5 to 20 seconds depending on the length of the previous effort. The times were very pleasing as I could still feel the 10 mile race in the legs but despite that I seemed to be bounding along strongly.

Finishing up with a 2km warm-down. All up 14.1kms for the day.

The darts match was cancelled but that didn't stop me going down the boozer for some practice post run. Another late night...

Monday, March 19, 2012

Start of a big week

Some analysis from yesterday's race. Here are the splits with last years times in brackets:

Mile 1 5:09 (5:09)
Mile 2 5:24 (5:30)
Mile 3 5:24 (5:24)
Mile 4 5:27 (5:22)
Mile 5 5:31 26:55 (5:28) (26:53)
Mile 6 5:18 (5:11)
Mile 7 5:18 (5:20)
Mile 8 5:17 (5:15)
Mile 9 5:26 (5:22)
Mile 10 5:19 26:38 (5:19) (26:27)

Total 53:33 (53:20)

Basically very similar. I forgot to mention I also managed to retain my county 10 mile title as the first 2 runners were not Galway based, plus GCH won the county team title. So more medals for the kids to play with!

Today was an easy recovery run around my 11.3km route. I felt surprisingly good after the run/beer clocking 45:47 (4:03's).

Here is a photo from the race:

And another one of the first 3 Harriers home:

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Craughwell 10 Miler

I only managed a short warm-up of around a mile before the race. A few strides and it was time to line up for the 1pm start. Conditions looked to be good. Plenty of blue sky and sunshine around and the wind didn't seem to be too bad...

I went straight to the front group of 4 as we settled into the race. We were running into the wind and the first mile has some nice downhill sections which meant a quick first mile of 5:09. Midway through the second mile I wasn't feeling particularly great and I was soon gapped leaving me alone in 4th place, whilst the front 3 started to work away. I missed the 2 mile marker and kept plodding away still not feeling great - perhaps running into the wind was tougher than I had imagined.

My split of 10:48 at mile 3 for the last 2 miles showed that I had slowed significantly. This wasn't good. That trend continued through miles 4 (5:27) and mile 5 (5:31) to reach halfway in 26:55. At this point the front 2 runners had broken clear leaving me to chase Paul Buckley in 3rd who I had a good battle with in the same race last year. At the halfway point someone shouted out that after the next right-hand turn the wind would be on the back all the way home. Sure enough as soon as I took that turn I started to feel a lot better. I counted a gap of around 15 seconds on Paul and started to work on reducing the gap.

Mile 6 arrived in 5:18 so I had at least managed to get the legs moving again. I would say I had halved the gap and sure enough at around the 7 mile marker (another 5:18) I caught Paul and went straight past him. This was definitely a race of 2 halves as I was feeling much better and I continue to push the pace. At mile 8 I was still full of running and another decent split of 5:17. This section of the course was a little tough as you take another turn down a narrow country road with a grass median strip but I continued to plug away until I rejoined the main part of the course with the long mile and a half run up to the school. A slowish 9th mile of 5:26 but I was still feeling good and I managed to lift the pace again for the last mile.

This mile seems to last forever but compared to last year I was still feeling strong. I had consolidated 3rd place and the first 2 runners were out of sight so I had the opportunity to enjoy the run home crossing the line in 53:33 for 3rd place with a 5:19 last mile.

Happy with that. I was 13 seconds slower than last year but ran most of the race by myself after I dropped off the front group. The first half of the race was tough but it felt a lot better in the second half and I never felt like I was outright red-lining. A good confidence booster for London. Straight on the McMillan and that time gives me 1:11:07 for the half and 2:29:59 for the full. That's exactly where I want to be.

A very slow 4 mile warm-down to give me 15 miles for the day. Really tough going and by the end of that I was very low on energy. A few cup cakes and cups of tea and I was back on track.

A great race which was very well organised as per last year. Lots of PB's by fellow Harriers which shows that all the training of late is starting to fall into place. Well done to all.

Lots of beer to report in the evening with some belated St Patrick's Day celebrations. Ouch.

That's 24.1km for the day and 84.0km for the week. Two more big weeks of training then time to wind it back for the marathon. Photos to follow.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

More snooker

With the final of the PTC Championship in town at the moment it was another opportunity to watch the snooker up close out at the University. I missed out on seeing Judd (knocked out) and Ronnie (withdrew) and instead had the please of watching Andrew Higginson Vs Xiau Guodong in the first QF. A very poor game with lots of missed pots and Higginson eventually winning 4-1.

The second QF was Neil Robertson Vs Joe Perry. This started a lot better with Robertson making a 131 break in the first frame, only for Perry to reply with a century of his own to level things up. The quality of the snooker fell away a little with Perry missing a few easy balls and that presented Robertson with frame winning chances which he didn't miss out on. He went on to win 4-1. Not a bad night but I don't think I'll be rushing back to watch live matches any more...I seem to enjoy it a lot more watching it on the tele...

No running today. Thoughts turn to the race tomorrow. If I can get anywhere near last years time of 53:20 I'll be delighted.

Friday, March 16, 2012


A final easy run of 11.3kms in 45:40 (4:02's). Feeling really good.

Out in the evening to watch a snooker exhibition match in town involving Ken Docherty. A great evening and the highlight being a 137 break by Ken. His touch around the black was incredible. I think he only missed one easy ball all night...and easily beat the 9 players that were put before him...

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Easy run and massage

Another easy run of 11.3kms. I picked up the pace for 3-4 minutes at a time in a couple of spots to get the heart rate up. Time 44:22 (3:56's).

Massage in the evening. No real niggles except for the sore neck that still persists. Apart from that I feel that I'm in decent nick. A game of darts in the pub with the old man to finish off the day. Happy to report a 15-13 victory.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Winding back

Easy running for the rest of the week until the race on Sunday. Today I was down for an hour - I did my normal 11.3km loop and then tagged a bit on at the end to get me up to 13.1km in a very relaxed 56:49 (4:20's).

Dad arrived today so trying to keep a low profile on the socialising front until after the race. That said there will be no AFD's between then and now...

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Coming into form

What a difference a week makes. Despite a lack of sleep, I was looking forward to tonight's track session. The plan was to run 1km followed by 400m with 60 seconds between efforts and 90 seconds between sets. The volume was reduced and we "only" had to do 5 sets. That's 7km of track running compared with around 10km the last few weeks.

Conditions were spot on. Hardly a breath of wind, bone dry and everyone doing the same session. I was up the front for most of the session and it felt really easy. I only started to feel the pinch halfway through the last set and by that time it was almost over. Times were:


Nice to wind the pace up throughout the session and a sub 3 minute km to report. Long time since I've run one of those. With warm-up (3.9km) and warm down (2.0km) it's another 12.9km to add to the tally.

Everyone in the front group was running well tonight. Some great improvements in times and that bodes well for everyone racing on Sunday. It's getting very competitive at the pointy end which is great for the club.

Darts later in the evening and a league match out at Clarinbridge. We won 6-3 overall and I won both my pairs and singles and I was happy with how I played. The singles was a really close game and I was throwing second in the deciding leg and managed to take out 112 (T20, S20, D16) for the match. Whilst on the darts, I managed to squeeze in some practice today at home (for the first time in a fortnight) and I chalked up my 100th 180 for the year (now at 102). Target is 365 for the year (one a day!).

Monday, March 12, 2012

An easyish week

In the run in to the Craughwell 10 miler on Sunday it's time to cut back the volume this week (but not the intensity). Today was an easy run to shake out the legs after yesterday's long run. Total 11.3kms in 44:52 (3:58's). I felt really good today despite the sore neck. Weather still perfect for running with very little wind around. Hopefully it stays like that for tomorrow's track session which is sets of 1km then 400m.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Pain In the Neck

I managed to twist/crick my neck/shoulder in the drive to Craughwell. Upon arrival I tried jogging very gingerly and I was in a fair bit of discomfort. Time to man up and get this over with...

The run today was a long run around the Craughwell 10 mile course as a bit of a recce for next week's race. Conditions were just about perfect: dry and very little wind. The marathon runners (myself, Owen and Fintan) were joined by Gerry, Paul and Sean who were doing a bit of a tempo session. Our brief was to run a relaxed 2 hours but the other 3 were soon pushing the pace along nicely knocking out a few 6 minute miles along the way. After finishing the first loop, the other 3 ran home leaving us to run another loop. At this point Fintan decided to push on leaving myself and Owen in pursuit. Relaxed it was not!

After completing the second loop we ran back to the school where we had started. All up 30.2km (18.8 miles) in 2:02:59. That's 4:04/km pace so a good honest clip.

Neck still very sore and had to resort to painkillers when I got home.

Another 100km week to report - this time 109.3kms. That's 5 on the trot now and 7 out of the last 8 weeks. Very consistent. Looking forward to the race next week - the course is superb - very flat with only a few drags and should be a good field to help get dragged around.

Saturday, March 10, 2012


One of the hazards of running around the local back roads is that you often have a few close encounters with dogs. They can hear you coming and they then run out of the driveways and chase you down the road. I'm not afraid of dogs but when an unknown mutt comes charging after you it always gets the blood pumping and tends to cause an injection of 3 minute km pace. I counted 7 dog episodes in one run recently. After a while you know where they are but occasionally you get taken by surprise. No injuries to report yet but a few close shaves. Enough waffle.

Today was 15, 10 and 5 minutes off 3 minutes recovery. I ran up to Carnmore Cross as my warm-up (4.0km), then started my session running back towards Claregalway, then turning off at the Rock Road and continuing around the Claregalway 5km course. After 15 minutes I had covered 4.5km (3:20/km pace). I then jogged back to the start of my 5 minute course (400m) which I was to use for the rest of the session. I ran this out and back for the 10 minute effort turning in 4:54 with a tough run into the wind on the return leg finishing in 10:08 (3:18/km pace). The last 5 minutes I decided to give it a real nudge and with the benefit of the wind I got to my end point in 4:41 and ran on for the full 5 minutes (3:04/km pace).

I felt really strong today. Probably due to the rest day. Nice to get a decent session in to get my confidence back with the feeling I had some still in reserve. Finishing up with 3.7kms warm-down and that gives me 17.3km for the day.

Friday, March 09, 2012

Letting myself go

No run today. Instead I went on a reverse health kick eating crap food including bacon sandwiches, pizza, crisps and peanuts. Finishing up with a few too many beers. Nice one.

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Moves Like Jagger

I couldn't face a windy dark run so I headed to the gym. The session was 8-10 miles with between 2 and 5 miles at MP depending on how you were feeling. I still wasn't feeling great but wanted a decent session as tomorrow is a scheduled rest day.

I did 3 miles warm-up gradually lifting the pace and then ran 5 miles (8km) at 5:38/mile (3:30/km) pace. Finishing up with a couple more slow miles to give me 10 miles overall in 1:01:25. The breathing felt okay but the legs are still unresponsive. The above song came on as I was finishing the last of my MP miles and I couldn't resist throwing in a few facial expressions and hand claps. In my head.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Legs not mine

I left the run late and that meant a night run up and down the N17. I added on a bit at the end to get the time up finishing with 1:20:15 for 18.5kms (4:20's). Another struggle and pleased to get it over with.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Tough session...

Out to Dangan for my weekly dose of track. The weather was awful - cold, very wet and windy. I don't feel like I'm hitting my straps and I carried that mentaility into the session expecting to struggle. Guess what - I did....

Usual 3.9km warm-up then the session was 2x1km, 3x2km, 2x1km. The coach said I should be able to run at 3:10/km pace but after the first lap that went out of the window. Grit the teeth, run hard and get the session over with.

My times were very poor. Here goes:


The wind around the final bend and home straight was a real leg sapper. At times I was hardly moving made all the worse by driving rain in the mush. Not pleasant.

Oh well, another session in the bag. I finished up with a 2km warm-down and that's another 15.9km to log.

Darts in the evening. Quarter finals of the cup. I won both my pairs and singles but didn't score that well. No practice all week so happy with that and we won overall to progress to the semis...

Monday, March 05, 2012

Back to Galway

Too much falling down water and then the long drive to Galway so struggled to get out of the door. I ended up running an easy local loop in 47:35 for 11.3kms (4:13's). Legs not feeling great at the moment. One more tough week to get through this week and then a mini-taper for the Craughwell 10 miler on March 18th. That will be a really good gauge of where I'm at fitness-wise. Hopefully all the mileage will start paying dividends...

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Cork Day 3

Today was a long run. I delayed the run until the afternoon which is never good as you have it hanging over you. I had no idea where to run so did a large flat out and back run out past Ballincollig until I ran out of footpath. That got me around 1hr 45 mins so I then did some mini-loops down by the river to get the distance up. All up 32kms (estimate) in 2:20:26 (4:23/km pace). Slow but good time on the feet and another 20 miler in the legs (weather good except for the icy sleet shower for the first 10 minutes).

I really need to get one of those Garmin thingamejigs as it's all well and good when you run locally and you know your distances but not so good when running in new locations. I think I'd also find the pace you are running at very handy. If anyone wants to buy me a 610 then I'd be eternally grateful!

All up 124.7kms for the week.

Saturday, March 03, 2012

Cork Day 2

A slight change to the plan this week reverting back to the old structure of a speed session on Saturday. I was down for 3 x 12 minutes off 3 minutes and I managed to find a good loop down by the river that was exactly 12 minutes. After a 4km warm-up I rattled off the 3 x 12 minutes covering around 3.6km each time (3:20/km pace). The same 4km warm-down and that gives me 18.8km for the day.

Friday, March 02, 2012

Cork Day 1

Arrived in Cork on Friday after the 3 hour drive. I was straight out for an easy 50 minute run to try and get my bearings. We were staying near the University and did a few slow out and back runs to get a feel for the place. Time 50:37 and I estimate I covered 11.3kms. Beer and food followed.

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Spring in the air

But not in my legs. Today was a mini version of the long run last Sunday. I ran 3.5kms warm-up, then ran 4.9km at MP (3:36 pace), then 4.1km at HMP (3:23's), finishing with another 3.5km warm-down. All up 16kms in 1:03:42 (3:59's).

I still wasn't feeling great tonight and the first MP effort was very sluggish. I really pushed the HMP effort and was happy to lift the pace a bit but it was a lot harder than it should have been. I then walked for a minute before the slow crawl home.

Holiday tomorrow so will get plenty of sleep and try and recharge the batteries.