Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Bay Run

The weather had turned and it was back to fine rain with very little breeze. Quite pleasant to run in - especially for this type of session. The Claregalway Harriers (me, Fintan and Owen) set off  (nice and early - 7am) for a 2.4km warm-up. Then straight into a 13km tempo (1km more than last week). Straight away I was hanging onto the back of Fintan as he blasted up the hill towards Carnmore. After a tough first mile I settled into my running and gradually caught Fintan back up. But as soon as that happened he would gap me again on the next hill (I really am atrocious on the hills at the moment). That's how it continued. At about 10km onwards I started to feel a little better and we carried on with my wingman a few seconds up the road. I finished the 13km in a time of 45:22 (3:29's). Very happy with that - a very solid hit-out in most peoples books.

Finishing up with a 5.0km warm-down. All up 20.4kms for the day. That's the 4th week of doing this type of tempo session and it's more of an experiment on my behalf to see if it benefits my running. The early indication is that it is - but I guess I won't know for sure until I line up for a longer race. Maybe time to plan a half marathon in the next month or so...

I was thinking back to where it all started for me - the Bay Run in Sydney. My boss who took me over to Sydney from the UK took me out to the Bay one night. I was running in a pair of Adidas casual runners and I was weighing in at 99 kgs (that's around 15 and a half stone). I hadn't run in years and boy did it show. Needless to say he left me in my wake and I got lost finishing the loop as it had gotten dark in the time it had taken me to complete the lap. Glad to say I stuck with it and the Bay became my bog standard training run. I used to call it 7kms as it always timed like 7km but I think it's closer to 6.9km (that could have changed now as they were doing work on the Bridge when I left in 2009). I liked the fact that 2 laps gave you the City to Surf distance, 3 for a half, and 6 for a full marathon (not that I ever ran 6 laps - I think 5 was as much as I ever did). I always felt I was in good nick if I could run the laps under 28 minutes (sub 4 minute/km pace). Today's run just shows how much I've progressed since then - today I was running at around 24:30 lap pace. That said, I do miss the Bay - a beautiful place to train....

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Sore legs

I could feel the track session in the old legs so took it easy today. Same run as Monday - rolling around the 11.1kms in 47:33 (4:17's). Big tempo tomorrow...

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

6 x 1km

Out to Dangan for a track session with Fintan and Owen. We ran a 15 minute warm-up, then straight into the session of 1km reps on the track off 90 seconds. Warm weather and no breeze (perfecto).

I ran them on feel. The first one was a bit sluggish then I seemed to settle into a nice rhythm. I was feeling comfortable then without warning I seemed to be hanging on a bit for the last couple - but by this stage I could see the finishing line and I was determined not to let the pace slide. I should mention that I was getting closer to 100 seconds recovery as we were all starting the rep together.

Times were as follows:


Then over to the pitches to watch the finish of the 5km race. Timmie had a great win cruising home for a comfortable victory. Then a 6.5km warm-down with the victor talking about what a mind-f**k it is when leading races. All up 15.9kms for the day.

Easy running tomorrow, more tempo on Thursday then an easy lead in to Sunday where it looks like I'll give the Sky Road 10km a crack (more of a mountaineering expedition I've been told)...

Monday, May 28, 2012

That is all

Local loop of 11.1kms in 46:28 (4:11's).

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Something different

I met up with Timmie, Gerry and Sean for a run around the Clarinbridge/Craughwell area. We started at the Colga pitches and did a 2 lap course covering road and trail. The time soon passed with constant banter and we clocked up 20.4kms in 1:31:15 (4:28's). I was tired at the end - probably due to the hot conditions.

That's 89.2kms for the week. Again another good week. Three speed sessions and a longish run which should cover all the bases.

I guess I should look to race next week. I'll give the 5km series a miss and maybe race on the long weekend. Any suggestions?

Saturday, May 26, 2012

The Hairdryer

With temperatures through the roof, it was hard to get motivated today. I put off the run until around 6pm and it was still very hot. Plus it was very windy. I decided to do some 5 minute efforts locally using the same location I normally use...

A 3.6km run to the start and straight into it. The first effort had all of my 3 Achilles heels covered - heat, uphill and into the wind. Despite running hard the time wasn't pretty. The return leg got a lot easier running downhill with wind behind. After this one the shirt came off (serious mode). It was a struggle but the times improved. All off 90 seconds recovery. Here you go:


Happy enough with that. In an ideal world they would all be under 5 minutes (the course is 1.53km) - but when conditions are tough then it's all about the effort level and I certainly wasn't bludging out there.

I finished up with a 2.3km warm-down to give me 14.9kms for the day.

A few pints (cider for a change) and a game of darts in the evening. I hit my first 180 in about a month - just haven't been playing or practising enough...

Friday, May 25, 2012

Resting up

No run today. I was hoping to get out on my bike for a bit of exercise but that never happened. I suppose the rest will do me good.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

12km tempo run and cows

A similar run to last week plus an extra km. Out the door at 7:15am with Fintan. A 2.4km warm-up then straight into it. The tempo felt a lot more comfortable than last week - I felt good apart from the uphills! The 12km took 48:17 (3:32's). Good going - the best I've felt in training since London.

We finished up with a 5.9km warm-down. Session over just after 8:30am. That's 20.3kms for the day.

Nearly forgot, the tempo was interrupted by a herd of cows blocking the road a few kms in. We had to stop the watch for about 30 seconds whilst getting past them. Quite amusing looking back - can't recall that happening before!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Recovery run

Still feeling tired so took it really easy today. All up 11.1kms in 48:17 (4:21's). It was still warm and very windy - the first 4km took me about 80 seconds more than normal running into the wind.

The warm weather looks set to continue for the rest of the week - not complaining mind!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Craughwell 5km

Another warm day - around 18 degrees and a bit muggy. After doing a short couple of kms warm-up I was already sweating up nicely.

The horn sounded and I hit the front. I took the first km out quickly running down through the village into the breeze. I wasn't feeling great and as soon as I hit the first km marker I wanted the race to be over. Ignoring the watch I continued plugging away but I just didn't have any zip in the legs. I had opened up a decent lead but couldn't build on it. I had a decent patch for about 500m after the 3km marker but then struggled home for a time of 15:55 for the win.

I suppose the time wasn't too bad considering but I could certainly feel the race from Saturday in the legs. Then a lap warm-down with Timmie and Johnny. I got the feeling that there was a mixed bag of results out there. Some continue to improve through the series but it seems the heat slowed others. Also I don't know if it was just me but there seems to be a lot of gradual uphill in the last 4kms of this course? You probably wouldn't even notice it if you had a good run...

All up 13.0kms for the day. Here are the splits:

1km 3:01
2km 3:16
3km 3:13
4km 3:11
5km 3:15

Total 15:56

I'll give next week a miss out at Dangan and then come out firing for the last one in the series in Tuam.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Start of summer?

I wasn't going to run today but I couldn't resist doing a late run as the temperatures had shot up. I took it really easy doing a short loop of 9.5kms in 40:59 (4:19's). Race tomorrow.

Here are a couple of photos from Balla on the weekend courtesy of the Mayo AC website. This first one is just after the start; the second one in the last km where I look like I'm at deaths door...

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Tough going

I met up with Timmie and Owen for a run starting at Roscam. I was feeling very shabby but the constant chat helped to pass the time. We ran out to Maree, ran most of the 5km course out there, then returned back to Roscam with an additional section on the return leg. All up 20.3kms in 1:28:34 (4:22's). That will do.

All up 85.7kms for the week. A good week with 3 decent sessions plus a longish run to finish. This week I'm considering running the 5km Tuesday night out at Craughwell. Then a longer tempo on Thursday and some shorter intervals on Saturday.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Balla 8km

A solo drive to Balla for the 8km race. It's about an hour away and the time soon passed listening to the new Human Don't Be Angry band which is Malcolm Middleton's latest project. Really good stuff.

Conditions were good. Nice and cool and a bit of a breeze. A very short warm-up of around a km, then a few strides before lining up for the off. The course was the last 8km of the 10km course. It's a rollercoaster of a course - constant ups and downs and difficult to get into any sort of a rhythm.

Myself and Roger Barrett hit the front - the same pattern as last year in the Mayo League. I took it out really hard and tried a few surges in the opening km but these were to no avail. We were running shoulder to shoulder and that's how it continued for a majority of the race. Each km was getting slower and slower and by half way I had resigned myself to holding on for a final km shoot-out. The course in the back half of the race is definitely tougher. I sat in behind Roger and even tried a few token surges on the hills which were fairly half-hearted. Okay get to 7km and try to bring it home.

As we hit the last km we were still running together. I tried to lift the pace but I didn't seem to have much in the legs today but it was enough to open up a small gap. The last 500m is downhill but it felt like an uphill and I managed to hold on crossing the line in 26:01 for the win. Very happy with the time as it felt 30 seconds or so slower. The splits tell the story:

1km 3:03
2km 3:09
3km 3:11
4km 3:19 (12:42)
5km 3:29
6km 3:21
7km 3:19
8km 3:10 (13:19)

Total 26:01

I finished up with a 5.2km warm-down to give me 14.2kms for the day. Hopefully better things to come in the remaining races in the series.

Out in the evening to watch the footy. Lots of beers consumed and wobbled home around 11pm.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Resting up

No running today - just giving the legs a break in preparation for tomorrow's race.

A few beers tonight and that's me done.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Same as last week plus 10%

The session today was a longer tempo run. Last week it was 10km so we upsized to 11km running locally in Claregalway. I ran with Fintan who arrived bright and early (being in the baking trade he is used to early mornings - clearly I am not!). After a 2km warm-up we upped the pace and ran around the back roads. The 11km wasn't particularly comfortable but I survived in a time of 39:13 (3:34's). Then a slow 3.8km run home for 16.8kms in total.

Nice to get these runs out of the way. All done by 8:30am. I'll take tomorrow off as a rest day so I have over 48 hours recovery now before I race on Saturday.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Midweek Meander

A local loop of 11.1km in 46:39 (4:12's). I could feel the track session in the legs from yesterday despite taking it easy enough. One step forwards and two steps back at the moment...

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Return to the track

After a warm-up around the pitches (3.6km) it was time to make the long awaited return to the track. The session sounded fairly straight forward: 4 x 400 off a minute, 16 minute tempo, 4 x 400 off a minute (with 3 minutes either side of the tempo).
I took the session fairly easy. I decided to run a 5km tempo at 3:20/km pace and the session went as follows:

16:41 for 5km

Finishing off with a 2.0km warm-down to give me 13.8kms for the day. Job done.

Training partner Fintan notched up his first ever win in the 5km series tonight out at Loughrea. A great time of 16:16 and the first of many victories I'd say!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Still windy and some London analysis

Local loop of 9.5km in 38:47 (4:05's). The spring seems to be slowly returning to the step just in time for the track session tomorrow.

I had a good luck at my position in the London Marathon at each 5km split. Makes for some interesting reading:

5km 88th
10km 95th
15km 100th
20km 91st
Half 84th
25km 83rd
30km 74th
35km 67th
40km 59th
Full 61st

So despite a poorish second half of the race for myself, I still managed to improve 23 positions after halfway. Some of these must have been drop-outs, but that aside I must have overtaken more people than I gave myself credit for.

One other thing, looking at the positions at halfway, the splits show 27 people in the range of 1:14:00 to 1:14:59. These would be people who I ran with in the big group for the first half of the race. Of them, only 4 went on to get the sub 2:30:

sub 2:30 - 4 (quickest 2:29:12)
sub 2:31 - 3 (me in that group)
sub 2:32 - 4
sub 2:33 - 0
sub 2:34 - 4
sub 2:35 - 2
sub 2:36 - 0
sub 2:37 - 3
sub 2:38 - 0
sub 2:39 - 0
sub 2:40 - 2
2:40 and over - 4 (2:41,2:45,2:46,2:47 - all big blow-ups)
DNF - 1

Not one negative split! So what does that mean? People over-estimating their ability and going off too quick? Probably...but perhaps there is another explanation?

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Decent Week

I finished the week with another easy run of 11.1kms in 45:22 (4:05's). I was feeling good today which was surprising as it was one of the windiest days that you could wish for.

That's 79.0kms for the week which isn't too bad. A good week with 2 decent sessions (5km race and 10km tempo). Time to really knuckle down next week starting with a return to the track on Tuesday, another session on Thursday, race on Saturday and long on Sunday. That structure of 3 sessions a week plus long run on Sunday is something I want to hit for the next few months.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

The Early Bird

An early run with Fintan around Claregalway. A beautiful morning for a run but the legs felt a little tired - especially in the last few kms. All up 20.1km in 1:26:58 (4:20's).

Nice to have the run done and dusted by 8:30am.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Easy Friday

My old local loop of 9.5kms in 39:02 (4:07's). The new bridge is now open so no need to jump the barriers anymore.

Out to watch the ballet in the evening. Very cultured.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

The Great Race

I was asked to run the course of a new upcoming race in Galway called the Great Race (June 17th). It's a 10km that starts and finishes at the Galway Racecourse and the idea was to run it as a tempo session to get a feel for the course. I ran it with Fintan and the route starts with a half-lap of the racecourse (running anti-clockwise), then out onto the roads before finishing with almost a full clockwise lap of the racecourse (the finish line is the same one used by the horses). The route uses the sealed path around the racecourse so you avoid having to run on grass so basically the whole route is on paths and road.

We ran it comfortably hard covering the 10km in 35:35. A good quick start to the course, with a short-sharp 300m climb at around the 7km mark, and an uphill finish as you round the last corner running up to the grandstand. All in all a very enjoyable route and certainly a quick course if you take the run out hard using the net downhill in the first half.

All up 13.4kms for the day with warm-up/down. Forgot to mention the knee - still not great but I took a couple of ibuprofen beforehand which must have helped. Not good practice and something I don't make a habit of but I'm sure all runners have done the same at some point...

Wednesday, May 09, 2012


I think I overdid it a bit yesterday. I pulled up with a sore right knee which I think I may have jarred or something. Easily done and I suspect it could have been during the long downhill section in the 3rd km of the race.

The pain was more getting up and down from a chair, or climbing the stairs, but seemed okay when walking. So I decided to try and run and was conscious of the knee the whole way as I tentatively eased into my running. I got round covering the 11.1kms in 47:03 (4:14's). I'll live...

Session planned for tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Claregalway 5km

It turned out to be a lovely evening. A bit of a breeze but nothing to worry about. I ran down to the start from my home to collect my number, then a few kms warm-up with Fintan before lining up at the start. All the usual suspects were in attendance and it promised to be a good hit-out.

The same course as last year with the first km containing a nasty 600m climb. I was at the front with Peter as we pushed along. I felt pretty good and with the feedback from the first km marker of 3:13 it looked like I was in for a decent time. For the next couple of kms I settled into my running - the legs and breathing felt fine and I tried a few surges to shake Peter off but he was having none of it.

I probably backed off a little through the 4th km trying to save myself for a quick finish. Peter was still shadowing me and I knew he had a kick at the end so I decided to make my move as we rounded the last bend leaving about 500m to the finish. I kicked hard and immediately opened a small gap but there was still a long way to go and the finishing area didn't seem to be getting any closer! I told myself I was enjoying this and managed to maintain the pace crossing the line for the win in 15:45.

Very pleased with that and surprised I ran so well only 2 weeks post marathon. This was a few seconds quicker than when I won this race last year but tonight it felt quite comfortable (except for the burst of speed at the end)...

Here are the splits:

1km 3:13
2km 3:10
3km 3:11
4km 3:14
5km 2:57 (!!!)

Total 15:45

I finished up with 5km warm-down. Lots of PBs out there tonight and although you'd say the course isn't the quickest going round, you can still run a decent time if you attack in the right places. Peter (2nd 15:48) and Fintan (3rd 16:16) both had super runs notching up 30 second plus PBs. Well done.

All up 13.5kms (approx) for the day. I'll certainly do 1 or 2 more of these races in the coming weeks to try and get a quicker time. I think sub 15:30 would be a nice stretch target!

Monday, May 07, 2012

Potting balls off the lampshade

Ronnie wins the snooker. Fantastic viewing!

No run today. A rest day before getting back on the horse tomorrow for the Claregalway 5km. It's one of those races where my time could be anything. I'm hoping the competitive streak will kick-in and I can string together a few fast kms...could be tricky as it's a hilly one

I've had plenty of time now to reflect on London. Here's some thoughts on what went wrong:

1) The heat - a little too hot for me (I mentioned this already)

2) The group - a great group for the first half of the race and then solo running the entire second half. I can't explain what happened to the group - it just disintegrated. Being dragged round until 20 miles could have made the difference between sub 2:30 or bust.

3) Nutrition - my carbo load was perfect but I may have missed a trick with my gels. I only used one gel in all my training runs so I wasn't used to them come race day. I really struggled keeping the last couple down during the race. Put simply I don't think my body was used to them (poor planning)

4) Old age - I can't really use this as an excuse as one of the Moroccan elites ran 2:07 finishing 5th overall! Just goes to show what can be done!

If I think of any more excuses I'll let you know...

Sunday, May 06, 2012

Long of sorts

I met with Owen at Dangan and we ran the Cathedral Run route. Still not feeling great with the lingering sore throat and general tiredness and struggled round notching up 18.6kms in 1:23:02 (4:28's).

That's 70.4kms for the week and not one sub 4 minute km since the marathon...

Ronnie all the way in the snooker!

Saturday, May 05, 2012

Sore throat

I woke up with a very sore throat. I must be a bit run down. After spending most of the day painting one of the bedrooms I decided to try a short run. It was a real struggle and I ran 9.5kms in 39:54 (4:12's).

A longer run planned for tomorrow.

Friday, May 04, 2012

More easy stuff

I ran my local loop of 11.1km in 45:44 (4:07's). A bit quicker than Monday but not feeling at all comfortable.

A long weekend coming up. Plenty of snooker and footy to watch with Ronnie looking good for his 4th world title.

Thursday, May 03, 2012


I took a rest day today. The legs just don't feel nowhere near right post marathon. Perhaps I've been overdoing it a bit.

Watched snooker and darts with a few beers instead.

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Come on Ronnie!

I ran my old loop today. The new bridge is still not completed but after hopping over a few barriers it was possible to get across and I ran the 9.5kms in 39:20 (4:09's). I'll have to measure this course with the Garmin as no doubt it will measure it as 9kms...

A quick mention of the World Championship snooker that it being played at the moment. Lots of seeded players have fallen by the wayside and that's left it open for Ronnie to pick up his 4th title. He was playing sublime snooker in beating Neil Robertson 13-10 - one visit snooker at its best. I honestly can't see anyone pushing him close now we move into the even longer format semi-finals!

Plus Tottenham back on form. As soon as Harry was removed from the frame of the England job the mighty Spurs spring back into life. Two wins will see us in the Champions League next year...

Tuesday, May 01, 2012


I made a late call to head out to Newcastle near Athenry to watch the first race of this year's 5km series. Conditions were pretty poor - windy and wet and upon arrival I ran a few kms on the course before heading down to the finish to watch the closing stages of the race.

Quite a few people were commenting on whether I had missed the start of the race - but I had no intention of racing as the legs still aren't ready. Good to see these races from a spectators perspective and just the motivation I need to get fired up for the next race in the series which happens to be in Claregalway. Handy Arry.

I finished up chatting with a few people before running the guts of the course to get a few more kays in. All up 10.6km in 47:11.