Friday, August 31, 2012

Taper done

Last run today before Sunday's race. A very leisurely 7.1kms in 31:20 (4:25's). The legs feel tired so I'm hoping with a day off tomorrow I'll freshen up nicely. Lots of stretching between now and then.

No beer for 5 days now. That's my best effort since the last few days before the London Marathon. I dare say come Sunday evening I'll be putting that right.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Last test

I ran the same loop for the 3rd time this week. I dropped in a quick mile (5:26) at race pace just to see how it felt mid-run and it didn't feel particularly good. A slight uphill and wearing the heavy runners will do that. Overall time 40:22 for 9.5kms so if you back out the quick mile, the rest of the run was at a snails pace.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Midweek musing

The same run as Monday. It had been showering all day but I somehow managed to stay dry during my run. Time 38:56 (4:06's).

Starting to think a bit about the race now. I think sub 71 is a realistic target. That equates to 3:22/km pace or back to back 10kms of 33:39. Not forgetting that pesky extra 1.1km at the end. Wait up, here's me working in metric and I think the course will be marked in miles. Okay, 5:25/mile pace should do the trick.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

2km, 2 x 1km, 5 x 400m

Track session. Quite windy and the threat of rain. Bog standard warm-up of 3.5kms and then into the session outlined in the title. We were to get 90 seconds recovery after the 2km and the 1kms, then 60 seconds between the 400's. Quite generous. The speed was to be target 10km, 5km and 3km pace as we dropped down the distances.

Here were the times:

2km 6:23 (3:14,3:09)
2 x 1km 3:01, 3:01
5 x 400m 71, 72, 71, 72, 70

Probably pushed the 1kms a little too hard. But after that the last 400m reps felt very comfortable.

Same warm-down of 3.5kms. All up 13.0kms for the day.

A good session. There was a strong group of us running together tonight and everyone was ticking along nicely. Hopefully a good sign for Sunday.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Easy week

This year so far has all been about 2 races. First the London Marathon back in April, and now the half marathon next Sunday. I've trained really hard for both races and I'm hoping for a good performance on the weekend. Always the added pressure of putting all your eggs in one basket when so much effort goes into one race...

Today was an easy short loop of 9.5kms in 38:39 (4:05's).

Sunday, August 26, 2012


I met up with Owen, Gerry and Sean out at Athenry and the purpose of the session was to run the guts of the half marathon course that was to be used next weekend at a nice relaxed pace.

The new section was the first 2 and 2/3rds miles before joining the loop that is used for the Fields of Athenry 10km which we would run the guts of twice. A beautiful morning for running and the course seemed fine. Okay there are a couple of tough drags - at the start of the closing mile with the uphill back into town, and a gradual uphill after passing the finish area for the start of the second lap. All in all it looks pretty good and fingers crossed we get some good conditions for racing (please no wind).

All up 18.3kms for the day in 1:21:15 (4:26's).

That's 87.8kms for the week. Next week I plan to take it really easy. One more track session on Tuesday then easy running to make up the balance.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Claremorris 5 Miler

Another instalment of the Mayo League. Claremorris is tough course with a couple of big climbs, plenty of smaller drags, but a nice flat section along the main road. It was again quite windy but the weather was much cooler and for the first time in a while it wasn't humid.

I ran a couple of miles warm-up taking in the first big climb. The field looked a bit thin but I guess that's to be expected when there are so many races on at the moment. Soon the whistle sounded and I immediately went to the front with John Byrne who like me was having a final hit-out before the National Half next weekend.

Up the first big climb and I deliberately held back a little as I didn't want another mushroom cloud a la Claregalway. I tried to run as relaxed as possible and upon reaching the top we both pushed on for a nice downhill stretch through to the first mile. The wind seemed to be against us but it wasn't too bad. The second mile turned out to be my slowest of the race. A few drags to deal with and I focused on sitting in behind John. There was no surges like when we both met at Annaghdown, this time the pattern seemed to be me pulling away a little on the hills (yes you read that correctly), with John coming straight past me on the flats/downhills. I don't know what's happened but I just don't have the gears to put in the surges at the moment.

Soon we had reached the main road and it was still neck and neck. This section was quick and I was struggling to keep up with John and I let a small gap develop a few times which I then had to work hard to recover. Just before we turned off the main road I made another  break for the lead but this was short-lived as we made the turn for the run back into town.

The pace was still quick and I had a feeling this was going to go down to the wire. One final turn later we had the long straight run back to the finish. At 4 miles we were greeted with a long climb and I decided to make a break. I pushed it all the way to the top of the climb and it was one of those climbs where the top always looked in sight but you never quite got there. Finally as the road flattened out I had opened up a few seconds gap and feeling good I pushed on for the final descent and flat section up to the finish (helped by the wind). I crossed the line in 26:06 for the win with John 11 seconds further back.

I felt much better about today then some of my recent performances and it's probably my best run since Annaghdown back in June. The pace felt okay and the time is only 2 seconds slower than what I ran last year on the same tough course. McM has that down as a 25:56 performance for 8km so nice to dip under 26 for the first time in a while.

I ran another couple of miles warm-down to give me 14.4kms for the day.

Here are the splits:

1m 5:11
2m 5:26
3m 5:15
4m 5:15
5m 4:59

Total 26:06

Nice to finish with a sub 5 minute mile. A "sort-of" confidence booster for next week and the last 3 miles were covered at an average pace of 3:12/km.

Out in the evening for a couple of beers and a game of darts. It was only right that I had to go and celebrate after getting back into the winners enclosure...

Friday, August 24, 2012

Failed the test

A very easy 6.8kms today in 30:30 (4:29's).

Out in the evening for a meal with friends. Lets just say I have no will power whatsoever. Back to the drawing board on the non-drinking. Must try harder - and not going out would be a good starting point...

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Passed the test

Today I did 10 minutes warm-up, then 8 x 2 mins with 2 mins float. Then 10 minutes warm-down. All up 12.7kms in just over 50 minutes.

The efforts were all in the 3:15 to 3:20 per km range. Comfortable enough I suppose. The floats were around 4 minute pace.

The readers of the blog will be pleased with my focus. I was in the pub for a meeting with the darts team and after 2 hours I managed to resist all temptation. That was until one of the lads bought me a pint just as I was about to leave and told me I had to drink it. Rude not to. Just the one (Mrs Wembley) doesn't really count right?

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Sore legs

Same run as Monday (11.1kms). This time much slower in 47:15. The legs felt great after the track session last night but were sore today. The shock of some quick laps will do that I suppose.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

16 x 400 off 30 seconds

Track night. Numbers were a bit thin as the middle distance runners were taking a break. Still the usual suspects were in attendance to make sure there was no slacking off.

Usual warm-up of 3.5km. Then a few strides. The track was damp but the rain had just about held off and these was only a bit of wind on the final bend to deal with. Not bad.

This session wouldn't phase me but the short 30 seconds recovery meant that you didn't want to start too quick as there was a chance of a mushroom cloud. I decided to try and run them at 3k pace so anything around 72 seconds per lap I'd settle for. Here are my times:

73/73/72/72/71/70/71/70/71/71/70/71/71/71/71/67 (average 71)

A good set. I felt comfortable throughout until the last couple but by then you could see the finishing line. I have really missed doing this type of session and I find them much more enjoyable than the longer reps on the track. Perhaps it was just the novelty value of some shorter stuff. Anyway I plan to do more of this training next year to try and get some of my speed back.

Just a quick comment on the 30 seconds recovery. It seems more like 10 seconds....finish the lap, turn around and time to start again.

Same warm-down of 3.5kms to give me 13.4kms for the day. A good sharpening session under the belt.

Monday, August 20, 2012

On the wagon

Usual route of 11.1kms in 44:49 (4:02's). Not feeling great but tried running a bit quicker just to get near 4 minute km pace.

Two weeks of zero alcohol comsumption starts today. I reckon I'll last until Friday if I'm lucky...

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Almost a solo run

I started my long run at 10:30am. Running solo from Claregalway I ran to the racecourse via Carnmore and bumped into Brian Furey who was also doing a long run (Dublin based but was in Galway for the weekend and had also ran Claregalway the evening before for 5th place).

We ran a loop and a bit of the "Great Race" course together, and then I peeled off to run back to home. All up 27.1kms in 1:57:15 (4:20/km). Pleased to get that over with as I was feeling very tired at the end. I suppose it's explainable when you consider that you've covered more than the marathon distance well inside the space of 24 hours.

I make that 100.6kms for the week. A decent 7 week block of training behind me now averaging over 100kms per week during that time. I'm going to wind back the volume now and try and freshen up as much as possible for the half in exactly 2 weeks time.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Claregalway 10km

Nice to be able to walk from home to the start line for a race! After registering I did a short warm-up and a few strides and it was time to get this over with.

Weather wasn't great. Similar to the Streets - overcast and humid, and quite a strong wind which would make the section along the main road very tough - especially so as it contained a nasty 600m climb. Two 5km laps made up the course and after a decent week's training I was looking for a good run.

From the start I tucked in behind Jason Fahy and Mike O'Connor as we exited the industrial estate to turn onto the main road and up the hill. The pace felt quick and by the time we reached the top of the hill it felt like I had blown a gasket. I tried to hang on but by 2km I had been gapped. From there on in it was a real grind...

Through 5km in 16:28 and the 2 leaders were way up the road. They seemed to be having a really good battle. But that was the last thing on my mind as I hit the big climb for the second time. I would have been better off walking....bloody hell I was struggling. At the "summit" I managed to lift the pace again and I even strung together a few decent kms - but I just wanted the race to be over. I cruised the last km and crossed the line in 33:30 for 3rd place. Jason won in 32:18 with Mike finishing second in 32:54.

Disappointed with that. I can't draw too many positives from it. Some decent training and a poor race. I'd like that to be the other way round. The conditions weren't great but I'm consistently racing the same courses slower than last year - this time by over 30 seconds. I'd like to run that pace for the half in 2 weeks time and based on that performance there is no way that's going to happen...

I ran a decent warm-down to give me 16.6kms for the day.

Here are the splits:

1km 3:22
2km 3:15
3km 3:12
4km 3:17
5km 3:22 (16:28)
6km 3:45
7km 3:24
8km 3:13
9km 3:18
10km 3:22 (17:02)

Total 33:30

A few Coopers Sparkling Ales later and I was feeling a little better about myself...

Friday, August 17, 2012

More rest

Another rest day. It's quite nice having a day off - especially Friday!

Still a long day though. Up at 4am to give my Dad a lift to the airport...

More racing tomorrow.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

18 minute tempo

The plan called for 18 minutes at 3:19/km pace. I ran 3.5km as a warm-up to the start of where I have been doing my tempo runs. Again the wind was strong but to compensate that I had cut out the worst part of the course where I'd be running directly into a headwind.

I felt good from the off. I was ticking along nicely and at the first checkpoint where anything under 12 is good - I was 11:20 - so I continued to push on. The last couple of minutes were tough as I hit a windy section but at the end of the 18 minutes the Garmin showed 5.57kms and that works out at 3:14/km pace.

Finishing up with 4.3kms warm-down for 13.4kms all-up.

My Dad's last day today before flying back to England. So out in the evening for a meal and a few more beers. Which is nice.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Best of 31

Very windy today. The first 4km today in 18:30 running into a hurricane, then a little easier after making the first turn. All up 14.7kms in 1:05:06. Not a quick pace (4:26's) but I needed an easy run after yesterday's quick kms.

Out in the evening for more beer and darts. I got hammered 16-12 by my old man. He played very well...

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

6 x 1km off 90 seconds

A nice bread and butter track session. An easy workout compared to last week and I was looking forward to getting into it. Weatherwise it was warm with very little breeze - that will do very nicely.

Times were as follows:


Very consistent and I wasn't running completely on the red line and that was pleasing. I feel a bit more like my old self the last few days so hopefully I'm coming into form in just the right time (half in less than 3 weeks time).

All up 11.5kms with warm-up/down.

Out in town after for more food and beers. Any training benefit cancelled out...

Monday, August 13, 2012


Running local again today. Fintan upsized the distance a bit and I ended up running 17.3kms in 1:15:07 (4:21's).

More darts and beer in the evening. I'm starting to return to form - 3 x 180's and we only played for an hour or so.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Sunday long run

An afternoon run today starting at 3pm with Fintan and Owen for company.

We covered all the Claregalway loops that I use in training. We gradually increased the pace throughout the run (not intentionally) finishing up with a 5km loop of the Claregalway 10km course that is being used for the County Champs next Saturday.

Fintan was bitten by a dog - the same one that had a go at me a few weeks back. Bloody mutt.

Another hot day and was pleased to get home for some liquid refreshments.

All up 26.4kms in 1:53:30 (4:18's).

That's 96.9kms for the week. Not quite triple figures but I needed an "easy" week.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Streets of Galway

This is one of the best races on the calendar. Always well supported and plenty of quality at the pointy end of the field.

A 15 minute warm-up and a few strides and soon the race was underway. Conditions weren't great - overcast and humid, and it was going to be a tough run along the prom as we had a headwind to deal with. A little bit of rain just before the start to make the course a little slippery, especially along Merchants Road...

The leaders took the race out very quick and that left a group of 8 or so chasing. I was leading this group and by the time we reached the Cathedral the race had settled down. There were 5 runners a good way ahead with our group behind. Around this point the lead female made a break from our group so I went with here. To my surprise I quickly passed her and managed to slowly work my way ahead of the group.

Through halfway and feeling pretty good but I had it in the back of my mind that the tough section into the wind was still to come. By the time I got onto the prom I had the 6th position pretty much sewn up, and I wasn't making any inroads on 5th (about 20 seconds ahead) so it was a case of gritting out the last few kms.

I was starting to struggle and was pleased that the wind was less of a factor after making the final right hand turn just before the 7km marker. I lifted the pace as best I could and crossed the line in 6th position in a time of 26 minutes exactly (chip time).

Quite happy with that all things considered. Okay it was 24 seconds slower than last year but the conditions and lack of people to hang on to would explain most of that. Interestingly comparing my splits to last year I was actually 3 seconds better at 5km this year compared to last (16:10 vs 16:13). My finishing 3km was much worse though (9:50 Vs 9:23)...

All up 14kms with warm-up/down. A good day for the Galway City Harriers winning both the team prizes.

Out in the evening for a few celebratory beers.


1km 3:07
2km 3:18
3km 3:18
4km 3:09 (12:52)
5km 3:18
6km 3:17
7km 3:22
8km 3:11 (13:08)

Total 26:00

Friday, August 10, 2012

Rest day

This comes on the back of 24 consecutive running days so much overdue.

Out in the evening for a few beers and a game of darts.

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Keeping the powder dry

With this Saturday's Streets of Galway 8km race in mind I took it easy today. I ended up running 8 x 2 minutes on, 2 minutes off as part of a 14.8km run.

The 2 minute efforts weren't particularly quick - in the 3:25 to 3:40 per km pace range depending on the terrain. It was a lovely warm sunny day and to be honest it was hard work just running for an hour so the efforts had me blowing a bit.

Total running time 1:00:29 (average 4:05's).

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Today I did...

11.1kms in 46:30 (4:11's).

I also played 18 holes of golf out at Athenry (very poorly). Good fun though.

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Monster track session

Tonight it was out to the track at Dangan. Conditions were good - very still and humid but a little light rain at the end of the session helped to cool things down.

The usual 3.5km warm-up. The session tonight was very half marathon specific:

4 to 6 by 2km

Recovery was 2 minutes after the first km, 90 seconds between the 2km reps, and a further 2 minutes before the final km. The plan called for them to be run at 10km pace so for me that was around 3:14 to 3:15 per km pace.

I initially thought I'd run 4 x 2km. I didn't feel too bad after 4 so I upsized to 5. I was then talked into doing the 6th one...that made it a total of 14kms for the session (35 laps!).

Here are the times:


Pretty happy with that. Exactly what I needed to do. Felt strong throughout. The only negative was that I wouldn't have been able to run them any quicker - still no speed in the legs.

I finished up with another 5 laps of the track as a warm-down (up to 40 laps by this stage). That's 19.5kms for the day.

Monday, August 06, 2012


Another struggle of a run. Total 11.1kms in 47:12.

I have the Streets of Galway 8km pencilled in for Saturday. I'll probably end up running it but it's difficult to get motivated when I feel like I'm in a form slump.

It's not all doom and gloom. I've been glued to the Olympics. Team GB are having an absolute blinder...

Sunday, August 05, 2012

Swinford 8km

Out to Swinford today with the cheer squad - my old man and my son.

A couple of kms warm-up. And 8kms warm-down. Here is a report on what happened in between:

Race report

Total 18kms for the day.

That's 100.6kms for the week (5 ton plus weeks on the trot now). I don't feel like I'm running that well the last month or so - perhaps my worst patch since moving to Ireland. I need a couple of decent sessions or a good race to get my confidence back.

More darts and drinking in the evening.

Saturday, August 04, 2012

Saturday session

A run today to try and shake out the cobwebs from yesterday. A very slow pace - 9.5kms in 41:52 (4:24's). Felt awful as you would expect.

Out again in the evening for some more darts. Not an ideal preparation for the Swinford 8km tomorrow...

Friday, August 03, 2012

Friday at the races

I trotted out for a local run today. A total of 14.8kms in 1:02:05 (4:12's).

Out in the evening for the Galway races. Winners per race - zero. Pints per race - one. Then out in the local pubs for more drinking. Ouch.

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Steady running

The plan called for 50 to 70 minutes "steady running". I wasn't too sure what steady meant in this context but thought it would be quick but nothing too strenuous. I then headed to the McMillan website as I recall seeing training paces for steady sessions and imagine my surprise when it indicated a pace range of 3:24 to 3:32 per km (based on a sub 71 minute half). Steady my arse.

So I decided I hadn't seen that. I thought I'd run 10km as the meat of the run and whatever the time that resulted then so be it. A warm-up of 2.3km and then I started the session. After about 4kms I decided to have a glance at the Garmin to see how I was tracking and then I realised I'd stopped the watch and had not taken my lap split. Clucking bell. I then started the watch and completed my loop (from previous efforts I know this to be 9.3km). I then added on another 700m to get the 10km up.

I know from the Garmin that the last 6km or so of the 10km effort were run at 3:31/km pace. About 4km of that was into a tough wind and I'd be confident in saying that based on that the first 4km (wind friendly) would have been at 3:30/km pace (if not quicker). So about 35 minutes for 10km (give or take). Pleased with that as it didn't feel like it was taking too much out of me and surprisingly it was just about in the steady training range. How dare I doubt the great man...

I finished up with a 4.2km warm-down to give me 16.5kms for the day.

Three golds today for team GB. The Aussies seem to be having a bit of a Barry. Their Olympics is normally over when the swimming comes to an end...

Garmin for dummies book purchased...

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

2 Golds

I still have a sore right thigh from my altercation with the bed. Then today my daughter bit me on the back of the same leg, and during my run a dog bit me on the back of my left calf (didn't manage to get his teeth in). Clearly not my day. I ended up running (hobbling?) 16kms in 1:07:30 (4:13/km pace).

GB picked up a couple of golds today and now I've become glued to the Olympics.

Out in the evening for a game of darts with my old man. I haven't picked up my own darts in months and didn't play too badly in winning 13-10. Very enjoyable.