Wednesday, October 31, 2012


9.5kms in 39:29 (4:09's)

Managed to squeeze this run in at lunchtime to avoid running in the dark. Very cold but good for running. Legs/hammies a bit sore after those quick 400s...

"Only" 20 knocks on the door for trick and treat....

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

400's and 1600's

Cold and wet at the track tonight. I didn't want to be there as I ran my 7 lap warm-up. The session was to be 4 x 400, 2 x 1600 and 4 x 400 to finish with. These were all off 60 seconds recovery except for 2 minutes before and after the 1600's.

I was changing into my racing flats when I missed the first 400m...I jumped in on the second one and that wasn't great but from that point on I gave it my all and it ended up being a very good hit-out. I was working in a nice group with Keith and Fintan and the times were very respectable considering the squelchy conditions. Here are the times:




The second 1600 was tough off only 1 minute but we took turns leading out the laps which helped a lot. The last set of 400's were very manageable once the longer reps were out of the way. Fintan looks in red hot form which is great to see. He's a tough man running this session in a vest whilst most people had donned duffle coats and balaclavas...

A 2.4km warm-down to give me 11.2kms for the day.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Dublin Marathon

I ran with Fintan and we knocked out 14.8kms in 1:01:51 (4:11's). I felt tired but the pace was still quite quick which is good to see.

A lot of chat about the results from the Dublin Marathon that was run today. There were some cracking performances today in very good conditions for marathon running. Seah Hehir ran a blinder clocking 2:17 in his debut for the distance. Maria McCambridge ran a brilliant 2:35 PB after her disappointment of missing out on the Olympics. That should send a clear message to the selectors...

Here are some other great performances from people I know:

Martin Conroy 2:32:15
Roger Barrett 2:32:47
Brian Furey 2:33:06
Rob Staunton 2:34:29
John Byrne 2:37:23 (one week after his 50km!)
Paddy O'Toole 2:41:20

I bet there were a few pints consumed post race...and why not...

Sunday, October 28, 2012


Another late afternoon run. Out at 4pm in miserable wet and windy conditions. Running solo and the time seemed to drag. I ran locally and manged to run sections of 4 different loops that I use for training. All up 21.0kms in 1:29:29 (4:16's).

It was getting dark as I finished the run. No more light for evening runs around the country lanes with the clocks changing so I fear I'll have to resort to the N17 or the treadmill in the coming months...

That's 91.9kms for the week. I squeezed in 3 good sessions and feel like the speed is starting to come back. No races now for 2 weeks. That's not like Matt...

Saturday, October 27, 2012

6 x 1.53km off 90 seconds

A late afternoon run. I decided to run some efforts on my local 1.53km course. A 2.2km warm-up and then straight into it. Conditions were cold with only a slight breeze.

Here are the times:

5:02/4:56/4:52/4:54/4:50/4:52 (ave 4:54 = 3:12/km pace)

The odd ones are slightly uphill but for some reason I always seem to run these better. I've had a look through my training log and I can't see where I've run a better set of these. I felt in complete control - breathing was relaxed and the legs felt very responsive. Encouraging. I should mention these were done with 90 seconds recovery (which felt more than adequate).

The same 2.2km jog back home to give me 13.6kms for the day.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Darts night

A longer local loop today of 11.1kms in 45:17 (4:05's). Felt easy.

The local dart team have entered a newly formed darts league which started tonight. Friday being a much better night to play darts compared to Tuesday last year. I haven't practised much at all lately but still managed to win my singles game 2-0. Lost my pairs though. A bit rusty so time to start hitting the practise board a bit more...

Thursday, October 25, 2012

5km tempo

A short sharp session this morning. A 15 minute warm-up, then a 5km tempo, then a 15 minute warm-down. I was out the door by 7:30am and it was still dark. By the time I had warmed up the light still wasn't great. The first couple of kms were tough as it was into a fairly stiff breeze, plus there were a few cars to dodge, but after a couple of left-hand turns the last 3km were a lot easier. Here are the splits:


Total 16:45 (3:21 average)

All up 12.2kms for the day.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012


Same route as Monday - this time a good bit quicker covering the 9.5kms in 39:19 (4:08's). Having said I won't race until Hollymount I quite fancy a hit-out this coming weekend. Not sure if there is anything on locally?

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

8 x 1km off 200m jog

Arrived a little late at track and managed to squeeze in a 7 lap warm-up as the main group were doing their stretches and drills. The session was to be km reps - same as last week for me but I was keen to jump in with the group. A really big group at the moment - I think our group has joined forces with the University and it's great to see so many people out running.

A staggered start to keep the traffic even around the track. I hit the front and led out all the efforts. The session called for 8 but I'd decided that 6 would be plenty for me...but having completed 6 I decided to run a couple more cruise kms at the end to get the distance up. Here are the times:

3:08/3:09/3:08/3:10/3:10/3:05 and 3:19/3:19

Jog recovery for the 200m ranged between 80 and 90 seconds. I would walk for 50m or so after completing the 2.5laps, and then jog the next 150m before starting out again. Conditions again were perfect and couldn't have asked for better.

Happy with that - the times weren't as quick as last week but there was a fair bit of running wide, plus I think the jog recovery makes it a little tougher than 90 seconds recovery doing very little.

I'm not sure if there is a rule of thumb on converting your km rep times into a 10km time but I'd say based on that tonight I'm getting back towards sub 33 10km shape.

I finished up with another 7 laps warm-down to give me 13.6kms for the day.

Monday, October 22, 2012

News from Dublin

Same old, same old. Usual 9.5kms in a slow 41:08 (4:20's). Felt really tired today.

Yesterday was the Gerry Farnan Cross Country meet in Dublin. Irish vests were up for grabs for both seniors and all age group categories. I'm delighted to say that my training buddy Fintan was 3rd in the over 40 category and that guarantees him a place on the Irish team for the upcoming British and Irish Masters in Belfast in a couple of weeks time. Here's my favourite photo of Fintan in action:

I was asked why I didn't run this to try and make the team. I think the simple fact is that I'm not good enough! Me and XC don't mix - I just can't get the levers moving like I can on the road. Anyway, well done mate and well deserved!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

News from Italy

Finished off the week with a longish run of 21 clicks. Again local, late afternoon and the weather still as good as you could hope for at this time of year. Time 1:30:53 (4:20's). Pace was slow enough but the hammies were a little sore - perhaps I overdid that last sprint yesterday...

Congratulations to John Byrne who ran in the 50km world trophy yesterday. In poor hairdryer like conditions (hot and windy) where people were dropping like flies he posted a time of 3hr10 to finish 5th overall (marathon in 2hr38). Fantastic running in the Irish vest!

88.8kms for the week. That's where I need to be for the next month or so.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Pyramid session

A late call today to run the session. It was getting dark and I was in 2 minds as to what to do but decided to run the Harriers session that had been prescribed. Nice and straight forward - 1/2/3/4/5/4/3/2/1 minutes with a standard 60 seconds recovery between all efforts.

Again back to the stretch of road I used on Thursday. Almost dark by the time I started but no traffic to worry about. I forgot to charge the Garmin so I have no idea of pace but I think the goal of the session was to run the 5 minute effort at tempo pace, and as the reps decreased in time then the effort level should be pushed up a notch.

I was running well tonight - wish I had the data to back that up (estimate at least average pace of 3:15/km pace). Nice coming back down the pyramid once you have the 5 minute effort out of the way. The last 1 minute effort I was giving it everything. Pitch black by the end and then jogged back home.

Total distance of 12.1kms (a bit of guesswork). Madness really doing the session in the dark but I wouldn't have it any other way. That's 3 speed sessions this week - much more like it.

Friday, October 19, 2012

A good run

Great weather for running at the moment. Hardly any wind and nice and dry. I didn't push it today but the pace felt very easy. A total of 11.1kms in 44:04 (3:58's). Be nice if all days felt this good.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

2 x 12 minutes

Making my sessions up as I go along at the moment. Thought I'd do some longer 12 minute efforts today with 3 minutes recovery. Ran to the start of my local route which I normally use (out 12 minutes then turn and run back 12 minutes).

The first effort was tough as I was running into the breeze and it's predominantly uphill. I got to my "running okay" finishing point (a gate) just as the 12 minutes was up (approx 3.6km). Thought the return leg would be a lot easier but couldn't settle into any sort of decent rhythm. I did get back to the start point in 11:39 and I continued on for the full 12 minutes (approx 3.7km).

A slightly longer run home of 3.8km to give me 13.6kms for the day. Didn't nail it today but not to worry...

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Back to rain

Same run as Monday. This time 38:38 for 9.5kms (4:04's). Normally my pace slows on Wednesday compared to Monday and I'd put that down to the track session the previous day. But not this week. Perhaps I didn't push myself hard enough yesterday and I should have done that 6th rep after all...

Forgot to mention it was raining. Quite a lot.

My next race will be the final run in the Mayo league on Nov 11th (a 10km in Hollymount). Then the Norwich half two weeks after that (Nov 25th). Unless something else takes my fancy in the meantime...

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

5 x 1km off 90

Another track session. Really lucky with the weather being cool, dry and still. I ran my usual warm-up loop of 3.5kms and then ran a few strides. I'd decided on 5 x 1km off 90 seconds. A couple of points on this. Firstly, 90 seconds is a little soft - maybe I should have stuck to the bog standard minute...but in my defence I don't think I'm quite ready for the minute and I didn't want to destroy myself. Secondly, I went into the session thinking I'd do 6 reps (an extra one) - "If I felt good". That was never going to happen. I think you have to commit to doing the number of reps before the start of the session and then stick to it...

Times were as follows:


There were some traffic issues on the second rep as the main group returned to the track to do their warm-down - with several people favouring lane 1. It didn't slow me down - in fact the opposite. Perhaps I need to get a little riled more often? Legs went a bit wobbly on the end of the 4th rep so pleased to maintain the pace for the last one.

That will do nicely - I though that if I could keep them under 3:10 then I'd be happy. Having said that I was left thinking how on earth did I run 5kms straight on the track some 8 seconds quicker...

Warm-down 3.5kms to give me 14.0kms for the day.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Rough old night

Rugged up for this run. Cold and wet. Local loop of 9.5kms in 38:59 (4:06's). To be honest it wasn't too bad once warmed up and by the end of the run it had stopped raining.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Ballina 4 miler

Another longish drive to Ballina (1hr 30) picking up Colm en route. We arrvied in Ballina about 40 minutes before the race start of 3pm which allowed plenty of time to get ready. I ran a couple of kms warm-up and then lined up at the start.

There was a very poor turn-out. Quite disappointing as this was a Mayo league race and I estimated around 50 runners at the start. It turns out there were only 48 finishers...a real shame as this race also doubled up as a fund raiser for the Cancer Council.

I hit the front with a younger runner staying with me. The first mile had us initially climbing, then descending, before things flattened out a little. We ran through town and I was paranoid I was going to take a wrong turn. Thankfully that didn't transpire. By the time we had reached the 1st mile I had opened up a lead. I just had to remain focussed and the race was there for the taking.

The second mile was tough - it seemed to be all slightly uphill running into a stiff breeze along the main road. After a right-hand turn things became a lot easier running down a small country road which I was familiar with as it was also used for the Ballina 10km course. Through 3 miles and it was a case of relaxing and enjoying the run in to the finish.

I tried to push the last mile a bit. That felt like hard work but I'd still say it was my quickest mile. The splits don't suggest this and I'd be fairly confident in saying that the mile markers were not accurate. Someone had mentioned at the start that the actual course was 4.1 miles. I'm not sure if that was true or not but I guess it's best to keep the course the same as what they have been using for the previous 20 years.

I crossed the line in first place in 21:52. The second and third place runners were in the low 23 minutes so I won comfortably enough. My time was disappointing but I didn't have anyone to race, plus I still wasn't feeling particularly great. Can't think why...

I finished up by running the course again as a warm-down (just over 28 minutes this time). All up 14.8kms for the day. Handy points in the bag for the Mayo league which means I now have a very good chance of retaining my title from last year.

That's 70.3kms for the week. I hope to improve on that for the next few weeks.

Here are the splits:

1m 4:58
2m 5:40
3m 5:00
4m 6:14

Total 21:52

As you can see they are up and down like a fiddlers elbow....

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Struggle Street

Up just before 10am for breakfast. Then left Killarney around 11am for the long drive back to Galway. I wasn't feeling great but survived the journey.

No run today - to be honest it would have helped as I could have sweated out some of the night before. But I plan to race tomorrow and I want to be as "fresh" as possible for the trip to Ballina...

A long afternoon spent with the kids before a few beers in the evening to help feel half normal again...

Friday, October 12, 2012


Today was an overnight stay in Killarney for a stag doo...the drive from Galway took around 3 hours and with an hour to spare before beer o'clock I took the opportunity to stretch out the legs with a quick run. I was staying right in the centre of town and after running for only a couple of minutes I was in the National Park.

A fantastic run, a beautiful trail that firstly took me along a river, then down by the water, before eventually reaching Ross Castle. I took a few minutes to admire the fabulous views then doubled back to the hotel. All up 9.8kms in 41:10 (4:12's).

The evening was basically 7 hours of drinking. I called it a day at 2:30am and thankfully missed the option of another couple of hours in the residents bar....all in all a great day.

Thursday, October 11, 2012


A 7:15am start in Claregalway with Fintan and Owen. Still pitch black and drizzling rain. Not that cold though - I had overcompensated by wearing too many layers.

Same route as last Thursday - I'll put it down as 14.9kms but could be longer as we had to double back a few times as my wingmen have the weakest bladders in Ireland. These Irish boys must drink far too much tea. Time 1:05:40 which works out at 4:24/km.

Turned into a very pleasant run - the rain had stopped by the end all was good with the world.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Power cut

The same run as Monday - legs a bit sore after the 800's and I think that accounted for my slower time of 39:59 for the 9.5kms (4:13's).

A great game of darts tonight with Phil "the Power" Taylor losing to Robert Thornton in a deciding leg thriller. Taylor had basically fended off everything that Thornton threw at him and then when he had the match for the taking he missed 3 match darts at double 16. One of the best games of darts I have seen - an incredible standard with both players averaging close to 100. That is exceptional darts for the double in format.

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

6 x 800 off a minute

The legs were still a little heavy after the half but I wanted to get straight back into it with a speed session. Usual warm-up of 3.5kms then a few strides and it was time to go. Conditions were absolutely perfect - cold and as still as you could hope for (plus floodlights this week which was a bonus).

I'd set myself a target of running the 800's at 2:30. Here's how it panned out:


I ran the first 4 solo and then Conor Dolan jumped in with me for the final 2. They felt comfortable enough but at the same time I couldn't have gone much quicker. Happy to run them quicker than I was targeting.

Warm-down of 3.5kms to give me 11.8kms for the day.

Forgot to mention, earlier in the day I was out at the docs for a full check-up. You are advised to do these sort of things once you get to my age. Blood tests, weight (82 kgs fully clothed), height (6ft2), blood pressure, heart rate (resting 43), etc. Await the results of the blood tests (I suspect my cholestorol may be high).

Monday, October 08, 2012

World Grand Prix of Darts

Another easy run today - 9.5kms in 38:37 (4:04's). Feeling good.

More darts on the tele starting today - the unique double in and double out format. It's on in Dublin - I should have got some tickets to go...

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Recovery run

Out today for a very relaxed recovery run. My new racing flats which I had worn for the half yesterday had left their mark on a few of my toes - they are the same size that I always have so not sure what happened. I think I may lose a few toenails as a result.

Anyway, apart from the toes I was feeling fine. All up 11.1kms in 47:30 (4:17's).

That's 82.3kms for the week. Speed sessions will be the focus for the rest of the year.

Here's a photo from the half. I was just completing my first lap and the pigeons had to take evasive action...

Saturday, October 06, 2012

Galway Bay Half Marathon

Conditions looked spot on for this race. Nice and cool with very little wind - as good as you could possibly ask for down on the Bay. I met up with Paddy O'Toole from Mayo AC and we ran a couple of clicks warm-up before lining up at the start.

My race plan was to push the pace early on. If I felt good I would try and maintain it, if not I would settle in around 3:30/km pace and try and cruise to the finish. The start line was full of big hitters - no chance of a podium finish today with a very strong line-up. Great to see this for a race in Galway.

The race was soon underway. A lead group of 4 or 5 formed and I settled in just behind them along with one more runner. The lead group weren't hanging around and by the time we had reached the first mile they had already opened up a decent gap. I was left running with my companion and by the time we had reached the second mile I wasn't feeling comfortable. I let the other runner slowly work away from me and I was left running by myself. That's how it remained for the rest of the race.

The course is 2 loops - good running on the outward section of the loop but on the return to the start/finish area you have 2 awkward sections - one being a twisty gravel path around a small park, the other being an out and back section along a concrete jetty. I'd already slowed and was trying to keep the pace ticking over but it was difficult to stay focused running by yourself. The path on the prom was a bit manic also - running on the path and having to dodge bikes, pedestrians and a couple of dogs. I suppose it's the same for everyone but it just makes it that bit harder.

I'd completed the first lap and I could see nobody up front and I knew from the jetty section that I had a decent gap on the chasers. The second lap was all about getting it over with. I was starting to struggle and the pace still didn't feel easy even though I had slowed. I was getting some great support on the course which helped to lift my spirits and I was determined to get to the finish without being overtaken.

Not much else to report. I did what I had to do, judged that I still had a decent gap as I ran the jetty then eased off a bit as I approached the finish line. There was a great atmosphere at the finish area and I even treated the crowd to a bit of the aeroplane. Not sure why as to be honest as it was a poor performance and there was no reason to celebrate. My time was 1:13:44 for 6th place overall.

There were 4 guys under 70 minutes. The winner Sergiu Ciobanu ran 67 minutes with Michael Shannon a minute back running high 68. Clearly they were not struggling like I was!

Plenty of food and drinks at the end and good to catch-up and exchange stories with lots of familiar faces in the marquee. This event is one I really enjoy but I think it could be that much better with a few adjustments to the course layout.

No excuses for my own performance. It just didn't happen. I know that my training hasn't been what it should be the last month. You seldom get pleasant surprises when racing and today was definitely a case of you get out what you put in. Not to worry, get back into to and move on.

A few mentions to my fellow Harriers who had great runs. Good to see Barry D back with a quick 1:16. Damien R ran really strongly with 1:19 and John C also had a massive 15 minute PB running 1:20!

Here are the splits. I missed quite a few mile markers as I had the head down...

1m 5:22
2m 5:12
3m 5:47
4m 5:33
5m 5:40
7m 11:15
10m 17:01 (55:50)
11m 5:43
12m 5:46
13.1m 6:25

Total 1:13:44

Hopefully a few photos to follow...

Friday, October 05, 2012


No running today. Instead it was out with the other half to celebrate another year. A meal in town and then on to the Roisin Dubh to see Gemma Hayes. A very poor turn out with maybe less than 100 people watching. We got seats right next to the stage and she was very good - despite playing almost an identical set to when we last watched her play (and telling the same stories)...

Being in the Roisin made me realise that it's only 4 weeks until the Wedding Present play there. I'm planning a triple header weekend watching them in Dublin on the Friday, Galway on Saturday and then Cork on Sunday. Yes I'm a big fan. I may post some photos of my Wedding Present record and CD collection at some point. Not that anyone will be remotely interested...

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Early run

Up bright and early this morning with Fintan and Owen for a run around Claregalway. I'd planned an hour but I overcooked it slightly and we ended up running 14.9kms in 1:05:12 (4:23's).

It was gloves and hat this morning for the first time since last winter. Very cold to start with but a lovely morning once warmed up. Nice to get the run out of the way by 8:30am. That's it now, no more running until the half on Saturday.

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

That is all

Another easy paced run. Usual 9.5kms in 39:48 (4:11's).

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

1,000th post

Who would have thought it? This drivel has now been going on for 1,000 posts spanning back 3 years or so....

Today was another track session. Again I couldn't make the group session but I was determined to put in a decent session using the track. I bumped into the coach and the session I had missed was run around the pitches. It was 5 x 1 minute off 60 seconds, then 12 minutes, then a further 5 x 1 minutes off 60 - with 2 and a half minutes between sets.

I liked the sound of that so I tweaked it a bit for the track. I settled on 400's instead of the minutes (slightly longer), and 1 x 2 miles (8 laps) instead of the 12 minutes (slightly shorter).

Usual warm-up of 3.5kms. Just as I was about to start the session the floodlights on the track were turned out. This was okay to start with but by the end of the session I was running under the moonlight. Quite nice really - especially as I was the only person on the track. Here's how the session went:


10:26 (3:16/km pace)


It was a lovely cool evening and the breeze wasn't too bad. The track however was very wet as we had several huge downpours during the day. That must have cost me at least 5 seconds per lap...

Happy enough with that. I'll probably just run easy for the remainder of the week in preparation for the half on Saturday.

Another 3.5km warm-down to give me 14.2kms all up.

Monday, October 01, 2012

One half and then another one

Easy run today - usual 9.5km loop in 38:20 (4:02's).

Well I still have a couple more half marathons planned for this year. On Saturday I will be running the Galway Bay Half Marathon and on November 25th I will be once again heading back to my birth town for the Norwich Half Marathon.

I'll focus on 10km type training where I can as I've been doing the longer stuff all year. I think I have the stamina in the legs for the half so will just try and improve my speed in the time I have left. Seems like sensible logic to me.