Thursday, January 31, 2013


The plan today was to run around an hour or so. Up by the airport I bumped into Owen so I doubled back and ran back to his workplace along a new route at the back of the airport which brings you out on the coast road. By the time Owen peeled off to go to work I still had another 7kms to home. I ended up running 19.6kms in 1:26:02 (4:23's). The wind is still around so again that explains the slower pace.

Out in the evening for a game of darts with my old man. I dished out a 15-11 hammering. That's better.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Back to windy

11.1kms in 48:12 (4:21's). The strong winds are difficult to run in and must cost you around 10 seconds per km. At least it wasn't raining...

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

10 x 400 off 60 secs

Bog standard session - perfect for my build-up to the indoors a week on Saturday. A longish warm-up of over 6km in what turned out to be very favourable conditions. Very lucky really as for most of the day it was wet and blowing another gale...

The session was to be 10 x 400 (some people did 12). I planned to run them all hard tonight to see where I'm at. Here are the times:


The first one was again a bit of a warm-up but then I wound up the pace. At halfway the coach (another Matt) mentioned he wanted me to run the second half of the session quicker - finishing with some 65's. I was already feeling it so wasn't sure that was possible but managed to find something. The last one I was pushed all the way by Niall who looks to be coming into some great form. I finished the session absolutely spent - I can't recall pushing myself like that for a long time. Doubled over gasping for breath at the finish and all that...

Another great session. The group goes from strength to strength - well over 50 runners (again) and everyone looking to be running well. Very lucky to have a group like this to train with.

All up 13.8kms with warm-down. I'd say I'll be sore tomorrow as I'm not used to running at that pace.

Monday, January 28, 2013


Bloody tough going today. My bread and butter local loop of 11.1kms in 49:47 (4:29's). With conditions like today the pace goes out of the window - a struggle to stand upright at times. Struggled through and one of those days where there is no enjoyment in running - more of a chore. Hope the weather improves as it has been desperate lately...

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Didn't spot one other runner

More miserable conditions for running. I was about to head out the door and a hail storm hit so I waited until it cleared. Then I got going and I encountered everything the elements could throw at me - wind, rain, snow, sleet, hail - and even a bit of sun for about one nano-second.

The same route as 2 weeks ago running up to Oranmore, then the Coast Road, up through Doughiska, along the Monivea Road, then back to Claregalway. The wind was so stroing along the Coast Road I might as well have walked. All up 22.2kms in 1:40:26 (4:31's). Pace was poor but it was a good workout.

That's 100.4kms for the week.

Enjoyed watching the snooker shootout on the weekend. Martin Gould winning the title and £36k in the process. Not bad for 6 frames of snooker...

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Another 10km tempo

The weather has taken a real turn at the moment. Windy and wet and generally not very pleasant to run in. I decided on another 10km tempo - after a 2km warm-up I went straight into it using the wind behind and the nice downhill on the Rock Road to give me a flying start. At about 6km I hit the N17 and was running directly into the wind and that was very tough going. Upon reaching the church in the village I decided to turn right as that would give me some respite from the wind for the final mile. I was pleasantly surprised with the time after 10km of 35:24 as it felt like I had slowed a lot in the second half. A further 3.4kms warm-down to give me 15.4kms for the day. That was that.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Lost again

10.8kms in 45:34 (4:13's).

League darts in the evening. I was rested in the singles to make way for the old man (read dropped). Eventually played my pairs around half midnight by which time I was full of beer and excuses. Lost again in a deciding leg. Overall the team did manage to chalk up a 6-3 win so not all bad!

Thursday, January 24, 2013


More local running of 14.8kms in 1:04:05 (4:20's).

A game of darts in the evening with the old man - I lost 13-11. Never got going...

Wednesday, January 23, 2013


I ran local and there were lots of agricultural smells in the air ranging from the disgusting to near vomit. Clocked up 11.1kms in 46:11 (4:10's).

Another (better) photo of the new indoor track at Athlone:

Picked my Dad up in the evening as he is over for a couple of weeks.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

6 x 800 off 90 secs

In the middle of a cold snap here in Galway - a very cool 2 degrees at track tonight and despite some fears that the surface may be icy, the session went ahead as planned. It wasn't too bad once you got warmed up and with very little wind I didn't have many excuses at hand...

A massive group again - probably 50+ runners split into groups. The session was 800s off 90 seconds (we had to jog 200m in the recovery). As always with generous recovery we were expected to run the 800s at the same pace as the 400s from the previous week (which were off 30 secs). So I was looking at around 2:26 as a target.

The first one was pretty poor (as is the norm). I need to get out of the habit as using the first one as a warm-up. The rest were okay, a little up and down, and I have to say I was really feeling it today in the last few reps. Perhaps explainable only 2 days after Chu-am. Here are the times:


Happy enough - wet track cost us a bit of time so I think I'm near 3 minute/km pace which is always encouraging. A few more short-sharp session required before the indoor 3,000m. Talking of which here is a photo of the new track (thanks to Amphibian King):

I can tell you the nerves will be jangling stepping out on that.....looks class!

All up 15.0kms with the up and down.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Start of a 2 week training block

Easy run of 11.1km to stretch out the legs after yesterday's race. Time 46:51 (4:13's). Legs a little sore but not too bad.

Forgot to mention a few things yesterday. Firstly the snooker. A great tournament - my tip John Higgins went out early in a deciding frame, and to be honest of the players left I thought that Neil Robertson was easily playing the best snooker. But somehow Selby just manages to grind out results even when he is well below par. Another great win for the Jester who must now be favourite for the World Champs in April.

Oh yeah, last weeks tally - a mediocre 65.5kms.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Tuam 8km

Just the 3 degrees which was a little chilly on the you know what. Bone dry and a bit of a stiff breeze that you'd only really notice when you are running directly into it. All in all it looked pretty good. A short couple of clicks warm-up and a couple of strides and we were lining up for the 2:30pm start.

A good crowd of over 500 runners. A lot of the usual suspects were there which was great to see. And then almost without warning we were underway. I got a terrible start and lost a few seconds whilst I woke up. The first km is very friendly with some nice downhill sections. Gerry Ryan took the lead with me and Paul Keane in hot pursuit. At the first roundabout Gerry nearly took a wrong turn and lost a few seconds and by this stage I was left chasing him.

I missed the first km marker but I had the feeling it was quick. The second km had a nasty enough section with a climb and I was surprised that Gerry didn't seem to be opening up his usual big gap on me. I looked at the split at the 2km marker and it showed 6:10 which meant the pace was definitely on. As we made a left turn it immediately became tougher as the breeze became a factor. I remained focused and tried to keep Gerry in my sights as I knew that once we got to the main road at around 4.5kms, the run back to town would be a lot easier.

I wasn't looking at the watch but I knew the pace had dropped. This section of the course is flat enough and it was just the wind that made it tough. Nothing really happened - Gerry wasn't improving on his lead and I had nobody close to me so it becomes a bit of a mental battle to try and keep the legs moving. Finally some reprieve after reaching the main road and then it was time to see what was left in the tank.

At this point I felt great. Straight away I felt much more comfortable and the 5 and 6km markers soon passed. Gerry looked around on a few occasions and I got the impression he was struggling and I'd certainly not given up on catching him. Up to the 7km mark seemed to be a gradual climb, and then at 7km you have to climb up and over the bridge. At this point someone shouted that Gerry had a 15 second lead and despite running a strong last km I'd left it too late crossing the line in 25:58 for 2nd position (Gerry won in 25:48).

I have to take a lot of positives from this race. It's the first time I've broken 26 minutes for 8km since 2011 (I raced this distance 7 times in 2012 and my best time was 26 flat in the Streets). Also I ran pretty much the whole race by myself which is also tough. Good signs for the year ahead. As I suspected Gerry was carrying a bit of an injury so no doubt that's as close as I'll be to him for a very long time.

After a warm-down with another Gerry (Carty) it was back to the hall for the presentation. A great spread and lots of prizes and this has to go down as one of the best value races of the year (€15 entry which also gets you 3 pairs of running socks!). A big well done to Tuam AC.

All going well so far this year. Nice to break 16 for 5km and 26 for 8km this early in the year. Another couple of weeks of decent training now (with 2 speed sessions thrown in each week) and then I plan to run the indoor masters at Athlone on Feb 9th. It's a brand new indoor 200m track and this will be the first time it will be used for competition. I've entered the 3,000m so it will be 15 laps of red-lining. I'd love to give sub 9 minutes a rattle (which may be a little optimistic).

Here are the splits for the 8km:

2km 6:10
3km 3:21
4km 3:25 (12:56)
5km 3:22
6km 3:14
7km 3:15
8km 3:11 (13:02)

Total 25:58

All up 14.6kms for the day. Upon arriving home I had the usual conversation with the kids: "How did you get on Dad?", "I came second", "Who beat you?", "Have a guess", "Gerry Ryan?", "Correct...!".

I then I switched on the TV just as Spurs equalised against United. That made my weekend!

Here is a photo (courtesy of Maree AC). You can just see me in the distance (I think this is the bridge just after 7km):

Saturday, January 19, 2013

30 minutes

I couldn't decide whether to run or not today. In the end I ventured out for a half an hour trot. I ran the smallest of the local loops which was 6.7km in 30:05 (4:29's). Weird running at that pace, you'd think running slower than normal would be easy but putting the brakes on just doesn't feel natural.

A few beers in the evening and watched the snooker. A Selby/Robertson final. Should be a cracker.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Another loop

Same run as Wednesday, this time a bit quicker - 9.5kms in 39:52 (4:12's).

Darts in the evening. I was very happy with how I played winning both singles and pairs. Good scoring and no messing about on the doubles. Overall we recorded another 8-1 win to maintain our top of the table position.

Thursday, January 17, 2013


No time for a run today. The rest will do me good.

A bit of decorating, a few beers and watch the snooker.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Rub required

Local loop of 9.5kms in a slow 40:55 (4:18's). Legs sore after yesterday's track session. Easy running for the rest of the week before the 8km on Sunday.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

16 x 400s off 30 secs

Constant rain and 4 degrees - not too windy mind. Wasn't feeling the love (no mojo) as I did my warm-up with the lads.

A huge turn-out, the bad weather didn't seem to detract anyone so that was good to see. I think the session was split into 6 or 7 groups with the quickest group starting first. Here are the times:


A terribly slow start - just couldn't get going. I gradually worked up the pace and was pleased with the second half of the set which in all honesty felt easier than the first half. I should add that I wasn't sticking to the 30 seconds recovery - I was probably getting 35 secs on average in order to stay with the group. A tough session on a very damp track.

With warm-down I clocked up 15.2kms. Fingers were like ice blocks and couldn't wait to get home for a hot shower.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Still dark

10kms in 43:12 (4:19's). Evenings starting to draw out a bit so hopefully be back running in daylight hours more often soon.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Snooker & Darts

Another long run - out to Oranmore, along the Coast Road, then towards the city, right turn at the G hotel, then back to Claregalway along the N17 (that last section is very uppish). Total distance 24.6kms in 1:44:18 (4:14's).

That's 100.8kms for the week. Happy with how things are going.

The BDO darts final was very one-sided. Too Hotty winning easily as I expected.

The snooker started today - the Masters at the Ally Pally. I can't pick the winner of this one - too close to call. Okay, I'll get off the fence - John Higgins gets my vote (though I'd prefer Judd as he is more entertaining to watch).

Saturday, January 12, 2013

10km tempo

Today it was time for a speed session. I'm not following a plan at the moment and I'm basically making it up as I go along. I started out with the intention of running 2 x 12 minutes (maybe 15 minutes if feeling good), but halfway through the first effort I knew the pace was slow (running uphill into the wind the first 5 minutes didn't help) so I decided just to keep going and run one long continuous effort.

I couldn't decide on a time - I just kept plugging away. I ended up running 35 minutes and in that time I covered exactly 10kms so 3:30/km on the knocker. Not bad going given the conditions.

All up 16.3kms with warm-up and down. Next week will be a track session on Tuesday and then race on the weekend.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Night run with a twist

I started off running as it was just starting to get dark. I decided on my nighttime route and added on another section of 100m or so to turn this into 10km exactly. Time 43:08 (4:19's).

Practised my darts for an hour or so in prep for the league match. I hit 8 x 180's and was throwing well. In my singles I started like Phil Taylor hitting 140 the first 3 darts - eventually missing double top for a 15 dart leg. I went on to win that leg but then in the next leg I started playing like Elizabeth Taylor. Not good. I somehow managed to win 2-0 and also won my pairs later in the evening. Our team won 8-1 and we are running away with the league. Home by 2am.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

62 minutes

Managed to squeeze in a daylight run today. A total of 14.8kms in 1:02:00 (4:11's). Going nicely at the moment and I feel like I'm coming into form. My next race will be the Tuam 8km on Jan 20th and it would be nice to get a sub 26 on the board early in the year.

Enjoying the darts at the Lakeside. I can't see anyone touching Scotty "too hotty" Waites though. He'll win it then switch to the PDC before the end of the month.

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

5,000m WR

Another nighttime run - 9.9kms in 42:05 (4:15's). As non-descript as ever.

I was sent this Youtube clip (thanks Colm). It's the 5,000m world record ran by Bekele in 2004. It's a must watch for any fan of athletics (commentary not in English but don't let that detract). Here it is:

Jaw-dropping stuff. Running 60 second laps and making it look easy. Plus Bekele basically ran the second half of the race by himself. Great to see the Big Mazungo in the same race.

Here are the splits:

1km 2:33.24
2km 2:32.23
3km 2:31.87
4km 2:30:59
5km 2:29:44

Total 12:37.37 (eventually rounded down to 12:37.35)

That's how to run a 5km - gradually wind up the pace!

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

8 x 800 off 75 secs

The weather had turned again - a glorious dry sunny day and by the track time rolled around at the new start of 7:30pm, despite being very cool, conditions were spot on. The normal 3.7kms warm-up around the roads before running a further 4 laps of the track with Timmie and Niall.

The session was 800's. A great group tonight with everyone running well. The first one was pretty poor (I should have done some strides) but then the pace was gradually cranked up. I kept stuffing my watch up and had to rely on others for 2 of my splits but despite that I felt strong throughout and was ticking along very nicely.

Here are the times:


I was probably averaging around 80 seconds recovery to stay with the group. Great to see some new and old faces at track tonight. The standard at the front is really improving with Owen running very quickly - only a matter of time before he has a big breakthrough run. Niall also ran very strongly - he'll be a sub 16 minute 5km runner in no time.

A 3.7km warm-down again around the roads. All up 15.4kms for the day. Home for pizza and chocolate. No beer mid-week starting as of this week - after 19 consecutive drinking days over Christmas it's time for a bit of a break...

Monday, January 07, 2013

Popped In Souled Out

Hammering down all day - no avoiding it. Got drenched running my 9.9kms in 43:19 (4:23's). Pace was slow but legs were tired after the weekend.

Sunday, January 06, 2013

Wet Wet Wet

Another long run today. Very wet conditions and I decided to get the worst part out of the way by running into the wind for the first half of the run. My route took me from Claregalway to Carnmore, then on to Oranmore, then the Coast Road. Then up through Doughiska, before taking the Monivea Road back to Carnmore. Then the final stretch for home. All up 22.1kms in 1:35:12 (4:18's). Absolutely soaked come the end.

That's 91.4kms for the week (with one rest day). From here on I'll start doing more speedwork - I'll probably settle on 2 speed sessions per week as 3 is too much. So Tuesday track and then either Thursday or Saturday depending on what best fits.

Forgot to mention that I played darts again last night in the pub - not the normal 501 but a game of cricket (which I've never played before). Teams of pairs and a fair bit of strategy involved - very enjoyable.

Saturday, January 05, 2013


Today was a bit of a struggle - decided to head out mid-afternoon as the rain subsided. As I ran up to Carnmore I was greeted by a huge convoy of runners running in the opposite direction. Turns out it was a fund raiser for Lily-Mae, a local girl suffering with a rare childhood cancer. Everyone looked to be having fun and fair play to anyone who covered the entire run from Ballinasloe to Claregalway which must be in excess of 60kms. Great to see.

Well this gave me just the motivation I needed. I was wearing new runners (Asics 2170) and you really notice the difference after wearing old trainers. I ended up covering exactly 20kms in 1:24:58 (4:15's). Felt surprisingly good after last night.

I then got home and read a text from Fintan that he'd done 35kms at the same pace. My bonfire had just been p!ssed on...

Friday, January 04, 2013

More fun

Squeezed in an hours run just before it was getting dark. Distance 15.1kms in 1:04:35 (4:17's).

Out in the evening with Fintan, Owen and Timmie for food and numerous beverages. Home by 3am. How Fintan made it into work for 6am beggars belief...

Thursday, January 03, 2013

Lets Play Darts

Same run as yesterday - well almost - I did the route in reverse clocking up 9.87kms in 40:25 (4:06's). Surprised by the pace as the effort level was the same as the day before.

More darts starting on Saturday - the BDO World Champs covered by the BBC. The standard isn't the same as the PDC but still worth a watch. It's basically the feeder system for the PDC as any good players soon make the switch across to chase the big money.

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Back to nights

My 10km night run. Measured it with the new Garmin and it turns out it's 9.84km (time 42:32 at 4:19/km pace).

In my haste to get yesterday's race report up I forgot to mention the darts final. I decided to watch it in the pub with the darts team. A great game with Taylor winning 7-4 to clinch his 16th world title. Van Gerwen wasn't at his best which was a shame as I would have loved to see this one go all the way. Needless to say I think we'll be seeing the Green Machine in many more finals over the coming years.

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Resolution Run 5km

I kept a lid on the celebrations yesterday evening and awoke to a glorious day - very still and sunny and looked to be just about as good a day for racing that you could hope for.

The race this year had been moved from Renmore into the centre of Galway. Upon arrival I ran the guts of the course with Sean and Timmie and I have to admit I did have my reservations about the route as there were lots of areas where traffic could be a big issue. In what turned out to be a superbly organised event, the marshaling on the day was first class and I didn't hear of any problems. Well done as it must be a logistical nightmare to put on a race like this in the city centre.

A good turnout with over 300 toeing the line. This race has very fond memories for me as I have managed to win it the last couple of years so I was keen to put in a good performance. The gun sounded and Kenny Rogers went straight to the front leaving me and Damien Landers from Clare chasing.

The first km was into a slight breeze but the pace was quick. I went through the first km in 3:02 and Kenny had already opened up a slight gap. As we made a right hand turn just after 1km I was already feeling the pinch and I was trying to hang on to Damien without much joy. There was a slight climb at this point as we made our way through a few back streets before crossing the main road and then taking a left hand turn along the canal. Damien was still just in front and Kenny had opened up a decent lead. Somewhere along this section I closed in on Damien and I think we swapped the lead a few times.

A right turn at the end of the canal as we ran round the back of the Cathedral. I was now in second position. I was feeling a bit better and tried to force the pace but that proved fruitless. A few more turns and we were then to make the climb up to Eyre Square. This is the part of the course I enjoyed the most - especially the run up the pedestrianised section along Shop St. Despite it being slightly uphill, we were getting some great support from the crowd and it had a really nice vibe about it.

Upon reaching Eyre Square it was time to push for home. I was still in second and Damien was still in touch and I could hear that one other runner was fast approaching. Running down by the docks I missed the 4km marker but knew that it was going to be a quick finish. The last section along the Long Walk was hurting. With about 500m to go Paul Buckley went past me but I managed to summons up a sprint finish as soon as I spotted the Spanish Arch and thankfully I managed to regain second position crossing the line in a time of 15:54.

Pleased as punch with that. Nice to get under 16 and some more good racing in the process. Kenny won the race in a super 15:35 so he was in a different class today.

The first 4 of us ran the course again as a warm-down. All up 14.5kms for the day. I really enjoyed this race and I have nothing but positive feedback. A real treat to be able to run around the city today and the great weather was a bonus.

Here are the splits:

1km 3:02
2km 3:18
3km 3:16
4km 3:14 (estimate)
5km 3:04

Total 15:54

Here are some photos courtesy of the race's Facebook page.

The start chatting to the opposition (Paul #305, Kenny #312)

And they're off:

The finish at the famous Spanish Arch:

Another one at the finish where I look like an old man: