Sunday, June 30, 2013

Not coasting on the Coast Road

Out at 9am with Owen starting at Roscam. Conditions were very windy and whilst it stayed dry for the first half of the run, the rain came making the second half pretty miserable.

We ran out through Oranmore, then onto Maree where we completed about 5km of the 8km course out there. Then doubled back with the last section of the Coast Road being very tough running for about 20 minutes straight into the wind (probably at around 5 mins/km pace).

All up 27.2kms in 2:02:03 (4:29's). That's 105.4kms for the week and a decent couple of sessions in the bag in the process. Very happy with how things are going.

Next week I'll do a big track session on Tuesday, then wind things back in preparation for the three 5km races I have scheduled.

I watched the Diamond League athletics from Birmingham in the afternoon. Jess Judd had another great run winning the 800m in 1:59.85 and securing her first sub 2 and more importantly her ticket to compete in Moscow. Then the men's 5,000m which Mo won with another stunning last lap - especially the last 200m where he put the 2 fancied Ethiopians to the sword (Yenew Alamirew and Hagos Gebrhiwet). Looks to be in great form and when he describes 13:15 as slow you'd have to say he has plenty more to come...

Saturday, June 29, 2013

10 x 3 mins off 60 secs

Same participants as Thursday, same location, this time though it was a speed session. I mentioned on the warm-up I felt a bit selfish keep having these runs on my doorstep but in all honesty the back roads are great around here being relatively flat and traffic free.

A bit of a breeze, but nice and cool and during the warm-up we quickly decided on committing to the full 10 reps as the plan called for 8 to 10. We agreed on running them at 10km pace so I would be looking at a range of 3:15 to 3:18 pace (threshold and not flat out interval pace). Just a note on this, if it was the track I'd be looking at a pace around 3 or 4 seconds per km quicker - that's how much quicker I run on the track for the same effort level.

After a 15 minute warm-up we started the session. We ran 5 x 3 mins in one direction around the loop, then doubled back finishing back at the starting point. The breeze was certainly a factor on the 4th and 5th efforts, but I didn't really notice it after we turned even though we were probably running straight into the breeze for the last couple. Paces for each 3 minute were as follows:

3:16/3:13/3:15/3:14/3:13/3:10/3:10/3:09/3:10/3:08 (average 3:12)

Basically well inside target pace and whilst it was a good hard session, it certainly wasn't red-line (which after all was the intention). Fintan has moved up a notch and was with me the whole way whilst Owen ran another blinder and it's only a matter of time before he does some real damage to his 10km PB.

A great session. Same warm-down of 15 minutes or so and I ended up with a total distance of 17.4kms on the Garmin. I feel like going out and getting hammered now but I'll keep the powder dry for another week - at least until after the 5km in Norwich next Saturday night.

Talking of Norwich, I see there is a big campaign there to have the film premier of the new Alan Partridge movie in Norwich's own Anglia Square as opposed to London's Leicester Square. Smell my cheese...

Friday, June 28, 2013

No sport to watch

11.1kms in 47:37 (4:18's). The only thing of note was watching 2 large birds cross the road and stop the traffic. Not sure what they were - bigger than ducks with webbed feet!

An Irish coffee followed by 4 beers in the evening. Perfect preparation for the (running) session tomorrow morning. I have company for that one so that should make for a better quality session.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Down to business

Myself, Fintan and Owen and our 7am Thursday run. Nice and cool with little wind. My daughter had been redecorating her room all night so I was like a zombie for the start of the run.

Lots of comfort breaks on this run (none from me) - it may have been a record. I'll have to start counting them but it felt like double figures. All up 15.0kms in 1:07:08 (4:29's). Started raining just as we finished!

Watched some athletics in the evening from Ostrava - the standard was pretty hot. Bekele finished 4th in the 5,000m and it seems his best days are perhaps behind him - shame he never stepped up to the marathon when he was at his best. I think the winner (Muktar Idris) ran 13:04 with a 54 second last lap!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Creating a monster

I took the kids out at lunchtime to meet the wife. The venue was the athletics track which she works almost next door to. Both kids were fascinated by the track and they immediately lined up for a one lap race. Conor (aged 4) finished the lap without stopping leaving Maeve in his wake (she's 3). I wish I'd taken the camera to capture this moment - even Maeve finished the circuit after walking most of the last 200m.

Anyway I did a short 40 minute run whilst the family had a picnic and I bumped into Eamon around the pitches so the time passed quickly. Upon return to the track Conor then wanted to race me. Not being one to refuse a challenge I accepted and I was just pipped on the line by a winning time of 2:05. So that's his new 400m PB and he's not stopped giving it the big I am ever since.

All up 9.5kms for me including the 400m at the end. Time just shy of 45 minutes.

Snooker in the evening - lenses and all. No improvement - in fact I think I was better playing blind.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

15 x 200 off 30 secs

Long warm-up of 4.5kms around the pitches, then another 4 laps of the track. The session tonight was 200's off a short 30 second recovery. I was aiming for around 32 for each one which is about where I ended up. Here are the times:


A good front group of myself, Owen, Billy and Conor. We were taking turns leading each rep - I felt pretty comfortable throughout up until the last few where I started to work the pace that bit harder and was suffering as a result. The 30 seconds recovery evaporates and feels much shorter. You check the watch after running the 200 and 15 seconds has gone straight away. You then line up ready to start the next one and you're off again. The session was over in a little over 15 minutes! I think I enjoyed it...

A long warm-down of 6.6km around the pitches. Total 15.7kms for the day.

Longer reps planned for Saturday. Until then it's easy running.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Mickey Arthur

A lovely evening for a run. Legs felt great and was running very freely knocking out my standard 9.5kms in 38:48 (4:05's). Looking forward to the track session tomorrow - some rare 200's to get the legs fired up.

Good to see the Aussie cricket team in turmoil only a few weeks before the Ashes. I did suspect that Mickey Arthur had completely lost the plot when he described their bowling attack as the best in the world...that said, a good appointment bringing Darren Lehmann in.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

2 Hours

I couldn't face running solo today so I was up early to run the Cathedral Run with a few from the club. I parked on the edge of the city and ran to the meeting point (3kms). Then ran the normal Sunday route in conditions that were not good (very windy and wet). Then after the loop I ran back to the car deliberately taking a slightly longer route to get me up over the 2 mark.

Total 2:00:14 covering 25.9kms (4:39's). Pace not quick but legs still weren't right.

Lots of sport watching for the rest of the day. Robertson won the snooker as I tipped earlier in the week. Some more athletics from Gateshead with team Great Britain finishing 3rd. And the final of the cricket between India and England. The less said about that the better...

84.9kms for the week. I'll drop in a decent week of training next week and then pull it back as I have 3 x 5km races planned in the space of 8 days - the Lord Mayors 5km in my home town of Norwich on July 6th, then the Galway 5,000m champs on the track on July 9th, then round 2 of the National League on July 14th. Perhaps I can run a World Championship qualifier of 13:15.......???

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Recovery Run

Legs were in bits today - didn't stretch properly after the race and all that. I decided I'd shake the legs out with an hour run but didn't feel any better cometh the end. Total 15.0kms in 1:07:51 (4:31's).

I suppose it's only natural that the recovery process takes longer as you get older. In the same way it now takes me an eternity to recover after a big night on the falling down water, I'm noticing a similar pattern after a tough run....

Watched a bit of the athletics on the Beeb today - the European Team Championships held in Gateshead. Great viewing. Mo dropped in a quick last lap of the 5,000m (50.89 seconds!) after jogging round for 4,600m. A great win for Jess Judd in the 800m who ran 2 minutes flat. There looks to be a fair bit of young talent in the British team coming through. Good signs.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Annaghdown 10km

Out to Annaghdown for the Summer Solstice 10km - a lovely town situated on the bay with some of the nicest trimmed bushes I have ever seen...I felt like I was in decent nick so was looking forward to a good hard hit-out in the build-up to my sub 32 attempt on the track at the end of July.

Conditions weren't ideal - it was constant fine rain and a fair bit of wind around, but at least it was nice and cool. That probably put a few people off as the numbers looked down on previous years.

A short 2km warm-up with Brian and Chris and we were soon lining up at the start. I didn't get my greatest start (not paying attention) but by the time we rounded the first left-hand turn I had taken the lead and started to put the foot down. The first 4km is run in the same direction - plenty of undulations but nothing too taxing with perhaps the wind on the back at this point. My km splits were metronome like and after a couple of kms I had started to open up a handy lead.

Through 4km and then another left turn. Through 5km in 16:12 and feeling pretty good but I knew the back half of the course was tougher - especially the section between 7 and 9kms. I was still running well up to 7km and as soon as I hit that point I still felt like I was ticking along nicely but the km splits disagreed. Perhaps the wind had picked up as it was certainly tough going. A bit disheartened I crawled up the last drag by the graveyard just after 9km - then upped the tempo for the run to the line.

I crossed in 32:49 for the win so all in all happy with that given the conditions plus the fact I was running Hans. My best 10km in a good while so good to see things on the improve - not bad running with a throat infection as confirmed by the doctor a few hours before the race...

Despite the conditions there were some good runs by many with both Paddy and Chris both running PB's in 2nd and 3rd place. Well done to everyone who took part.

A warm-down with Conor and Brian and back to the school for some hot drinks and the presentation. All up 15.0kms for the day.

Here are the splits:

1km 3:14
2km 3:14
3km 3:13
4km 3:14
5km 3:17 (16:12)
6km 3:16
7km 3:17
8km 3:23
9km 3:27
10km 3:14 (16:37)

Total 32:49

Some great photos courtesy of Jane. Here are a few. My poor start:

Crossing the finish line:

Can I swap this for a beer?

The podium. Paddy on the right needs a good feed:

The presentation. Thanks to Paul and the gang for putting on this fine race:

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Rest before race

No running to report today.

More cricket watching - England to play India in the final on Sunday. Should be a good game with 2 teams of very contrasting styles.

More snooker watching - the Wuxi Classic. My pick at this point is Robertson.

A few beers in the evening and an early night. The throat still isn't right so it may be time to visit the doctor.

Just looking at my previous performances in Annaghdown. A 32:41 in 2011 and a 32:38 last year. Looking at my splits the first half of the course would appear to be quick (16:08 in 2011 and 16:05 in 2012). Or perhaps I just went out too quick and blew-up in the second half...the course record is 32:31 which I don't think is in reach for me at the moment. But hopefully some quicks will show and they can smash that to pieces!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Not easy

Was hoping for a nice and easy lap around the block. I felt dreadful the whole way - the worst run I can remember for a while. All up 9.5kms in 41:55 (4:25's).

Even stopped for 5 minutes mid-run to speak to one of the lads out of the darts team. With hindsight perhaps I should have pulled the pin at this point.

A good win today for England in the Champions Trophy. They look to be in good from whilst the Aussies are really struggling. Me likey. Roll on the Ashes!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

8 x 75 secs off 60 secs

Slight change of plan. I couldn't make the track session so had to run later locally. The club session was 3-4 sets of 400/600/400 with 60 secs between efforts and 90 secs between sets. I decided on something similar opting for 8 x 75 secs on the road with a minute recovery. With my watch it's just easier to run for a set time rather than a distance.

Warm-up of 2.2kms then got going. Anything under 3:00/km pace I would've been happy with:

Pace/km 2:59/2:56/2:59/2:57/2:54/2:54/2:50/2:49

Not bad though I just can't run as quick as I can on the track. Answers on a postcard please...

All up 10.0kms with warm-down. Still have sore throat/left ear.

Monday, June 17, 2013


Easy run of 9.5km in 39:19 (4:08's). Still have sore throat but the running seems to be going ok.

I am trying out some contact lenses which I picked up this morning, Had a 30 minute session on putting them in and taking them out and was good to go. These were primarily for playing snooker so trialed them with a game in the evening. Yes I could see a whole lot more but what I witnessed was a pile of shite. Didn't play well. Couldn't pot a geranium. It can only get better.

Will take it easy this week in the build-up to Friday's 10km. I'll do the track session tomorrow but won't run the full number of sets. Then an easy run Wednesday and a rest day on Thursday.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Fathers Day

Long solo run today on my lonesome. A big loop and then running back into Claregalway along the N17. All up 25.1kms in 1:51:19 (4:26's). Still not cracked the 2 hour mark - that's just lazyitis.

A bit of a sore throat at the moment. Perhaps time to lay off the booze for a few days...

I watched the Champions Trophy cricket between England and New Zealand. A good win for England who bowled really well to defend a lowish score. I then stayed up to watch the end of the US Open golf. Nice work by Justin Rose who was incredible coming up the last hole.

That's 100.3kms for the week. Easy week planned next week.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

3 x (7 mins tempo/1 min jog/2 mins hard/3 mins recovery)

Another Harriers session run locally. Thankfully I had Fintan for company who was doing his first serious speed session in around 6 months.

Warm-up of 3.5kms then into the session. The tempo efforts pacing always confuse me - the plan was to run them "comfortably hard" and I thought that 3:20/km pace or better would be a good target. Then try and run the 2 minute efforts much quicker.

Here's how the session went:

7:00 - 2.15kms - 3:16 pace
2:00 - 0.64kms - 3:07
7:00 - 2.16kms - 3:14
2:00 - 0.66kms - 3:02
7:01 - 2.15kms - 3:15
2:01 - 0.65kms - 3:05

I felt great today - the longer efforts felt really comfortable despite a strong breeze in parts. The last 2 minutes was directly into the wind but I was still going nicely. Definitely hitting some form. Good to see Fintan back and running well. Roll on the Annaghdown 10km.

Warm-down of 3.9kms. All up 16.8kms.

Friday, June 14, 2013

No rub-a-dub

I was planning to rest today but after consuming so much junk food in the last 24 hours (namely crisps and Kit Kat chunkies), I decided to turn the legs over with the sole purpose of burning off some calories.

Same route as Mon/Wed - 9.5kms in 40:37 (4:15's). Getting slower! Weather was pretty ordinary though - quite cold and juicing down with rain. Summer looks to have been and gone.

No going out at the moment - haven't been to the pub in about a fortnight!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Almost 4

Myself, Owen and Gearoid this morning after Fintan had to dash back to the bakery thus missing the run. Good of him to still taxi Owen round to my place though! Great effort.

Usual route with no switchbacks for toilet breaks (no Fintan you see). Lots of chat and this is fast turning into my favourite run of the week. All up 14.8kms in 1:04:40 (4:22's).

Did manage 4 later in the day on the beer front.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The camera never lies

Same 9.5kms as Monday in 39:58 (4:12's). Quite quick which perhaps reiterates that I didn't hurt myself enough on the track last night.

A couple of photos courtesy of edenhill from the Monivea 5km. This one was within the first 500m of the race where I look almost normal:

And this beauty at the finish line where I was supposedly cruising home...

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

6 x 1km off 2 mins

Damp rainy conditions for track tonight. A long warm-up of 3.8kms around the block, then 4 laps of the track before changing into the racing flats.

The session was km reps off a longer than normal 2 minutes. The longer recovery simply meant you were to push the pace more than if you were running off a shorter break.

A good lead group with Keith, John and myself leading out the reps. Here are the times:

3:04, 3:05, 3:04, 3:02, 3:02, 2:59

Not sure what to make of that. I felt comfortable throughout, never hitting the red-line. The 2 minutes recovery felt like way too much. With a little time to reflect on it I don't think I attacked the session enough - perhaps I should have aimed to get them all under 3 minutes.

A warm-down of 3.7kms around the roads and that was that. All up 15.1kms. Several people running very well at the moment - just what you need to keep everyone honest.

Monday, June 10, 2013


The weather has quickly turned back to non-summer like conditions. An easy run of 9.5kms in 39:25 (4:09's) to kick the week off.

The plan this week is to get 2 good sessions in with no racing.

Sunday, June 09, 2013

The Power

Out at 9am with young Timmie for a long jaunt. We ran out to the Coast Road and back, and then did a few loops in Claregalway. All up 24.5kms in 1:47:30 (4:23's). Another gorgeous day and could have done with some water after an hour but the time soon passed with plenty of chat.

Phil Taylor won the UK Open after defeating Andy Hamilton easily in the final. A great weekend of viewing and good to see MVG get beaten to show that he is human after all.

A total of 87.0kms for the week.

Saturday, June 08, 2013

Monivea 5km

A hot summers day again. The temperature was already well into the 20's for the drive to Monivea and with Some Friendly by the Charlatans blasting out on the stereo I was really looking forward to having a good blow-out in the 5km.

I ran the course as a warm-up (5.1 kms). I watched the start of the half marathon at 11am and then we lined up about 5 minutes later and we were off. I took it out fairly hard and by the time I made the first turn at the bottom of the village I had already opened up a lead. The first 2.6kms of this race are on the road (with nice stretches of downhill), then you hit the forest trail which has lots of twists and turns coupled with some nasty drags. Through the first km in 3:10, and then I pushed on and by the time I reached the second km with a 3:08 I was well clear.

The next km and after 600m you switch to the trail. I was still going nicely and with a 3:13 3rd km (9:31) I had visions of breaking 16 minutes. That thought was short-lived and I lost some momentum in the 4th km and with a 3:22 split I was pushing custard uphill with a fork. I cruised the last km and crossed the line in 16:13 for the win.

I'm happy enough with the time (my quickest on this course was a 16:06 in a closely fought race 2 years ago). This time ranks as my second best and it felt pretty comfortable - despite the very hot conditions.

Another lap of the course as a warm-down with the top off. A total of 15.8kms for the day.

A great day which I really enjoyed. One of my favourite races on the calendar and great to see this race grow in its 4th year. Superb organisation, a beautiful location and probably the warmest weather I have raced in since moving to Ireland. And here was me thinking that Australia was the lucky country...

Friday, June 07, 2013

Painting and Decorating

Well the playroom, kitchen and sitting room are just about done. Thank fcuk for that. Time to put the paint brushes away for a while...

No run today. I'm going to race the Monivea 5km tomorrow. I asked the coach of GCH whether I should run the 5km, or use the half marathon for a session and the response was to race the 5km. Given the weather conditions (forecast hot) then that comes as a welcome relief.

More beer (drinking) and darts (watching) in the evening.

Thursday, June 06, 2013

As good as it gets

The sun was splitting the sky at 7am in the morning and that sets you up perfectly for a run. Myself, Fintan and Owen in attendance and some good chat and before you know it you have just over 15kms under the belt. Time 65 minutes (4:19's). Perfect.

A few beers in the evening whilst watching the FA Cup of darts.

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

I feel like a Tooheys

More glorious weather. The legs were a little sore after the 400's but not too bad. The same run as Monday covering the 9.5kms in 41:02 (4:19's). Thirsty.

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

12 x 400 off 60 seconds

This session has to be one of my favourites. I last did this session on April 27th and was looking for an improvement today. After a warm-up of 4.4kms it was game on.

A great lead group today with myself, John and Eamon taking turns leading out the laps. The first one was a slow one that felt awful, then after that I clicked into a nice rhythm. Here are the times:


My target was 68 seconds per lap and I ran these at an average of 66.75 seconds so well under that (the total session was 3 seconds quicker than last time). The 67's felt really comfortable but as soon as I tried to dip below that it was a different ball game. I never attacked the laps running them much more controlled and even paced than I did back at the end of April. I think that speed session on the 300's a few weeks back has really brought me on.

A warm-down of 3.4kms to give me 12.6kms for the day. I feel like I'm starting to hit some form now and that will be put to the test at the Annaghdown 10km on June 21st. But in the meantime I plan to run in Monivea on Saturday.

Monday, June 03, 2013

Bank holiday

9.5kms in 39:20 (4:08's). Felt great. Weather is super at the moment - long may this continue.

Dinner party in the evening with some friends. A few too many cans...

Sunday, June 02, 2013

Nearly 2 hours

Longer run today as per my orders. Started off and felt very heavy legged. The tops of my hammies were particularly sore and knew I was in for a tough one. I ran from home out to Oranmore and back and then added a local loop to get the time up. The legs never recovered and it was a slow slog.

All up 25.0kms in 1:52:35 (4:30's). At least the weather was quite warm. That being the case it's now the insect swallowing/spitting out season. Which is nice.

93.6kms for the week.

Saturday, June 01, 2013

5 minute efforts

Out late today after a 10 hour decorating stint in the sitting room. Wasn't looking forward to it having been thinking about the session most of the day whilst perfecting my brush work.

Ideally I'd have gone to the track for some 4 lappers but time didn't permit so it was on my local stretch of road for speedwork. I decided on 5 x 5 mins off 90 seconds and the target was to run them at target 10km pace or better (sub 3:12 per km).

Here's how it panned out:

5:00 1.52kms 3:17/km
5:01 1.54kms 3:15/km
5:00 1.55kms 3:14/km
5:00 1.55kms 3:14/km
4:59 1.57kms 3:10/km

Basically not what I was after. Conditions were good so can't blame that and I felt like I was going well but the speed wasn't quite there. Perhaps 10 hours on the feet beforehand could have been the reason.

All up 15.5kms with warm-up and down. Home then for a few beers. No problem with my beer drinking speed,