Friday, January 31, 2014

Evening stretch

I managed to squeeze in a run in daylight hours after the other half returned from work. All up 12.6kms in 54:24 (4:19's). Weather was okay but not looking good for the weekend.

In the evening it was league darts. Having not played in goodness knows how long it wasn't going to be pretty. Plus it was the first time I've ever played a league match having consumed zero pints. I was a little shaky but somehow managed to win both my singles and pairs. That didn't stop our team going down 6-3 mind! I was tempted to have a beer when midnight arrived as it was technically February but in the end I didn't bother. One thing I will say is that this non-drinking malarkey is very cheap. I consumed one cup of coffee and 2 teas all night long for the princely sum of zero Euros!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Berlin Masters

Just myself and Fintan for our early morning run in the dark. It seemed very dark this morning (more dark than just normal dark). You could hardly see where you were going on some of the back roads. Anyway, nice conditions for running with no wind to contend with. Pace was slow but you'd expect that running blind. All up 14.4kms in 1:04:06 (4:27's).

Day 30 of no booze now. I checked my drinking diary and I did a dry Feb back in 2009. Always go for the shortest month!

And more snooker to watch - the Berlin Masters. The spaceman into the last 16 and looking for back-to-back wins!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Hamster wheel

10kms on the treadmill. Around 4:30/km pace. Not much else to say...

Snooker in the evening. A good first frame and then went downhill. A few chances for 50's but I just keep missing some easy balls. Grrrrrr.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

6 x 5 mins

The now bog standard session with wingman Fintan. A dry day with a fair breeze but not too bad. A 10 minute warm-up and straight into it. Struggled on the first rep, a bit better on the second and third, and then doubled back and had the benefit of the wind for the final 3. Paces for each 5 minute effort were as follows:

3:24 / 3:20 / 3:18 / 3:16 / 3:14 / 3:15

I really had to work to run these times so perhaps an indication I'm still not travelling that well. That said, I seem to have picked up another bit of a cold. It's one thing after another at the moment.

All up 15.3kms with warm-down. I do enjoy this session as it's over in around an hour. Nice to have Fintan for the session who again seemed to be doing it easy!

Monday, January 27, 2014


An awful weather day. Gusting winds and squally showers - and to make matters worse it was a solo hit-out. The Rockmount Road is still out of action so I was running lots of other local circuits and I ended up running the guts of 5 different loops in my 23.1kms (time 1:40:15 @ 4:20/km pace). Glad to see the back of that one.

Day 27 of no-booze. I notice that Feb 1st is this Saturday so I dare say I'll be blowing the froth off a few that night. I did a weigh in and I'm down to 78kgs so I've probably shifted a kg or 2 but I have to say I don't really feel any better for this month of no alcohol. At least I've proved to myself I can do it!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

The Spaceman

A solo hour to shake out the legs after yesterday. To be honest the legs felt pretty fresh - so more evidence that I didn't over-do it in the 3,000m. The fact that I could speak just after crossing the finish line was more evidence! Anyway, a total of 15.4kms in 1:05:58 (4:21's). I had to stop at one point as I got caught in a nasty hail shower which had me cowering behind a tree. Yes I'm totally soft.

That's 83.8kms for the week. Happy with the last 3 weeks and seem to be heading in the right direction. If I could just get this knee sorted then I'd be really fired up to run some decent times this year. I haven't set any goals but I'd like to get back into mid 32 10km shape and see where that takes me.

I watched the final day of the snooker shoot-out and was delighted to see Dominic Dale (the Spaceman) win the title. Great entertainment and 32 grand for a weekend's 'work' - not bad!

And finally some stats to finish with. I'm in the 14th year now of my running/beer diary and since the turn of the millennium I've run close to 37,000kms which works out to 7.7kms per day or 54.2kms per week. That includes 18 months of no running when I had a bad dose of patella tendinitis.

Looking at the running stats from 2007 onwards which is when I started to take the running a bit more seriously, I have averaged 10.0kms per day or 70.3kms per week. Consistency is king!

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Masters Indoors 3,000m

A 45 minute drive to the indoor track in Athlone. It was a pretty shocking day - cold and windy but that doesn't matter when you're running indoors! I got there about an hour before my scheduled start time, but it was running slightly ahead of schedule so I got outside and ran 4 laps of the outdoor track as a warm-up. Then inside to find out what heat I was in. This year the races were organised a lot more logically with all the people in each age category in the same race. So the M1's were away first (age 35-39) and then in the second race it was the M2's (my category - age 40 to 44) along with the M3's. So I had a few minutes to do a bit more of a warm-up, and watch the first race at the same time (a great finish with Paul Fleming running down Paul Buckley in the last 50m and both going sub 9 in the process).

I lined up for my race and soon we were off. I settled mid-pack and took a couple of laps to find my feet and get used to the track. The pace seemed really slow but I was boxed in so I took the sensible option to sit in and wait for the gaps to develop. Nobody was pushing the pace at the front so I wasn't too concerned but after a couple more laps I was starting to get frustrated having to keep checking my run so about at the 1km mark (split of 3:13) I ran wide and overtook 5 or 6 runners to take the lead.

So I'd upped the pace a bit without going silly - I ran a few laps at the front before slowing a little only to see Pat Byrne go past me. This was perfect as I could sit in behind him and weigh up the right moment to attack once more. The pace still felt comfortable and we were breaking away from the chasers so no cause for concern. It was all about picking the right time to push for home and feeling good I thought that would be around the 2km mark. But I got a bit twitchy and took the lead again with about 5 and a half laps left and started the push for home.

The last 5 laps seemed to count down really quickly. I wasn't really running any quicker but I was aware that the gap on Pat was growing by a few meters each lap. At the bell someone shouted that I had a 10m gap and so I kept the pace the same and crossed the line in 9:15:74 for the win (the splits for kms 2 and 3 were both 3:01). So not a great time, but it was never going to be quick after the slow start. The pleasing thing was feeling relatively comfortable running the last 2km at basically 3 minute/km pace and still having a little bit left in the tank.

A nice win and great to retain my national title. A few more laps outside to give me around 8km for the day before a quick shower and the drive home. I have to say I love competing at this track - it's a real gem and I should make more of an effort to compete there more often. I wonder if they have an indoor 5,000m there this year?

Friday, January 24, 2014

Lactate threshold training

No running today - a much needed rest day after 19 run days on the bounce.

An interesting blog article on Andy Ward - a UK runner aged 44 who has recently clocked sub 30 minutes for 10km here. Interesting that his training is all based around his lactate threshold pace and specific heart rate zones. It gives hope for us all!

Not much else to report. The snooker shoot-out starts today on Sky and that's always good fun to watch. No beer now for 24 days and it's fair to say I could murder a beer...

Thursday, January 23, 2014


Solo run mid-morning. A total of 15.1kms in 1:05:34 (4:21's).

I'm going to give the Masters Indoors 3,000m a go on Saturday so I'll rest up tomorrow in preparation for that. I had a great experience there last year so more of the same will be good (though I can't see myself running anywhere near 8:53....).

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Wednesday mixed bag

I never got going today - the legs felt very dead and I was trudging along. Total 9.5kms in 42:57 (4:31's).

Out in the evening for a game of snooker - the local club has shut down so it's back into town. I played last week and the less said about that the better. This week was a bit better - but I was having constant problems with my right contact lens. The highlight was a 39 break - but I missed the easiest black you will ever see with plenty of reds still on offer. Nightmare stuff.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

6 x 800 off 90 secs

I wasn't thrilled at the prospect of a cold, wet, January track session but I managed to haul myself out to Dangan. Warm-up of 3.8km on the road, followed by 2 laps of the track and it was time to arrange into groups for the off. The session was 800's and with a lack of these type of sessions lately, I thought if I could run 2:30 or thereabouts, I'd be happy.

Andrew took out the first couple, and on the third one I find my legs and was feeling good and I hit the front. I lead out the 4th one, and then ran a couple more for good measure. A stiff breeze on the home straight which is quite normal, so it was an easy start to each lap, and then having to work the final 100m. And in typical style I'd run the first lap a lot quicker than the second one - the effort level would be the same but the endurance isn't quite there. The times were as follows:


That will do nicely. A warm-down of 3.8kms to give me around 13.2kms for the day. The 90 second recovery seemed like an age when you are used to a minute so perhaps that was why the times were a bit quicker than I was expecting. Knee a bit better after the rub but still not great.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Long run and rub

Woke up to a corker of a frost and after getting the kids to school it was long run time. The roads were very slippery for the first half an hour, and I nearly went A over T a few times so the pace was very sedate. I gradually picked it up, and an hour in I was ticking along nicely. I was stopped on about 70 minutes to help an old guy use his mobile, then again on 90 minutes by a lady looking for directions (my 2 good deeds for the day). All up 22.6kms in 1:37:37 (4:19's).

In the afternoon it was rub time. Left inside quad was again very tight so most of the time was spent on that muscle trying to get it to ease off. The pain factor wasn't too bad today and seems a bit better now as a result.

As I suspected Ronnie won easily 10-4 in the masters final. He only dropped 6 frames all tournament and in fairness he should have probably won the final 10-1 (albeit for a sitter brown he missed to make it 9-1). On this form there is nobody who can touch him and he could keep collecting major titles for plenty more years to come.

Sunday, January 19, 2014


A local run of 15.2kms in 1:04:21 to finish off the week (4:14/km pace). Felt good but the knee was giving me constant reminders. So I booked a massage for tomorrow and then used the kids to stand on my quad to try and get them to ease off a bit. Seemed to work a little.

I watched the Spurs beat Swansea 3-1 so a great start under new manager Timmie Sherwood who I was a bit sceptical about when he got the job. Four wins a draw later and I'm coming round. Plus the snooker final and at the time of writing Ronnie is 7-1 up in the race to 10 so there is only one winner from here.

That's 103.5kms for the week (almost the same as last week). Maybe drop the volume a bit next week to give the knee some recovery.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

20 minute tempo

I made the call to give the Tuam 8km a miss this weekend and after today's session that seemed like a good call. A 3.5km warm-up and then it was straight into a 20 minute tempo run at a planned pace of 3:24/km. I checked the pace about 8 to 9 minutes into the run thinking that I'd started too quickly and when it showed me that I was running 3:27/km pace I knew it was going to be a tough slog. So I upped the pace as best I could and gradually worked the average pace down to 3:23/km by the time I'd finished the 20 minutes (covering 5.9kms). It felt like I was running really well but you can't argue with the Garmin! Another decent warm-down to give me 13.5kms for the day.

Left knee is back to how it was last year. Quite sore so definitely time for another massage. I've probably over-done it a bit the last couple of weeks so only have myself to blame. I'm sure a massage, some rest and some anti-inflams and I'll be back to where I was...

Ronnie still hammering his opponents in the snooker. This time Macguire sent packing 6-1 and a O'Sullivan / Selby final awaits.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Flood watch

A local run today to see if the flooding on the Rockmount Road had subsided. It hadn't so I was faced with an out-and-back run which totalled 13.0kms in a time of 56:35 (4:21's). I'd say there we at least a 100m stretch of water on the road so it could be a while before that clears.

A Ronnie master-class today as he despatched Walden 6-0 in under an hour. Some of the best snooker I've ever seen and he never looked like missing. Even the long pots were going in which is probably the weakest part of his game in recent years.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Thursday Crew

Myself, Fintan, Owen and Brodders for today's 6:35am start. A modified route to avoid local flooding. Bloody cold but soon got going. The pace seemed pretty good but the watch disagreed and we ended up covering 14.5kms in 1:02:39 (4:19's). Brodders had a close call with a car which sent his heart rate spiking but we all lived for another day. Knee definitely on the slide...

Wednesday, January 15, 2014


A slow-paced run today to clear the legs. All up 9.5kms in 41:18 (4:21's). A bit of pain creeping back into the knee which isn't good.

Enjoying the masters snooker. Ronnie is floating and can't see anyone touching him on this form.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

6 x 5 minutes

A sort of repeat of the session from last Friday (6 x 5 minuntes off 60 secs). But this time Fintan wanted to run them at a slightly quicker pace - so not at threshold pace, but more at say 10km race pace. His target was 3:15 to 3:18 per km pace so I'd try and hang on as best I could.

A bloody cold day - with threatening rain and a bit of breeze. The usual 10 minute warm-up and straight into it. As per last week Fintan was leading them out and I was trying to keep up. The first couple felt pretty good and the pace was on target, I started to feel a bit more like my usual self and took up the running for most of the 3rd rep. I died a bit on the 4th one for which we had changed direction, so we changed direction again and I was able to lead out most of that rep. The last one was a real toughie as we were running straight into the wind. I lasted just shy of 3 minutes before I started blowing and let Fintan sail past me. Here are the paces for each 5 minutes:

3:17 / 3:14 / 3:13 / 3:18 / 3:15 / 3:23

Another pleasing session and a nice improvement on last week. Running at a deliberately faster pace but feeling generally more comfortable.

All up 15.5kms with warm-down. A note on Fintan - now that he has become a full-time athlete he is absolutely flying. I'd say he is in career best form and is ready to run a string of PB's in 2014. Great to see.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Long again

Another long run today. This time with Fintan. I'm happy to run long at the moment - it's a good test for the knee and with that behaving I'm getting a lot more enjoyment from the running. Also an opportunity to burn off some calories and get the weight down (no booze is helping there also). I need to get back under 80kgs and ideally down around 78.

We stayed in Claregalway and again had to avoid Rockmount. Conditions were okay and stayed just about dry and soon we had rattled up 22.3kms in 1:32:43 (4:09's). Again feeling pretty good having now clocked up more than the marathon distance over the last 2 days.

Breathing still not 100% as I still can't shake off this cold. But I'm definitely heading in the right direction.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

A run of 2 halves

Long run with Owen starting at Doughiska, and then an out and back run to Maree. Awful conditions - very wet and windy and the first half of the run was into the wind and we were running 4:29's. It was a lot easier coming home where the pace lifted to 4:09's. All up 21.2kms in 1:31:30 (4:19's). Still a good hit-out and nice to catch-up with Owen who I'd not seen for a few weeks.

That's......wait for it....103.3kms for the week. Not a bad resumption to proper training. A couple of sessions in there, and some decent volume also (well for me anyway). That's my first century week in about 6 months (the last week of June 2013). Happy with that.

Saturday, January 11, 2014


Beautiful conditions for running today - cold and still. Running solo I ran some of my local loops but had to avoid the road through Rockmount as it's still under water. All up 14.4kms in 58:49 (4:05's). Felt good throughout and each run seems to be getting easier and the knee is holding up well.

I finished watching series 3 of Love Hate in the evening. Enjoyable viewing. Now to track down the 4th series...and still no booze.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Put to the sword

I was keen to get back to the 5 minute reps that I was doing in the latter half of 2013 as I really felt they were bringing my running on. I met with my wingman and straight away I informed Fintan that I was only going to do 6 sets of 5 minutes (off  1 minute). I thought that would be a nice and easy welcome...

The usual 10 minute warm-up and then straight into it - my watch was playing silly buggars during the first 5 minute effort and it was telling me I was running sub 2 minute km running blind for that one. And then I settled into a nice enough rhythm for the next couple. We doubled back after 3 and during the 4th effort I started to struggle. The next couple I was running on empty - the breathing was laboured and the legs were heavy. And Fintan was bounding along like Tigger without a care in the world. Oh what a difference a couple of poor training weeks and a bout of illness can make.

Here are the paces per km for each effort:

3:20 (estimate) / 3:19 / 3:19 / 3:20 / 3:20 / 3:23

Not too bad I suppose but I was running these feeling comfortable a month or so ago and today I was on the red-line. But at least it's a start and perhaps there is still a bit of the pox flying around the system.

All up 15.2kms with warm-down.

I'm trying a dry January which is going to be a real test of will-power. I'm only 10 days in and I could already murder a beer...

Thursday, January 09, 2014


Just myself and Fintan for the Thursday run. So we took the option to delay the start to a more sociable time of 9:30am. I had to change the route to avoid the turlough that had spilled over onto the road, and that was fine accept that about 2km into the run we were joined by a small dog that proceeded to keep running with us for the next 5km. We tried all things to shake it off - surges, stopping and trying to shoo the dog away - but nothing was working. In the end we had to move to the side of the road to let a car through, and then the dog got tangled in my long levers and we both nearly went flying. At this point the dog stopped, and we were left to finish the run minus K9.

All up 15.2kms in 1:03:42 (4:11's). Pace was better and the knee felt as good as it has done in the last year. And perfect running conditions. Still trying to shake this cold mind that I've had all over Christmas but I guess you can't have it all...

Here's a photo of one of the local turloughs. If the sun came out it would almost be like being back at the Bay in Drummoyne:

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

More of the same

Another 9.5km loop. Time 41:37 (4:23's). Legs a little sore after the track session but not too bad.

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

12 x 400 off a minute

A long awaited return to track. I knew the session was to be 400's which seemed like a nice one to make my return. A warm-up of 3.8km on the road, followed by 4 laps of the track and then it was time to break into groups. I was with Andrew, Eamon and Cian and we started taking turns leading out the laps. My plan was to run them around 72ish and hopefully feel nice and relaxed. That's pretty much what happened though my times were maybe a little quicker than target. Just checked the watch and my times have somehow been wiped but I recall running one 69, a few 70's, some 71's and 72's and one 73. I'd say my average was around 71 so that will do. Especially pleasing as it was quite a testing night - the track was wet and there was a nasty wind mid-way round the final bend and the home straight.

Andrew was running really well and was several seconds clear each lap. He'll be dangerous this year on that form.

I finished up with a 3.8km warm-down with the lads - and we hit an absolute torrential downpour which soaked the lot of us. All up 14.0kms for the day.

Monday, January 06, 2014


Was planning a long run, but decided once I got going that an hour was about right. I ran the guts of the Thursday morning route, and about 6.5kms into the run I was confronted with a 200m section of water. So it was off with the socks and shoes, then a quick wade through the water (which was bloody freezing), then back on with the gear to finish off the run. All up 13.8kms in 1:00:28 (4:23's). Pace still not great but just nice to be back running.

Sunday, January 05, 2014

Welcome back!

Well after being knocked about a bit by the pox, I took 3 days off and feeling a little bit better I headed out today to get some fresh air in the lungs. I took it right easy like, and ran my local 9.5km loop in 42:23 (4:28's). Nice to be back and the one good thing about having a break is that the left knee felt really good! Hopefully a sign of things to come.

I'll start back proper next week and may even try a couple of light sessions just to get my eye in.

That's 48.5km for the week. Not too bad with 3 rest days!

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Bad Dose

I woke up not feeling the full quid. I had a few spots on my body which I suspected was chicken pox, and had a bit of a hangover for good measure. In true runners style I thought I'd head out and try and run it off. That was all fine and dandy and I ran 9.5kms in 41:09 (4:20's).

As the day progressed I was feeling much worse. More spots and by the end of the day I was doing my best Freddy Kruger impersonation. So a dose of the pox it is. I'll take a few days rest now as I'm obviously run down and this certainly explains why I haven't been feeling great the last week or so. Not the best start to the New Year but it could be a lot worse I suppose.

For the record I ran 4,200kms in 2013 vs 4,649kms in 2012. Round numbers about 10% down and that's attributable to the marathon I ran in 2012 where I was collecting the kms.