Monday, March 31, 2014


Fell a bit behind with the blog. A few quick updates required...

Today I ran an easy 7.5kms in 31:00 (4:08's). Heading to the UK tomorrow to meet my new coach and also for a lactate threshold test. Should be fun.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Another ton

I ran the Thursday route which I knew would give me another 100km week. A total of 14.8kms in 59:03 (4:00's). Feeling good this week and enjoying the recovery time.

That's 100.4km for the week. A total of 65 days running on the bounce - though I've had several very easy 30 minute days in amongst that lot. Happy with how things are progressing.

Out in the evening for some more darts practise. And for some more drinking practise...

Saturday, March 29, 2014


A spin around Claregalway. My cruising speed seems to have improved a lot in the last couple of months - today I covered 14.0kms in 56:44 (4:03's). Felt very easy and maybe the improvement in economy might be due to the threshold sessions. Encouraging whatever the reason.

A few beers in the evening whilst watching crap on TV. I missed the PTC final which Barry Hawkins won 4-0 against Gerard Greene. All the top players were knocked out (including Ronnie - I gave him the kiss of death). Sort of lost interest in it after that...

Friday, March 28, 2014


Back to the treadmill. A quicker run but not quite at threshold pace. A 2.0km warm-up, then 12kms in 44:02 (3:40/km pace), then 2.0kms warm-down. Feeling good and don't think it took too much out of me.

No darts match this week - a rest week before next week's home semi-final. Instead the team got together for a practise. We played a mini-round robin and I went unbeaten and was playing some pretty solid darts (even though my double hitting wasn't great).

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Quicker Thursday

Cracker of a morning. Early start with Sean and Owen. Usual Thursday route and felt very easy paced and a little surprised by the time - all up 15.0kms in 1:03:13 (4:13's). Rare to run sub 4:20's at this time of today - must have been because we didn't have Fintan to slow us down!

Watched the darts in the evening. Some great needle between Peter Wright and MVG. MVG getting a bit big for his station lately so good to see Snakebite play to the crowd and ruffle a few feathers. Great entertainment!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

8 x 5 mins off 60 secs

A 2.0km warm-up, then 8 x 5 mins, with 1.2kms to warm-down.

I started the 5 minute efforts at 3:20 per km pace. After 4 my HR was getting too high so I ran the next 2 at 3:26/km pace. Same again - had to lower the pace again to 3:32/km for the last couple. A clear sign that I haven't recovered from the race.

All up 15.0kms. Then straight on for a rub focusing on the left quad (to help the knee). Bloody hell that was sore. I clearly have no pain threshold. Felt a lot better after mind.

No snooker for me tonight. Instead stayed in and had a few beers.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

More snooker

The legs felt a bit better today so I upped the pace a little. A short run mind - 9.5kms in 39:30 (4:09's). I might try some quicker stuff tomorrow and I also have a rub booked.

The finals of the PTC snooker started today from the Preston Guildhall (not Galway this year). Ronnie won at that venue 20 years ago as an 18 year old. And he is favourite to win the title this year arguably playing the most consistent snooker of his career. Some player.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Recovery week

Easy 10 miles to shake out the legs after the run yesterday. Legs a bit sore, and the weather had taken a nasty turn (wet and windy), so not the most pleasant experience. All up 16.1kms in 1:10:42 (4:23's).

The plan is to take it easy this week. I'll try some threshold runs but I'll wind back the pace a little as to not overdo it.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Craughwell 10

A good sunny day with only a touch of a breeze which was perfect. After a 2 mile warm-up I lined up for the start and we were soon off and running. Mick Clohisey of Raheny took it out quickly, with Emmett Dunleavy of Sligo AC in pursuit, leaving me alone in third spot. As I settled into my running I was a little surprised to be running by myself in such a big race at this early stage, and as the first few miles ticked by I was basically left in time trial mode.

So not much racing to report - I felt great for the first 4 miles, then started to wobble between miles 4 and 6, and then had to grind out the last 4 miles. We were running into the breeze for the first half of the race, and then had the benefit of the wind in the second half. After passing 10km in 33:20 I was there or thereabouts for a 53 something but I had nothing to offer in the run home. It's very hard to remain focused when you have nobody in sight in front or behind, and even though it felt like I was slowing the mile splits were pretty consistent. That was until the last mile which seemed to last forever and I struggled with the final few drags crossing the line in 54:02 for third place.

Mick won the race in a great time of 50:14 with Emmett in second place in 52:21. That's great running so well done to them both. On a personal note I was initially a little disappointed but upon reflection I was perhaps being a little tough on myself. I only missed my time goal by a few seconds and that was all in the last mile, and what gave me some hope that I was moving in the right direction was that my 10 mile time was worth a 32:20 10km (according to Mr McMillan)...

As I suspected I was only really 10km fit so I need to continue to work on my strength and stamina which the threshold sessions will develop once I increase the duration. So more hard training in the next month and I'll be ready to conquer the longer stuff!

Here are the mile splits:

5:10, 5:25, 5:17, 5:26, 5:27 (26:45), 5:26, 5:25, 5:24, 5:27, 5:35 (27:17)

Total 54:02

A few photos. The start:

During the race:

The finish:

The top 3 (Mick and Emmett had already done their warm-down before I crossed the line...)

All up 22.5km for the day after a very slow couple of miles warm-down. And that's 82.9kms for the week. A few beers in the evening and that was that.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Better weather

The same session as yesterday - 8.4km including 6 x strides. That's it now until the 10 miler tomorrow. I'm targeting sub 54 and if I have a good run I'd love to give my 10 mile PB of 53:20 a shake. We shall see...

A few beers in the evening to ensure a good night's sleep...

Friday, March 21, 2014

Another drubbing

Not great out there but ventured out for an easy 30 minute run with 6 strides at the end. All up 8.4km in 38:54 and that included the strides with the walk back recovery. Soaked come the end...

Darts in the evening. Another 9-0 win - we were lucky winning all the close games. On a personal note I played okay - I cleaned up the doubles nicely but the scoring was very hit and miss. We finished joint top of the league so onwards and upwards with the top 4 teams now progressing into the finals. A few too many beers mind...

Thursday, March 20, 2014


I hope this weather improves in time for Sunday - not pleasant. So more treadmill running - this time 10.0kms in 41:17 (4:08's). Feeling good.

I watched the Premier League darts in the evening. An incredible crowd of 11,000 to watch darts. The Power looks to be finding some form and he's certainly not finished yet. Good to see Gary Anderson playing well also - and unlucky to lose the last couple of weeks 7-5. I'd tip him as an outsider to win it.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Sport double

Easy week continues - a treadmill 8.0km in 32:59 (4;07's). Awful weather at the moment so took the easy indoor option.

Snooker in the evening. Started well - a 41 break in the second frame missing an easy black, and then finished well with another couple of 30 odds.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

6 x 800 off a rolling 4 minutes

More running on the treadmill. A 3km warm-up, then 6 x 800 at 10km pace, then a 3km warm-down. I wasn't sure what my 10km pace was so I ran them at 32:30 pace which is 3:15/km or 2:36/800m. That could be optimistic but it felt relatively comfortable and the 1:24 recovery felt like a lifetime.

All up 10.8kms. A nice easy session for a change and even the knee seemed a bit better today. All positive.

Monday, March 17, 2014

An easier week

I plan to run the Craughwell 10 miler on Sunday so I'll wind things back a bit this week in order to freshen up. I did an easy hour today to help clear the head after another night on the drink....a total of 14.8kms in 1:01:30 (4:09's).

So no threshold running this week. Maybe just some 800's on Tuesday at 10km pace, and then easy running thereafter. It will be interesting to see how I fare on Sunday - the training to date will be more suited to 10km so 10 miles will be a stretch but we will see. Looking forward to it and here's hoping for some good conditions for racing.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Abbey 10km (threshold #4)

I hadn't planned to run but with the Dad here I decided we needed a day trip and the Abbey 10km popped up so that was that. Quite a drive to Abbey which I thought was just outside Loughrea but I should have done a bit more research as it was a good 20 minutes further. Upon arrival it was a quick registration and then a mile warm-up before lining up for the start.

The course was going to be a tough one. That was apparent from the drive in where we basically covered the last 5kms. Hilly plus the wind was also blowing so quick times were going to be difficult - but that didn't bother me as a) I was a little hungover and b) I was looking to use the race as another threshold session.

The race started and myself and Steve McKeigue hit the lead. Steve is a 33 minute 10km runner so I knew I had a race on my hands. We ran out of town into the wind and I took up the running at the prerequisite comfortably hard pace. By 1km I was starting to gap Steve which was a little unexpected. That said, the course was definitely as expected - a big loop full of hills and drags - a good test. And it seemed like that after every turn it was still into the wind - one of those days!

By 5km I had opened up a decent lead. The legs were feeling a bit heavy which was expected really after this week's training. A very nasty climb shortly after 5km, and then some more ups and downs before another left turn just before 7km. Then I felt great - a flattish section with the wind behind and the pace lifted. I perhaps wound up the pace a bit too much, but I was enjoying the run home and soon I was back in town before one final loop to cross the finish line in 34:10 for the win (with Dad and son watching on). Afterwards it was a slow mile warm-down to give me 13.2kms for the day.

What's not to like about that? A great spread afterwards and some more crystal for the collection! Another very well organised event and good to see these local races really well supported. Thanks to all the organisers and volunteers for a great event.

That's 106.6kms for the week. I've averaged 97.6kms the last 10 weeks so that's good going for me. Plus this new training regime has definitely improved my average weekly pace. Take this week for example - 106.6kms at an average pace of 3:51/km. No wonder the left knee is giving me a few twangs...

Here are the splits from the race (clearly the km markers were a little out):

3:05 / 3:33 / 3:30 / 3:37 / 3:49 (17:34) / 3:12 / 3:26 / 3:10 / 3:18 / 3:30 (16:36)

Total 34:10

And here's a photo courtesy of 77edenhill. I think this was approaching the finish:

Saturday, March 15, 2014


An easy run of 9.5kms with the customary quick finish to ensure I dipped under 40 minutes (39:59 to be exact). That's 4:13/km pace.

Out in the evening with the old man. A few too many beers was had on top of a large meal. Calorific.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Threshold #3

A bit different today - I broke the run up into 5 minute efforts off a minute recovery. Much easier mentally breaking the session down into chunks and to get the heart rate up into the right zone I was running them at a slightly quicker pace (3:17/km). All up 16.2kms with the 2kms warm-up/down.

More socialising in the evening. Starting with a meal and then league darts. I played second in the singles and started like a dream: 100, 140, 100, and then missing the bull for a 161 checkout (for a 12 darter). I cleaned up the 25 in 2 darts so still a 14 dart leg. And then I won the next game taking out 100 in 2 darts. If only it was like that every week. Overall we won 9-0 and that certainly keeps us in the hunt for a top 2 finish.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Solo Thursday

Just me today so delayed the run until mid-morning. I ran the bog standard Thursday route and pushed the pace a little - initially trying to average 4 minute kms but when that seemed too much like hard work I decided to try and keep the run under the hour. All up 14.8kms in 59:59 (4:04's).

Knee a little sore - no surprise as I seem to be pushing it a bit at the moment.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Threshold #2

A 2.0km warm-up, 40 mins at threshold (average 3:22/km pace), a 2.0km warm-down. All up 15.9kms. The average pace was one second per km quicker than yesterday. That's improvement right there...

A day sightseeing with the folks. Out to Ashford Castle and then a drive back to Galway through Connemara. We drove the last few miles of the Connemara half marathon course - even the car struggled up that last mountain...

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Threshold #1

A 2.2km warm-up, 40 minutes at threshold pace (ave 3:23/km), 2.2km warm-down. All up 16.3kms.

These aren't getting any easier but I was warned it would take a few weeks before you start to feel normal. Hopefully a big improvement in performance just around the corner.

A few beers in the evening with the old man in Oranmore.

Monday, March 10, 2014


The best weather for the year so far - no wind and a bright sunny day. I did my long run, starting conservatively at 4:20/km pace, and then gradually winding up the pace thereafter. The road that had flooded had cleared so I could run a different loop so that made for a pleasant change. All up 21.0kms in 1:26:52 (4:08's).

Knee a bit sore so will have to be careful this week. That's going to be difficult when I have to run threshold sessions the next couple of days...

Sunday, March 09, 2014


An easy run from Claregalway out to Oranmore to pick up my car. Just did enough to clock up another hundred kms for the 10.5kms in 43:55 (4:11's).

That's 102.1kms for the week. Nice to have a break from racing and get the 3 threshold sessions in (total of 1hr 40 mins of threshold). The plan is to get that up to 2 hours next week and then pull it back after that for the Craughwell 10 miler (March 23rd).

I watched a bit of the darts - the UK Open. Good to see MVG lose for a change and that left the door open for Adrian Lewis to win another major.

Saturday, March 08, 2014

3rd of the week

Basically a carbon copy of the session Wednesday. Threshold run of 35 minutes covering 10.45kms in that time (3:22's). The HR was again a little high so I had to drop the pace slightly the last 10 minutes. All up 16.0kms with warm-up and down - and just for some variety I ran my warm-down outside instead of on the treadmill...

My Dad arrived in Galway today so pubs and food in the evening. More of the same I'd say for the next week or so...

Friday, March 07, 2014

Rub and run

Massage in the morning. Still focussed on the left knee which has been a little sore the last few days and will try and keep on top of it with fortnightly rubs from now on.

An easy 9.5kms in the afternoon (39:53 / 4:12's). A few beers in the evening. No races planned this weekend - a threshold session instead...

Thursday, March 06, 2014

Early run

Just myself and Fintan for the early jaunt. Conditions were pretty good and we clocked up 14.9kms in 1:05:45 (4:25's). Pace wasn't flash but that's pretty much the norm for these early runs - not helped by the back-to-back sessions the last couple of days.

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

35 mins at LT

Another threshold session. Again on the treadmill which offers me a very controlled environment (I'll do all of these on the mill). After a 2.5km warm-up and a change of shoes into the flats, it was time to get rolling. I set the pace to 18.0kms/hr (3:19/km) but after 25 minutes I was right at the top of my HR target (151/152) so every couple of minutes thereafter I had to notch down the pace a fraction to keep the HR in check. All up a total of 10.46kms in the 35 minutes which averages out at 3:21/km.

So that's 5 minutes more than last week - and I aim to increase these by 5 minutes per week until I get up to 45 minutes. I felt good today - though come the end the ball of my right foot again felt sore (blister) - and I'd generated enough sweat to swim out of the room. A 2.5kms warm-down to give me 15.5kms for the day.

Snooker in the evening. A few 20 odd breaks but nothing flash. We were on the match table and the pockets were as tight as....well you know what. That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it. Ronnie's performance hasn't rubbed off on me yet....but it will come.

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

The old 6 x 5 mins

Myself and my trusty wingman for some 5 minute efforts (with 60 seconds recovery). Perfect running weather and after 10 minutes warm-up it was straight into the first effort off a rolling start. The first one is normally slow so we perhaps worked it a bit harder than normal, then after that I settled into a decent groove. I'd not done this session for 4 weeks and I recall struggling the second half of the reps back then. That wasn't the case today, and I felt good throughout (the pace should be comfortably hard) - that was until the last one where I felt flat. Anyway, an excellent session which we both nailed. Here are the paces per km for each of the reps:


A warm-down of 3.6kms to give us 15.4kms for the day.

A few photos of the Kinvara 10km courtesy of their website. Just after the start:

During the race at the top of the hill at 7km:

The finishing chute:

Monday, March 03, 2014

The Bog

Longish run with Fintan. Superb conditions and we ended up running most of our normal route, adding a new out-and-back section down "the bog road". Actually very nice, with water flanking either side of the road due to the recent flooding. Total 20.3kms in 1:25:48 (4:14's). Surprised by the pace as it felt much slower (that doesn't happen very often these days).

More threshold running planned this week. I'll run some 5 minute reps at threshold pace on Tuesday and will probably double-up with a continuous run at that pace on Wednesday. Then one final LT run on the weekend.

Sunday, March 02, 2014


Damp and cold weather but headed out in the morning feeling a little under the weather myself...a few easy kms to get the blood flowing and ended up running the distance required to get me up over 100kms for the week. Total 12.1kms in 52:40 (4:21's).

That's 101.0kms for the week. Happy with how things are going and I feel I'm definitely on the improve at the moment.

Well the snooker was incredible. Ronnie gave Ding a right going over - and the last frame was without doubt one of the best that I have ever seen. Ronnie hit a maximum 147 to win the tournament having played an incredible shot on the last red to screw back more than half of the length of the table for the black - playing it left-handed! Then he did the same on the final black - switching hands to roll it in left-handed. Jaw dropping stuff and without doubt the finest snooker player of all time. And at the ripe old age of 38 he is playing the best snooker of his career.

Saturday, March 01, 2014

Kinvara 10km

A lovely cool day and very little breeze so as good a conditions as you could hope for. Very busy around Kinvara with the hustle and bustle of 1,500 runners competing in the 10km and half marathon and after finding a parking spot, it was a stress free pick-up of the race number, then a few kms warm-up before lining up for the start.

The course was a quick first 5km, and then a few hills in the back half - a big climb around 7km and then some further ups and downs to keep you honest. The gun sounded and myself and Andrew Annett took up the running, with the massive field giving chase. The start is actually uphill, but you don't notice it with the adrenaline pumping, and after a quick right turn onto the main street, we settled in behind the lead vehicle.

A short distance up the road and the lead car came to a standstill in a traffic bottleneck. I went one way, Andrew the other, and we overtook the car continuing on up the hill. Through the first km and the road flattened out, and we ran stride for stride whilst the pace was hotting up. The car went past us again and after hitting 2km we took a left turn onto a smaller road, and for the next 3km there was nothing in it. I was sitting behind Andrew for the most part, and I knew from glancing at the watch at each km marker that the pace was fast, and surprisingly it felt comfortable enough.

Between 5km and 7km the worm had turned. One moment I was feeling good, the next I was ready to step off the course. I tried taking up the running a few times, and even threw in some surges, but Andrew had me easily covered and with each effort came a longer period of recovery. Then we hit the climb up to the 7km marker. I went to the lead and to my surprise I started to open up a gap. Andrew shouted "go on Matt" and with that I pushed on as best I could. More recovery at the top of the hill before tackling the last 3km.

The race was now there for the taking so it was all about keeping it going. I was feeling awful but the legs were still moving well and I went through 8km inside 26 minutes. Wow, a good finish here and I'll be well under 33 minutes. But despite feeling that I was running strongly, the run home was a little disappointing. Another climb up past 9km, and then a very long last km (I think I noted the same last year). I've no doubt the course is accurate but the 9km marker must have been early as the split for the last km doesn't do the effort involved justice.

I crossed the line in 32:50 for the win, beating my old course record by a massive 7 seconds! Absolutely done in and over to the nearest park bench for a lay down. Andrew finished second 21 seconds back, with Paddy from Ennis third in 34 flat.

Very happy with that given the last 7 days. I felt very comfortable for the first half of the race which shows I have plenty of speed, I just need to work on the endurance to keep it going for the full 10km (especially the last 3km if the splits below are to be believed!). Hopefully these new threshold sessions will deliver on that front. Nice to have a good race as well with Andrew - it certainly dragged us both on and you need that to run a good time.

A slow warm-down with Andrew of 5km to give me 17.5kms for the day. Here are the race splits:

3:14 / 3:07 / 3:12 / 3:13 / 3:15 (16:01) / 3:20 / 3:17 / 3:21 / 3:23 / 3:28 (16:49)

Total 32:50

Well done to everyone who took part and I'm sure there were plenty of PB's to report. There is something special about this race - Kinvara being a beautiful location, the vibe and support around the village, the sell-out crowd, I can't quite put my finger on it - but it definitely works. The race organisation was also very good after ironing out a few problems from last year. That's to be commended so credit where it is due.

Back to the snooker - Ding and Ronnie play in the final tomorrow and that should be a cracker.

Beer and curry in the evening with the better half to celebrate 7 years married. Lucky 7!