Sunday, August 31, 2014

14km Threshold

A longer run today with a 45 minute threshold segment. Again outdoors in the wet and wind. I'd picked up a new Garmin 220 and was looking forward to giving it a try.

A 4km warm-up in my recovery zone and then lifted the pace. The HR took an eternity to lift but I was moving well. Just kept it ticking over and was feeling great for the next 12km but the next couple of kms I was starting to tire. After 14kms of threshold running I stopped and ran the final 3.1km home in my recovery zone. All up 21.1kms.

The threshold segment took me 48 minutes (14kms at 3:25/km). Very happy with that and as good as I've ran on the road. And most of that was at the bottom of my threshold zone.

That's 105.8kms for the week. Very happy with how things are going. The knee is good, the training is going well, the weight is down, and I still like a few beers just to help balance the ledger. Plus I'm very happy with the new watch.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

13km Threshold

Threshold running today. Outside. To make it easier I slipped into the racing flats. I was running short of time so it was a 2km warm-up, then 6km out on the Claregalway 10km course, then turn and run another 7km at threshold pace. Finishing with a 1km warm-down. All up 16kms.

Felt great and ran the 13km in 46 minutes. Not a great pace (3:32's) but after yesterday it was brilliant. The best news being the knee was giving me very little in the way of gyp. The worm has finally turned.

Friday, August 29, 2014


Another recovery run. Felt very sore and tired right from the off and just couldn't get into my recovery zone. After about 20 minutes I'd had enough and I jogged/walked home. Very low energy. I did some token strides when I got back (not sure why). All up 9.1kms in 38 minutes. When in doubt reach for the fridge and have a few beers.

Thursday, August 28, 2014


A massage in the morning with Peter Forde who had sponsored the Claregalway 10km. A great session and just reiterated how low a pain threshold I have. Lots of sore spots and lots going on in the back/glutes/piriformis. Plus an almighty knot on the outside of my left quad. Felt much better after but still had an hour recovery run to do...

Struggled to get going in the run. Was always just below where I wanted to be HR wise. I ran the Thursday route solo in a time of 59:49 for the 14.8kms (4:03's). Rare these days to creep up above 4 minute clicks. I'll put that down to the massage.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Oranmore 5km

A warm-up with Greg and Justin for a couple of kms. Then a bit more by myself. Conditions were very blustery and rain threatened so wasn't sure what to expect.

Lined up at the start and lots of chat. Then a countdown from 10 and we were off. I hit the lead and opened up a gap straight away. The plan was to run at the bottom of the tempo zone and as I reached the first km I was still in my threshold zone. An undulating route and by the time I reached the second km I was feeling good having just lifted the heart rate a little. Another 500m then the hairpin turn for the run back to the start.

I could see that I had a decent lead and oddly enough it seemed easier after turning as I was expecting a headwind. I pushed on and started to feel really relaxed despite lifting the pace a little. Through kms 3 and 4 and my only drama was the heart rate strap that kept slipping down. I kept the pace the same during the last km and enjoyed the last 100m to cross the line in 16:09 for a comfortable victory.

A very relaxed run but after a quick drink I was back on the course for a further 3 x 5 minute efforts again in my tempo zone (similar pace to what I'd just ran). By this time it had started raining and I was getting lots of strange looks as I ran hard back down the road with people streaming up to the finish running the other way. I didn't feel too bad and I did 2 x 5 minutes running towards Galway, then stopped and ran the final 5 minute effort coming back. Then the reaming run home at recovery pace.

All up 14.8kms for the night with around 30 minutes of tempo running. All going well and a very enjoyable run. Great to see a big turn-out for this race with all the proceeds going to charity.

Here's me at the finish courtesy of Maree AC:

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Threshold then physio

My only option was the treadmill and with a 45 minute threshold run on the cards it was going to be a good sweat. Usual 2km warm-up, the 13.4kms in 44:57 (3:21's), then 2kms to finish with. All up 17.4kms.

Not too bad and kept to the bottom of the zone as much as possible.

Then on to the physio with nicely primed sore knee. Some work on the hips and lots of stretches and exercises to work on. I'll stick to the plan and see how I get on.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Second recovery day

Another recovery run. A total of 12.8kms in 49:23 (3:51's). Knee still sore and I have a physio appointment booked for tomorrow.

Back into some quicker stuff tomorrow also.

Sunday, August 24, 2014


Recovery run. Felt okay though the knee a little sore. Total 14.8kms in 58:41 (3:58's).

I've decided I'm going to take some action to get this knee fixed once and for all. I suspect it stems from the hips which are tight/weak/misaligned. Physio appointment calling.

A total of 80.4kms for the week. Not great volume but I feel like I'm back in form and ready to knuckle down into another block of training.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Claregalway 10km

Perfect conditions. Well rested. No stomach bug. Quick course. What could possibly go wrong? Your coach telling you to take the first 5km handy and then pull the trigger...that plan was great if nobody was taking up the running...

Well after my warm-up which included some quick strides and a 2 minute blast (to lift my HR above 153), I was lining up at the start. So the first 5km in my threshold zone (ideally at the bottom), then run hard for the second 5km. The race started and I hit the lead but another guy went with me so at least that kept the pace honest.

By 1km I was in my threshold zone but mid-zone rather than at the bottom with the guy tucked in behind me. That's pretty much the pattern of the first 5km. I wasn't recording splits, I was just checking my HR as I passed each km marker. Very sad.

Somewhere before 2km I swallowed the biggest flying insect you could imagine. That wasn't pleasant but despite my best effort I couldn't manage to regurgitate crazy legs crane. On with the race and although my HR was a little higher than planned, it felt like I was jogging as we went through kms 2, 3 and 4.

Still the guy behind and as we hit the 5th km (time 17:05). Then on one of the drags of the course and I took off. I felt pretty good and straight away I had opened up a decent gap. It was then all about keeping up the effort level for the run home.

Not much detail here - again I was looking at my HR splits each km (I really need to invest in a good watch). I know the course like the back of my hand so was on auto-pilot. By the time I reached the N17 I ran in the bus lane and started to push a little harder. Through 8km, then past the castle, and then it was nice to run back through the village with plenty of support from onlookers over the last mile.

Running hard but still not flat out I crossed the line for the win in 32:57 (second half 15:52). Happy with that and a good confidence booster. Clearly I wasn't right for the Streets and I felt very comfortable tonight at my target 10km pace of around 3:10's. A quicker time than last year where I was on the red-line for most of the race...

Hopefully back on track now for some quick races in the coming months. I think the sub 32 is there for the taking now so that will be my aim before an attempt on the half in November.

All up around 14.0kms. A few beers and then nighty night.

Thanks to Ian for this photo:

T minus 1

Another recovery run. This time outside. Felt okay but the legs haven't been quite right since those 400's on Monday. Time 43:24 for 11.1kms (3:55's). I finished up with a few strides. Race tomorrow at 6pm with a twist.

Thursday, August 21, 2014


Treadmill recovery run of 8.0kms in exactly 30 minutes. I'm going to have a dig at the Claregalway 10km on Saturday so a couple of recovery days before then.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

More threshold stuff

I was down for a 30 minute threshold run with a good warm-up and down. I took the eldest to hurling and took the opportunity to run from there. I ran down to the turkey trot 5km course in Carnmore and after about 12 minutes I lifted into threshold mode. I couldn't remember the turn after about 7-8 minutes of running and I went wrong but I then discovered I'd ran onto one of my bog standard Claregalway training loops without knowing they were inter-linked (from a road I'd never ventured down). That was odd but I soldiered on running for a total of 15 minutes before doubling back to give me the 30 minutes at threshold. Then another 12 minutes to finish with.

All up 14.2kms and I covered about 8.6kms during the 30 minutes (3:29/km pace). Tough going with a hangover but what doesn't kill you and all that....

More beer and a curry in the evening.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The Guvnor

Recovery run. Short loop of 9.5kms due to lack of time with a 10 minute threshold segment thrown in. I felt mighty tonight despite the hammies being a little sore after those quick 400's yesterday. All up 34:36 for 9.5kms (3:39/km pace).

And a mate in town who was over from Oz. Out in Galway on a pub crawl and had a few too many but great fun:

Monday, August 18, 2014

New focus

Had a good talk to the coach (he who must be obeyed) and there is to be more of a focus on speedwork for the next 4 weeks. And it was to be a bread and butter session of 12 x 400's off a minute which I really enjoy. Ideally on the track but with kids at home my only option was the treadmill....

So after my 2km warm-up, I did some very quick strides to get the HR up. I'm talking well under 3 minute per km pace - 15 seconds on, 30 seconds recovery - times 5.

Then I set the treadmill to 66 second per 400m pace (2:45/km). The aim was to get the HR up above 153 each 400m. Failed in the first 2 but from there on I was getting into the zone nicely. Each one was getting progressively harder and by 10 I'd had enough. But managed to finish the session with the HR peaking at around 157 at the end.

Usual warm-down of 2km to give me 8.8kms for the day. Happy with that as was the coach.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Lactate testing day 2

Another 4 people in today for tests. Great to see.

Then we had a little window and before I knew it I was up on the treadmill myself for a test. All went well and the results showed a good improvement in my threshold speed of 20 seconds per mile.

Here's a quick graph to demonstrate:

Note those speeds are treadmill speeds and not what you'd run on the road.

About 7kms all up to give me 76.2kms for the week. I think I'm over my stomach problem now so time to get back into it next week.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Lactate testing day 1

A busy weekend with 10 people booked in for lactate threshold tests. Up early for a run with my coach who was over from the UK. A nice spin around Claregalway mainly in my shopping zone but nice to take it easy. All up 12.2kms in 50:32 (4:09's).

Then on to the tests which went well. Didn't finish up until late but just enough time to nip down to the local restaurant for some grub and a few pints of Guinness.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Wind up

Treadmill recovery run. Gradually wound up the pace finishing up with 10km in 38:08. Decided on indoors in case of another toilet emergency...

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Double Paula

An evening recovery run with Fintan. All was going well until about hallfway where my stomach was in knots. Had to stop and find a clearing. Then off again feeling a lot better. Then the same thing happened about 5 minutes from home. Not good is an understatement. So after all the slagging I have given Fintan and Owen over the years, I have finally received my comeuppance. That will teach me.

All up 14.8kms in 57:59 (3:55's). A good average pace after a slow start. I think we dropped in a few 3:45's in the recovery zone so that's good to see.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Aborted threshold

I decided to try a treadmill threshold run. Usual routine of 2km warm-up, then whack the treadmill up to 18.5km/hour to lift into the threshold zone. Normally it takes me at least 10 minutes to get into this zone but today it took less than 3 minutes - and the HR kept rising. Sweating buckets, feeling a bit dizzy I pulled back the speed but the HR was still high so after 5kms I pulled the pin (16:37). Feeling pretty awful I took a break and then ran 3 slow kms to finish with to give me 10kms for the day.

So clearly I'm still not right so I'm going to take it easy for the rest of the week. The stomach is still a bit off and the throat feeling a little lively so the signs are there.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Bad good bad good

Today's run felt a lot bettter. Same run as yesterday - 11.1kms in 42:35 (3:50's) - that's almost 2 minutes quicker with a lot less effort. Hopefully on the mend.

Monday, August 11, 2014


Recovery running for a few days. Today was a real struggle. I felt awful - legs heavy. Still got the stomach cramps and I shan't going into any details but it's not good.

Total 44:28 for 11.1kms (4:00/km).

No quick running into I feel back to normal.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Long run

Headed out with Fintan at lunchtime not feeling the Mae West. Funnily enough the running felt okay. We were ticking along nicely with the HR in the recovery zone and all was well. After 20km in 80 minutes we slowed and finished up with 21km in 85 minutes. Got to love those 5 minute kms to finish with!

Weird that I felt good today. Still perhaps it was a little too easy to get into the recovery zone so a sign the body isn't quite right (despite feeling ok).

That's 83.2kms for the week.

Here's me crossing the line yesterday:

Saturday, August 09, 2014

Streets of Galway 2014

My favourite race of the year, definitely in great shape, but on the day the body said no...

Arrived in good time and did a good warm-up incorporating a 3 minute race-paced effort to prime the system ready for the off. It was a dry breezy day but I was hoping from shelter from the wind as we ran through town, then it should be easy going once hitting the prom around 6km for the run home.

Lined up behind Martin Fagan and soon we were off and running. A very slow start - none of the top guys were pushing it at all and I almost ran into the guy in front. After a couple of hundred meters Martin took up the running and Sean Hehir went off in pursuit. I was left chasing and it was nice to get some clear road to stretch out the legs.

Still a quick first km (3:01) and up around Eyre Square I had closed in on Rob Cross. We got caught in traffic as we crossed the bridge running towards the Cathedral and had to switch to the pavement to avoid a bus and cars. Then went into auto-pilot and started heading right (old course) only to be called back to go the opposite direction. That was frustrating but acted to get me fired up and to continue running hard.

Around the car park and through 2km with a disappointing split of 3:18. Then turned left for the run up to the hospital. Was feeling okay and had passed Rob and with the leaders way up the road I was almost in time trial mode. A left turn at the hospital and then pushed on heading towards Salthill.

Another crap split through 3km (3:19) and something wasn't right. The legs were a little heavy and it seemed tough going. Between 3 and 4 there is a nice downhill which at least helped me get the legs moving again and I passed halfway with a split of 3:15 which was okay but way down on target pace of around 3:10.

Then it was a right hand turn and I really started to struggle. There was a long drag and I was hardly moving and I expected people to come flying past me any moment. At the top of the climb it flattened out a bit and I had nothing left to lift the pace. A few more turns and through 5km with a shocking split of 3:24 to give me 16:17 at 5km (I was targeting around 15:50).

I knew it should get easier from here on in and with the help of some downhill sections and the wind on the back I managed to get going again as I ran down onto the prom. Through 6km with a 3:15 and then it felt a lot easier. Nobody around me and ran the last section as best I could with a 3:09 and then a 3:03 to finish with (time 25:44). So 6th place, first Galway based runner and first vet (but over a minute behind the top 5!).

Really disappointed with that. Thinking about it now it was clear that something wasn't right. My heart rate had been running high towards the end of the week and I had stomach cramps on the day. Just one of those things so at least it's explainable.

A short 1km warm-down and then straight home for a dinner party. I must have been bad as I struggled to have a beer but I kept persevering and eventually pulled up stumps at 3:30 in the morning Ouch.

Well done to all who took part in the race. Superb organisation as always and great to see Galway at its best tonight. I can honestly say I've never had so much support out on the course tonight and for that I'm very grateful. Pity I couldn't have put on more of a show as I thought I was on the brink of something special. Next time!

Friday, August 08, 2014


30 minutes gentle today (in the shopping zone). Finished up with a few strides. All set now for tomorrow.

Thursday, August 07, 2014

30 minute recovery

Similar to yesterday the heart rate was much easier to get up into the recovery zone. A nice relaxed 30 minutes covering 7.8kms in 30:11 (3:52's). Finished up with some strides (as I did yesterday but forgot to mention).

Thoughts now turning to the race. I haven't raced in a while so I don't have race feedback to gauge where I'm at but what I would say is that I've done a very decent block of training the last 4 weeks (averaging around 100km per week including 14 threshold runs and 3 speed sessions). Hopefully that equates to PB form and I'll certainly be targeting sub 25:30 come Saturday evening. It's a stacked field this year with half a dozen guys capable of breaking 24 so a little too warm for me. That said I'm hoping there will be a few guys I can work with which always make life easier.

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Scores for show

Another recovery run. Time 42:59 for 11.1kms (3:52's).

Interesting that my HR moved up into my recovery zone a lot easier today. I was around 135/136 most of the run and it would normally be 3 or 4 beats lower for the same effort. Maybe a sign that I've been tired the last month or so and I'm starting to freshen up.

More darts in the evening. I won 15-14. We both had darts to win the decider and I eventually hit double 10. A good last leg - I hit a 140, my dad came back with a 180 but bottled the finishing!

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

5 x 2 mins off 120 secs

A final sharpener of a session. I ran out to the same stretch of road where I did my 3 minute efforts last week (2.8km warm-up). The target heart rate to try and get to was 153+. Knew that would be tough with the shorter time period.

The approach was to run as hard as I could for each 2 minutes. That worked fine but the first rep was nothing more than a warm-up with me hitting a mac HR of 143. The second one was a bit better (149) and then the 3rd, 4th and 5th I just about crept up to 153 by the end of the rep. Feeling guilty I decided to run a bonus 2 minutes and managed to get up to 155. I was covering an average of 675m each 2 minute effort so that's around 2:58/km pace on average. Not too bad.

Warm-down of 2.8kms back home. All up 9.7kms for the day.

Out in the evening for darts. I beat the old man 15-9 and played well. Checkouts of 128, 117, 107 and 100 and the scoring wasn't too shabby either.

Monday, August 04, 2014

Winding it back

Few too many falling down waters last night so definitely not at my best today...

The start of an easier week. Recovery run 14.8kms in 57:57 (3:55's). Only one quick session planned this week (tomorrow) and no threshold running. Race on Saturday.

Sunday, August 03, 2014

Hour of power

Bottled the outside run and went on the treadmill. Usual 2 up then the hour of threshold running. Was dreading it but once I got going the 5 minute segments (my way of breaking it down) seemed to tick by nicely. The heart rate took an age to rise (despite a quick start) but after about 10 minutes I was bottom of zone. I pulled the pace back a little and found that my heart rate stayed very stable for the next 40 minutes or so (143 to 145). I went through 5km in 16:23, 10km in 32:59, 15km in 49:59, 10 miles in 53:40, and ended up with 17.9kms in 59:55. Okay treadmill running flatters your pace/distance but still a very decent hit-out at the bottom of my threshold zone.

2km to finish with for 21.9kms for the day.

That's 104.0kms for the week. Lots of quality in there so hopefully I'm in good nick now for the Streets. I forgot to mention I did some strides on Tuesday and Thursday at the end of my recovery runs just to get the legs ticking over at 5km pace.

Then more fun with numerous beers and some food in town. Galway is a great place to be during race week.

Saturday, August 02, 2014

Run to the car

Today was a sketchy run back to the Galway racecourse to collect my car....pushed the pace to get the HR up into the recovery zone and didn't feel too bad which was a minor miracle, Sweating buckets and by the time I got to the car I'd clocked up 10.9kms in 42:13 (3:52's). Then made my getaway as people started pouring into the racecourse for the next instalment of fun.

A few normalisers at home in the evening.

Friday, August 01, 2014

Winner winner chicken dinner

Decided to give the treadmill a bash today for my threshold run. I was targeting the bottom of my zone which was going to make the run a little easier. A 2.0km warm-up, then 45 minutes threshold, finishing with a 2.0km warm-down. It went well - a great sweat and ended up clocking 13.1kms in 45:03 (3:26/km pace).

All up 17.0kms for the day.

Galway races in the evening - I got 2 winners (both short-priced). Nice to get the winner in the last which got me out of trouble. A number of beers were consumed along the way....ended up in the Abbey for a chicken curry.