Sunday, November 29, 2015

Easy week

Just easy runs and recovery runs this week. I did plan to race on Sunday but it was postponed due to bad weather. Maybe for the best (for me) as the legs still didn't feel quite right. Anyway here's the week in summary:

Mon - 8.5km Sprowston easy run 36:39 (4:19's)

Tue - 11.7km Tuam AC easy run

Wed - Claregalway 11.1km recovery run 42:29 (3:50's)

Thu - Claregalway 14.8km recovery run 54:57 (3:42's)

Fri -  Treadmill 8.0km recovery run 30:00 (3:45's)

Sat - Treadmill 6.7km easy run 30:00 (4:29's)

Sun - Treadmill 16.1km recovery run 59:58 (3:43's)

Total for the week 76.9kms

Lots of treadmill running as the weather has been very poor. A good run with Fintan on Thursday and he goes from strength to strength each week. Hopefully a big year in store for the master baker.

Back into it next week. Maybe the Turkey Trot 5km next weekend to see if there is any speed in the auld legs.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Norwich Half Marathon 2015

Still kicking myself....I rolled over and let them tickle my belly....

Mon - 9.5km Claregalway recovery run 35:53 (3:47's)

Tue am - 2.0km up, 4 x 5 mins off 1 mins, 1.6km down. All up 10.0kms

Wed - Claregalway 14.8km recovery run 58:02 (3:55's)

Thu - 3.0km up, 10 x 30 secs at 10km pace, 3.0km down. All up 7.6kms

Fri -  Sprowston 7.3km easy run 32:18 (4:25''s)

Sat - Rest

Sun - Norwich Half Marathon 3rd in 70:39 (3:21's). All up 23.1kms

Total for the week 72.3kms

A nice easy week in the build up to the half. Woke up on the day of the race to a good dusting of snow. Thought it would be postponed but luckily the roads were all okay. Got to the showground and it was juicing down and eventually did a few kms warm-up getting soaked in the process. Then it stopped raining for the start of the race. Very cold but good conditions.

A group of 4 formed after the start. After a mile this was down to 3. Then after 2 miles it was myself and Adrian Mussett. Felt great and was ticking over nicely at 5:20/mile pace. Got to 4 miles and Adrian made a move - I decided to let him go as the intensity felt more like 10k pace than half marathon and I then settled into solo running mode which I'm well used to. The miles were ticking over nicely and the pace was still on target - good splits and bad splits depending on terrain. Through halfway and I could still see Adrian no more than 30 seconds up the road with nobody behind me. Then at 7 miles my lace came undone. To start with I ignored it but after another half mile the shoe was getting very loose so I decided to stop to tie the lace...

Being very cold and with no gloves it was liking tying your lace in slow motion. It probably only took around  10 seconds but it seemed like an eternity. I started running again feeling rather annoyed as I'd lost ground on Adrian but still nobody behind me that I could see. I then ran well up until 11 miles but I knew someone was closing in on me as the gap on the claps as I passed small pockets of support on the course was now down to less than 10 seconds....

I should have mentioned that it was a new course this year. One big lap instead of 2 laps which was most welcome. But I knew there was a big climb to come just after 11  miles and if I was caught on the hill I was in trouble.....and then Piers caught me on the hill and I let him sail past me. Not one bit of fight in me as I encouraged him on....

At 12 miles it was a nice flat loop of the showground to finish, It felt like the legs were gone but looking at the splits I was still running well. But there was no catching Piers who finished like a train and with nobody behind me I decided to coast home crossing the line in 70:39 for 3rd place.

I've ran over 250 races and it's only the second time I recall where a lace has come undone. It cost me a PB today and if I had any fight whatsoever I should have ran 70:15. Piers finished brilliantly and took 25 seconds out of me in the last mile and a half with the winner (Adrian) running 69:45. I put in a very soft performance which is most unlike me. Could of, should of, would of.....but didn't.

Still a good drink after and nice to see the mighty Spurs play well in beating the happy hammers 4-1. Will the sub 70 ever come? I'm beginning to wonder now....

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Hollymount 10km 2015

Training wasn't great but it's all about the racing!

Mon - 10.0km treadmill recovery run 36:26 (3:39's)

Tue am - 2.0km up, strides, 4 x 5 mins off 3 mins, 1.0km down. All up 11.2kms

Tue pm - Easy running Tuam AC 12.3kms

Wed - Claregalway 9.5km easy run 41:35 (4:23''s)

Thu - 2.0km up, 10km treadmill threshold run 31:37 (3:10's), 1.0km down. All up 13.0kms

Fri -  Claregalway 14.8km recovery run 55:37 (3:45''s)

Sat - 8.3km easy treadmill run 35:00 (4:13's)

Sun - Hollymount International 10km Road Race 1st in 33:11 - all up 16.3kms

Total for the week 95.4kms

The weather has been very bad so that meant lots of treadmill running. I did a speed session which I wanted to do on the track but the conditions weren't right so I did some 5 minute efforts on the treadmill instead, Four by 5 mins on 1.5% gradient at average speed of around 2:56/km. A good hit-out and really pushed the last effort to get the HR as high as I could (157). I followed up with some easy running that evening with Tuam AC but after the session I could feel my right Achilles wasn't right - maybe a slight strain....

I did an easy run the next day to test it out - I could run no problem but I could feel it all the time. On Thursday it didn't seem any better but I wanted to get one more session in so I went and did a quick threshold run on the treadmill (sh!t or bust). That went well so I knew I'd be good to race on the weekend.

I had a massage on Friday and I was very tight - I was hopping about on the table despite only a light rub. I felt great after and had a good run with Fintan after wearing my new pair of Mizuno Wave Riders - averaging 3:45 pace in windy conditions. Then a light run on Saturday before Hollymount,...

Conditions on Sunday were the opposite of really good. Very windy and wet and in my short warm-up of around 3km I was soaked to the skin. Despite this standing on the start line there was a good buzz and soon this historic race was underway for the 50th time, To my surprise I took the lead as we ran up through the village into the stiff wind. The pace wasn't quick but it was a day for racing and quick times clearly weren't going to happen. By the time we took the left turn just through the first km it felt like a weight had been lifted (no wind) and I immediately put in my first surge just to stretch out the legs. I felt great but this move was easily covered by Jason Broderick and another runner over from the UK. We had broken away from the chasing pack and we settled into a small group of 3.

The course was very wet and there was one section where you were running through ankle deep water for around 20m. Nothing much happening and the thoughts for me were on how we had to run the loop another couple of times so no point doing anything stupid. Each left turn the wind became more of a factor and as we turned onto the main road leading up through the village for the second time myself and Jason were starting to work clear of the runner in third.

No moves were made as we tackled this very tough section up through the village. Not exactly taking a breather but certainly not red-line. Again at the turn I tried another surge and despite getting a few metres lead, Jason would quickly work his way back onto my shoulder. I must have tried another 3 or 4 surges on this second lap but there was no shaking him. As we turned to run up through the village for the start of the third lap we were still side-by-side...

At this stage Jason started to lift the pace. For about 1km I was hanging on as he put in a big effort into the wind. He may have got a few meters in front but as we turned left out of the wind I managed to get back in touch. So still together with less than 3km to go. At this point we were starting to lap people and I put in another couple of half-hearted surges that didn't result in a break. Then another left turn and Jason took the inside line and I went round the outside as we lapped a few more runners. At this stage I made a split second decision to run as hard as I could for 30 seconds in an attempt to break clear. I was listening to the commentary from the lead car and it was apparent that I'd opened up a slight gap so I just had to keep strong for the last km and a bit...

As I turned back onto the main road the wind started knocking me around and I was just focused on keeping the cadence up and the effort level as high as I could muster. One last turn and the long climb up to the finish line. I had some huge support at this stage - mainly from the Mayo AC ladies from training and I though by their reaction that Jason was right behind me. So I kept pushing all the way to the finish line to take the win in 33:11 for a very hard-fought win.

A solo warm-down of 3.3kms running another loop of the course in the opposite direction supporting  some of the other runners who were still finishing their race. Time to reflect on the run where I'd pretty much given it everything. Fair play to Jason who ran a very strong race - he has had a great year and on that from I would be confident in saying he will break 32 minutes for 10km in the very near future. Well deserved for one of the nicest guys you could wish to meet.

After a quick shower it was back to the hall for the presentation. Great to see some of the past winners of the race which is now in its 50th year. A huge effort by the organising committee to put on such a brilliant weekend and it was a race that will live long in my memory, Excellent work all round.

Yes a few beers were had later that evening upon the return to Galway. Time to read the race programme and fully appreciate some of the history behind this event where numerous Olympians and Internationals have competed over the years....hopefully some of these glory years will be repeated in the next 50 years and this race will again become one of the highlights of the Irish road running calendar.

Sunday, November 08, 2015

Three threshold runs

Starting to take shape:

Mon - Claregalway 11.1km recovery run 42:19 (3:49's)

Tue am - 1.0km up, 12km threshold 40:58 (3:25's), 1.0km down. All up 14.0kms

Tue pm - Easy running Tuam AC 11.8kms

Wed - Claregalway 9.5km recovery run 36:19 (3:49''s)

Thu - 2.0km up, 10km treadmill threshold run 31:36 (3:10's), 1.0km down. All up 13.0kms

Fri -  Claregalway 14.8km recovery run 56:02 (3:47''s)

Sat - Claregalway 9.5km easy run 38:36 (4:04's)

Sun - 2
.0km up, 17.3km threshold 59:31 (3:26's), 1.8km down. All up 21.1kms

Total for the week 104.8kms

I feel like I'm in good nick. I haven't trained as hard as I did last year for the Norwich half but I feel like I'm in similar shape - certainly less knackered. I've done lots more runs outside this year and I'm trying to limit my treadmill runs to one per week. Last year this was 2 or 3. My go-to treadmill session of 10km threshold top of zone had me running a new PB this week of 31:36 - that's 19.1km/hour pace for the entire run. Not bad going but it's a tough session - you have my word on that. So I feel strong, maybe the pace is a little off but it's all a balancing act. So half marathon sub 70 minute attempt number - lost count - is nearly here. Please let it be a good day conditions wise - I'm certainly due a good day.....

Sunday, November 01, 2015

Dublin Marathon and beyond

A better finish to the week:

Mon - Claregalway 9.0km easy run 37:02 (4:07's)

Tue am - 2.0km up, Threshold treadmill reps 3/2/1/2/1/1kms, 1.0km down. All up 13.0kms

Tue pm - Easy running Tuam AC 9.9kms

Wed - Treadmill 10.0km recovery run 36:08 (3:37''s)

Thu am - 2.0km up, 10km treadmill threshold run 31:45 (3:11's), 2.0km down. All up 14.0kms

Thu pm - 
Easy running Mayo AC 7.8kms

Fri -  Claregalway 14.8km recovery run 57:39 (3:54''s)

Sat - Halloween 5km 1st in 16:42 as part of a 15km threshold run 51:43 (3:27's). Total 18.7kms

Sun - Claregalway 7.4km easy run 31:05 (4:12's)

Total for the week 104.6kms

A difficult week for training with the kids off school so lots of treadmill running. I wasn't right on Tuesday and really struggled running some intervals at threshold pace on the treadmill. I then bounced back with a much better run on Thursday and I decided to do a local Halloween 5km on Saturday and after completing the 5km in 16:42 I kept on running for a total of 15kms at a nice healthy pace.

I watched the Dublin Marathon on Monday and it looked very tough. Windy conditions would have slowed down the runners and heart rates were tracking much higher than training runs where conditions have been very good. Nonetheless there were some excellent performances from various clients and I'm inspired to give the marathon another go next year. Maybe Berlin which looks to be a good one.