Monday, August 31, 2009

New School New Routine

Our two girls started school last Thursday and became mini celebrities along the way!! I suppose it helps being identical twins on the opening day of a new school.... Our mornings won't ever be the same with the school run, school lunches, uniforms etc etc. I'm sure it'll be an interesting and enjoyable journey and you never know this recession might even be over by the time they'll be looking for a job!!

After last Monday's run, as promised, I took it easy on Tuesday with a 7:20min/mile 5.6mile run. But on Wednesday I took it really easy and didn't run at all!! Looking back through my diary Wednesday is my most consistent 'day off' having run on only 6 of the 17 Wednesdays since the start of May!! The start of school for the girls meant that Thursday and Friday were no running days also!!

On Saturday I wasn't too confident (correctly as it turned out) that I'd fit in my long run on Sunday so while Joe took his morning nap I snuck out for an 11.33mile steady progression run.

The first 4 miles were uphill from Ardmore to Kiely's Cross so I took them handy enough at an average of 7:25min/mile pace. Once I reached the main road and the 7 mile 'downhill' home stretch I picked up the pace to under 7min/mile and progressed from there!! By the 10 mile mark I was at 6:30min/mile (166bpm). I had covered the first 10 miles in 70:39 minutes and at this point I thought I'd done enough so I contemplated easing off which I did for about 10 seconds before I continued to the end at a steady 6:40 pace. In all 11.33 miles 1:19:31 (7:01min/mile @ 161bpm & 77.4rpm). It was an encouraging run before the half marathon on the 13th Sept. and given that the first 6 miles of the HM are uphill I suppose Saturdays run also counts as a dress rehearsal!! With only one race all summer, in fact only one race since last March, the Half Marathon on 13th September will be a bit of a journey into the unknown...

Week Total (24/08/09 to 30/08/09) - 3 runs
22.54miles - 2:39:37 - 7:05min/mile - 158bpm - 76.6rpm

Today my legs were recovered so after I couple of easy miles (7:15-7:30 min/mile) I upped the tempo to 6:40, 6:26 and 6:08 pace. In all covering the 5.64 miles in a 'comfortable' 39:16 (6:58min/mile).

Although I'm happy with my current condition, on reflection, I don't think I'm back to where I was last March (probably roughly equivalent to mid January) but if I do decide to take the plunge and loose my virginity at the Dublin Marathon at the end of October things are probably right where they should be... I'll reassess my plans in a few weeks..

Monday, August 24, 2009

Recovery week

Last weeks 'recovery' run certainly did the trick. My legs weren't too sore on during the week. I don't think that the 20+ run was 'suicidal' as suggested by Grellan but it certainly has taken longer to recover than from a more normal 15+ mile long run.

On Tuesday with still 'heavy legs' I attempted a progression run over my usual 5.66mile route around Ballincollig. The mile splits pace ranged from 7:16 to 6:42 with a 'sprint' at 6:26min/mile pace for the last 0.66miles!! It all felt a bit too hard really. After the first mile my heartrate was in the mid 170's and I was only just breaking the 7 minute barrier. In all 5.66miles @6:58min/mile (39:24mins @ 169bpm avg).

So, on Wednesday I decided to take a proper 'recovery' and not run.

A lunchtime out of the office meeting on Thursday meant that if I wanted to run it had to be early in the morning. So I set the alarm from 5:30am but ignored it and got up at 6:15am instead!! It almost felt like a lie in!! At least the early start gave me another excuse for having heavy legs (still recovering from last Sunday). I headed into town at a steady 7:05min/mile pace reaching the turn around point in 24:58min and a low average heartrate of 144bpm. The overall 77m elevation drop may have been a factor but I was feeling good so on the return leg I decided to 'up' the pace. In general the average pace was less than 6:45min/mile and including the climb up Maryborough Hill I made it home in an average of 7:01 giving an overall of 49:24 (155bpm) for the 7.04mile early morning jaunt.

I spent the weekend in Ardmore so on Friday afternoon I ran the beach and cliff route. An overall distance of 7.47miles at an average of 7:29min/mile (160bpm) - 55:54 minutes. Interestingly, although the last couple of months have been a bit erratic in running terms they appear to be showing some dividends - when I ran this route at the start of June my average pace was 7:50+ and 164bpm.

My wife's family had a clan gathering on Saturday so time for running was out of the question - replaced by time on beach and in the pub.

Unfortunately, the rain came in during the night on Saturday so when the alarm went off I turned over. The extra couple of hours sleep helped clear the Guinness out of my system and when I eventually arose I deferred my run until the afternoon. I also changed the plan and instead of the 'easy' 13+ mile run I went for a 2x4mile progression run (Ardmore to Kiely's cross and back). The first 4 miles were 'steady' uphill at 7:11min/mile (158bpm). After a 2 minute recovery I headed back downhill starting out at 6:22 pace increasing steadily to 5:48min/mile (overall average 165bpm). Although the pace was helped by the downhill it felt good to let loose and put in some fast miles.

Week Total (17/08/09 - 23/08/09) - 5 sessions
33.96miles - 4:06:13 - 7:15min/mile - 159bpm - 77rpm

Summer is now officially over, the family is back from Ardmore and the girls start school on Thursday. So today I was back on the roads around Ballincollig for a 5.66mile run. The pace progressed from 7:10min/mile (143bpm) to 6:24min/mile (171bpm) - it was supposed to be an 'easy' run but I think I overcooked it a bit!! I blame the new running shoes...... Tomorrow will be better.....

Monday, August 17, 2009

Back on track and new found respect

Well the first week of work after the holidays is over and I think it's time to update this blog...

The holidays were great plenty of relaxation, family time and some running too. Probably not as much running as I'd hoped for, opting instead for more time with the family and some extra hours of sleep. Afterall holidays are supposed to give you a chance to recharge the batteries, aren't they??

During the first week of my holidays (27th July to 2nd August) I managed 5 runs each ranging from 7 to 9.5miles. The runs were generally steady and averaging in the low to mid 7min/mile range over a mixture of trails, beach and road. However, I let off the breaks and put in a few low 6min miles towards the end of a few of the runs - just to loosen out the legs!! In all I covered 42.87 miles.

The second week wasn't as productive fitting in just a single 10.58mile beach, cliff top, road run.

So back to work last week and I hoped for a more regular routine conducive to running. On Monday I went for a 5.65mile tempo run at a average 6:52 pace. I started out at 6:38min/mile and finished at 6:34min/mile but the middle was harder than it should have been. Maybe I was paying the price for only 1 run the previous week? True to form Tuesday and Wednesday were no run days (I'm sure I had a 'good' excuse at the time - just can't remember it right now). I made up for it on Thursday and Friday by going for 5.64 and 6.51mile steady runs at an average of 7:00 and 7:01 min/mile. Still though the runs felt tougher than they should. So I took Saturday off.

On Sunday I went for my first 'long' run in a few weeks. This time I decided to push out the boat in terms of distance and go for a very 'easy' 20+ miler!! Afterall I need to start logging some decent weekly mileage!! This would be my longest run EVER. Pamela and the kids went back to Cork so I had a few free hours (and I needed all of them!!) so I left Ardmore and headed for Dungarvan along the N25. My Garmin wouldn't start so I had to rely on my old reliable Casio stopwatch - 15 years old and I've yet to change the battery!! It was nice, if a bit unfamiliar, to run without constant pace feedback. I had run a 15miler last June (Ardmore to the Marine Bar - 28th June) along this route so I had an idea of the terrain i.e. 4 miles uphill (160m climb) followed by 4 miles undulating, followed by a steep 160m drop over 2 miles, turn around and repeat in reverse!! Tough!! I took it easy over the first half reaching the turn around (approx 10 miles) in 78mins (7:35 pace). The next 2 miles uphill were 'hell' as I realised that I'd been running with a tailwind for the first half. No wonder I felt so relaxed!! The picture didn't improve for the rest of the run. It was humid, I was tired and my legs hurt (left hamsting) but my breathing was fine. I must admit (shame on me) that I 'gave in' on a few occassions and walked for my water breaks. By 16miles I took the last of my water and having run for more than 2 hours at that stage fatigue set in and motivation dropped. I just wanted it to be over even the last 4 downhill miles did nothing to help ease the fatigue! I eventually made it back to the caravan park in Ardmore after 2:50:23. Measuring the route on Map My Run I think that I covered approx 20.5miles at an average of 8:19min/mile. I'll have to repeat the run with my Garmin just to be sure!! Although it wasn't my prettiest run ever it was my longest and I've now got a new respect for all marathon runners!! Running for more than 2 hours is hard and not just physically hard. It's mentally hard too.

The long run on Sunday did help my weekly mileage though 38.30miles in 4:54:26 i.e. 7:41min/mile average.

I went for a recovery run today. 5.77 miles in 46:36 (8:05 min/miles average pace). It hurt too!! Mile splits were 8:43, 8:36, 8:15, 7:51, 7:31 and 7:24. Even if I wanted to I couldn't have gone any faster - hopefully tomorrow will feel better.

By the way my Garmin footpod arrived while I was on holidays so I now have lots more numbers to tell me how badly I'm running!! Based on my first few runs it appears that my average cadence is in fact 76-78rpm and if I try and increase my leg speed I just run faster!! When I've recorded a cadence >80rpm on a flat road it seems like my pace is in the low 6min/mile, 77rpm roughly equates to 7:00min/mile pace. Interesting!! I'll monitor the trends over the coming weeks / months and see what happens.

As for races I've decided not to run the Great North Run this year. My 'training' hasn't been focused enough and although my race number came in the post last week I've not booked any flights or accomodation yet so I think that I'll defer my entry until next year. I'll probably opt instead to run the local half marathon here in Cork on Sept 13th instead and hopefully I'll be able to run something similar to last year (i.e. sub 1:27).

More anon....