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).