Sunday, April 15, 2012

Running Long...

Although it's probably the kiss of death my training since Mallow10 has gone reasonably well. My weekly mileage has been 62 (6 runs), 37 (5 runs), 44 (5 runs) and 51 (6 runs).  All very good (for me).

Each week I've tried to put in at least one tempo/progression session but my main workout has been the weekly long run.  This long run has increased from 11 to 13 to 18 to 20 over the last 4 weeks.  I wouldn't call these run "long slow runs" but they have been long.  I've run these based on a perceived 'easy' effort which means a pace of approx 7:30.

Today was my most successful long run ever.  Way back in August 2009 I'd attempted a 20 mile run from Ardmore to Dungarvan and back but due to a number of reasons it wasn't very successful and it gave me a new found respect to running long.  I haven't tried running 20+ miles since!  However, now that I'm older and a bit (but not much) wiser my run from Ardmore to near Midleton today went much better. 

Ardmore to Ballintotis (Midleton) Sunday 15th April 2012
I set out from Ardmore at 8am in bright sunshine with a clear blue sky and an icy NE wind.  The plan was to leave with a 2 hour head start on the rest of my family who would pick me up (hopefully alive) at some point along the road. My planned pace was a repeat of last weeks 'easy' long run and go 17 miles at 7:30 pace or better.  Mile splits were 7:28; 7:18; 7:35; 7:17; 7:20; 7:18; 7:31; 7:19; 7:34; 7:25; 7:08; 7:21; 7:17; 7:23; 7:22; 7:20; 7:18; 7:35; 7:46; 7:45.  That's 20 miles at an average of 7:25 min/mile.

My family eventually caught up with me at Ballintotis (near Midleton) and proceeded to drive past!  Apparently my wife had her own plan that no matter where she passed me she would drive to and park at the 20 mile point.  There she would wait for me to arrive (who needs a tough coach!!).  Luckily I was nearly there when she arrived!

Most of the run felt easy (7:21 pace to 17 miles) but I had to work hard on the long uphill section around Youghal (mile 9). Miles 19 & 20 were also a bit harder than the rest as I ran out of fuel & water; neither of which I carried with me.  I must start experimenting with some gels to see if there's any benefit to be had..... ???

Given that the long runs are going so well I'm also seriously considering making a Marathon debut in Cork at the start of June.  All I have to do now is to take the plunge and enter!   I also need to increase the length of these long runs.  I'd like to get a few 22+ mile runs in over the next few weeks and then taper back for the second half of May.  BTW how should someone 'taper'???  Any advice?

The rest of the today was spent supporting these two girls from team Little Panda :) at the Leevale Open Sports.....


Thomas said...

Now that's a cute pic!

As for the marathon, go for it. I wouldn't take a gel for a 20 mile training run - getting used to running while low on fuel is one of the key benefits you get from a long run.

And yes, do a taper.

Richard said...


take the marathon plunge. I've experimented with long (3 week) tapers and short (1 week tapers). Shorter suits me as I loose the endurance pretty quickly. For me, something like a 16 mile run 7 or 8 days before the marathon and then runs of between 2 - 6 miles during the week. I've learned (from reading Thomas) to go out for a 2 miler (super slow) the day before a marathon. It works wonders for the mind and stops the legs getting stiff.

All a personal choice but you 10 mile/ half-mara taper will help you decide.

cathal said...

fair play for attempting the marathon. there will be no fear of you. not too sure about doing too many 20 - 22 mile runs especially for a first marathon. 2 -3 of these are loads but would defo run at least one 22 miles. you'd be surprised how the tireness from a 22 mile can catch up so respect the taper. based on your running a 3.00 to 3.15 isn't beyond you. as for gels i wouldn't use them on training and /or run on no brekkie