Sunday, December 28, 2008

Christmas week

Running this week has gone pretty - well despite the festivities!! Just as well 'cause I've been eating enough food & junk to feed an army!! All running has been at a steady / easy pace. I've also discovered the secret to running at close to 8 minute pace - start early in the morning. Yesterday morning I headed out for a 6+ mile run at 6:30am (I was up at 5:30am feeding Joe so I didn't see the point in going back to bed!!). Well the 'tentative' plan was to run at 7:15-7:30 pace but no matter how I tried the fastest split was 7:45!! Last night I also managed to fit in a 1.5mile uphill stagger at 'walk' pace home from the pub... I wonder does that count towards my weekly total?? - maybe not!! :)

I've skipped all the local races concentrating on my mileage - Thomas you'd be proud!!

Also my HRM has been acting up (i.e. not working) this week. I tried all the usual tricks - spitting on the sensors etc so I concluded that I may need to get a new battery but it's a year old...

Wednesday (24/12/08)
5.60miles - 40:29 (7:14min/mile)

Thursday (25/12/08)
0 miles - Family Day

Friday (26/12/08)
11.52miles - 1:24:52 (7:22min/mile, 151bpm)

Saturday (27/12/08)
6.27miles - 49:59 (7:58min/mile) + 1.5mile stagger/walk home from pub

Sunday (28/12/08)
9.85miles - 1:14:54 (7:36min/mile)

Week Total (22/12/08 to 28/12/08) - 6 sessions
50.87miles - 6:22:19 (7:31min/mile)

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas on the way

My wife found the comments following the last post 'funny' - she too thinks that I only have one speed but she calls it SLOW!!

I know, I probably run too often at a 'steady' or faster pace. Grellan and Mike both commented on this. In my defence, firstly I blame my coach (Olympic steeplechaser and 47min 10-miler) in school he had the philosophy that a training session isn't a training session unless you're totally wiped out at the end!! It's always good to blame someone else for your own failings!! :)

Secondly, I feel (probably incorrectly) that if you want to race at 6-minute pace or lower running 7-minute pace should feel 'easy'. Hence the majority of my 'easy' runs are in the 7 :00 to 7:30 range as I'm trying to make my body learn to feel easy at this pace. Mind over body and all that!!

Thirdly, I don't run every day so I class my days off as my 'recovery' days. But having said that I do try to introduce some 'recovery' runs but if I'm running alone I get bored with the slow pace and tend give in to the inner demon that wills me to run faster (probably a hang up from my track racing days!!)

However, I don't think that my 'fast' running has affected my consistency - I've plenty other excuses for this!! But it may in the past have contributed to some of my injuries.

On Friday I went out for an 'easy' 5+ mile run at lunchtime (5.20miles 7:36 @ 143bpm).

Saturday and Sunday were wipe outs with a hangover and Christmas shopping respectively taking priority!! That gave the following total for the week:

Week Total (15/12/2008 to 21/12/2008) - 4 runs
23.87 miles - 2:51:26 - 7:11min/mile - 155bpm

Having missed the weekend I went out for my long run yesterday (Monday). This was to be my first run over 10 miles since the end of October and this week I choose a 12.5mile route that I last ran in September. My HRM failed (for some reason - reindeer interference I presume) but I reached the 10-mile mark in just over 73mins (7:18 pace) and felt very comfortable - a good sign. But I did take it easy over the last (uphill) 2.65miles and averaged 7:59 for that bit. Overall 12.65mile in 1:34:10 (avg. 7:27).

Today the legs were a bit tired from yesterday's run (right achilles a bit sore/stiff and both quads tender) but other than that no ill effects. So tonight was another 'easy' 5 miles in 37:51 (average 7:36 pace 143bpm). Just enough to compensate for some of Thursday's turkey!!

Happy Christmas to all and happy running in 2009!!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Back on the road

After having had an unplanned week off and not too successful run that morning my post on last Sunday was a bit of a 'downer'. I really didn't believe that the week off could have made me be so much out of shape!! So I reviewed my diary and in truth my running has been a bit erratic since the Great North Run in October. October and November have been very 'infrequent' running months and my monthly mileage has taken a nose dive!! My mileage June to Nov'08 was 89, 122, 164, 143, 95, 59. Spot the trend!! But so far this month I'm at 46 miles and hopefully the mileage will be back up in Dec/Jan.

On Monday I thought I'd recheck my current fitness level and planned a steady 6.5mile run at lunchtime. The run went well enough and I finished the route in 45:21 that's an average 6:59 pace @ 163bpm. I felt good at the end so not too bad overall and a big improvement on Sunday's run. :)

On Tuesday I took it a bit easier with a 5.67mile run in 41:54 i.e. 7:23min pace @ 153bpm.

Today was a bit of a test for me. I decided to repeat Monday's run but at a 'tempo / progressive' pace. Here's how today compares [pace (bpm)] to Monday:-

Monday / Wednesday
Mile 1 7:06 (144) / 7:10 (140)
Mile 2 6:58 (159) / 7:12 (150) (grass/trek & slippy)
Mile 3 7:20 (163) / 7:20 (162) (grass & slippy)
Mile 4 7:06 (165) / 6:57 (158) (uphill)
Mile 5 6:57 (170) / 6:46 (167)
Mile 6 6:47 (172) / 6:21 (173)
Mile 6.5 6:19 (178) / 5:49 (172)

So today's 6.5miler was all good - it lasted 44:39 min i.e 6:52 avg. @ 159 bpm. Although afterwards my body did let me know that I'd pushed the boat out I recovered quickly (a good sign!!).

Point proven I think - Sunday's run can be classed officially as a 'blip' and that's enough fast running for this week. I'll try and put in some easier / longer runs over the remainder.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Revised Plans

One of the main reasons why I started this Running Diary was to make sure that I didn't skip sessions without a good excuse. It seemed to me that if I had to put down in writing that I skipped a session that would be enough motivation for me to get out and run!! But despite this added motivation the past couple of weeks haven't been the most successful from a running point of view. Non-running commitments have had to take precedence..

My last post reported a double session day. Just as well that I got in that second session as I only managed two other 'easy' runs that week i.e.
4th December - 5.68miles (44:26) 7:49min/mile avg 150bpm (first half 8:10 to 8:25 pace, second half 7:10 to 7:30 pace)
6th December - 5.48miles (40:46) 7:26min/mile avg 153bpm

That brought my weekly total to a sensational 22miles - not even a marathon in a week!!

Week Total (1/12/08 - 07/12/08) - 4 sessions
22.45miles - 2:53:00 - 7:42min/mile - 150bpm

But the past week went further downhill with an earth shattering total of one session, and that was today!!

I went out this morning determined not to get a duck-egg for the week. Unfortunately I only had a half hour window so 5 miles (max) was on the menu. I thought about running easy but since I hadn't run all week I felt like having a minor 'blow out' so the first 3 miles went as 6:50, 6:45, 6:58 and the last 2 were 7:30 to 8min pace. But I felt wrecked at the end of the run which was was a bit worrying. I definetly couldn't have run for any longer at sub-7min pace. Could I really have lost so much fitness over the past week? Other factors could have contributed such as having only 4 hours sleep last night or maybe I've picked up the virus that has been passed between the various family members over the past couple of weeks.

Whatever the reason I've come to the realisation that I won't be at peak fitness for the first 10 mile race after Christmas. So I've now decided that for the remainder of 2008 I'll concentrate on running regularly and building up the miles - something that I really need to do if my distance running is to improve. I'll now concentrate on peaking for the Ballycotton 10 in early March.

On a positive front I've now got some goals for 2009. I sent off my entry for the Ballycotton 10 - hopefully I'll be in the first 2,500 entries opened!! I also entered the 2009 Great North Run. This year the race will be held on 20th September and will hopefully be my third year running this 'great' half marathon.

Week Total (8/12/08 - 14/12/08) - 1 session
4.94miles - 35:23 - 7:10min/mile - 166bpm

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Stars in my eyes

Another image of the Venus, Jupiter, Moon occultation just like I saw it!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Star gazing in December

Last week ended on Friday - no running on either Saturday or Sunday for differing reasons. But I did have my first turkey dinner on Sunday courtesy of my sister. Thanks Margaret!! So the weekend wasn't a total write-off. I know, I'll probably be sick of turkey by the end of December but for now I'll enjoy it.

Week Total (24/11/08 - 30/11/08) - 4 sessions
26.10miles - 3:14:42 - 7:28min/mile - 160bpm

My lower left leg has been giving me trouble since my stumble last week but I don't think it's too serious and hopefully time will make it better.

Today I went for a lunchtime run, a bit later than usual so I cut it short. It ended up as 5.2 miles in 39:27 @7:35 min/mile @144bpm. My legs felt sluggish and heavy and I was a bit concerned about my leg so I took the second half slower than the first 7:45 vs 7:25. That's me being sensible!!

I wasn't too happy with missing my Saturday and Sunday runs so when I got the opportunity to get in a few extra miles tonight I jumped at it. I needed to drop in some forms to my kids future school (3 miles away) so that meant a 6miles out-'n-back opportunity.

The temperature has dropped again (<2degc)>10bpm higher than lunchtime. I wonder why? Assuming that my fitness hasn't deteriorated since lunchtime all I can presume is that it was the hilly route vs the flat lunchtime that I ran at lunchtime. Interesting though, a significant difference....

BTW... there was a beautiful sight visible in the skies above Ireland tonight - both Venus and Jupiter were visible as two bright stars alongside a crescent moon. The last time that Venus was visible in this way in Ireland was in the early 1980's and the next time will be in the 2040's. So given the probability that the skies won't be clear of clouds next time tonight's view was a true once in a lifetime opportunity!!