Saturday, January 31, 2009

Dungarvan taper...

This week was another unsettled week.

Monday was a 5.34 miler easy @ 7:28min avg. pace (39:52). Essentially a recovery run following Sunday's long run. Tuesday was missed - can't remember the reason but I'm sure I had a good excuse.

Wednesday I essentially repeated Monday's run but picking up the pace towards the end i.e. 5.24miles in 37:28 (7:11 min/mile avg) starting out at 7:43 for the first mile and 6:46 for the last. I was going to extend the run to 7+ miles finishing at 6:1x pace but having a eye on tomorrows 10-mile race I decided that there was not going to be any benefit gained from putting in a tough session a few days before a race.

Thursday and Friday were also skipped days - this week was now fast turning into a taper week!! :)

But... yesterday afternoon a sharp pain suddenly appeared in my left calf so I elected to test the legs today ahead of tomorrow. 5:46miles steady in 40:05 mins (an average of 7:20) was how I chose to test the legs (mile splits ranging from 7:01 to 7:40 mins maybe not the smartest but hey if I couldn't run at that pace I certainly wouldn't be able to race tomorrow). No ill effects so yesterdays pain remains a mystery!!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

End of another week

Choosing a title "good start" for my last post was always going to be a kiss of death for what followed....

Thursday, Friday and Saturday's runs didn't happen for various reasons from work to family to bad weather. So today I was determined not to end the week on a bad note and I made sure to fit in my long run. I must be starting to think like a distance runner 'cause I was 'worried' about my weekly mileage so I decided to extend my planned 12 mile run to 15+ miles. My legs were tired before the run and also it probably wasn't the best idea to run within one hour of finishing my 'large' Sunday lunch, so I took it easy. The first 11 miles went well enough considering averaging just over 7:30 min/mile pace but my stomach started to object for the last 3 miles and overall I finished the run 15.62miles in 2:01:49 (avg 7:48 min/mile) including a couple of stoppages for traffic lights, adjusting my shoe laces and giving a guy directions (even though he chose to ignore my advice and avoid the left hand turn that I'd suggested!)

Week Total (19/01/2008 to 25/01/2008) - 4 sessions
35.81miles - 4:25:32 - avg 7:25min/mile

Also I just came across this photo from last weeks 10-mile race courtesy of the Mallow AC website.... a similar picture to that taken during the Blarney half marathon last September - this is obviously my racing face!! ...enough said....

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Good start

This week has started well. The plan was an 'easy' run on Monday, steady/tempo run on Tuesday and longish easy run today. So far even though today's run wasn't as long as I hoped (time constraints) I've generally stuck to the plan. So to quote the US President "yes I can"...stick to a plan - well sort of anyway!!! :)

Monday was 5.76 miles in 41:39 that's an average of 7:14 min/mile. Mile splits were generally around 7:30 with a 6:5x last couple. Felt good.

Based on my recent 10mile PB McMillan has revised downwards my pace ranges. Long Runs are 7:14 to 8:14, Easy Runs are 7:14 to 7:44, Steady 6:23 to 6:34 and Tempo 6:07 to 6:14 min/mile. I don't know what to call 6:35 to 7:13 run I suppose I'll have to make up a new pace range!! I've no real problem with the easier end of the scale but the tempo pace seems a bit quick for me. I'll have to psych myself up for those runs!! Tuesday's run was 7.19 miles in an average of 6:48 i.e. 48:57 at lunchtime. I took the first 2 miles easy at 7:15 and 7:11 pace over sloshy/slippy tracks. Mile 3 onwards I concentrated on steady/tempo phase with the next 4 mile splits being 6:44, 6:36, 6:16 and 6:29. Although I was comfortable over the whole run I didn't want to overdo it so I took the foot off the throttle for mile 7 at 7:03 pace. All told a good lunchtime session and the pace was certainly quick enough to avoid frostbite!! I've also now concluded that 7 miles is the max I can fit in at lunchtime....
Today I ran the same route as yesterday but Mr. Garmin measured the run as 7.25 miles. Strange ehh!! Easy was the pace planned and the average pace ended up being 7:20 (on target) in a time of 53:07. Splits were 7:01 to 7:33. A big spread but not too bad given the terrain - hills, tracks and flooded fields!!!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Stormy week

Yet again I've followed a good week of high mileage with a week of low mileage and few runs!! I suppose I could call last week a recovery week - at least that would make it sound like it was planned. In all I managed to run on three occasions since the race last Sunday - Monday, Thursday and Saturday. On the other days work and family commitments took precedence. Now, I could also blame the awful weather we're having but that would sound like a lame excuse given that some of you are running in -15 degC.

So on Monday it was a lunchtime 'recovery' run with Tony helping to pace for the first 2 miles. 5.66 miles around Ballincollig in 45:39, an average of 8:04, although in truth the pace varied from 8:52 for the first mile to 7:23 for the last.

Tuesday and Wednesday were no running days and on Thursday it was another 5.64miles over the same route again with Tony for the first 2 miles. I was well recovered from Sunday's race so I decided that I would run at a progressive easy - steady - tempo pace. The pace splits were 8:28, 8:30, 7:02 (uphill), 6:42, 6:25 and 6:11 respectively.

Friday was also a 'no running' day and on Saturday I headed out early AM for an 11.5 miles over the Douglas - Sunday's Well - Mardyke - Douglas route @ 7:17 average (1:23:43). I took the first 3 miles easy at approx 7:30 pace. But then I was passed for another crazy runner braving the elements at 7am on a Saturday morning! He was probably running about 15sec per mile faster so I left him get about 100m ahead and then started matching his pace. About a mile later he headed off in the opposite direction so I was surprised to find him about 100m ahead of me again when I reached Sunday's Well (5 mile mark). At the end of the Mardyke he again headed off in the opposite direction but I couldn't help wonder if our path's would cross again later on the run - they didn't. I passed the 10 mile mark in just under 72mins (7:11 average) feeling pretty good but I still backed off the pace for the last 1.5 miles - no point in pushing it too hard.

Storm force winds, rain and a broken night's sleep appeasing Joe saw to it that my intended 15mile today was put off. Still though, the 3 runs that I did complete this week were the intended important sessions. The day's I missed were the less important so overall no real loss.

Also note to self - remember buy a new battery for my heart rate monitor this week - I'm craving the feedback provided by the additional numbers!!

Week Total (12/01/09 to 18/01/09) - 3 sessions
22.81 miles - 2:50:28 - 7:28 min/mile - no HRM

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Mallow 10 - Race Report

So I've finally got some time to put together my race report. I looks like both Thomas and Grellan got in first with theirs so apologies for those who are now reading through more of the same!!

The Mallow-10 is the first in a four race series of ten mile road races. Last year I had intended on running this series but I got injured just before Christmas and that was that. In the end I only competed in one of the four races - Ballycotton - my first race over 10k ever. That race went well enough for 7 miles or so but then my lack of endurance training showed and I went through a bad purple patch. I still mananged to finish in 66:15 or so which was satisfying at the time. Until, I ran faster during the first 10 miles of the Great North Run. So this year I decided that I was going to try the 10-mile series again just to see if I could better my Great North Run split. Yesterdays race proved that I could and I'm not injured today so maybe I'll make Race 2 in Dungarvan on Feb 1st. I also found out yesterday that I got a place in Race 3 Ballycotton so assuming no injuries I should make at least 3 of the 4 races!!

So, yesterday I got to the race HQ early, 2 hours ahead of the start time, and I spent the next half hour debating with myself what to wear. The weather was awful outside wet, cold and windy. So the argument was whether to wear long sleves or not - a very serious decision. It's amazing how silly things take over pre-race jitters. I eventally went out for a 2.16 mile jog just to test the weather and find the start line which was about 1 mile from the race HQ. Despite running most of the streets in Mallow I failed to find the start!! Also my achilles had been showing signs of tendonitis during the past few weeks so I was glad not to be in too much pain after the warm up. I think the fact that I rested on Friday and Saturday certainly helped.
When I got back to race HQ I bumped into Grellan and shortly afterwards Thomas. We jogged to the start and a bit beyond together (luckily Grellan knew where it was!!) in all 1.7 miles. There was still a bit of time so I took shelter from the wind and rain under a tree beside a high wall while the other 2 guys continued on their warm-up. (I had decided to race without long sleeves!!).

At the appointed time I took up a position behind Grellan and Thomas about 4 ot 5 rows back from the front. The plan was to run a 6:30 pace and see what happened. This was also Thomas' plan so we were able to pace off each other while having a chat for the first mile or so! During this chat Thomas did comment on how 6:30 pace felt like jogging which I put down to the fact that we were running in a group and not in the dark of the night around Carragh Lake!!

Mile 1 was reached in 6:30 - bang on target. Mile 2 took 6:33. Still reasonably on target given the slight uphill climb during this mile. The race really started after the second mile mark as we turned onto the main Cork to Limerick road. This was a downhill section with a strong tailwind. Just as Thomas pulled level with me a gust of wind pushed me forward - I felt like I was flying (literally!!) for a couple of strides!! Thomas surged past me and I decided to let him go - looking at my watch I was doing 5:30 pace which was more than fast enough for me. I tried not to let the gap get too big keeping Thomas and a group of 5 or 6 others about 20 to 30m ahead. Mile 3 was completed in 5:56. The next 3 miles were along the Killarney road past the Mallow Race Track and into a headwind!! At about the 3.5 mile mark I caught up with Thomas again (although he was surprised to see me there and so was I!!). Not content to run in the middle of a group and as I was feeling relatively OK I thought to myself that I'd try and push the pace for a bit. So I went to the head of the group with a target to catch the next smaller group 30m ahead. Mile 4 was completed in 6:11 and I felt strong. Mile 5 was 6:21 (the wind getting stronger and the gap between runners greater). I was still passing runners so that was a good sign. I passed the 5 mile mark in 31:35. Wow, if I can keep this up it may be a PB but going on past history I'll probably blow up at about the 8 mile mark!!

Mile 6 (6:18) and I managed to pass another couple of runners. Although I couldn't hear him I assumed that Thomas wasn't too far behind so it was time to push on!! Mile 7 was uphill and took 6:28. I see from my Garmin that I passed the 10k mark in 38:59 an unofficial PB. By Mile 8 I was beginning to count down the quarter mile splits on my Gramin to the next mile mark but the my stride was in the groove so I pushed on (Thomas will be up on me soon!!). I ran alot of the race in no-mans-land passing each group / runner that I caught and focusing on the next target ahead. My breathing wasn't too bad either but I kept expecting to blow up!! Mile 8 lasted 6:10. Mile 9 a slightly uphill mile lasted 6:20. Fatigue was certainly beginning to kick in but I knew that the last mile had some downhill stretches so there was hope and I was still catching the odd runner. I passed over the railway line and an official shouted that it was only a mile and a quarter to go. That quarter mile seemed to take an age!! So with 1 mile to go I started my kick to the end. Before the race Grellan had told me that it was only a quarter mile from the bridge to the finish line. You can imagine my surprise when the officals shouted only 'half a mile to go' at the far side of the bridge. But I'd started my finishing kick so it was too late to stop now. Besides, although I hadn't seen him since the fourth mile I suspected that Thomas probably wasn't too far behind! Over the last 800m I passed another two runners and the last 100m felt like a sprint (the last 20 seconds was at 5:07 pace!!). Mile 10 was run in 5:59. Which gave my total time for the 10 miles as 1:02:52 an official PB by more than 3 minutes!! This was later rounded down oficially to 1:02:54 due to my tardiness in starting my watch. Officially 63rd position. The second five mile split was 31:27 a negative split and also an 'unofficial' PB equalling my first 5 mile split in the Great North Run last October. Thomas had almost caught me finishing 7 seconds behind - I knew that he was nearby and I'm glad the race wasn't any longer!!

A 3.16 mile cool down and some tea and sandwiches with Grellan completed a great day of running. Roll on Dungarvan on February 1st!!

Week Total (5/1/09 to 11/1/09) - 5 runs
50:02miles - 6:09:21 - 7:23 min/mile pace

Monday, January 12, 2009

63 in sub-63

That was my position and time from today's Mallow 10-mile race. Official time was 62:54 a personal best and well within my time in last year's Ballycotton 10-mile race - yipee!!

Well done to Thomas who also posted a significant PB and to Grellan for achieving his target (even if it was a bit more work than he would have liked).

576 runners braved the elements for this wet and windy race. So I was once more just outside the top 10% but I certainly can't (and won't) complain!! Official Results.

Legs are a bit tired and sore now - only to be expected I suppose.
It's too late now for the full race report but I promise to post it tomorow.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Race week rest(ish)

Since Monday I've felt generally 'fatigued' and on top of that both achilles tendons have been giving some trouble, particularly in the morning. Maybe the 15+ mile run wasn't such a good idea!!

Hence I've been taking it 'relatively' easy. On Tuesday a 'recovery' run of just under 5 miles at 8:02 pace (39:40) was followed by a return to work on Wednesday :( and a lunchtime 5.67miles in 41:41 (easy 7:22 pace). Mr Garmin went a bit 'haywire' today and recorded a 0.2mile distance as approx 1.2 miles!! Hence I completed 2No. sub-3:30 miles in the middle of my 6.6mile steady run!! Nice! In reality my run was approx 5.6miles in a time of 40:39 an approx average of 7:15 with a couple of 6:55 minute miles in the middle just to freshen up the legs for the weekend!!

Since I'm not feeling 100% I'm not sure how I'll approach the 10-mile race in Mallow on Sunday. I guess I'll see on the day but at least this year, and not wanting to tempt fate, it looks like I'll make it to the start line which is an improvement over last year!!!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Another year another run

As predicted I followed up the high mileage week over Christmas with a not-so-high mileage week last week. I only managed 3 runs in total but at least they were on the last 2 days of 2008 and the first day of 2009. Hence I ended 2008 on a high note and I started 2009 on a the right foot. It's a pity that the second, third and fourth days of 2009 weren't as successful!!

Last Tuesday it was a 6 mile progression / tempo run which started at 7:31 pace and progressed to 6:47 pace over miles 1 to 5 in approx 10 sec per mile jumps. Mile 6 was an uphill 'recovery' at 7:41 pace. Nice session.

Wednesday was a long run 11.5miles at 7:26 pace and Thursday was an easy 5 miles at 7:34 pace.

Tuesday (30/12/08) - 6.26 miles - 45:22 - 7:15 avg pace - no HRM
Wednesday (31/12/08) - 11.58 miles - 1:26:03 - 7:26 avg pace - no HRM
Thursday (01/01/09) - 5.48 miles - 41:27 - 7:34 avg pace - no HRM

Week Total (29/12/2008 to 04/01/2009) - 3 sessions
23.32 miles - 2:52:52 - 7:34min/mile

So on to a summary of 2008....

  • Started this Blog
  • Started year injured but (luckily) no serious injury since February
  • New PB's at all distances from 5k to 13.1miles
  • 1200 miles over 173 running days
  • Average 6.93miles per running day and 3.33 runs & 22.96 miles per week
  • All-in-all a good year and a good base for 2009
  • Ohh - a new baby too!!!

And here's my graph....


Month - Miles - Days
January - 37.85 - 11
February - 61.1 - 8
March - 117.32 - 19
April - 69.22 - 9
May - 119.54 - 18
June - 89.33 - 14
July - 122.36 - 15
August - 164.21 - 21
September - 143.24 - 19
October - 95.73 - 14
November - 59.84 - 9
December - 119.97 - 16

And now for 2009...

Today I decided to make up for missing a few runs last week with a single long run. In all I put in 15.71 miles at 7:33 avg pace (1:58:28). Although it was a nice run to begin with the air temperature dropped towards the end of the run and my calf muscles began to cramp over the last few miles. So the legs are a bit tired now and I think I'll take it easy for the rest of the week with a view to the 10 mile race next Sunday....