Thursday, July 23, 2009

Holidays are coming...

Yesterday's 6.5 mile (6:55min/mile avg) was a lot harder than it should have been!! Remind me never to take a 5 day break from running again. (no reason for the break just didn't manage to fit any runs in).

Still though, I'm on 2 weeks holidays from tomorrow so plenty running is planned!!

Today I was due to run a 5-mile race in Churchtown South but since I missed the best part of a weeks training and yesterday's run took a bit out of me so instead I decided to go for a long easy/steady run tonight. In all I covered 15.7miles in 2:01 or an overall average of 7:45 min/mile. The first 13.5miles were at 7:13 min/mile pace (i.e. faster than my first HM race pace!!) with a 2 mile cool down. The good news is that the run went well avg heartrate 157bpm but the bad news is that summer is certainly over it was cold tonight - so cold that my legs began to cramp over the cool down!! Bring back the sun!!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

It's time to count...

I've learned more about cadence and it's role in distance running over the last few days than I ever thought I would thanks to all the advice, links etc after my last post. All really appreciated.

So I spent today's tempo run (5.61miles @ 6:40min/mile [37:25] 161/181bpm) counting my foot strikes!! My mile split pace was 6:48, 6:51, 7:07 (uphill), 6:26, 6:21, 6:20. It felt reasonably comfortable. Next week I'm planning on increasing the length of these runs to approx 6.5 miles.

Today's run...

On cadence I'm told that the target is 90+ but I've never monitored it before today. So today's run established a baseline. Approx once per mile I counted my foot strikes for 30 seconds. Initially I was hitting 78rpm but over the last 2 miles I counted 82 and 84rpm respectively. I noticed that as I concentrated on counting that my speed tended to increase - poor multitasking abilities!! :). I seem to fall short of the target 90+ so I'll try and introduce some regular drills aimed at increasing cadence and maybe that will translate into quicker times!! I'll repeat today's baseline check in a few weeks and see if there's any benefit.

Counting foot strikes every mile is good but wouldn't it be better to use a foot pod for my Garmin 305? Yes it would - lots more numbers to monitor!! Yippee.... Once I finish this post I'm off to try and source a cheap foot pod on the web.....

By the way Monday's lunchtime run (same course as today) was a steady progression with mile pace varying from 7:12 to 6:26 over 5.64miles (avg 6:58min/mile 158 /170 bpm). It went well - nothing too exciting apart from the fact that the elements conspired against me - it stopped raining just long enough for me to get my gear and change and get a half mile into the run.

I'm off shopping.....

.... just back from shopping .... Does anyone know if the foot pod for the Forerunner 305 is suitable for outdoor use and actually measures cadence.... it seems to be marketed as an indoor accessory and I haven't been able to find info on cadence (as this is principally targeted at cyclists?? At approx €70 I want to be sure before I purchase and the Garmin website is no help!!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

More Corkbeg...

800m to go...I'm in the background....

Thanks for all the comments after my last post. I think that the 'irregular' training I've been doing has been showing some limited dividends but I'll have to knuckle down to some proper training if I'm to make any real improvements!! Ohh.... Thomas you'll be able to beat me over a marathon / ultra for a long time to come (don't worry!!)

Also, courtesy of John Desmond's blog I see that there are 2 videos of the Corkbeg race uploaded to YouTube. Thanks to Rob Patterson.

Corkbeg near start (@23sec...)

Corkbeg near finish (@3:40)...

Video footage can be very enlightening... I hadn't realised until now how 'loping' my stride is. Maybe if I can increase my leg turnover I can also increase my speed??

Yesterday there was so much rain I thought that I'd moved to the tropics so - no running. As an aside some family members are in Kenya on voluntary work at the moment and they're praying for the rainy season maybe we can tanker the rainwater and ship it to Kenya!!

In between the showers today I managed to fit in an 8 mile steady run (7.87miles in 55:00 i.e. 6:58 min/mile (160/174bpm). The run was a bit of a progression run starting out at 7:16 pace for the first mile and progressing to 6:41 pace for the last).

This week was a fast but low mileage week. Hopefully I'll fit in some longer runs and more sessions next week ...

Week Total 6/7/09 to 12/7/09 (3 sessions)

22.77miles - 2:42:26 - avg 7:08min/mile - 162bpm

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Corkbeg 5mile

I was a bit unsure about how I'd run tonight. In fact, tonight's race was my first real test since the 4 mile race in Carrignavar last March (which in hindsight I probably should have skipped as I'm now sure that it added to my ITB issues!!). But hindsight is great isn't it!!

Although I've had a few good runs recently I haven't put in any really hard workouts and my training has generally been a bit... erratic. So pre-race I convinced myself that a solid sub-32 would suffice.

The Corkbeg 5 is organised by my club East Cork AC so, since I started running again a few years ago I've always wanted to run in this race but until tonight I didn't get the chance. Also I grew up in the area and I've always thought that it would be nice to run a race there. Thinking back, the last run I raced in the area was a "Milk Run" in the early 80's.... remember those anyone??

The course is generally an out-n-back which starts on a downhill (never good!!) but is mostly flat with a bit of a climb up to the 2 mile mark followed by a short steep descent. Unfortunately, being an out-n-back the start and finish are near each other so the downhill start becomes an uphill finish (also never good!!).

After an early check in, a 3 mile warm up and some chat with those I knew (and some I met for the first time) it was time to line up. The weather was perfect, warm, no wind and there was a good enough crowd (probably 100 or so) which was a reasonable turnout as there was a popular BHAA 5k race in Cork last night which attracted more than 400 runners!!

Despite my resignation that a solid sub-32 would do I intended on going out at 6min pace and hanging on for as long as I could. The downhill start helped me and I passed Mile 1 in 5:45mins a bit quicker than I'd planned. At this stage the field was quite strung out and I was in danger of being lost in no-mans-land so I fixed my eyes on a clubmate (David) who was one or two places ahead.

The climb up to Mile 2 was tough but manageable and cost me a couple of seconds and one place!! Note to self....I must do some more strength work!! I reached the Mile 2 marker in 6:08min still ahead of my average 6min pace target - OK!

Now came the sharp downhill. Should I push hard downhill and pull back lost seconds or maintain my pace and recover from the climb. I could hear footsteps and breathing not too far behind so I sort of did a bit of both. Pushed hard enough not to loose any placing but used the downhill to recover a bit also. Spot the dip in the heart rate in the chart below. I passed the Mile 3 in 6:02min.

I began to falter during the initial stages of mile 4 and my pace dropped to 6:16min for a bit. I could have done with another downhill to help me recover!! I was joined from behind by another runner (unfortunately I couldn't draw enough breath the ask him his name!!) and we ran side by side for a while. I thought to myself he came alongside but he didn't pass me so after about half a mile I began to feel better and I upped the tempo and put some daylight between us. I reached the Mile 4 marker in 6:05mins... that initial dip in form cost me!!

At this stage I could smell the finish line (or was it my sweat!!). My first thought was that I can jog now and still make the sub-32 target...oh how tempting was that when my heart was beating at 187bpm. I didn't give in though, put temptation to the back of my head and started to think of a sub-31 finish!

The last mile was initially flat but the last half was uphill - how cruel!! I concentrated on the runner about 15m ahead determined not to let him get away and also determined not to be passed. I wasn't, but unfortunately, and despite a 1:27 last quarter, I didn't have enough to catch the guy ahead. I crossed the line and stopped my watch a 5:58min last mile giving a total of 30:00min for the race!! A solid PB by almost 30 seconds - happy days!! I only lost 3 places after the first mile and I think I finished in 19th place.

It would have been nice to have made sub-30 (McMillan says I can!!) especially when the guy who finished behind said "well done - did you make sub-30". "No, just 30 flat", I replied. To be honest with my training being so up and down I don't think I deserved a sub-30 tonight and it's good to have something to aim for!! Next time (assuming a fast course!!)

A 1 mile warm down and back to home to my mothers for a nice home cooked dinner!! Happy days!!

My achilles are sore now - I can only imagine what they'll be like in the morning!!!


The official results are here. 19th place is confirmed (157 competitors) but look at the pace per mile 5:59.9min/ I did break 30mins!! :)

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Running free

I'm house sitting at the moment Pamela and the gang are enjoying the beach while I stay at home and work. What did I do wrong :(

I rested my heel/achilles yesterday so no running.

Tonight my Garmin battery was low so for a moment I actually thought I'd put off the run until the battery charged. But... I knew that once I sat down on the couch I wouldn't get up again. So I put my need for GPS data to one side and put on my old stopwatch and went for a run. I can't remember the last time I ran without the constant pace and heartrate feedback. It felt good tonight - it felt free.

I felt so good my 'easy' run turned into a 'steady' run. 6.25miles in 44:23 (7:06min/mile). Maybe I should run without the Garmin more often!! Not the quickest I've run the course but it was about a 1:20min faster than the last time I ran the same route in May and only 40seconds slower than the time in March. A sign of some progress but still more to do!! The achilles area was a bit sore to begin with but it seemed to ease out after a few miles and it isn't too sore now.

A real 'easy' run is planned for tomorrow and hopefully the Corkbeg-5 on Thursday....

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Another week down..

So I come to the end of yet another mixed week. On the plus side I managed to fit in four workouts on the negative side none of them were anything to write about (but here I go anyway!!).

The easy run on Monday was a planned 'recovery' run. 5.64 miles at lunchtime in 41:23 mins i.e. 7:23 min/mile average pace (155/171 bpm).

On Tuesday my legs were really heavy after the run on Monday and probably a hangover from Sundays run too. Maybe too much over the weekend. After all, it's been a while since I've run a 15 miler! So I rested...

Likewise on Wednesday.

On Thursday evening I tried to make up for not running on Wednesday and ran twice the planned distance. 11.62 miles in 1:24:54, an average of 7:19min/mile (161/179bpm). The run felt really relaxed from a heartrate point of view but my left calf was very tight. In fact both calves were tight and the pain in my heels at the base of my achilles which usually goes away after a warmup lasted for the full run. I hope it's nothing serious (??) but I rested on Friday anyway.

On Saturday I was torn. Time was limited and I wanted to watch the last test of the Lions v South Africa, go to the Cork City Sports and go for a run. I managed to go to the sports and fit in a quick / short run but unfortunately the Lions had to be recorded and watched later!! The run was 4.33 miles in total. Not having put in any quick runs all week I pushed the pace over the first 3 miles at 6:29 pace. But my legs were like lead, left calf was sore and to be honest I don't think I could have kept the pace going for much longer. All in all it was an 'off day'!!

By the way, the Cork City Sports were great. Some good performances including Rob Heffernan's national record in the 3k Walk (11:14.09) and Paul Hession's 20.45s 200m. It never ceases to amaze me how the 'pros' can make sub-8min 3k pace look like a Sunday morning jog!! It was also nice to see so many of Irelands 'current' and former Olympians were in attendance both as spectators and competitors. Though it was disappointing that more of the Corks public didn't turn up to watch - I reckon a max of 1000 or so spectators. That's a far cry from the heady days of the 1980's when I remember sell out crowds to watch great athletes like Johnny Grey, Steve Ovett, Sydney Maree, Yuri Sedykh (who set a world record at the meet in 1984), Mary Slaney etc etc.

Give the problems with my heel area after last weeks long run I decided that today a steady 8 mile run instead of the planned 15+ miles would be prudent. The run profile was a 4 mile (160m climb) out and back (see below). 7:25 on the way out and 6:34 min/mile average on the way back - running downhill is great for the stats but in my defence there was a strong headwind all the way home so I had to work harder than planned to keep the pace in the mid 6's. Overall 7.92 miles (55:25mins, 7:00min/mile, 162/178bpm)

Week Total (26/06/09 to 05/07/09) - 4 runs
29.51miles - 3:31:55 - 7:11min/mile - 160bpm