Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Something New

After about 450 miles on Kerry’s tarmac roads, I have finally found a running option with soft surface: Rossbeigh beach, over 2.5 straight miles of sandy beach each way. Unfortunately it is only available at low tide and I don’t even want to think about how windy it can get there, but my shins are crying out for a soft running surface.
I went there yesterday with the best wife of all, she had a swim and I had a 40 minutes run. As you get to the tip of the peninsula, the surface is very soft and running on it is quite tough, but it is definitely something I will do again. I also had a swim in the water afterwards (on strict order from the missus), which, I suppose, also worked as icing of the shins. It might even be possible to run from our house to Rossbeigh, do 5 or 6 miles on there and run back, which would make it a 20 mile trip. I will think about it.

Friday, August 26, 2005

More Pain

My shin splints are hurting again, and I haven't done any running since Tuesday. Bugger.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005


I did my first “proper” VO2max session yesterday. The aim is to increase your maximum oxygen intake, and to do that you run intervals at up to 98% of your max heart rate. I don’t have an athletic track, so I had to have to guess the distance of 600 meters. I did 5 repeats, as ordered in the training plan, and it went ok, with my heart rate up to 182 – I can assure you, that is rather high. I felt a painful twinge in my hamstring for the 36 hours after that, but it seems to be ok now.
I definitely have to be careful with my shin splints, I could feel the by now familiar pain in my left leg all day today, so I decided to skip today’s 11 miles run. I will probably do a run on Friday, and then a long one on Sunday, that would still leave me at about 35 miles this week, which is significantly less than in the weeks before my injury. I am obviously guessing wildly here on how much mileage my battered leg can take at the moment. If the pain gets worse it means I’ve got it wrong.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Back on the Beat

I stopped running for about 10 days, and started again a few days ago. I did 6.7 miles on Wednesday, at an insane speed of 6:24 per mile, and that over a course with a climb of 60 or 70 meters elevation. I didn’t even know that I could run that fast, never mind doing so after being out injured. I obviously had loads of energy to unload. Subsequent runs were a bit more relaxed, and on Sunday I tackled my first long run, 17 miles, but on a very flat course. I’m on Valentia island at the moment, and the Good Thing about running here is that the roads are very quiet and you have a good choice between running along the shore (flat as a pancake) or up the hills. The Bad Thing is wind – lots of it, and then some more. If you take a map of Ireland, well, Valentia is right there at the western edge, and then there is nothing but water – nothing to stop the wind. Hence half of my 17 miler was run against an increasingly strong headwind, strong enough to nearly causing me to stop a few times, but I eventually managed to toughen it out. It is amazing how quickly your endurance goes. Four weeks ago I ran 20 miles without any problems, and yesterday I felt an overpowering urge to do anything but keep running after only 9 miles!
I also bought a new pair of shoes, because I had done 400 miles in the old pair, and I have decided to replace any recovery runs with cycling, to give my shins a bit of a rest. That brings my weekly running mileage to about 40 or 45 miles, and I hope that I will be able to handle this without aggravating my injury any further. The marathon is only 6 weeks off, and another injury would surely stop me in my tracks.
Here’s hoping for the best.

Monday, August 08, 2005


I suppose it all went too well and it was only a matter of time until my first serious setback: I’ve got shin splints, a moderately painful injury in my right lower leg. I have started to feel it a few weeks ago, but, being an inexperienced runner, did not know what it was. Now it has got worse, and to avoid aggravating it even further, I have decided to stop running for at least a week. I don’t want to lose my fitness, I have worked far too hard to get so far, so I went cycling on Sunday, 15.5 miles around Caragh Lake, and that included a 3 miles climb from 15 to 200 meters above sea level. The average heart rate was way lower that it would have been while running, so I really hope I will be able to get back to running sooner rather than later.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Heavy Pounding

Bank Holiday Weekends are there to relax, put your feet up and enjoy a few days of peace and quiet – unless you’re training for a marathon that is!

I was supposed to do a 6 miles recovery run on Saturday, mixed with 6x100m stride-outs. I ran it way too fast! I still have to get to grips with how to combine a recovery run with stride-outs, the last time I attempted it I was too fast as well.
Sunday’s run was special, a 15 miler with 12 miles at full marathon race pace, quite a challenge, not helped by my idiocy the day before. At first I thought I wouldn’t be able to do it at speed because my thighs felt rather heavy, but as the run went on I just kept plucking away, and managed to finish the distance in 1 hour 59 minutes, that’s 7:56 per mile, which was very satisfying. My average heart rate was 163, probably the highest average heart rate I’ve ever had, especially over such a long distance. It was a really good confidence booster though, because I was still running very strongly on the last mile, in fact I sprinted back home.

Monday was not only a rest day but a bank holiday as well, but instead of being able to put up my feet and relax I had to go to the wildlife park in Fota, Co. Cork, with the children, where we spent over 4 hours walking around. The kids absolutely loved it, but it certainly wasn’t a recovery from my point of view.
Today’s 8 miles run was okay, but I am getting more and more familiar with the concept of Running on Tired Legs! What’s more, tomorrow is the first VO2max session, and you are supposed to be rested and relaxed for that. I guess we shall see how it goes.