Sunday, December 24, 2006

Family Time

Shouldn’t you be celebrating Christmas with your loved ones instead of reading some stranger’s blog now? As for me, I’m taking advantage of the fact that Gaga has taken the children out for a walk. I’ve just wrapped all the presents (apart from one that I missed), and have a few minutes to write my entry.

So much to remember, let me think. I had to get up awfully early on Friday fro my long run. At 5 o’clock I was up, at 5:20 I was out on the road (and Cian had taken my place in our bed). I chose to run around Caragh Lake again, with an added loop around the Devil’s Elbow. I decided to run clockwise again. If I ran anti-clockwise I might be tempted to cut two miles off the loop by going via Ard-na-Sidhe rather than around the Devil’s elbow at the end. The clockwise loop starts with that loop, and the temptation to cut the run short is removed. I needn’t have worried, I felt good all the way. The legs were a bit heavy initially, probably a hangover from Thursday’s tempo run, and the first 3 miles were at a rather pedestrian 9:20 pace. I didn’t speed up consciously, and I didn’t have a way of measuring my pace in the middle miles, but the last 5 miles passed in about 41 minutes (roughly 8:15 pace). I’m not entirely sure how long the run was, somewhere between 17 and 17.5 miles, so I wrote down 17.25 miles in my log, which would make it 8:34 average pace, and it sounds believable enough.

I had to hurry on Saturday because we had yet to pack for our journey to Dublin, so I quickly dispatched another devil’s elbow loop, and ran home as quickly as I could, without over-exerting myself though. When Andrew stated that the heart adapts quicker than the legs, he wasn’t kidding. The average HR was 155, which until recently would have said a run at comfortable, if slightly brisk(-ish) pace. Now the HR still says the same, but the calves say “it hurts, it hurts”. Apparently it’s something I better get used to. I had another look into Lydiard, and I think it might be what he calls ½ effort, with Thursday’s 163 HR being ¾ effort, and the 144 from Friday 1/4 effort. This may or may not be correct, who knows.

The drive to Dublin was long but eventless. Niamh did question if I really had to bring along 3 pairs of running shoes, 6 running socks and fill half of my suitcase with various running apparel, but my answer was that of course it was necessary. And all that just because I apparently didn’t bring my nice outfits for the family dinner. I tried to reason that there will be 3 young children at the table, and the fancy outfits better stay elsewhere, but it didn’t cut the ice. Ah well.

I was up before any other adults today to run 7.5 miles before anyone could object. It took ages to make breakfast for the kids, settle them in front of a DVD, and try to stop the fights, but I managed to sneak out eventually. I ran by time rather than distance, but Google maps says 7.5 miles, and who am I to argue?

I don’t know if I can run tomorrow, the family pressure might be too much. I’ll see.

22 Dec: 17.25 miles, 2:28, 8:34 pace, avg. HR 144
23 Dec: 8.5 miles, 1:08, 8:00 pace, avg. HR 155
24 Dec: 7.5 miles, 1:01, 8:08 pace, avg. HR 155

Weekly mileage: 68

And Merry Christmas to Everyone!


  1. You're doing very well fitting in the runs around the family activities. It's a fine balancing act this time of year. Have a great holiday!

  2. Thomas - Looks like your training is progressing rather well. I now pack a small bag with just my running gear to avoid conflict when we travel.

    Merry Christmas!

  3. i deserve to be reading some stranger's blog...after all the prep i've done the last two days, i need a break! ;)

    merry christmas!

  4. I pack just like you do. Who do I need to impress at dinner that hasn't already seen the real me?

    Have a Merry Christmas. I have to get back to my chores and getting ready to head out of town myself.

  5. Merry Christmas Thomas!

    Regarding the 1/4, 1/2, & 3/4 efforts on Lydiard's program, I use the following:

    1/4 effort = 80% MP or 70% - 75% maxHR. Basically an easy pace that promotes volume without undue fatigue or pressure on the muscles and joints. It is the pace where Lydiard indicates that his program is not LSD but a steady good pressure on the cardiovascular system at all times.

    I, for one, am just reaching the point where I can run this pace on my easy days. During the beginning of my program I had to run even slower to get my volume (which you know I think is very important).

    1/2 effort = Current MP or 80% - 85% maxHR. Notice that Lydiard has 3 x up tempo days per week. Two of these are at 1/2 effort. Here, running at your current MP is appropriate, not your goal MP. Your goal MP will become your current MP over time. The heart rate doesn't lie.

    3/4 effort = 90% maxHR or 'threshold pace'. This is one day per week and can be called your 'tempo run' or 'repeats' or 'long intervals' or whatever. It is the pace that (if trained) you should be able to last for 1 hour and no more. (Obviously, given that definition, it is not marathon pace). Some people use their 10k pace for this workout (and usually the 3/4 effort doesn't last the entire workout) but I think that's a little too fast. More improvement will come from running longer rather than faster. Plus you shouldn't really be building lactate. Counterproductive.

    Mix it up, put together a plan that has 4 days of 1/4 effort (or slower if recovery is needed like me) and 3 days of up tempo. Just don't run two hard days in a row. Against the rules. ha ha!

  6. My excuse is I've just got the pies in the oven, the kitchen half cleaned, and I need a cup of tea before the next project. So I'm sipping and reading blogs. We don't have to leave the house till late afternoon for the festivities.

    Merry, Merry Christmas to you and your sweet family! Give hugs to those kids from this runner in the USA!

  7. Merry Christmas to you and your family Thomas!

  8. Have a wonderful time with your family Thomas!
    What's my excuse for reading blogs early on Christmas morning?
    You are part of my family!
    My Blogger family :)

  9. My excuse is I don't celebrate Christmas, but I wish you and the family a Merry one:)
    Good idea on running extra loop ahead of the main run, I do same so I don't tempt to cut. Andrew gives good explanation on all that HR business:)

  10. Merry Christmas to you too, Stranger!

  11. So who's a stranger?

    I've got the same problem with packing. The first thing in the suitcase is 2 pair of running shoes as well as all the running gear, Garmin and head lamp. Only then do I figure out what I need to wear around normal people.

    Great run ... and thanks for the prompting Andrew to provide some additional insight.