Friday, December 29, 2006

Just enough energy to type

Talk about changing weather conditions. Thursday was a beautiful morning with sunshine and warm temperatures all around. I even wore shorts and t-shirt for my run, and it was definitely the right choice for these conditions (though I did get a few funny looks from people wrapped up like on a Polar expedition). To top it all I wore sunglasses as well, and I hadn’t used them in months. I had planned another tempo run, but at slightly less intensity than on Tuesday; I don’t want to overdo things.

I tried to keep the heart rate in the low 160s, and it worked reasonably well, apart from one mile. That one was on a slight gradient, and I checked the HRM, 165. I backed off ever so slightly, checked again, 167. I backed off some more, checked again, 169. At that stage I really did slow down, and it soon got back towards 162 or so where I wanted it to be. I was quite surprised when I got back home to find that I had done the run in exactly the same time as on Tuesday, despite running at a lower HR. Funny that, not that I’m complaining. I certainly worked hard, my legs were slightly sore all day.

The weather turned foul during the evening, and we had storms, rain and gale force winds all night. It felt just like being back home in Kerry, but I had hoped to have left that kind of weather behind for some time. I woke several times during the night, each time hoping that the storms would subside soon. Well, my wish didn’t quite get fulfilled, but the worst was indeed behind us when I left at 7:30 am. It was still quite miserable, and most of the initial 5 miles were straight into the wind, with the rain coming straight into my face. The legs were still heavy from the previous day and the bike path was covered in puddles. My feet got a good soak early on, which didn’t help. It got better once I reached Ballybrack and turned slightly away from the wind. I ran up the big hill in Killiney. Right at the top is an obelisk and you can enjoy a beautiful view, though I was too tired, too cold and too short-sighted to actually enjoy it, and just kept going. I followed a slightly different route on the way back down, but was soon back on the same cycle path that is becoming quite familiar to me. The wind had subsided by now (typically, when it would have been on my back), and as I ran back towards Stillorgan I really started to feel very tired. When I got close to home I checked the time and saw that I would make it home in just over 2 hours. This wasn’t quite long enough and I added a little loop around the reservoir and the Luas station, and got back after 2:18, feeling utterly exhausted.

It was 10 minutes shorter than my long run last week, but I really felt that I couldn’t do any more. Thursday’s tempo run had taken a lot out of my legs, and all the muscle fibres were complaining. If you’ve followed the discussion with the Mystery Coach on Mike’s blog then you know that this effect is a good thing apparently, and is in fact desired. If I understand it correctly, the tempo run will exhaust your usual muscle fibres, which will force new fibres to come active on your long run. This will hurt, but will build up your stamina over the next few weeks. All well and good, but right now I’m utterly exhausted, and the discussion was aimed at guys who run their marathons an hour faster than me. I’m not sure how much of that is relevant to someone at my level, but I think it will benefit me in the long term.

28 Dec: 8.25 miles, 1:02:30, 7:34 pace, avg. HR 160
29 Dec: 15.5 miles, 2:18, 8:54 pace, avg. HR 151


  1. That's some hard core training Thomas. If those in-laws didn't think you were crazy before, they will now! Hope you get a chance to rest up today.

  2. Hmmm. I could use some new fibers. I must go try this out!

    Here's to a great 2007!

  3. I agree, I believe Rob said it, what's great about your blog not only to learn from you, not only get free advice from others, but also see you following that very advice and improve.
    Hey, who needs a coach? :)
    Happy New Year

    p.s. thanks for the thought on injury. there is something to it.

  4. Now you're getting down to those mushrooms at the bottom of the crock. Well done.

  5. Mystery Coach has stuff that applies to all runners but you still have to recover for the next run. Sounds like you are pushing the limits Thomas. I'm impressed, adding 10 minutes at the end when already tired.

  6. Good point Canada Mike. Lydiard wrote his program for anyone and everyone, doesn't matter what your times are. If you're willing to put in the work (as well knowing when to back off) and understand the purpose of each effort, you will get faster.

    And you are getting faster, mate. Much faster! Really good work you have been doing over the last couple of training cycles, keep at it.

    Mushrooms? What kind of analogy is that? Cheers.