Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Just not in it

The most important thing for me was the gorgeous smile I got from Maia when I came home after my run on Monday. She's definitely over her virus, and we have our happy and smiley baby back. My, how I missed that. She's also started waving goodbye every time she sees me. It's just too cute.

Oh yes, running. I forgot to mention one thing about the Killarney race on Saturday. It used to be a very competitive event, but last year they decided to make it a fun run only – no numbers, not t-shirts, no timer. None of that bothered me the least. But this year they went one further and did not provide water at the end! There was a cafĂ© where you could buy water, which I would have refused out of principle even if I'd had money on me. I could not believe it, I have never heard of a running event where they did not provide water at the end.

If you really want, you can check out that video from the Ballydavid race. I caught a mere glimpse of myself at the start, but my finish is there. I'm the runner in the yellow singlet, coming around the bend 6:10 into the video. I noticed three things: 1) I came eight rather than seventh. I must have missed one runner when I counted them during the first mile. 2) The runner in front of me finished 20 seconds ahead of me. Considering that I was no more than 5 steps behind him with 1.5 miles to go, and that I had a decent last mile, that is a staggering gap. Not sure how that happened. 3) I took one look at myself and thought that I looked almost painfully thin. There is a reason for that, but I'll keep it for another post.

Tuesday is hill repeats day, and I have learned to hate hill repeats in the last few weeks. As soon as I left home I knew that I would not have a good workout. I was tired, and I felt stiff, especially around the hips. The right thing would have been to bin the workout and do an easy run instead, but I kept to the original schedule because I knew that I would not do the hill repeats at all if not today, because I hate them so much. And since it was the last hill workout in the schedule I thought I'd better get it done.

I did 8x2 minutes with 3 minutes rest. For the first 6 repeats I only got my HR into the low 170s, much lower than on previous workouts. Things slightly improved on the last 2, when I decided to give at least a little bit more effort. I've read that a lower heart rate can be a sign of overtraining, but that was not the case here. I was just not prepared to push myself as hard as during previous weeks. I had 2 races and 4 tough workouts in the previous 2 weeks, and I just could not bring myself to commit myself to the pain.

I guess there was not much point in stubbornly going ahead when my heart was not in it. So be it. I've got a fartlek workout tomorrow, and I'll try and hit the correct paces. In marked contrast to the hill sprints I like the fartleks and am therefore much more likely to fully commit myself.

One advantage of not giving 100% on Tuesday was that I felt much fresher than usual on Wednesday. The miles flew by, and the heart rate of 144 was quite low. I checked my log, and spookily the last 4 Wednesday runs all produced the same heart rate. The pace figures are telling though:

2 Jul: 8:06 pace, 9 Jul: 8:01 pace, 16 Jul: 7:58 pace, 23 Jul: 7:49 pace

That's some nice progress, don't you think?

22 Jul
8.3 miles, 1:13:19, 8:50 pace, HR 142
incl. 8x2 mins hill sprints
23 Jul
8 miles, 1:02:33, 7:49 pace, HR 144


  1. Very consistent imporvement in the wednesday runs. I came to dread the Tuesday hill reps also - why do you think I started on week 8 of the programme this time round.

  2. Those times are looking good Thomas! I'm guessing painfully thin has to do with lots and lots and lots of running. I recently read that the loss of 1 pound equals a gain of 2 seconds per mile. Do you believe that? I wonder...

  3. Interesting times on the Wednesday runs. Definitely improvement over the course of time. Congratulations on your 5k PR. That's huge!

  4. Thanks for your comment on my blog. I'm enjoying the book so far. I'm always looking out for ways to shave off those vital seconds per mile!!

    It will be really interesting to see whether this plan helps you to your goal of a sub 3hr Marathon.


  5. The weather for the 10k looked/sounded foul! Funny set-up for the finish - having to come to a dead stop.

    That's a good sign with the faster pace on the Wednesday runs.