Friday, November 14, 2008

Small Steps

I got my hopes up a little bit too early. On Wednesday I thought I was making real progress, when I ran my 6 miles at 8:06 average pace, and without setting off the HR alarm. This was clearly a nice, decent improvement on earlier runs.

Then I did 12 miles on Thursday. Originally I planned to run the Cromane loop, but then changed my mind and ran the much hillier Caragh Lake road instead. The out-and-back route contains 6 proper climbs; since Boston is hilly, my training runs are going to be hilly as well.

It took a lot of slowing down on those climbs. The one leading to the turnaround point featured nearly 250 feet elevation gain in less than a mile, and at times I had to slow down to a virtual crawl to keep the heart rate down. It clearly showed that I still have plenty of work to do. This comes as no great surprise. The last marathon had been a mere 17 days ago, and I’m basically on week one of my Boston training. I just didn’t expect the run to be quite so slow.

I also suffered from a severe case of the stupids. “12 miles at 8:00 pace, that will take me 1:20, let’s say 1:25 to take into account my slower pace these days and set the alarm for 6:10 am.” I was a bit surprised at how bright it was when I set off, but so close to Full Moon that wasn’t particularly alarming. It wasn’t until I was back home and saw that the run had take 1:40 that I finally and belatedly realised that 1:20 at 8:00 pace will give you 10 miles rather than 12. Thomas, you idiot. I was late for work.

Today’s run reinforced just how much out of shape I am. I was stiff and tired and the legs were distinctly unhappy about having to move again. This did come as a real surprise. 12 miles aren’t exactly a long run anymore, and I can’t remember the last time I was so sore the day after a run at such leisurely pace. And of course I was slow again today. In all honesty, I do expect rapid improvements from here.

My mum has just left, the week has passed very quickly. She even had a few nice days, weather wise. She’ll be back in spring.

12 Nov
6 miles, 48:35, 8:06 pace, HR 144
13 Nov
12 miles, 1:40:54, 8:24 pace, HR 147
14 Nov
6+ miles, 50:53, 8:25 pace, HR 143


  1. Yes, Boston has hills but I don't consider it especially 'hilly'. The 1st 16 miles are actually down-hilly but feel flat which is what gets the quads of most poor unsuspecting runners. This is followed by the infamous 5-6 miles of the Newton hills. The final 5 almost all downhill miles depend if there is anything left in the quads. In my book training for the 'downs' is the key.


  3. I completely agree with the first comment - it's the down hills that kill you in Boston. 'Heartbreak Hill' is nothing really - earlier hills are worse. But you have to be prepared for the beating your quads take from the downhills...

    My question is - how do you *train* for downhills and still get fit?