Since 15 miles happens to be the length of the Caragh Lake loop this is my normal route. However, it was very windy on Monday, and when it started hail stoning during the second mile I decided not to head up into the hills but stay closer to home. I ran three different routes, and in the end they all added up to the required distance. I also got caught by the hail for a second time in one run, something that had never happened before (and hopefully will never again). The mixture of hail, snow and sleet created a thick layer of ice on the road which made for slippery conditions and put a stop to my plan of ending with a few strong miles. I simply did not have the footing to do so. I also let Niamh drive me to work; cycling would have been suicidal under those conditions. I even managed to get a lift home from work in the evening, which meant I didn’t have to add a second run that day.
Tuesday was an easy day. When setting the alarm I decided to cut the mileage from 10 to 8 and sleep a bit longer. However, Maia woke at 5:30 and since that got me out of bed anyway I decided to run 10 miles after all. I kept the effort easy, but was once again caught out by the hail, for the fourth time in 3 runs! At that time I was thoroughly pissed off with the weather conditions, but not in a position to do anything about it.
It got warmer today, which was proven by the fact that the precipitation came in the form of rain rather than hail. More importantly it was the day of my first hill workout. Last year I did them in the way Lydiard had described them, with high knees running and bounding. In no time at all I grew to loath that type of workout, and ended up skipping a few towards the end. With that still in memory I decided to try something different. I have just finished reading Running with the Legends, and the chapter about Rob the Castella describes his hill workouts. After a warm-up he would do 2-3 miles at tempo pace, followed by a jog to the next hill. There he would run the hill 8 times at a very strong effort. I quote from the book: “It is more important to run strongly and aggressively for a short hill than to go longer and lose form. … The greatest benefit comes from sprinting all-out at the start of a short, fairly steep hill, rather than running steadily and trying to sprint at the end”.
I followed this format; after 2 miles of warm-up I ran 2.5 miles at 6:41 pace, followed by a jog to a hill. I got slower and slower on that jog, not only to get more recovery but also out of apprehension of what was to come. Since this was my first try I decided to run as far as I felt I could and as often as I felt like and not worry too much about the numbers. Balls out effort on the hills it was. As it turned out, I ran 45 seconds on each repeat which was enough to get the HR from 135 to over 170, and in the anaerobic haze I promptly lost track of the count, but afterwards on the chart I counted 7 repeats. My legs were shot at the end, and the run home was a struggle, but I made it back in one piece. Cycling to work wasn’t easy either, but not as bad as cycling back home in the evening; the quads seemed to have turned into jelly during the day. I predict tomorrow to be a slow day.
- 19 Jan
- 15 miles, 1:56:53, 7:47 pace, HR 139
- 20 Jan
- 10 miles, 1:20:15, 8:02 pace, HR 140
- 21 Jan
- 10 miles, 1:20:16, 8:02 pace, HR 148
incl. 2.5 miles @ 6:41 and 7x45 secs hill sprints