Tuesday, July 21, 2009

After the Races

The more I thought about Sunday’s race the more amazed I was about the fact that I set a new PR. Following the Brain Training program I used to do a lot of speedwork last summer, and a whole host of PRs followed. Since I did exactly 0 interval workouts this year, I really did not expect to be able to better my 10k (ok, 6 miles) time.

The only times I ran fast were the two 5Ks in the preceding weeks. I was struck by the fact that my average HR on Sunday was higher than for the 5k in Killarney two weeks prior. Some other runner once described how he felt his body started “opening up” for high intensity runs as the training came along. It’s entirely possible that I was just able to push harder on Sunday because of the earlier races. Whatever the case, I was still amazed that the lack of interval training has not prevented me from bettering last year’s time.

I’m not sure how many runners of Sunday’s race found it necessary to get up at 5:30 on Monday to head out for a 15 mile run, but I did. The focus is still very much on Dingle, and with less than 8 weeks to go now is not the time for slacking. I felt really stiff and tired, which was not surprising, barely 14 hours after finishing the race. Having said that, the run went reasonably well. I pushed the effort a bit over the last couple of miles to get under 2 hours, but I’ve done that on several occasions before. Later on I just about managed to resist the temptation of taking the car to work, but the bike won out. Luckily it wasn’t raining, despite the gloomy forecast.

Stiff and tired were still the appropriate words to describe my legs this morning, and, not for the first time, I was wondering if I was up for a tempo session. The answer was affirmative, as always, though after 2 miles of warming up I wasn’t exactly enthusiastic about the prospect of running at a significantly harder effort. With the tired legs I did not expect a stellar performance, but was pleasantly surprised to average 6:42 pace over the 3 miles. Half a mile later I started another tempo segment, this time even less keen. I resolved to keep the tempo effort going for one mile. Of course, once I managed to tune into the effort I just kept going. That second tempo segment passed by at 6:46 pace, which, taking the net elevation gain into account, wasn’t bad. I was pleased with the result, but even more pleased to be done.

With Niamh and the kids out of the house I took the opportunity to add a second run today. You probably thought I was kidding when I said I’d be able to do extra training with them gone. Actually I was at the time, but decided to do so after all. I brought my running clothes into work and ran 5 easy miles home. I don’t think I’ll add another double run to the schedule this week though. There's only so much madness that's advisable.
20 Jul
15 miles, 1:59:30, 7:58 pace, HR 143
21 Jul
am: 10 miles, 1:12:35, 7:15 pace, HR 153
incl. 2x3 miles @ 6:42, 6:46
pm: 5 miles, 39:07, 7:49 pace, HR 138


  1. If you don't mind I'll just roll my eyes and whistle for a bit. Your training, running and racing is looking great. Just a few more weeks of hard work left... Careful now!

  2. I'm glad to see you share in Mike's disapproval. It was hard when he was totally focused on me. Now that he has to spread it around the heat's off me a little!

    I assume your following a program. But if not, 8 weeks less a 3 week taper is 5 weeks. I'd say in a week or so, you can let go of running on tired legs and start recovering between the hard workouts. The harder stuff will probably be a little faster and the recovery (easy running) in between will cement the improvements.

    Mike would be very proud of what I just said. Keep up the good work!

  3. Thomas, congratulations on the race and the PB. It looks like the training is progressing well.

    My 2 cents... watch the recovery. Boston wasn't too long ago, well it was, but just make sure you don't kill yourself now, i.e., stay on top of the training, not the other way around. Regardless, glad to see you're still having fun!

  4. I think the 10k PB shows you're in good nick (plus you didn't kill yourself on the two prior days).

    Andrew and Mike know what they're talking about - either that, or they want you to buy the beers at next year's Boston.

  5. Thomas, any plans to run a half-marathon before Dingle? You really need to be doing it in the next 3 weeks or you are risking getting to close to the big race.

  6. I just got that book "Brain training" the section on stride improvement has been very helpful! You are running well!

  7. Congratulations on your training! Just keep it up! Make it work all the time! You got your own time so make it worthy for you and for your future runs!