Thursday, December 31, 2009

Review, Preview

When I wrote my last entry I expected my next article to be a race report of the New Year's 5k in Phoenix Park. Alas, that race has been cancelled, which didn't come as a complete surprise, seeing as every single race in Ireland seems to have been called off over the last fortnight. The cold snap is supposed to last for at least another week, which might cause us a serious problem on Sunday, when we're supposed to drive back to Kerry. I have to be back at work on Monday. We'll see how things stand.

Since I have nothing else to write about I might as well change my mind and review 2009 after all. As mentioned, it was a rather disappointing year from a running perspective; 2008 had ended with a whole panel of fresh, shiny, new personal bests (only the ultra one had survived), and when I ran 10 miles in 63 minutes at the beginning of January I thought another spectacular year might be ahead of me. In reality, it was pretty much downhill from then on. Looking back, I was probably overtrained from the summer on, though that did not stop me from running very well in the Dingle marathon, but that was pretty much the only other highlight. Getting sick put an end to any idea of a good Dublin marathon, and that was that. The fact that I took a minute off my 10K time (in 2 chunks) wasn't that much of an achievement – that time had been fairly soft to start with.

My big goal for 2009 had been to run a sub-3 marathon. I miserably failed in that. In fact, I didn't even PR.

So, the numbers for 2009 are as follows:

  • 3319 miles (less than 2008 because I cut down for the last 2 months)
  • 2 PRs (or 3 if you count the 2 10Ks as separate ones)
  • 3:12 in Dingle on one of the hottest days of the year is probably at least as good as a 3:05 in Dublin – from that point of view I did my best marathon to date
  • injuries: 0
  • sickness: 2

At the moment I'm operating on a significantly lower mileage base than usual. I'm really not sure if that's a good idea, but it's part of the ongoing try-and-error part of training. Last summer I decided to push the mileage into higher figures to see what would happen. This time I want to do plenty of long runs in preparation for the Connemara Ultra, but with plenty of recovery in-between, which is why the total mileage is lower than during my marathon training.

As for 2010, I did draw up a list of goals. Ordered by decreasing importance, they are:
  • finish a 50 mile race
  • lower my PR over 39 miles (5:40 at present)
  • don't get injured
  • write shorter blog posts
  • at least one PR over a lower distance, ideally either a sub-18 5K or sub-38 10K

Actually the last one isn't that important. I just want to avoid becoming one-paced with all the ultra training.

After the 21 miler on Tuesday, I took it much easier yesterday with only 4 slow miles. Then I got the phone call telling me that tomorrow's race was off, and decided to do a but of fast running today. There is a dirt track in Kilbogget Park, and I did 4 laps hoping to get under 6 minutes but failed by a whisker, posting a 6:00. I can blame the 21 miler or the biting cold wind, but mostly the fact that I can't push myself particularly hard when I'm running on my own. Considering that my first mile in the 4-mile race 5 days ago had been 5:39 (albeit slightly net downhill), I should be able to run significantly faster if I had to. I did 2 more 400s at slightly faster pace, then the legs already had enough and HOK beckoned. I didn't want to overdo things, and 400s are of limited use for an ultra runner anyway.

30 Dec
4 miles, 33:09, 8:17 pace, HR 139
31 Dec
7 miles, 50:53, 7:16 pace, HR 156
incl. 1 mile @ 6:00, 2x400 at 87, 86



  1. That's a 1,000 mile more than me for the year. I heard there's a Dingle ultra next year - is that the 50 miler you're talking about?

    Happy new year and hope to see you in Mallow.

  2. I'm sure you have put a lot of thought into your running plans for 2010 Thomas and I'm sure things will work out.

    Still I think that if you can slip in just one more marathon in, in 2010 you might be find that it will be a breakthrough race for you. Your history and past training indicate, to me, that you're one or a two races short of all things, body and training, coming together for a sub 3 marathon. I wouldn't back off from it now. I think you are at the tipping point.

  3. Happy New Year Thomas

    I look forward to following your progress this year as you concentrate on ultra's.

    BTW please don't write shorter blog losts!!


  4. I can't help but look at your mileage total for the year and say "wow!". I did less than half of that, due in part to injuries.

    Good goals for 2010. Go for it, brother! What 50-miler do you have in mind? If nothing specific yet and you want to hop over the pond, we have a great one here in Maine in late May. You'd be more than welcome to crash at my place.

  5. Thomas, the toughest goal is obvious to me - writing shorter blog posts! Good luck ;)

    Seriously though, I agree with Scott - a sub-3 is just a step away. You just need a good course and a good day. All the best for the other goals too. Sub-18 would be nice to have on the CV.

    And a sincere thanks for your thoughts - you're right about his innings - it was a good one.

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