Tuesday, January 26, 2010

A Completely New Runner

One week can be a very long time. Last week, after my first back-to-back sandwich of the training cycle I was utterly exhausted. The second run had been one of the toughest training runs ever and the thought of doing all that mileage in one single day seemed like a very fancy idea indeed.

Seven days later, and someone must have replaced my legs with a much better pair. I feel almost reborn. I did learn a few lessons last week and made a few adjustments. For a start, I made sure the run on Sunday was easy (though I feared I might have shot myself in the foot again with the long swim). On Monday I brought a gel with me on the run and consumed it after about 16 miles. I did not feel the need for some carbs at the time but wanted to make sure that my glycogen levels would not bottom out (I know, there is a line of thinking that says that can be a good thing in training from time to time). Then, for the rest of the day, I made pretty damn sure to refuel. In other words, any carbohydrate molecule within vicinity ended up in my stomach. I freely admit. It felt good to pig out for the cause.

On Tuesday I took another gel with me as well as a granola bar. The latter was an experiment. Since my stomach is not great at digesting gels, especially during the later stages of a run, I thought maybe something else might be more agreeable. I took the bar after about 6 miles. I really did not feel like eating at the time but made myself do it. With the first bite I was converted, it tasted really nice and also settled into my stomach. I think I might just take a couple of those to Connemara with me. And I took the gel, again at the 16-mile point. Again, I did not feel like I needed it but after last week’s minor hallucinations I wanted to make sure that there would be no repeat performance.

Anyway, Monday’s run was fine and I felt fresh as a daisy afterwards. And as soon as I took the first step on Tuesday I knew that this would be a much better run than the one the week before. The first 3 miles were relative sedate (8:30 pace) and I took it easy on the next 3 or 4 miles of climbing, but from then on I nudged the effort up a bit because I felt good and at that point there was no more need to take it so easy in order to keep extra reserves in the tank. Things kept going well, and I ran the last mile at sub-7 pace, just because I could.

Even though it was not the goal of today’s run, this was the first time ever that I had managed to run the second run of a back-to-back workout faster than the first one.

By the way, my original schedule had not asked for 2 consecutive 20-milers. Instead I had planned for a 20/18 workout. Initially it seemed like a splendid idea, especially for the 15 minutes of extra sleep this would provide. But at some stage on Monday I told myself to HTFU and decided to run a proper 20-mile long run on Tuesday as well. Well, after feeling so good after my run I was glad about that decision. And because of what is in store tomorrow I found it more than appropriate to have covered 40 miles, albeit in 2 days.
25 Jan
20 miles, 2:45:13, 8:16 pace, HR 140
26 Jan
20 miles, 2:43:20, 8:10 pace, HR 140
last mile @ 6:55


  1. impressive couple of days, thomas. good to see it coming together for you and good that the heart rate is constant and well within range.

  2. I'm happy for you that the back-to-backs went well. Now for lots of recovery.

  3. Well done on the b2bs! Very consistent as well. Nice work, should pay good dividends down the road.

  4. Good stuff Thomas. Your body is adapting to the demands of training.

    By the way, have you tried canned creamed rice as a fuel for ultras? It's very popular with the ultra crowd down here. Carrying it on a training run would be the only problem, unless you do loops. Worth a try.

  5. Happy days :]
    Glad to hear your legs are coming around to the idea of 2 long un's in a row!

  6. Coming good for Connemara Thomas.

    I see you're topping te leader Board.