Friday, January 15, 2010

The Last Of The Easy Weeks

I keep looking at my weekly mileage figures and can’t escape the fact that the figures are the lowest I have produced in years. And since I’m training for an event that is longer than the marathons I have trained for in the meantime, this is definitely worrying me. It may all be for the best – if I was overtrained in autumn then an adjustment had to be made. But I do worry.

With 12 weeks to go, the real training starts just about now. The mileage will increase, especially the long runs, and I’m confident I will be able to handle that. How all this will work out in April in Connemara will be seen.

I was really tired on Wednesday morning, so much so that I reset the alarm to get an extra 15 minutes of sleep, cutting my run from 10 miles to 8. When I opened the door I was stunned to finally notice the heavy rain and the complete darkness outside. After a second or two of hesitation I went back inside to get my headlamp. Once out on the road I eventually realised that I had been a tad optimistic about the rising temperatures. It was a bit premature to drop the tights for shorts and to wear only one layer on top and the lighter gloves. Of course, the heavy rain and the breezy wind didn’t exactly help. When I set off, it was raining buckets. By mile 2 things had improved a bit. At the turnaround point, mile 4, the rain had changed into a drizzle and by mile 6 even that stopped. But the heavy cloud cover still enveloped the entire countryside so much that I was wondering if I had gotten up an hour early by mistake. Surely it had bee much brighter on previous days. This turned out not to be the case, and an hour later the conditions had improved sufficiently for me to cycle into work rather than take the car. That was good because the schools had finally reopened and Niamh needed the car for the school run. Oh, and during the first few miles of my run I felt I was running really slowly. When I checked the Garmin after 2 miles I was really surprised to see my average pace at 7:46 – feelings can be deceptive. By the end of the run I had the average pace down to 7:40, despite running easily all the way. Maybe I’m getting back into shape.

On Thursday I wanted to add a few faster efforts into the run, but was undecided if that should take the shape of some accelerations or hill sprints. The weather took the decision out of my hand. As soon as I stepped out of the door I could hear the crunch-crunch of a thick layer of frost beneath my feet, the surface was rather slippery and hill sprints were out of the question. And I had thought we had finally left those conditions behind! Not feeling like letting the watch dictate my pace I turned the run into a fartlek and ran unstructured faster and slower segments just the way I felt at the time. There were a few hairy moments when I crossed some icy patches, but I made it through 10 miles. But after reading what happened to Brendan I probably should have been a lot more careful over the last few weeks. Luckily I seem to have gotten away with my at times reckless running.

Even 8 miles seemed like a lot today. The quads were really tired and heavy and I struggled through most of today’s run, always expecting to feel better any time now, which never seemed to happen. Maybe I paid for the faster pace over the last 2 days, maybe today’s pace was a little bit quick for an easy run, even though I never pushed the effort at all.

I can still feel the effects of that cold, but looking at the HR and the pace of my most recent runs it doesn’t seem to have an adverse effect on my running. Maia has also started to sleep through the night again, so I guess we’re past the worst (which wasn’t that bad, truth to be told). In fact, looking at my recent figures (7:41 pace at HR 146), this is very encouraging. That’s the kind of readings I tend to see when I’m getting into a good shape. Maybe it took up to now to fully recover from my Dingle/Dublin autumn marathon double.
13 Jan
8 miles, 1:01:24, 7:41 pace, HR 146
14 Jan
10 miles, 1:16:51, 7:41 pace, HR 148
fartlek run
15 Jan
8 miles, 1:02, 43, 7:50 pace, HR 145

1 comment:

  1. I'd say you are past the worst of the cold. Your easy weeks look like my hard!