Tuesday, February 16, 2010


Irish people, with the country’s strong catholic background, still take lent surprisingly seriously. While not many use it for the initially intended spiritual purpose, for most it represents a period of will power. I never saw much point in joining in, but this year is different.

Last week I told Niamh that I would be giving up sugar for lent. That’s cakes, biscuits, chocolate, sweets, sugar in coffee and so on. Niamh’s reply “but you’re not religious” was countered with “it’s about the sugar, not religion”, and that’s that. I’ve been raiding the sweet cabinet far too often over the last few months, and a bit of restraint should do me good. If my weight drops by the odd pound, that would be a highly welcome bonus. Two years ago, when I set most of my still standing PRs, I weighed less than 145 pounds, following my pneumonia-induced weight loss (a highly effective but definitely not recommended way of losing weight). These days I’m carrying around at least 5 extra pounds and if you believe the usually cited formula, that adds up to 10 additional seconds per mile. Since my present racing times are very similar to the ones from 2 years ago, the thought of cutting 10 seconds per mile by shifting a few pounds of fat is very appealing. Alas, in the past I have found it much easier to train more rather than eat less, and my weight never really dropped, not even during last summer’s mad set of repeated 100-mile weeks. We shall see what happens if I manage to cut out the white death crystals.

My legs have been very sore since Sunday’s race. I did notice the stiffness even during the cool down, and the 2 hours drive home didn’t do me any favours either. Accordingly I did 5 easy miles on Monday and 6 even easier miles this morning. I’m hoping my legs will be recovered by tomorrow morning for a long run, and if they are not I’ll get straight back to bed. One thing is for sure, the originally planned back-to-back workout is not going to happen this week, which I have now turned into a recovery week. I don’t want to wear out my legs, and racing 10 miles over an extremely tough and hilly course does call for some down time. I have in the past often neglected recovery and if I race well in Connemara I will know that that has been a mistake. If I collapse at mile 30, well, then I should have done more miles this time round.

15 Feb
5 miles, 43:23, 8:40 pace, HR 136
16 Feb
6.1 miles, 53:43, 8:48 pace, HR 134


  1. If I was your weight i'd be running 5 minute miles or else i'd be a super model. I'm leaning towards the latter. Happy abstinence.

  2. I've lost about 5 lb so far this year and already I can feel the difference, problem with relying on just high mileage to lose weight is your body gets far more efficient at using energy ie you get better Miles to the gallon!
    In fact I find interval sessions seem to work better for losing fat as they boost growth hormome and Testosterone, plus intervals increase your resting meterbolic rate.
    But to really drop the pounds eating less refined food helps a lot [ like your doing].
    watch out for energy drinks full of sugar etc.
    good luck with your pound losing.
    Have faith less weight = more speed!

  3. I think you do sometimes need to commit to something in order to get results or get motivated. The lent thing is a great idea.


  4. Will you be eating honey? Jam? cake?

    My wife used to give up chocolate for lent and then only eat biscuits. I've given up alcohol (12 hours done, only 948 to go!)

  5. Sounds tougher than bashing out 100 mile weeks! You might have found the secret though, if this book is correct.