Thursday, April 08, 2010

It Is Time

With the Ultra just three days from now, it’s time for another summary. I included last year’s figures as a way of easy comparison, but of course they were from marathon training, not ultra training.
Training (excluding long recovery from Dingle/Dublin and taper):
14 weeks (2009: 18 for Boston, 14 for Dingle)
Total Number of Miles:
862 (2009: 1388 Boston, 1210 Dingle)
48, 70, 55, 61, 72, 62, 65, 65, 52, 66, 64, 62, 70, 50
Average mpw:
61.5 (2009: 77 Boston, 86 Dingle)
Highest weekly mileage:
72 (2009: 88 Boston, 103 Dingle)
# runs of 20 miles or more:
14 (2009: 6 Boston, 7 Dingle)
long runs by week (20/20 means back-to-back workout):
14, 21, 15, 20, 20/20, 20/20, 20/20, 25, 20, 30, 20, 26.3, 22/15, 18
# of PRs:
0 (2009: 1 Boston, 1 Dingle)
0 (2009: 3 Boston, 0 Dingle)

What jumps out immediately (to me, at least) is the significantly lower mileage per week but the just as significantly higher number of long runs, both in number and duration. This is not by accident, of course. I wrote a training program at the start but then mostly ignored it, leaving only the long runs in there and moulding the rest of my training around them. The idea was to do many more and longer ones while at the same time ensuring full rest and recovery. Now, if you take 2 days for a back-to-back workout, rest/recover for two days before that to ensure freshness and rest/recover for two days afterwards for recovery, there is only one day in the week left, which I used for a fast workout. Due to a quirk in this year’s racing calendar, a lot of these fast workouts were actually races, including a slightly mad spell of 6 races on 6 consecutive weekends, though I thoroughly enjoyed each and every one of these, so no regrets. On weeks where I did not do a back-to-back workout I either ran very long (25, 26+ and 30 miles) or took an easy week with “only” 20 - 22 miles for the long run.

While I did not set any PRs I was pleased with my races, and I came pretty damn close to my 5k PR that had seemed way out of reach beforehand. And just over the last weeks, coinciding with me taking an iron supplement (ok, probably not a coincidence then), my tempo runs have all of a sudden taken off and I was running 10-20 seconds faster per mile than ever before. Take my new found speed and my hopefully better-than-ever endurance and I should be in for a good day in Connemara, though in Ultras things are never a given. However, I think I’m in better shape than ever before.

The race itself has developed as well since my last go at it 2 years ago. From what I’ve heard the number of runners has doubled since then, from 100 to 200 this year. I like to think that I have personally inspired a few of these new entrants, but this will probably mean that my name will be cursed to High Heavens on the approach to the Hell of the West.

You might remember that I had pledged to stay off sweets during the period of lent. Despite numerous temptations I managed to stay true to that goal and was rewarded with the loss of about 6 pounds, which apparently left me looking like a whippet, according to Richard. Well, after eating my way through a humongous mountain of chocolate during the Easter Weekend, I hoped to become abstentious again for the rest of the pre-Connemara week, but after weeks of iron discipline there was none left and I’m still living on sugar. I could call it carbo-loading, but sadly that’s not really how it works. It doesn’t help that a work colleague won an Easter egg in the raffle, the size of which would make a Brachiosaurus squirm, and has left it out for all the people in the office to share, and I could not resist munching through my share as well. The result of all this saw me 4 pounds heavier this morning than on Sunday. How can it take 7 week to lose 6 pounds (ok, 5 them came off within the first 2-3 weeks) and only 4 days to put most of them back on? Surely I have not eaten that much chocolate!?!? Anyway, since the Easter Chocolate Mountain has now been demolished I might get back to a reasonable diet with 2 days remaining. As for my next blog entry, that will be from beautiful, sunny Connemara.
7 Apr
6.1 miles, 44:57, 7:22 pace, HR 148
8 Apr
4 miles, 32:30, 8:07 pace, HR 142


  1. good luck for the race.

    Since I have been following you for years, I feel that this time you took the right approach to avoid overloading on the mileage...

    by the way, at the Ultra there will be also a couple of italians bloggers who could be challengers for the victory... a pity their blog is not in English...

  2. All the best for your race. I look forward to hearing all about it.


  3. Best of luck for Connemara

  4. Looking good for Connemara. Best of luck. I think the reduced mileage and training specificity will reap its just rewards.

  5. Best of luck up west. I'll be watching with interest / envy. Well done for getting to the start injury free. Brendan

  6. Best of luck Thomas..delighted to see you have discovered that thing called prediction?..the Bubmeister and Tiger to burn brighter than the Connemara sun this weekend!!!

  7. I find your weight can jump up and down 2-3 lbs for no apparent reason. Surely not chocolate? Maybe an extra feed of pasta and the water that goes with it. I know you'll do great. So where is the wall in a 39 mile race? Mile 35 as you approach the Hell? Good luck and good weather!

  8. Best of luck Thomas. Your training regime seems to have been spot-on and I am very envious! I wouldn't worry about the extra pound or two, as you will surely lose them over the first third of the race, and not see them again until an hour or two after you have crossed the finish line.

    I hope to bump into you before the start of the race. If I don't, have a great race, Gary (Krusty).

  9. Hope you have a great race!!

    Those back-2-back long runs make such a difference - you've put in a solid spring training for this.

    I deferred my entry til next year so you never know... I would love to run it but I just know my recovery is so much longer after a road race vs trails so this year with all the races it didn't make sense - but nothing against road running, honest!

    Looking forward to getting back home next week.

  10. Thomas, your dedicated preparation has been inspirational as well as intelligent. I wish you all the best. PU-LEEZE start out SLOOOOOWLY. If it is thatterrific day we're hoping for, it will pay big dividends by the finish.

  11. Looks like a good prep to me. Plenty of long runs and the back-to-backs. I'm betting on a PB - say 5:30:20... and for Grellan, a 5:29:59 ;)

  12. Best of luck Thomas in Connemara,
    really hope things go well for you.
    M.Mangan and all at Star of the Laune AC

  13. Best of luck Thomas in Connemara,
    really hope things go well for you.
    All at Star of the Laune AC

  14. Go for it Thomas. That extra chocolate weight will be a dim memory come the 30th K but you legs won't forget those long runs you've done and pull you through to a great race. Have confidence!

  15. All the best Thomas. Run well and enjoy the day

  16. 15. 39140 Ultra Thomas Bubendorfer Male M40 5:15:32


    Congrats on a super race. Hope you are (still celebrating & recovering well)... Looking forward to the report!