Friday, July 16, 2010

Another Short One for Ewen’s Benefit

One thing I learnt on Saturday was that I like running long more than running fast. I guess that’s why I’m drawn to Ultras. Cruising along at 8:30 pace I felt like I could continue doing so all day. That’s obviously not the case, but I did cover almost 30 miles without even feeling particularly tired. It bodes well for Dingle, but there’s more to it. I wonder if I have lost my competitive edge as far as races up to the marathon are concerned. That does seem to happen to most runners as they get older, but I was not aware that I might have reached the stage already. I still want to chase a better marathon time, but will I have the willpower to do all those tempo runs and intervals week after week, when my first thought of each and every one of these days will be “oh no, speedwork!”?

I only did one run over the last 2 days, namely a set of mile repeats on Thursday. I did the 10-mile pace runs I had missed out on Tuesday. It was very windy, so I changed my original plan of running alongside my usual route and went towards Ard-na-Sidhe instead. The trees there don’t provide much shelter, but enough to take the worst out of it. The repeats were a bit uneven; against the wind was s good bit slower than the other way, unsurprisingly. Running back and forwards on the same stretch of road I met a couple walking in the rain 4 times and another fella 3 times. It was starting to get embarrassing, but thankfully I was done before I our roads crossed yet another time.

I didn’t set the alarm for today, just resolved to go running if I woke up in time, which I expected to do. I didn’t. The rest day, as stated in the schedule, did indeed happen.

Yesterday evening when cycling home from work, my rear tire exploded. Thankfully it happened close to home and on an uphill stretch. I don’t want to think how it might have ended had it happened 30 seconds earlier on the opposing downhill stretch, so I guess I was lucky. I even had all the needed replacement parts at home and I managed to fix it without swearing loudly (Niamh usually insists I fix the bike out of earshot of the children). My mechanic skills must be improving.

After a dry and sunny first half of the year, the wind and rain have returned, and everyone is resigned to it already. It feels like business as usual, after the last 3 horrible, rainy summers we’ve had. Just a bit of sunshine every now and again makes such a difference. I really hope the present set of rain fronts is just temporary. Ironically, the rest of Europe is experiencing a massive heat wave. It’s just here that we seem to be in a different world altogether.
15 Jul
8 miles, 58:32, 7:18 pace, HR 160
4x1 mile @ 6:39, 6:29, 6:29, 6:26


  1. Thanks for the encouraging words Thomas - it helps to get perspective. I've had such a good year, I was kind of caught by surprise.

    As for losing your competitive edge - the header on your blog clearly says you aren't going to chase times this year. So, really, aren't you just meeting this year's goal? And, yeah, there's something about ultras...they sure draw us in.

  2. Thanks Thomas - you're so thoughtful.

    My first rule would be to do the type of running you enjoy. Retaining speed (or more accurately, losing it more slowly) as we age isn't easy. Regular speedwork, and drills, plyometrics, short hills, all that sort of stuff helps greatly. I don't know that it's possible to do that AND do the very long runs/high mileage that's needed for ultra racing success.

  3. THOMAS,
    Scott Jurek talked about his training on this episode of
    Marathon Talk
    he seem to have a very balanced aproach mixing in hills, speed work etc, without over doing the high mileage.

  4. P.S. I think your new training program looks quite good.
    I'm not sure your lack of willingness to suffer over shorter distances can be put down to age,I think training in the early morning might have more to do with it!