Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Final Week

I think this is the worst part of training. With only 6 days to go, I’m bouncing off the walls, having too much time and energy on my hands without knowing what to do with it. Sitting around and waiting for time to pass is not in my nature. Somehow I have to manage to get through this week without going nuts, and without driving Niamh mad.

Since I’m well into my taper, there was not much running going on. 5 slow and easy miles on Wednesday were followed by 7 miles on Thursday, which included 3 miles at marathon effort. That felt remarkably easy. I fell into a pace that felt right, but 7:05 pace is almost certainly a bit faster than my true present marathon pace. It’s the pace I set during my PB almost 2 years ago and I’m definitely not in the same kind of marathon shape, with the lack of speed work.

Friday was yet another rest day but brought a major boost to my spirits when Niamh and the family returned from Valentia, ending my lonely existence here in Caragh Lake. I don’t think I have ever been so happy to see them.

Over the past few weeks I did most of my training during the weekend, but with only one week to go not even that is the case any more. The schedule called for 90 minutes on Saturday, which I used for a last run on the Kerry Way. One of my targets for this training was to get as much climbing into my legs as possible and since the trails have a lot more climbs in them than the roads, that’s where I ended up for much of the miles. I ran a decent effort and reached the top of Windy Gap in 47 minutes, a good bit faster than usual. I turned around there, but the return leg only took slightly over 42 minutes, leaving me just short of the 90 minutes.

Since it was a nice weekend I spent the rest of the day gardening. Maybe complete rest would have been more beneficial for Dingle, but I really don’t think Niamh would have accepted that excuse. There was much to do, and I’m hardly going to do it next week.

Today was even easier with an easy 60-minutes jog, which I extended by a small margin, running 8 miles along Caragh Lake. The sun was shining when I left, but the strong wind brought up some dark rain clouds out of nowhere, leaving me soaked. It was bright and sunny again by the time I got back home. More gardening followed, and thankfully I more or less managed to finish it all.

The blackberries are spectacular this year, both in quantity as well as quality. We have enough for a big amount of jam, we have been eating them for desert most days as well as stuffing them into our mouths whenever we felt like it, and I’m presently experimenting making blackberry sorbet. With a little bit of luck it will come out as good as it sounds. As much as I hate those thorny plants for the rest of the year, around this time all is forgiven. But I guess I better not stop my race in Dingle for picking berries along the way, tempting as it may be.

25 Aug
5 miles, 43:33, 8:42 pace, HR 138
26 Aug
7 miles, 52:38, 7:31 pace, HR 153
incl. 3 miles @ 7:05
28 Aug
10.7 miles, 1:29:23, 8:21 pace, HR 159
much of it off-road up to Windy Gap
29 Aug
8 miles, 1:04:36, 8:04 pace, HR 146


  1. Good Luck Thomas - I have 10 weeks to go until Rutland. The organiser posted us all the race profile the other day. I was horrified but then I did the profile on my normal run home each night and its steeper - it was just that the scale was more scrunched up because it was 26 miles and not 5 miles. Except of course that steep climb happens at the 22nd mile of the marathon and not the 4th mile of nice run home....

  2. I know the feeling. You did a little more than me this week but the weekend without long runs had been dreadful. Didn't know what to be doing with myself...

  3. Your blackberry story reminds me of one of our long-run courses out at the Cotter. There were blackberry bushes on one particular hill - 'jellylegs' and if not in a hurry we'd stop and pick a few. Sadly the powers that be sprayed the bushes one year (they're a noxious weed here).

    Anyway, take it easy the next few days and all the best. I really think you can get near that PB.