Friday, August 06, 2010

Midweek Training

On Tuesday I woke up feeling really tired and highly tempted to bin the workout but got up anyway, after which I finally bothered to actually check the time. It was 4:20 am - time to get back. History repeated itself exactly one hour later, with the one difference that this time I checked the time before getting up. When it was finally time to get up for real at 6:15 I felt really happy about having had 2 lie-ins already this morning.

Last weekend had been an easy one with “only” 5.5 hours of running so I was fresh enough for a bit of speedwork during the week. I started with 6 mile repeats at about 10-mile race pace, which according to some calculators out there is now as slow as 6:35, so that was my target. It seemed achievable enough but when I struggled to get even to 8-minute pace during the 2 warm-up miles, doubts started creeping in. Anyway, I run these by feel rather than the watch, which is easily achievable because I start wheezing as soon as I go over the threshold and immediately know to hold back. The first 3 repeats were a tad on the slow side with 6:39, 6:43 and 6:43 again, and I noticed my right quads hurting towards the end of the third one, the exactly same spot that had been really sore the day after last week’s 400s. At the start of the fourth repeat I noticed a runner far ahead of me, and – funny how this works – this turned out to be the fastest repeat without even trying at 6:26. I caught up with him right at the end of the mile, at which case we started chatting. He was an American tourist on holidays, about to drive off to Dingle and up North later that day and very much enjoying his Irish holidays (that, or he was being polite). We had a nice enough chat for me to ignore the beeping of the Garmin for my next repeat and we ran together for three quarters of a mile before parting ways, me going right towards home, him left to finish his loop. I did the last 2 repeats at that stage, which meant I did not lose any of my workout; the average pace of the repeats was 6:38, a wee bit slower than planned but close enough.

The five miles on Wednesday would have been entirely unremarkable had they not yielded my lowest ever heart rate for a run. I checked back through my logs and this was indeed the lowest value since records began. I take it as a sign that my aerobic engine is in great shape, even if last week’s race showed up deficiencies in my anaerobic one, just the way you would want it for an Ultra, of course.

I felt recovered enough on Thursday for a few miles at marathon pace, even though I don’t really know what my marathon pace should be like. Then again, as I’m running purely by feel, that doesn’t really matter. The original plan was 5 miles at that effort, but as I felt perfectly fresh at the end of that I decided to keep it going until back home, and the 7:06 pace felt easy enough. If this were the pace I could hold for an entire marathon it would be reasonably close to a PR, though I won’t be able to test this out.

I didn’t set the alarm this morning but resolved to go running if I woke up in time and felt like running, both of which happened and 5 more miles were duly added. The schedule might be calling for a rest day but I think if I feel as good as now a recovery run is better - as long as I’m able to keep the pace slow enough, which is not a problem. It’s astounding how quickly I have managed to fall into the slow Ultra shuffle as soon as the serious Ultra training started last month.

3 Aug
10 miles, 1:12:43, 7:16 pace, HR 154
incl. 6x1 mile @ 6:39, 6:43, 6:43, 6:26, 6:46, 6:35 (avg 6:38)
4 Aug
5 miles, 44:39, 8:56 pace, HR 126
5 Aug
9 miles, 1:05:31, 7:17 pace, HR 153
incl. 7+ mile @ 7:06
6 Aug
5 miles, 32:31, 8:42 pace, HR 131


  1. I’m amazed just how in-tune you are with your body. I’m glad to hear that your body is holding up to the training. For fear of sounding like a broken record, I won’t go on at length... but, don’t overlook a true ‘day off’ now and again.

    On another note, I found a blog of a great local (Canadian) ultra runner that you might find interesting. He just finished setting the speed record for the West Coast Trail, in just over 10 hours... something that took me over 13. Check it out when you have a moment:

    Good luck with the training!

  2. I think there is something Zen about ultra running which is reflected in your relaxed (but still focussed)attitude to trainign lately. Looking forward to heading all about Dingle.

    I think 2011 will be my year for pushing out the endurance threshold.

  3. If he was an American tourist he was just being polite ;)

    Good that you can switch the ultra shuffle and faster paced running on and off at will.

  4. That is a very though training. Great, keep it up.