Saturday, October 02, 2010


Did I keep you in enough suspense? I know you have all been holding your collective breaths (well, maybe), and I can finally post the news the world has been waiting for. To say that I have been unsure on the training for my next marathon is an understatement, so I was thrilled when I got an email last week from someone offering to coach me.

If you have been around the blogging and running scene for several years you will remember the blog of one brilliant runner (and excellent writer) from Arizona, Mike, who kept churning out a string of sub-2:40 marathons following the Lydiard training schedule, first on his own and later under the guidance of an unnamed coach who kept his true identity under wraps.

Said Mystery Coach has now agreed to work with me, a development that has me seriously excited. It's not only the fact that he thinks I might be selling myself short by aiming for “only” 2:59:59, the mere fact that I'm going to work with someone with a vast knowledge of running and training is even better. Just think what I may learn!

The first priority is getting my achilles right. I have ditched my most worn-out shoes, the ones that I was wearing on Tuesday when it all went haywire, and also ordered a new pair to replace the next in line, which are also coming towards the end of their useful life. Personally, I think the main factor in my injury was running 50 miles for a hilly road race and since I'm not planning on repeating that in the next few weeks I'm reasonably optimistic that this will clear up without causing any further calamities.

I was back on the road on Thursday for 5 miles, trying to run 8-minute miles in order to get used to that pace for Dublin, which I'm still hopeful for. A very slow first mile meant I didn't quite make it, but the heel was fine. I did 8 miles on Friday, the first 4 of which against a nearly gale-force wind, the return leg under far easier conditions. However, there seemed to be some discomfort after about 6 miles, so I eased up considerably for the last 2. Today's 5 miles were ok again. The heart rate was rather high, most likely caused by a lingering cold that is otherwise hardly noticeable, but that has been improving as of today.

That's not really training, just barely enough running to get my daily fix to stop me from going bananas. I have been running through achilles pain in the past, including 20 mile long runs, and it always got better after a few weeks. In the meantime I'm trying to help things along with ice bags, ankle wraps and enough eccentric calf raises to turn my lower right leg into a complete oddball.

Family life meant a trip to the Dingle to revisit the sight of my greatest triumphs food and wine festival today. The food trail was great, but the value for money very uneven, ranging from a very reasonable bowl of mussels to some rather less attractively priced skewers that went for a Euro per prawn! But since a trip to Dingle inevitably includes a trip to Murphy's, we all left happy, even with a much lighter wallet.
30 Sep
5 miles, 40:22, 8:04 pace, HR 153
1 Oct
8 miles, 1:03:26, 7:56 pace HR 157
2 Oct
5 miles, 39:40, 7:56 pace, HR 150


  1. That's exciting Thomas. I was half thinking it might have been MC, after reading his request for guinea pigs (um, I mean athletes) on Mike's blog. If anyone can get you into the 2:50s, it's Mystery Coach - that's if he can divert you from silly ultras, tris and such ;)

  2. Very exciting news Thomas.

    I have pulled out of the Rutland because of stress injury on my ankle. Although now it is pretty much recovered - I have had 4 weeks of ice packs and rest and it is driving me nuts! Still tomorrow I start my long road back to full fitness for the Edinburgh Marathon.

  3. Good luck Thomas, i hope he has you following the original training plans and not the later watered down version!
    i can't really say I envy you knocking out 100 mile weeks.
    It is very gruelling on the body, so make sure your injury is sorted.
    Get that 'Stick' out and start massaging!
    sub 3 hours is very possible,But you could go even faster following the modern Italian marathon method.

  4. Well done on getting Mystery Coach to plan your next marathon Thomas. Hope to can take orders.

  5. Good news Thomas! I wonder what he/she thinks about Wine/Food/Ice Cream?? How did I miss that place when I visited a few years back??

  6. Very cool. Good luck with your coach and training

  7. Thomas if you hit the Lydiard training just right it can make you a champion.

    Very exciting. Let me know how the legs get on. I'm in pretty much the same shape as you now with those injuries.

    Skys the limit. All the best

  8. Just catching up with some blogs after the excitement of Jo & Jono's wedding!

    Interesting news on mystery coach taking you on. My BIG question is will you be willing to follow his advice??

    From following your blog over the past 3-4 years I would say that you have a tendency to read a lot of ideas and then do your own thing anyway!

    Looking forward to following your training with MC with great interest.

    BTW - did you see that John Mclaughlin ran 2.59.30 at Loch Ness on Sunday?

    He was very pleased with himself and rightly so.

  9. Best of luck with it Thomas. A great opportunity, make the most of it!