Sunday, November 28, 2010

Winter Wonderland

A few weeks ago the coach told me he wanted to see a faster Friday, a long Saturday and a medium long Sunday. The last 2 weeks there was a race that got in the way (so I raced on Saturday and ran long on Sunday instead) and this week was the first time I implemented this. I'm still building the mileage and the long runs are a bit shorter than they will be eventually, but I'm getting close.

To ensure I would enter this 3-day spell rested I took it easy on Thursday with only 8 miles on the book. It was a beautiful clear morning, but I was a bit worried about that very dark cloud I could make out in the moonlight. Luckily it seemed to move elsewhere and I did not get rained on. I still had a sore throat and during the day I did not feel 100%, but nowhere near as bad as Niamh had been. My heart rate was slightly elevated, which I mainly attribute to the body fighting off the infection.

I was looking forward to Friday and the opportunity to run a bit faster. There is no denying, running fast is more fun than running slowly. However, I did learn that there can be a drawback to running purely by feel. Since it was dark I didn't look a the Garmin at all (thanks for your comment, Rick!) and ran purely by feel, but as soon as I looked at the numbers back home I immediately knew I had goofed up. Running fast is relative and I was still to remain within certain parameters, with the heart rate not exceeding about 155 and the pace a bit slower than 7-minute pace. What I had done instead was 6:51 average pace and 161 average heart rate. While it is cool to run sub-3 marathon pace at this time of training already, this is exactly the type of effort that kept undermining my conditioning in previous training circles. The main thing about base training is not to run impressive workouts. It is to run consistently, day after day, and for that you need to recover from run to run. I was really annoyed with myself.

Most people (read everyone but me) use the weekend to catch up on sleep and have a rest. We, on the other hand, had to leave shortly after 9 o'clock to get the twins to their course in Tralee in time, so I ended up setting the alarm clock for 5:30. I was still in denial about my own madness by the time I hit the road.

I opened the door to a scene of Winter Wonderland, lit up by the moon. It was absolutely beautiful. Snow in Kerry in November? Now that is a new one! For the first time this winter I had to wear my tights, the temperatures were well under 0C. I encountered one car, right at the start, and then was entirely on my own for the next 2+ hours, not a soul to be seen or heard. The roads were fine, there was a sprinkling of snow when I hit the higher grounds and only Blackstone Bridge itself was icy, the rest was fine. Running 18 miles was easy, but I made doubly sure to run slowly, especially after Friday's cock-up.

The rest of the day was just mad busy, with the twins at their CTY course and Niamh at her own training course I first had the 2 younger ones and later all four of them to entertain on my own. Running 18 miles had been the easier part of the day by far.

We had even more snow overnight and by Sunday morning the roads were indeed icy. I ran the Cromane loop, and the two people that saw me while in their driveways did make a comment about me running in these conditions. I had to be careful on a couple of occasions when the ice covered the entire road surface, but made it home fine and without any incidents. I was not the slightest bit surprised to find that not even the main road had been treated by 10 o'clock. That's the kind of service we got used to last winter. After all, they are using our taxes to cover the billions of losses the fucking bankers have pissed away over the last few years. We can't expect them to spend any money on keeping the roads safe.

Whatever bugs had been threatening me seem to have been defeated and my resting heart rate this morning was a staggering 37. Only once have I seen a lower number, and that was shortly before a marathon. It's the lowest number I have ever seen in base training by far and another sign that the coach definitely has me on the right track.

25 Nov
8 miles, 1:00:54, 7:36 pace, HR 145
26 Nov
10 miles, 1:08:36, 6:51 pace, HR 161
27 Nov
18 miles, 2:23:15, 7:57 pace, HR 142
28 Nov
13 miles, 1:39:22, 7:38 pace, HR 144

Weekly Mileage: 81


  1. looking good thomas and impressive stats. it's cold here too: -7c/19f when i headed out this morning but at least we've avoided the snow so far.

  2. I'm jealous of that low HR. Nice job on the running, despite the early winter. Sounds like everything is on track.

  3. Fresh snow is great fun to run on But when it turns to ice it get pretty dangerous.
    last year I used my X/C spikes in the snow and ice, which worked well.
    But i wonder does anyone make shoes designed for winter running?

  4. Ice time again .... Nooooo. after last year my family want keep me locked indoors until spring !! Be careful out there! :)

  5. Yaktracs are great for ice conditions and there is also the trick of putting screws into your shoes for steel studs. Both work for me!

  6. Bricey, I think your family is right to lock you up!
    maybe you could train on a dreadmill, just don't fall off the back :]
    Love to Run; I have images of said screws working there way into my feet Och!
    any chance of doing a blog article on how to modify shoes for ice and snow? Cheers

  7. You are rounding (back) into shape nicely. That was a strong 10 miler!