Friday, December 10, 2010

Spring Marathon

Not only have we just spent several thousand Euro re-building our house (roof repairs, new heating system, wall insulation, attic insulation, plumbing, ...), now the most incompetent government in history decided we all have to pay a few thousand Euro each per year to chuck them into the Black Hole those wbankers have created. After initially being all gung-ho on a foreign trip for my spring marathon (she even checked out apartments in Barcelona), Niamh sensibly decided we can’t afford a family trip to the continent. After playing around with the idea of running either Limerick or Belfast, I rejected them both (the first got really bad reviews for last year, the latter one I swore never to run again [though I reckon I'm quite likely to break that oath one day]) and decided to fly to Rotterdam on my own. After all, that was my preferred marathon all along, due to its reputation as a fast course. And then .... then I came up with one more destination.

Screw the government and screw Europe’s worst finance minister for the second year in a row. We might as well spend the last of our money on ourselves before it gets completely wasted on yet more banking dept. Vienna is where Niamh and I met 17 years ago and it’s going to be where I’m going to break 3 hours in the marathon on 17 April 2011, ojal√°. And Niamh and the kids will be there with me.

The knee is in a funny state. It does not hurt any more but the last couple of days it was still slightly swollen, though today I can’t make out a difference to the other knee any more. I’m wearing a €6 knee wrap from the pharmacy, just in case, but if that makes any difference I can’t tell. Then again, I have run through plenty of pain in the past, especially where my Achilles is concerned, and that always turned out well. So I’m running with a possibly wonky knee, even if I don’t entirely trust it.

I have definitely lost some fitness over my 3 days of not running. I have a spreadsheet that I'm using to compare HR/pace combination from day to day, and the figures are definitely worse since my little break, though the graph is pointing upwards again and I’ll get back to where I used to be in no time. Since Vienna is 4 weeks later than Killarney would have been I have time for a longer base phase, giving me more than enough time to catch up.

Thursday’s run was a little bit better than the previous ones and today was better still as my fitness is picking up again. It was “Fast Friday”, but I made sure to run slower than the 6:51 from a fortnight ago when I definitely pushed too hard; setting the HR alarm on the Garmin helped, though ideally I should be able to tell from listening to my body alone but unfortunately I'm definitely not that much in tune with it. I lost concentration between miles 6 and 8 and let the intensity drop but picked it up again for a stronger finish. The temperatures today were no less than 10 degrees higher than before (from -4 to +6C) and all the ice is gone from the roads. I’m curious where my marathon pace is going to end up; it should definitely be faster than those runs with the HR in the mid 150s. The coach is promising gains of 15-20 seconds per mile during the peaking training. That would be scary fast and almost too good to be true. But he’s been right about everything so far, so I'm definitely looking forward to it. At the moment things are easy. The hard work is yet to come and I'm actually looking forward to it.
9 Dec
10 miles, 1:16:00, 7:36 pace, HR 149
10 Dec
10 miles, 1:11:39, 7:10 pace, HR 156


  1. RichardjCronin retweated this video, which somes up your problems;

  2. I agrree with Chris, "great post." It has everything and even, the chance of, a happy ending.

  3. Good luck with the knee and the trip to Vienna sounds great. Lots to look forward to, despite the government crooks!

  4. Sounds great, although Rotterdam is guaranteed fast (but with a bit of a boring course).

    Does any particular VDOT equate to a sub-3 marathon?

  5. Ewen, obviously a VDOT value on its own does not guarantee a certain marathon time. But looking at the table in this document, a VDOT value of 54 would equate a sub-3 marathon.

    I always keep in mind that I have been at these values before but never managed a sub-3.

  6. Thomas thanks for the link. I hadn't seen that. I'll give it a good read when I get a chance.

    I reckon if your VDot is in the right place then it should give you confidence of an outcome if you've completed plenty of long runs.

  7. Nice decision - good luck on the training!