Saturday, December 31, 2011

Year's End

I felt surprisingly sore after Tuesday's sprints, which really surprised me; after all there had not been a lot of sprinting. I guess I'm just not adapted to that kind of running. I therefore took it easy on Wednesday, just 10 miles at very relaxed pace before we all got into the car and made it to Dublin to visit the grandparents. For some reason the kids had been really good during the journey itself but went completely off the rails once we reached our destination. I half expected to be asked to turn around again and take the misbehaving brood with us. I wouldn't have blamed them.

Anyway, after being treated leniently and being allowed to stay, I did a few hill sprints on Thursday morning in Deer Park. I expected the hill to be a bit steeper. I tried one repeat on grass, but that was too slippery so I did the others on road. I don't remember them being so tough - after 5 repeats I almost threw up, despite my empty stomach, so it left it at that and only did 6 miles in all. That was a lot harder than expected.

Having said that, the hill sprints were a lot better on the legs than Tuesday's sprints on the flat; I wasn't really sore the next day. I did 8 rather boring miles in Stillorgan, made up of loops just under half a mile in length. I find running short loops mentally much harder than out-and-backs or long loops. At least when I'm running on my own; the 30 1-mile loops in Sixmilebridge were fine, probably because of the 100 other runners keeping each other company.

I ended the year with a run from our house in Stillorgan to Ticknock and then up the mountain towards Three Rock. That's as far as I had intended to go, but when I saw that nice trail going up further I could not resist and went all the way up to the top, where a big cairn awaited me; Fairycastle, according to some hill friendly walkers I met on the way. The wind was quite strong and there was no view to be had thanks to the clouds, but that's not what I had come for anyway. The elevation gain from Stillorgan was about 1500 feet, but it was only just over 6 miles each way, which made this not really a long run, but a fun run instead. Still, I decided I had already sufficiently sabotaged any chances of a good race tomorrow, so I went straight back home.

It was a great run to end a great year! Happy 2012, everyone!
28 Dec
10 miles, 1:19:11, 7:55 pace, HR 144
29 Dec
6 miles, 48:48, 8:07 pace, HR 147
   incl. 5x15 sec all-out hill sprints
30 Dec
8 miles, 1:03:23, 7:55 pace, HR 140
31 Dec
12.5 miles, 1:50:03,8:49 pace, HR 145
   mountain run to Fairycastle

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Catching Up On Sleep

One of the best perks of Christmas, and holidays in general, is the fact that I can sleep in every single morning and still get my normal mileage. When I say sleep in, I mean until 8 o'clock, that is. Any later than that requires an unreasonable amount of staring at the ceiling and is just not my thing.

Having said that, my mileage this week is actually going to dip, for two reasons. One, I took it easy so far to let the legs recover from the weekend; Monday was especially slow. Two, I'm gradually transitioning into the next training phase, and it's better to take it a bit easier. No need to overdo things when your body has to adapt to a different kind of work.

As I said, Monday was very easy. I ran as slowly as I could without letting it affecting form. The pace turned out to be 8:09, still decent enough, and the HR was the lowest in a long, long time. The fact that I am able to run for an hour at such an easy effort actually pleases me as much as a tough tempo run. It's a mental thing.

Today started out in very similar fashion. I thought about adding a couple of miles but decided against it. After 7 easy miles, I changed things for the last mile, alternating not-quite all-out sprints and walking recoveries until the breathing and HR were back to normal. I did about 6 of these, but I find it challenging to count past 2 when doing repeats like that, so the actual number might be out (not that it matters). The idea is to start activating the "other" muscle fibres that don't do any work during a normal endurance run. You need to activate them before you can train them, and fast sprinting is one way of reaching them (hill sprints work even better).

The weather was slightly more reasonable today, less wind and just a bit of mist rather than rain, but that was just the calm before the storm which is just starting to build as I write this. Tomorrow's run might get interesting.

We're off to Dublin for a few days. I'll probably take in a race while I'm there, though I do feel guilty for missing the 10K in Beaufort yet again. Niamh needs to see her family - and there's another imminent arrival and she fully intends to be there when it happens. New babies are just the best, aren't they? Especially other people's babies that you can hand back for a nappy change and night-time feeds after cooing over them.
26 Dec
8 miles, 1:05:13, 8:09 pace, HR 134
27 Dec
8 miles, 1:04:05, 8:01 pace, HR 142
   actually 7 miles in 7:52 and 1 mile alternating sprinting/walking

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas

I used to hate Christmas. Not in the indifferent, Scrooge kind of way; I utterly detested the commercialism, greedy materialism and blank greed that went with it. People haven't changed, but my feelings for Christmas have. Why? There are four reasons and they are by now aged 10, 10, 8 and 4. It's so different with children, for them the magic is still very much alive and the excitement built every single day. For the sake of these shining eyes, it's all worth it.

But of course I keep running. It keeps me sane. I heard an interview with Mo Farah the other day; they asked him, what's in store for Christmas day? “A 10 mile run”.


After a disappointing set of numbers from Tuesday's evaluation, by Wednesday the legs all of a sudden felt great; probably due to recovery from the weekend. I kept things easy, and again on Thursday.

Because I felt so good I resurrected Fast Friday and did 10 strong miles on the reasonably flat Killorglin loop. I made sure to keep the HR in check, apart from one stretch when I got a few cat calls from a couple of drunks. Not sure what they were doing at that time of day, usually it's a safe bet that they're asleep by the time I come along. Anyway, I always get a smile on my face when the pace on these runs averages less than 7 minutes per mile, and Friday was no exception.

I pretty much followed the coach's original weekend plan, where he had a fast run followed by two longer runs. My long training runs never built up to much this autumn, courtesy of the marathons and ultras I did in Dingle, Dublin and Sixmilebridge, and I never reached 20 miles in training outside of these. Saturday's 16.5 mile loop around Caragh Lake was my longest training run in a while. The gale force wind added a bit to the challenge. The weather forecast seems to have missed that and apparently the rest of the country was calm enough but out on the hills it was pretty bad and I had to work through it. At least I got plenty in return on the way home, I did a few miles pretty close to 7 minutes without straining. In fact, after crossing the worst of the hills I spent much of my time repeatedly slowing myself down. I had an eye on Sunday.

Sunday, Christmas day, was slightly easier as it only had 15 miles, but of course how easy that would feel depended very much on the recovery from the previous two days. I'm glad to say that the legs felt great. The wind was even stronger than the day before and the occasional heavy rain shower added to the fun, but what else would I want to do on Christmas day? Actually, I had spent the previous few hours with the kids, first unwrapping Santa's massive heap of presents and then helping them assemble various bits and pieces, putting in batteries, reading manuals, the things dads do on Christmas day. I left behind 4 blissfully happy children; they were still playing happily when I came back, and Niamh even managed to get some rest; we'd only gotten 5 hours of sleep between arranging the presents preparing for Santa and the kids unleashing their force.

The run? It went very well, despite the weather. I still held back a lot during the first half and finally let it loose on the last few miles. Whatever the evaluation said, right now I fell pretty damn good.

Happy Christmas everyone.

22 Dec
10 miles, 1:18:01, 7:48 pace, HR 144
23 Dec
10 miles, 1:09:40, 6:58 pace, HR 153
24 Dec
16.5 miles, 2:08:16, 7:46 pace, HR 149
25 Dec
15+ miles, 1:55:26, 7:40 pace, HR 150

Weekly Mileage: 81.5

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Battered and Bruised

I have a work colleagues who insists that bad things always happen in threes. For example, every time there are two aeroplane incidents in quick succession, he confidentially predicts a further, imminent one. I hope he’s wrong. I might not have been involved in a plane crash, but according to him I'm just waiting to be hit again.

It started on Sunday evening when I put a lot of things up the attic. I have been up and down that ladder countless times before, but somehow this time I managed to bump my head. Badly. Lying on the floor moaning for a minute badly. A 2-inch gash in the head badly. Blood on your hands badly. Niamh urged me not to run on Monday; she feared I might be suffering from concussion. I ran anyway, under the assumption that I don’t have a brain to get damaged in the first place, and the fact that I ran with a possible concussion only goes to prove the previous point.

The second incident happened when cycling home from work on Tuesday. It was pitch dark, I had a car coming the other way, completely blinding me, I had a lorry behind me and before I knew it I had a big pothole underneath me which I did not see because said car shone his headlights straight into my face in the best tradition of a Stasi interrogator. A short, unsuccessful fight against the pull of gravity was immediately followed by a rather desperate scramble to get off the road courtesy of the aforementioned lorry featuring rather heavily on my mind. I ended up with a bang on my right elbow, a pain in my right knee and some more pain radiating from my left side. Nothing serious, I was just a bit shaken. Apart from some very minor grazes on my elbow there is no visible damage, but the fact that I coughed up blood this morning was slightly alarming.

Inbetween these occurrences I managed not to miss my morning runs, especially my evaluation run on Tuesday. I had played with the idea of postponing this to Wednesday due to some fatigue from the weekend’s back-to-back long runs, but decided against it. Good decision, as Tuesday was a nice calm morning and Wednesday was ... not. Despite having some troubles keeping the heart rate at 161 (it oscillated rather more than I would have liked to see), the average values were ok. The pace, however, was slower than 2 weeks ago, very consistently 3-4 seconds slower on each mile, and the recovery period afterwards was identically long:
           6:46, HR 161
6:50, HR 162
6:55, HR 161
6:59, HR 160
41 sec to HR 130

I'm not exactly happy with these numbers. Sure, there was always going to be some fatigue from the weekend but considering that the last evaluation had been only 2 weeks after Sixmilebridge, this does not spell progression. If that means that I should move onto the next phase (because I’m not progressing) or extend the base building (because my legs are not ready for more work), I’m not entirely sure.

Actually, the evaluation didn’t really show me anything I did not already know. I have been running at an easy effort on basically all my runs for the last few weeks, but the HR has consistently been 5-10 bpm higher than what I would normally expect. It may be down to fatigue from too many marathons and ultras (Dingle, Dublin and Sixmilebridge in quick succession) or that damn cold that I can’t seem to shake or the stress at work or some other issues, but the bottom line is that right now I'm not in the shape I was hoping to be in.

I managed to get through a different kind of endurance workout as well: sitting through three sets of school Christmas plays in one week. It’s perfectly obvious to me that my own children are much more talented, interesting and better looking than other people’s children. I wonder if their parents can see it too, though.
19 Dec
8 miles, 1:02:45, 7:51 pace, HR 145
20 Dec
12 miles, 1:26:37, 7:13 pace, HR 152
   incl 4 miles evaluation
21 Dec
10 miles, 1:19:26, 7:57 pace, HR 145

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Back-To-Back Again

One the features of the training system I got introduced to by Mystery Coach a year ago was that base phase should not really feel like training. When things went the way they should I kept sending emails saying “it feels so easy, am I really training?”. It's fair to say that I went off the rails a bit after Dublin this year, but managed to correct course after Sixmilebridge. In fact, ever since that marvellous day, I have felt good every single day.

So maybe this weekend was a mistake. Not having the coach makes training feel like a tightrope walk without a net at times. Am I doing the right things or am I falling off? Am I doing too little or too much? Are the runs too slow or too fast? My mileage is a bit lower than at the same time last year, but of course I had to recover from those 30 miles at a strong pace 4 weeks ago. That was fine, until I remembered that last year I was working to being able to run 10 miles fast/20 miles/15 miles over Friday/Saturday/Sunday, and decided to up things a bit this weekend.

Friday's fast pace was shelved because I had inadvertently run that on Wednesday already. In fact, the legs felt a bit heavy early on, but came round very quickly. It was over the weekend that I upped to ant a bit, not 20/15, but 15/15, both times on the very hilly loop around Caragh Lake.

Saturday went very well indeed. I expected the legs to struggle on the big climbs during the first half, but I went up totally on autopilot, always a good sign. It had been raining and hail stoning over the first 5 miles but then the weather changed and I really enjoyed the beautiful sunny, calm day for the final 10 miles.

Sunday was always going to be more of a struggle. The legs might have felt fine after Saturday's run, but you never recover fully after only one day. I had to get up early, at 6:30, and was out of the door before 7 o'clock; the early start probably did not help. I still felt fine on the big hills but the legs definitely started dragging during the second half and while I got home still in fine shape, it was unquestionably a lot harder than all the runs since Sixmilebridge. They felt a bit sore for the rest of the day, which makes me wonder if the whole thing had been a bad idea.

Then again, the second leg of a back-to-back run is always tough. That's just the way it is. Anyway, what's done is done. I'll take it easy again early next week.

The reason for the early start today had been a trip to Dingle's climbing wall. Shea has been a regular recently, and today the entire family made the journey, including little Maia. There is some pedigree in that regard in my family, and all four of them kept climbing up and down for almost 90 minutes, Shea entirely without fear and the others with increasing confidence. It was great to see.

I just realised, I passed the 5000k mark this morning for 2011. I'll leave the champagne in the fridge, though.
16 Dec
10 miles, 1:18:39, 7:52 pace, HR 141
15+ miles, 1:56:40, 7:45 pace, HR 149
18 Dec
15+ miles, 1:59:41, 7:57 pace, HR 144

Weekly Mileage: 78+

Thursday, December 15, 2011


I thought I’d experienced just about every kind of weather that we get here in Kerry (often all of them within the same run), but Tuesday’s combination of gale force winds and hail stones was a new one, and a particularly nasty one at that. It had me howling in pain at one stage, getting pelted in the side of the face by a million needles just isn’t that great a feeling. After running through this, if there is any justice in the world I will have a great race in Connemara to make up for it.

Despite feeling great after Sunday’s 15 mile run, I had some pain in my left quads on Monday. I didn’t think too much of it, but when it was still there on Tuesday, I decided to be sensible and shortened the run to 8 miles (yes, that passes as sensible in my books). With the weather being as it was, that was more than enough.

Wednesday was different again, after a day and night of constantly being pelted by hails stones we awoke to a winter wonderland scene. I’m pretty sure it hadn’t been snowing at all and all the white stuff was indeed hail, but it didn’t stop the kids from throwing “snow balls” at each other, and Maia was satisfied that this was now winter (at the age of 4, she has now seen “snow” in Kerry every single winter. She obviously thinks that’s normal). But it was also the day of her Christmas play from pre-school, and I was told in no uncertain terms to take the day off work, so I would be able to attend – and since I have a whole load of untaken holidays left, I was in no position to argue (as if I had ever been!).

The play was mercifully short and I managed to run at lunch time. By then the rain had mostly cleared the slush off the road, but I made the same mistake I always do when running during the day. My perceived rate of effort is totally off and it took me 4 miles to realise that I had been running over half a minute per mile faster than planned, all the while blissfully unaware. To make sure that I would not push the recovery out more than necessary I cut the run short by a couple of miles for the second time in a row. I also heard very scary, loud, rolling thunder on two occasions, but never saw any lightning. I was about 3 miles away from home at the time but (correctly) figured that the storm would have passed by the time I would have made it back home, even if I had turned around there and then, so I kept running despite feeling rather anxious.

Today it was back to hail stones, but with the absence of gale force winds, it felt entirely tolerable. It’s amazing how quickly you adapt.

Life is very busy at the moment. I used to hate Christmas, mostly because of the rampant commercialism and cheap materialism, but with 4 young kids in the house there is still a bit of magic left.

12 Dec
10 miles, 1:19:09, 7:55 pace, HR 142
13 Dec
8 miles, 1:03:28, 7:56 pace, HR 146
14 Dec
10 miles, 1:13:20, 7:20 pace, HR 150
15 Dec
10 miles, 1:19:06, 7:55 pace, HR 141

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Ireland Runs For Charity

As a first for me, I recently received a query if I would allow a guest post on my blog. I thought, why not, and as a result Jackie wrote an article about running and raising charity money, especially for cancer charities. If you have any questions, she has provided her email address and would be delighted to answer any queries you might have. It is probably unnecessary to add, but all views are entirely her own, of course. Enjoy.

By: Jackie Clark (

Wellbeing and happiness are important to any person, and proper nutrition and exercise are key factors in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. For centuries, people have engaged in the activity of running for a variety of reasons; whether to escape danger or for pure enjoyment, it has served a purpose in human nature. Competitive running has been recorded as a contest of endurance in the Tailteann Games of Ireland in 1829 BC. The tradition continues under the sponsorship of Athletics Association of Ireland (AAI), which governs all athletic events from recreational running to professional competitions. Additionally, many novice and skilled runners participate in local, regional and national races for charitable causes.

Every year, Ireland hosts a number of philanthropic events to raise awareness and financially fund research efforts in the advancement of cures for many disorders and illnesses, such as mesothelioma. Mesothelioma is a form of cancer that affects the thin layer of tissue that covers a majority of the internal organs. This rare cancer is aggressive and deadly leaving many of its victims without successful treatment options. Mesothelioma life expectancy of patients receiving a late diagnosis is short because symptoms usually are not detected until decades after exposure. Though there is no cure, there are medicines and therapies to assist in extending the life of the patient burdened with this disease. Mesothelioma sufferers will be challenged physically and mentally; however, nutrition and activity are crucial in maintaining a healthy weight. Research is vital to the success of discovering new and effective treatments for mesothelioma, as well as other cancers. Donations and fundraising events are key contributors to support the medical community’s efforts in reaching the goal of a cure.

Run4Life is a charitable group that raises monies for the Irish Cancer Society, the largest, single-most charitable sponsor in Ireland. The Society participates in Mini-Marathons benefiting cancer research, as well as completes Marathons and other active events. The Dingle Marathon and Half Marathon, both of which take place September 1, 2012 benefits a number of different charities, including BlueSeptember, Share A Dream Foundation, Bee for Battens, and Aware.

Charitable fundraising events are beneficial for all involved. The average and experienced athletes can use this passion of running to do something worthwhile. They not only are able to enjoy a social group activity, but they can use their enthusiasm for health and exercise to potentially advance the health of others.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Party Time

Mick Rice recently pointed out that Connemara is only 3-and-a-bit months away. That's actually pretty close, certainly too close to start messing around now. Which is why I have to tread carefully when it come to this season's party time.

It started on Thursday with Cian's 8th birthday. This served as a reminder how quickly I'm getting old. It also provided Niamh with yet another opportunity to show off her mad cake decorating skills, creating a sweets guzzling monster – entirely appropriate for Cian, as everyone agreed. He duly loved it. As always, she bought far too much stuff for the party, which meant dinner that night consisted of chocolate, sweets, cake, crisps, buns and plenty of fizzy drinks; I actually had a sugar hangover an hour later, but that did not stop next morning's breakfast to consist of pretty much the same stuff.

And since one party is not enough, my office's Christmas do was on on Friday night. Since my usual bedtime is generally several hours before everybody else's, I tend to cry off halfway through the proceedings, but I surprised myself by staying strong until 2 o'clock in the morning, and the only reason I left then was that I had to drive to Cork the next morning and could not risk still being over the blood alcohol limit. There had not been any embarrassing scenes until that time; I suppose I should hear on Monday if they happened after I left.

In the midst of all the madness, only Saturday's run suffered when I stumbled through 5 miles with a hangover. I could have run more, neither the stomach nor the head felt any worse during the run itself, and neither improved after I stopped running. I'm getting too old for all that. My hangovers are lasting longer and longer.

Thankfully I felt pretty much recovered after 10 hours of sleep before Sunday (I had left Niamh in sole charge of the kids watching the X-Factor). After a long absence, I returned to the hills of the Caragh Lake loop. I expected the legs to suffer on the long 3-mile climb with almost 600 feet elevation gain, but in actual fact I managed to run up entirely on autopilot. The pace was pedestrian, which was probably a good thing. After several weeks of nothing but relaxed running I am starting to reach that stage where all the runs are starting to feel so easy that it feels like I'm not training any more, the miles are just flying by effortlessly. I got there last year under the coach's guidance, and now I've managed to get there by myself (ok, with a couple of gentle nudges from the coach who still keeps an eye on me). This happened pretty quickly, considering that 3 weeks ago I stormed through 30 miles in Sixmilebridge. Now I just have to keep myself from doing stupid things for a few more weeks, and then the next training phase can begin.

Congratulations to Grellan and everyone else who ran the Clonakilty marathon. Sorry I missed all the fun.
8 Dec
10 miles, 1:18:23, 7:50 pace, HR 146
9 Dec
10 miles, 1:18:10, 7:49 pace, HR 144
10 Dec
5 miles, 37:49, 7:34 pace, HR 147
11 Dec
15.1 miles, 1:58:51, 7:52 pace, HR 146

Weekly Mileage: 69+

Wednesday, December 07, 2011


In marked contrast to the weeks following the Dublin marathon, I have taken it very easy following the race in Sixmilebridge and the legs have been thanking me for it. While the log after Dublin has a smattering of “heavy legs” entries, they have been feeling fine every morning of the last two weeks. With the sensible decision of giving Clonakilty a miss, I am hoping they will have recovered from the year’s racing by New Year to be in a position to soak up the training that is to come in 2012.

Sunday had been a good bit faster than planned (still not sure what happened there – it certainly did not feel fast at the time), so Monday was always going to be easy. Even though I did not keep an eye on the Garmin and the run did not really feel all that different, it was half a minute per mile slower. Make of that what you will, but it sure shows that my present pace judgement isn’t something I would want to rely on.

Subjective feeling is one thing, cold and hard figures are another, and the way I get those figures are by doing an evaluation run. I very nearly skipped this on Tuesday because I kept waking in the middle of the night listening to the storm outside, and one thing I have learned is that you don’t get meaningful figures in those conditions. I even re-set the alarm at some stage. However, I happened to wake up just before 6 o’clock, it was quiet outside and I decided to give it a go after all.

The last evaluation showed some real problems and I was a bit apprehensive what the figures would be like this time round. One early plus point was that I managed to stay out of the blackberry bushes this time, and then the figures weren’t too bad. In fact, they were better than expected.

I ran the 4 miles at a HR 161 in 6:42, 6:50, 6:54, 6:53 and then the HR took 41 seconds at standstill to drop down to 130. The pace from the second mile on was very stable, so that is a definite plus and an improvement to previous evaluations. The overall pace was ok, I have run a couple of faster ones but a lot more slower ones. The recovery time, however, was definitely high; I have seen it around 32 seconds before. There is still some serious amount of deep fatigue lingering in the system (but then again, it was 45 seconds 3 weeks ago). I will do another evaluation in 2 weeks’ time, after some more easy running. Let’s see.

I followed it up this morning with 9 easy miles. The weather keeps throwing some challenges my way, but I suppose I must have been toughening up lately. I used to run a different, slightly more sheltered, route in these windy conditions; now I just get on with it on the Caragh Lake road. Still, an end to the rain would be nice. I can’t remember the last time I came home dry.

5 Dec
8 miles, 1:03:35, 7:57 pace, HR 137
6 Dec
12 miles, 1:26:16, 7:11 pace, HR 151
   4 mile eval: 6:42, 6:50, 6:54, 6:53 (normalised figures)
   41 seconds to 130
7 Dec
9 miles, 1:11:22, 7:56 pace, HR 139

Sunday, December 04, 2011


As the days are passing by, the clouds in my mind are starting to clear; the ones in the sky seem to multiply. The weather has been pretty bad lately and I don't think there is much improvement in sight. Better dig out the long sleeves again. It might not get icy this winter, but rain at close to 0 degree is worse.

There was a vintage cars rally on Saturday, and just like the "real" event they chose Caragh Lake as one of the stages - pretty much the exact route as my favourite running option, in fact. It meant getting up early or I would have been trapped in our driveway, but I was awake at 6 o'clock and since by 6:30 staring at the ceiling had lost its fascination I was out of the door even sooner than planned. With so much time on my hands, I decided to add a bit to the run and upped it to 10 miles. A couple of cars were indeed out on the course, but obviously not at race pace.

Today was the coldest day yet, the thermometer got stuck at 3C, the icy wind did not help and neither did the couple of rain showers, but thankfully neither lasted more than a few minutes. Maybe it was the crispy conditions that made me run faster. I did not even notice it, I never check the Garmin on those easy runs any more; it was until after I got back home that I realised that I had inadvertently gone under 7:30 pace. It had felt very easy, but the HR was a bit higher than the previous days. Had I paid more attention I would have noticed the higher effort, I suppose, but then again easy runs like that are my form of meditation, I just run while my brain is basically switched off.

3 Dec
10 miles, 1:16:46, 7:40 pace, HR 148
4 Dec
12 miles, 1:29:57, 7:29 pace, HR 149

Weekly Mileage: 62

Friday, December 02, 2011

Checking Progress

Some runners love their Garmins, others, usually older folk, hate them. Personally I’m firmly on the love side, but with reservations. I use it to monitor my workouts, not dictate them. As such, I find it a very helpful tool and one thing I always keep an eye out is the pace/HR ratio. I have a spreadsheet that spits out a VDOT number for virtually any pace/HR combination. The higher the VDOT the better, and as I get fitter during base training, the number gradually moves up (or, at least, that’s what it’s supposed to do).

In my previous blog entry I mentioned how that ratio had suddenly jumped up by a significant amount. Sadly, that did not last and the last few days have all yielded a much lower VDOT number. The outside factors were all fairly similar, plenty of rain, wind and cold as I ran the exactly same 8 miles each morning.

I do have a bit of a cold at the moment; I think it’s finally on its way out, but there are still some lingering effects. Nothing major, but it’s certainly a possible factor for the higher than expected HR.

Life goes on and training goes on. I have been taking it very easy since Sixmilebridge and as a result have not had any issues with heavy, tired legs that felt like a pair of concrete pillars, in contrast to the post-Dublin weeks. I would like to increase the mileage again, but right now the HR data keeps me from doing so. It’s already December, the next training phase is only a few weeks away and I want to make sure that I'm not tired at the very start of it.

All other 4-year olds I know, including my (now older) own ones, have to be coerced into eating vegetables by playing silly games. You know, pretending to be an aeroplane and landing in the mouth, that kind of caper. Maia, on the other hand, only got to be persuaded to eat her broccoli when mummy pointed out that they look just like alveoli. And if you just had to check wikipedia then I know a 4-year old who is smarter than you (and, admittedly, has an unusual obsession with the human body).

30 Nov
8 miles, 1:02:30, 7:49 pace, HR 145
1 Dec
8 miles, 1:02:14, 7:47 pace, HR 145
2 Dec
8 miles, 1:02:59, 7:52 pace, HR 144