Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Tapering? Already?

The weight issue is not going away, apparently. The other day Niamh disappeared into the bathroom, stepped onto the weighing scales and accused me of being anorexic whilst looking just a tad annoyed. Ah well.

Sunday's mountain run took less out of me than expected. It really is amazing how quickly the body can adapt. Only four weeks ago a shorter session had me almost crippled for a week, now I can do significantly tougher workouts without being particularly affected the next day.

That's not to say that I didn't feel the hills in my legs at all. There was definitely some soreness on Monday and some stiffness on Tuesday, but compared to last month the difference was truly remarkable. Actually, I would have been worried if I had felt no soreness at all - good workouts produce some aches, otherwise there won't be adaptation.

After taking it very easy on Monday and Tuesday (not only was I recovering, this is also the start of the taper), I ran 10 faster miles this morning on the Killorglin loop. It was a beautiful morning, sunny and no wind, just perfect in time for the solstice. I haven't done any tempo runs in a while - you can't do everything. I can clearly see that the faster paces have suffered. The workout wasn't bad, I averaged 6:44 pace after easing into it over the first mile, but compared to the shape I was in only four short months ago, this is disappointing. Back then I would have been able to run about 20 seconds per mile faster with the same effort. Of course, I wasn't training to churn out great tempo runs recently. It shows.

I tried to break in a new pair of shoes that I am considering for Bangor. They gave me a hot spot. They might still come good but it's the first time in several years I have come even close to having a blister.

"Can't do everything" could stand in as the theme of the entire training cycle. There were less than three months between Connemara and Bangor and between recovering from the former and tapering for the latter it did not leave an awful lot of room for training. I managed to squeeze in three marathons and an adventure race, so I'm sure my endurance is rather decent. But I never got in those really long runs I had been planning on doing (real life interfering didn't help. I do have a wife, a job and four young children) and my overall mileage was fairly modest because I spent much of the intervening weeks recovering from those efforts.

Bangor is only 16 days away. The training has been done and any heroic workouts now would just backfire. I'll just have to work with what I've got.

18 Jun
5 miles, 40:12, 8:02 pace, HR 137
19 Jun
5 miles, 38:56, 7:47 pace, HR 143
20 Jun
10 miles, 1:07:21, 6:44 pace, HR 163


  1. i was interested to see what type of training u would do for bangor. i expected lots of 5 and 6 hour back to back long runs but u were obviously confident enough to rely on the pacing gigs and the brandon race. fitness won't be a issue for you, just a matter of getting the head around the 24 hours- again that shouldn't be a problem as you will have back up team and your 25/5 method is sound. u are a braver man than the rest of us. my wife has a fit if i even mention connemara ultra!!! ;-)
    what will your mileage aims be in bangor/

    1. It's not a confidence thing. I did those back-to-back 4/5/6 hour long runs for Dingle 2 years ago and I think I ran the race slower as a result. I simply was not able to recover from weekend to weekend. That's why I relied on marathons instead, and I was always very careful to recover afterwards; hence the modest overall mileage.

      While I do have a mileage figure in mind, I try to ignore it as much as I can. Too many people stop giving their best once they reach their mileage goal in fixed time races. On the other hand, the number I have in my head might sound like boasting. Either way, I just want to keep going for as long as I can and accept whatever mileage comes out of that.

  2. I'm sure all the pacing gave you more than enough distance and you are ready for a good race. I'm always amazed at how our bodies can adapt. Enjoy the taper!

  3. I wouldn't be too disappointed about a one-off poor tempo run. With the leg strength you have from the hills they'd come around in a few weeks if you ran them regularly - better than they were before.

    P.S. time to hide the scales ;)