Yesterday, on the long drive from Kerry to Dublin, Niamh asked me my 3 greatest achievements of 2012 and I responded with "coming top 10 in Connemara, top 10 in Dingle and finishing second place in a National Championship race", to which she complained that all these are running related, so I changed it to "all of the above while still remaining married to her", which she agreed was some sort of achievement, alright.
Purely from a running point of view, 2012 certainly surpassed my expectations by quite some margin and I'm obviously hoping for more of the same in 2013 (apart from losing a race in a sprint finish, maybe. I could have done without that). I'm in excellent shape already as the St.Stephen's Day race has shown, now I have to try and carry that into the marathon in March. I pretty much have most of my season planned in my head already, but right now I'm focusing on Tralee only, so I won't go into any detail on what is in store after that.
I just ran my 3400th mile of the year this morning and obviously there are still two more days to come. It's not my highest annual mileage ever but it's close, and if things continue to go well I'm about to get into the best shape of my life (so far); the year is definitely ending on a high.
The last few days have shown that I need to be careful, though. I ran reasonably easy on Thursday, following Wednesday's race, but the heavy legs on Friday told me that it was probably still too fast. I did a hill session on Friday, despite the tired quads, because experience from previous years tells me that those hill drills train slightly different muscles than normal running, and it's possible for your "normal" running muscles to recover while those "new" muscles are taking a bit of a beating. I certainly found some of the drills rather tough. Bouncing off the ankles is easy, but high knees and driving with the thighs (the same drills as MC had me doing when I was training for Vienna 2 years ago) are really tough. It definitely shows some weakness in those areas. I took it exceptionally easy this morning, because the legs had to recover not only from the race and the hills but also the long car journey.
There is another race here in Dublin on New Year's Day, a 5k in Phoenix Park. I ran reasonably well last year in 18:22; I can't help but wonder what I can do this year with my improved form. I will be racing on tired legs because I'm not interrupting my marathon training for a 5k; still, I'm definitely looking forward to it.
- 27 Dec
- 8 miles, 1:00:43, 7:35 pace, HR 142
- 28 Dec
- 10 miles, 1:31:52, 9:11 pace, HR 143
Hill Drills: strides, thigh drive, ankles, high knees
- 29 Dec
- 8 miles, 1:02:43, 7:50 pace, HR 141