Friday, January 04, 2013


For some reason I remember last year's hill sessions as a period of unbridled joy where I felt better and better with each day and which built the springboard for the great 2012 I've had. That's why I added a hill phase into this year's training as well; if something works so well, it's clearly worth doing again.

However, this time round I could not by any means stretch of the imagination call those hill drills anything resembling joy, so I eventually checked my log for last year and discovered that my memory was clearly playing tricks on me (must be yet another sign of old age). I hated the drills just as much as I do right now. Actually, that's good news. Last year went very well, so if this particular phase right now feels the same, I might be on my way towards another great year, who knows.

Obviously, the race on New Year's Day shows that I am in much better shape than at the same time last year. A year ago I ran the same race and was quote pleased with my time; this time I ran a whopping 27 seconds faster! The one worry I have is that this is all too good too soon, but the exact same danger applied to last year; I even have an email from MC for proof. I had already seen plenty of signs during training that I was running about 8 or 9 seconds per mile faster than last year and funnily enough that race fell into exactly those parameters.

By the way, I checked my mile splits from that race, which turned out to be a bit tricky on Garmin connect, and I took 1.02 "Garmin miles" as one mile in reality. That gave me splits of 5:34, 5:52 and 5:52, which is actually much more even that I usually run 5ks; I usually start at more suicidal pace and hang on for dear life at the end. Even so, that first mile might still be the fastest one I've ever run on even ground (I have run faster miles downhill), but compared to previous races I was able to hold the pace much better towards the end.

I have been asked this a few times by now and yes, I do want to run under 2:55 in Tralee. In fact, I am hoping to run a little bit faster than that. Obviously, there are parameters I won't be able to control like the weather on race day, but that's beside the point. I will do my best to be at the start line in my best possible shape.

I took it exceptionally easy the day after the race and only ran 6 miles, just to be doubly sure that I wouldn't be overdoing things when I should be recovering. The journey back home to Kerry was uneventful and on Thursday morning I was back on my usual hill doing drills once more. I did notice that the high knees drill is feeling significantly easier already; the one I am still struggling with is "driving with the thighs". On the plus side, there won't be many more of these drills; I am already transitioning into the next phase. Until last week running long repeats at 6:15 pace would have sounded like torture and bordering on the impossible. After those two races over the holiday period I am looking forward to those kind of workouts with a much more relaxed attitude. At the very least my confidence levels have risen substantially and that's never a bad thing.

2 Jan
6 miles, 46:18, 7:42 pace, HR 140
3 Jan
10.2 miles, 1:32:17, 9:02 pace, HR 139
   Hill Drills: strides, high knees, ankles, thigh drive
4 Jan
8 miles, 1:01:01, 7:37 pace, HR 139

1 comment:

  1. 5:34 is quick. Got out the calculator to make sense of it - under 5:12 for 1500m. That'd be very competitive here for an M40 track race.

    Keep enjoying those hill drills. Must try them myself!