Monday, August 05, 2013


The other day I inadvertently found a new way to wind Niamh up. I innocently picked up a measuring tape that she has left lying around and, as you do, wrapped it around my waist. The screams of jealousy from herself when she saw that it stopped at 29 inches were something else.

The last week before the Big Race has arrived. Obviously I'm not doing any more real training, but I kinda feel that I haven't done any real training since the 10in10 anyway because all I have been doing since then was recovering. Of course the 10in10 was always meant to be the big training push for Connemara, so this is all going to plan. If it's a good plan will be revealed.

There was no soreness after Friday's race, in contrast to last week, thanks to the flat course no doubt. I'm still surprised that I managed to run under 6-minute pace without any speedwork whatsoever. I'm a bit curious what time I could run in a 5k after 4 or 5 weeks of specific training at this point, but that's not going to happen. What I'm doing is basically the complete opposite of 5k specific training.

On Sunday and Monday I tried to dial into ultra effort. I ran very slowly, shuffling rather than running, and on Sunday I walked most of the uphill segments. It took the 5 most boring miles of my life to get into it, but once I tuned into the rhythm I was okay, in fact I zoned out so much that I completely forgot about walking the uphills. The same happened this morning, I intended to walk a couple of uphill segments again but again completely forgot about it as I was way back in my own little bubble shuffling away. I guess that's a good sign, in Connemara I will have to completely zone out and shuffle along, otherwise I'll never be able to run for 17 or 18 (or however long it will take) hours in a row. I sure won't lose any sleep if I'm so far in the zone that I forget to walk.

The pace was still faster than what I will be doing in Connemara; just to point it out, averaging 9-minute miles would break the National Irish record by over 15 minutes, and that's obviously not going to happen. But I'm pretty sure that if I start out at 9-minute pace I'll be at the back of the field. The main advantage of that is that I will not get sucked into any silly battles up front. Suits me just fine.
3 Aug
5 miles, 39:17, 7:51 pace, HR 136
4 Aug
10 miles, 1:29:07, 8:54 pace, HR 128
5 Aug
5 miles, 43:01, 8:36 pace, HR 134


  1. Mick has run this in 14hours 27mins and 6 seconds in 2010. Thats 8min40s/mileing. You'll have to replan your pacing Thomas.
    Best of luck and enjoy. MO.

  2. I often do the shuffle. Not always by choice though... But I do think I'm quite an efficient shuffler and can carry on for many miles like that.

  3. That was a great patience run!! remember to relax in the first 50 miles!! You ll do great on that one!

  4. I found practising ultra race pace really useful, especially the mixed run/walk. I found using my HR monitor as a really good guide to when to walk and when to run, I just set myself a max HR not to exceed and just pace myself to stick just below this.

    I used this strategy in training as well for last Saturday's Devil O'Highlands and it worked extremely well - I finished much faster than I expected, finished strong and never had any dips along the way. Reviewing my %split for the various legs I found that my % were extremely close to that of previous winners, suggesting that when they run well they tend run evenly paced races, although likely not watching a HR like me.

    The big question was high HR to choose for the race, I based this on average HR for different distances that I've run - the shorter the race the higher the average HR I've been able to sustain, it's fit's quite a nice curve. For me the average HR to aim for was 158 to 159, so as long as stayed below 160bpm, ~15bpm below my lactate threshold I new I wasn't pushed on too hard.

    It would be interesting to see what your average HR's have been for different distances, in particular the 24hr and shorter Connemara races would probably be the key points to work between. Your average will obviously be lower than the your max HR, but I think the ideal would be keep the max HR not far above the average, similarly spending too much time with low HR is probably inefficient. The exception to this is run/walk as walking is more efficient calorie wise than running, so rather than shuffle too slowly when running just run comfortably and walk occasionally.

    I'm still writing up my race report, hopefully get it finished before Connemara!

  5. Love the shuffle. Cliff Young won Sydney to Melbourne that way.

    I think specific 5k training is only going to give you another 10-15 seconds (over what you'd run if you tapered for a 5k). If you're going for a mile PB though, specific 800/1500 training would make a big difference.

  6. Best of luck Saturday Thomas!
    Enjoy the drive home afterwards! :-P

  7. Best of luck thomas don't forget the potato cakes