Wednesday, April 16, 2014


There are different kind of splits that we get to look at today. First of all, my 13.1-mile splits from Connemara:

1:33:51 (16th) 1:34:43 (14th)  1:40:35 (6th)

That's quite interesting I think. Despite slowing down by well over 6 minutes my third split was way better relative to the field than the other two. Of course, 6 minutes isn't too bad considering the two major hills, that mad headwind as well as the fatigue, but an ideal run would have seen me doing a faster final third. Mind, the only runner to pass me was Thomas Klimas, who has the highly unusual distinction of having run the final third faster than the previous two. The next best runner to achieve that came 93rd!

The other splits were the mile splits from the 5k last Sunday:

5:35 5:52 6:00

That's the third time I've started a 5k with exactly the same mile split of a 5:35 split. Weird. The second mile is a bit disappointing. I think had I known that I was so close to my PB I might have been able to push a bit harder. The third was actually okay, considering that it included the hill. Mind, I did lose 3 places there, so maybe not so okay after all.

There is one other thing that seems to have split that day, namely the muscle fibres around my lumbar spine. It's actually quite ironic. My main target for Sunday's race had been not to get injured. In that I succeeded, only to do my back in when mowing the grass later that day. It wasn't one specific moment, I just noticed at some point that my back was hurting but kept on going, after all there was a lawn to be done. Big mistake as it turns out, come evening I was in absolute agony.

I have had back trouble before. It's very painful but does go away after a few days. Running doesn't have any effect on it, neither positive nor negative. Sitting down is the major problem, which isn't ideal if you have a desk job as you might imagine. Interestingly, the supposedly comfy chairs in the office's conference room are by far the worst; I had a meeting there yesterday and became more and more uncomfortable until I was squirming in agony. Cycling is poison too, due to its sitting posture. Unfortunately it's my only way of getting in and out of work, but I'm in agony after each 5 mile journey.

Running has been on the back burner, less because of the post-race recovery but more because of my back. I had initially planned on doing a mountain run on Wednesday but postponed that. Seeing as running doesn't seem to make any difference at all it's probably unnecessary caution.

It's a shame as I have the run of the house this week. I could have been running as much as I wanted without having to mind that gaggle of misbehaving children that Niamh keeps insisting are all mine. Ah well. I did go running twice a day on Tuesday and Wednesday, though. The RPE was the same but the pace for the evening runs was about half a minute per mile faster. Interesting but entirely expected, it's what happens every time (not that I do much running in the evening, owing to the aforementioned little treasures).

14 Apr
5 miles, 41:30, 8:18 pace, HR 132
15 Apr
am: 5 miles, 39:01, 7:48 pace, HR 136
pm: 5+ miles, 36:54, 7:18 pace, HR 143
16 Apr
am: 6+ miles, 47:54, 7:51 pace, HR 136
pm: 5+ miles, 37:36, 7:27 pace, HR 141


  1. People might scoff at the gardening being the cause and not the running but it's probably the most physically demanding and damaging type of activity there is. Sitting down in front of a PC/laptop comes second. The wife's shoulder is hammered from the latter while I have found running to be a relief after a day spent digging garden beds. Best of luck with that Thomas. A trip to the physio and a massage awaits?

  2. I have a bit of back strain too... not from running but moving and building stuff around the house. Like you I can do a tough run and my back won't bother me, feels like good therapy.

    As for the splits, apart from the dip when you had a tough patch the final half marathon was done at really high level of effort, the HR trace shows just how well you were able to push on. Given this strong finish I suspect most of the extra split time was down to the terrain and wind, in fact wouldn't be surprised if your effort level would have seen a negative split on flatter ground and lighter winds.

    The influence of terrain and weather is why I now prefer going by HR to judge the appropriate effort level rather than splits.

    For your own racing working out what caused the low point and seeing how you might avoid this in future races will likely be useful. At Connemara I expect the low point the lower HR actually helped your body digest fluids and energy which once you got into a better mental place you could then use. However, time lost in this low point will likely be greater than the time recovered in the subsequent charge. Perhaps eating a little less would have stressed your body less, not slowed you down so much, but still been sufficient for a strong finish.