Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Sunrise, Sunset

Running twice a day means you are on your feet a lot. I'm starting to learn that. I have no issues with fatigue or overtraining (at least not yet), but the next run is never far away. Running in the evening also has the disadvantage that you have all day to come up with an excuse not to run. So far I have always managed to overcome any attacks of laziness. The only day I didn't run in the evening was Sunday and that had been planned all along because I had already done a long run in the morning.

I can see the sunrise every morning and I'm out again when it's getting close to sunset. In a way that's a neat symmetry.

There are other immediate benefits as well. My weight is coming down, and considering that we just had the Easter weekend makes that a minor miracle. I have 4 children but bought chocolate for 8, as always, and of course ended up eating most of the extra chocolate myself, as always. Despite that the weight is still falling off me. In fact, for someone with a sweet tooth this is basically a lottery win. I can eat what I want without feeling guilty, and after being fairly monk-like in my nutritional approach since New Year this is positively liberating (I'll clean up my act again in time, don't worry). I also sleep pretty well.

I measured my resting HR a few days ago. It was down to 38, about 5 beats lower than it had been for most of last year and the second-lowest reading I have ever seen. The lowest had been 5 years ago at 36, though interestingly enough that was followed by a disappointing marathon.

It's the season of gorse fires and I have run past 3 still smoldering fields in the last few days but so far have not had to adapt any running routes. God, I hate that stupid tradition.

I am going through a ton of running gear. I have more t-shirts than fit into my wardrobe but I'm chronically short on shorts and socks. Half the time I am putting them on straight off the washing line.

This is all just fluff, of course. The real question is, will running twice a day make me a better runner. For that I will have to find a way to keep that schedule going once school starts again, which is still an open issue.

So far the legs are feeling very good. Because I want to get used to the new stressors first, most of the runs are still easy runs, which helps with the adaptation. I made one exception this morning when I went into the mountains again for a double crossing of Windy Gap. The weather forecast had been lousy but instead I got treated to a beautiful sunrise to match the stunning scenery, which is a very nice, unexpected bonus. I do question, however, how I ever managed to run the Gap 4 times in one run last year. I must have been in good shape.

21 Apr
am: 10 miles, 1:15:35, 7:33 pace, HR 138
pm: 5 miles, 36:57, 7:23 pace, HR 142
22 Apr
am: 10 miles, 1:16:03, 7:36 pace, HR 137
pm: 5+ miles, 37:06, 7:20 pace, HR 138
23 Apr
am: 12+ miles, 1:47:58, 8:49 pace, HR 144, Windy Gap x 2
pm: 5 miles, 37:12, 7:26 pace, HR 139


  1. Impressive training there Thomas. It'll be interesting to see what effect two runs per day has ok.
    Now, if you get a minute, your opinion on this would be appreciated:off a marathon PB of 3.09 (7.13 per mile), McMillan Running Calculator has me at 6.59.19 (8.23 per mile) for a 50-miler (forthcoming Staplestown). Perhaps a more telling harbinger is a 5.13 in Conne Ultra. I know predicting ultras is a bit of a roll of the dice, but is a ballpark figure of a 7-hour target realistic for the 50, do you think? And, in your experience, even- 8.23ish miles would be the best way of going about this - not banking time? I've run two mid 3.20ish comfortable marathons since Conne, so the base seems solid.Cheers.

    1. In 2010 I ran 5:15 in Connemara and 7:28 5 months later in Dingle, though Staplestown will be a much easier and probably faster course. Predicting ultras is always difficult, like you said. Sub-7 for 50 miles isn't completely out of the question but would be a massive result - look at it as the gold target if everything is perfect on the day.

      A solid base is good. Crucial, in fact, but you're good to go.

      Pacing, again, is tricky. Almost everyone starts way too fast. In Connemara I was storming through the field in the last few miles despite having slowed down myself. However, if 8:23 pace feels so slow that it's awkward at the start then I wouldn't necessarily recommend that you run that slowly.

      You can expect virtually everyone to slow down in the second half though. I wouldn't recommend banking time as such, but you will run faster at the start than at the end.

      8 minute miles at the start and then see how that goes? I'll take no responsibility if things go pear-shaped, though! ;)

    2. Cheers for that Thomas , see you there, all the best, Andrew

  2. Good training Thomas, I'm doing similar double runs (a little less maybe) but adding a lot of hills because of my location. I find with the double runs I'm missing my rest days so I'm concentrating on nutrition & sleep to compensate for them. My biggest problem is I'm getting blisters on the soles of my feet, something I never did before. There sore & uncomfortable but they don't stop me running of slow my pace. One or two have started to reside so I'm hoping my feet will toughen up soon enough :-) Andrew I was only a few seconds behind you in connamara, I think 7 hrs is very achievable, I'm a similar pace 3:10 marathon pb, when I did the double in sixmilebridge I aimed for a 3:30 half but had a bad last 10 miles on a dodgie ankle & painkillers. I think I was over 11 min miles for much of the last quarter. But I'm a "banker" At the start of a race. & as Thomas will tell you what you gain banking miles at the start will cost you in the second half. In Connemara I had a plan started at 7.2 min miles but 4 miles in I could not resist dropping to 6.2 so the lesson I learned is stick to the plan no matter how good a faster pace feels, good look in staplestown.

    1. thanks for that underdog, hope the blisters clear -)

  3. Awesome training, Thomas, and I'm sure two runs a day will bring dividends!