Sunday, December 21, 2014

Train, Don't Strain

It was another one of those very difficult decisions and I have been mulling over it for a couple of months but I eventually decided, with a very heavy heart, that I won't be running in this year's Ballycotton. It is too close to the championships for a 10 miler, which is a vastly different event from a 24 hours race and I could not possibly hope to be in decent shape for both. I don't want to do Ballycotton without at least an outside chance of getting into the top 100 and I guess that will have to wait until 2016 (yes, I will be even older and by then, I know).

With the all-clear from the cardiologist, normal training has started again. My running has been rather stop-start in recent months with the hamstring niggles and then the heart scare. The championship is still almost 4 months away and if I can get a clear run at training, I will be fine but I sure could do without any further issues.

Actually, I am presently dealing with some minor issue, namely a cold virus that seems hard to shift but doesn't affect me too badly.

Considering that I had a sore throat, a (mild) headache and was not feeling particularly well, Thursday's run went pretty well, especially considering the gale force wind and occasional rain. I know there will be some of you thinking I'm an idiot from running in the wind and rain despite having a cold, and you well may have a point, but then it's this kind of idiocy that got me into next year's championship (and you've got to be an idiot to be running 24 hour races anyway).

Friday was a very similar run on the same course but under more pleasant conditions and I also felt a lot better as regards to that cold. The one remarkable thing about that run was the extremely low heart rate. I have run in the 120s before on a couple of occasions but those were recovery runs at excessively slow pace (slower than 9-minute pace); this one was new.

I didn't quite manage to keep the HR sl low over the weekend, but that was never going to happen on a run over the steep and long climbs of the Caragh lake loop. I pretty much accepted the fact that the watch would keep on beeping at me, just took it very easy. The pace is a lot slower than what I usually run, but it does leave my legs in a very fresh condition and even 17 miles are just a walk in the park. I did notice, however, that I found it hard to keep the HR down below the alarm threshold on the last 5 miles, which are fairly flat and part of my normal running route. on Thursday and Friday I had no problems with the alarm even when climbing a few minor hills. Late into my long runs, those same hills at the same effort level had the watch beeping.

Sunday was a lovely morning with the weather much better than the forecast had predicted. I ran through Killorglin and onto Ballykissane pier, an almost historic route. There are loudspeakers out in town covering the area with Christmas music; to be honest, I much prefer the AC/DC they played in Sixmilebridge during the double marathon last month. I ran just a tad too fast; on the way back home, against a stiff headwind, it was very hard to keep the watch quiet and I think I got desensitised towards the beeping after a while, which is of course not quite what I'm looking for when I'm talking about adapting.

Running at that effort level doesn't really feel like training. As Robert keeps pointing out, this is still faster than the pace I will be running in April. Still, this is slower than my 100k pace(!!!) and on fresh legs it sometimes feels like I'm wasting a perfectly good workout. I do, however, remember training for the Vienna marathon under MC's guidance, and "not feeling like training" was exactly what he wanted to hear during base training, so I guess I may well be on the right track this time.

18 Dec
10 miles, 1:24:25, 8:26 pace, HR 135
19 Dec
10 miles, 1:24:18, 8:25 pace, HR 129
20 Dec
17 miles, 2:21:18, 8:18 pace, HR 141
21 Dec
13 miles, 1:45:44, 8:07 pace, HR 139

Weekly Mileage: 82


  1. Good progress Thomas. I hope the organisers whip out some acca dacca for you in Torino! MC's "not feeling like training" is a great quote.

  2. Nothing wrong with that base training. I'll be following your training with interest over the next few months. Good decision about ballycotton too. Are you planning any warm up events before the championship's?

  3. I see from the dailymile widget that you've now done your evaluation. Figures look pretty reasonable pace wise, but not as good as the last. I would suspect your illness and heart scare and lack of training runs around that period will have an affect so it'd be impossible to know how much is down to this blip or taking the pace down during training.

    Once you are fully recovered from the blip and got your confidence back I'd suggest retaining the long slow runs+recovery runs paced at as close to race pace as you can and then let your workout runs in between be a higher intensity - polarising your training more. The high intensity stuff to maximize your aerobic fitness, and the slow stuff to maximize recovery, fat burning and running economy at race pace.

    Oh, your slow stuff is still too fast, challenge yourself to a 10 min/mile 10+ miler, it'll probably be your toughest workout yet!

    Merry Christmas :-)

    1. Actually, MC had told me beforehand that my evaluations would slow down. It shows that your body is returning back to base level and not because of a virus or break in training.

      I still don't think running at 10 minute pace on fresh legs is going to improve things - sorry, we'll just have to disagree on that one!