Sunday, December 28, 2014

Winter Running

As I'm sure you are already very much aware, Ireland has a rather moderate climate and outside conditions are just about never a proper excuse not to go running. All the way back in January I missed one run because of thunder and lightning, but that's the total sum of environmentally caused training interruptions for the year. Winter running can have its challenges from time to time, from all those dark hours to winter storms, but on the whole conditions here are very much suited to running all year round.

I felt a bit flat on Christmas Day, which I could not quite explain. Surely those four faster miles from the evaluations wouldn't have had such an effect on my legs? I didn't pig out over the holidays either, so maybe it was just one of those days. Friday was a bit character-forming early on with gale force winds blowing the heavy rain in sideways but conditions improved as the miles ticked by and by the end the rain had stopped (the wind was still a bit of a challenge).

It made the much improved conditions over the weekend all the sweeter. I waited out one rather hefty rain shower on Saturday morning and then headed out into unexpectedly nice weather. I did have to contend with a couple of rain showers, this is still Kerry after all, but I did 19 miles around the lake feeling rather good. The slower pace can be very frustrating at times but it sure is easier on the legs.

Sunday was very much a surprise. It was the first run in sub-zero conditions this winter but the sun was out (I even needed my shades) and it was crispy clear and fresh, and running was a sheer pleasure. The legs felt fine and did not mind the miles over the last few days.

However, I would have hoped I would be used to the Maffetone pace by now but that is not the case. I can cruise along when it's flat but as soon as the road climbs or the wind comes from the front, the HR alarm almost invariably starts beeping, no matter how easy I'm trying to run. When encountering a climb my instinct is to attack it; now I have to do the opposite and ease up considerably. It still does not work on the steep climbs around the lake, on those I'm just resigned that the watch will keep on beeping at me until I reach the top.

My numbers are going backwards. That's to be expected, and is pretty much the point of this type of training. The body is returning to base line, which has to be done because you cannot keep it in a sharpened state forever. Still, it doesn't make great reading when you churn out over 80 miles over a week and see your number declining. Of course, it is a long game. The aim is to step back so that you can reach a higher peak once you start building again. It has worked for me exceptionally well in the past, and it will work again.

Despite all that, I will commit a sin against the system on Thursday and run our club's 10k race on New Year's Day. I'm usually away in Dublin for that and really feel I cannot miss it this year when I happen to be around. Let's hope the old body will cope. I sure don't expect a stellar time - I can't even remember the last time I actually tried to run fast.
25 Dec
10 miles, 1:20:25, 8:03 pace, HR 139
26 Dec
10 miles, 1:23:07, 8:18 pace, HR 138
27 Dec
19 miles, 2:36:20, 8:13 pace, HR 140
28 Dec
13 miles, 1:46:04, 8:09 pace, HR 138
Weekly Mileage: 84


  1. A lot of self doubt there thomas, not like you.

  2. I think you'll surprise yourself on New Year's Day Thomas. As they say in the Jeep ads, don't hold back!