Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Member Of The Team

I had missed out on my run on Thursday due to Met Eireann's overcautious warning, which meant that I would have two days of no running in succession because Friday would be taken up by travelling. I had already started my journey on Thursday when I headed up to Dublin straight from work to nab a few hours of sleep before having to get up disgustingly early, just after 4am, in order to make my flight at 7am. I don't mind getting up early for a long run, but this was just cruel. Not a lot of people wanted to subject themselves to that, which is why the plane to Vienna was almost empty.

As soon as I had arrived at the airport I got a rental car and headed for the Alps, not to enjoy the views (though I did manage that as well) but to visit my mum, which I don't manage very often. In the evening I drove for another couple of hours to Wels, about 100 miles west of Vienna, to get a few hours of sleep after a very, very long day.

The main reason for the journey was a team meeting of the Austrian national ultrarunning team. I had never met any of the other team members and was keen to meet them and also to introduce myself to them. I did not want to turn up on the eve of the World Championship and meet a group of total strangers; it would not have felt like a team.

We spent Saturday morning doing Lactate tests on a treadmill. I got the result only a day later (I'll save you the trouble and say it myself - germanic efficiency at work) and my lactate curve is absolutely textbook style, which is a good sign but leaves little room for obvious improvements in my training (I had not expected any major revelations). The afternoon was taken up with a series of lectures (stretching, nutrition, regeneration) and of course a run with the team. I went out with the middle group and the tempo was steady but kept increasing subtly all the time until someone complained (not me!), at which point it all calmed down again. My watch said almost 10 miles when we got back, so I did a loop around the car park to get to an even number. Old habits die hard.

There were more lectures on Sunday (functional training) and another long run where I opted for the slower group (no need to show off). We met back at the HQ after 12 miles, took a group photo and headed out again, this time at rather sharper pace, though looking at the graphs now it was never particularly fast, though I did have quite a few miles in my legs by that time, which would probably explain why it felt faster than it actually was.

The meeting ended after lunch and a few words by the team manager, I drove back to Vienna to spend some time with my sister before catching my flight back home on Monday morning (this one was packed to the rafters). I did not get home until almost midnight, which made this a very long and rather tiring weekend, but I am very glad I did this. I do actually feel a member of the team now, which wasn't really the case beforehand. I am really looking forward to April now. This is promising to be quite the experience.

17 Jan
am: 5+ miles, ~42 minutes; lactate test on treadmill
pm: 10 miles, 1:16:01, 7:36 pace, HR 154
18 Jan
17.5 miles, 2:26:53, 8:23 pace, HR 136
19 Jan
8.5 miles, 1:10:44, 8:18 pace
20 Jan
8 miles, 1:07:37, 8:27 pace, HR 136


  1. Great to heat that you got some time with the rest of the team. Will you be tweaking your training thanks to insights gained?

  2. No, my training will remain as it is. I had a chat with the team manager and he okayed everything I was planning to do.

  3. What's the running profile of your team mates? Is there many in the team and how did they react to a Austrian Kerryman running with them? Best of luck

  4. I'm sure your teammates appreciated you making the trip. Pretty cool to have that lactate test - even if it didn't show you need to reverse the ageing process to get faster ;)