Sunday, May 17, 2015

Progress, Definite

I have been whinging and whining more than enough over the last few weeks about my lack of progress. Fact is that recovery from Turin took much longer than I would have thought, especially when compared to how it went after Belfast where I ran almost 10k more (MC, on the other hand, wasn't surprised at all). 7 weeks after Belfast I ran the Dingle Ultra and came third after finishing strongly; 7 weeks after Turin I'm supposed to pace 3:15 in the Cork City marathon, which right now fills me with dread and horror!

After the faster few miles on Wednesday I was curious how the next few days would go. My past experience has shown that my HR often drops quite a bit in the days after the first one or two faster workouts, but since the last few weeks had been so different to my usual recovery patterns I wasn't quite sure if I had any right to expect a similar outcome.

I was pleasantly surprised how the legs felt on Thursday; there was no stiffness from those faster miles, though I knew perfectly well that that could still be in store the next day. I barely dared to hope when I saw the (relatively - it's all relative) low HR - would that downward trend continue?

Yes it would! I only ran 8 miles on Friday, unusually restrained for myself, and the average HR dropped below 140 for the first time since Turin! I know the pace was rather slow, but I knew straight away that things were looking good when I went over the first few hills without the watch beeping at me. Saturday's run was very similar, back to the usual 10 miles and with an even lower HR - albeit at the same slow pace.

At that point there was no doubt that things were finally looking up again. Emboldened by that progress I decided to run a first long (relatively - it's all relative) run on Sunday. The plan was 15 miles but after one loop through Killorglin I decided to go closer to home and criss-cross around the local roads so that I would be able to bale out earlier if I had to. The legs held up pretty well until 12 or 13 miles but when the deterioration started it happened very quickly and the last 2 miles weren't all that much fun. It wasn't just the legs - even when I was running really slowly the watch's HR alarm kept beeping at me, relentlessly. Swearing at the watch had remarkably little effect so eventually I just turned off the alarm (yes, I know, the sensible thing would have been to slow down even more). The numbers actually look quite good. The HR was fine and the pace a bit quicker than usual (a bit surprised by that - I went out at the same easy effort), but the lack of endurance is a bit of a worry. Right now I do have my doubts if I will be able to pace in Cork - but I won't give up hope just yet. I have felt doubtful before previous pacing jobs and they always went well in the end, so I first want to give myself every chance to do it. I still have 2 weeks and with the form curve finally pointing upwards all is not lost yet.
14 May
10 miles, 1:24:15, 8:25 pace, HR 140
15 May
8 miles, 1:08:10, 8:31 pace, HR 139
16 May
10 miles, 1:25:15, 8:31 pace, HR 136
17 May
15 miles, 2:03:16, 8:13 pace, HR 143


  1. Great to see progress. It's cutting it a bit fine for Cork though. I'm sure you'll be able to complete the marathon in 3:15, but at what cost?

    The safe thing to do would be to elect for a slow pace band, even if it does turn out that you are capable enough to do 3:15 on the day you'll be fretting about it till you turn up for the race.

    The spartathon is such a huge undertaking making sure you can make the most of training has to be priority, a 3:30 marathon would allow you to recover quicker, and would be a tad closer to your final race pace.

  2. Rob Os is talking sense. Why put yourself under pressure for a pacing gig when you the biggest race of your life ahead of you in Sept? (the phrase "biggest race of your life" seems to get bigger for you every year.)

  3. Good to hear Thomas. I'm sure you'll be fine with the pacing gig.

  4. Big progress in a few time...!