Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Progress, Or Is It?

After Saturday's mountain run it was always clear that I would need a few days to recover. The legs never actually felt sore but there was a a certain amount heaviness in each step that could not be denied. I also brought a memento from the trail with me in the form of a hurting right ankle. I had already noticed that it wasn't 100% when I almost went over it on the uneven, stony mountain road. Luckily I made it back down without incident but for the next few days it started hurting a few miles into each run, not bad but clearly noticeable. It finally seems to have cleared up on Wednesday.

Sunday, Monday and Tuesday were similar in that they were all slow, easy 10 mile runs in heavy gale force winds and on heavy legs, as mentioned. The HR was way higher than I would have wanted on every single one of them, which was partially attributable to the conditions but mostly to the legs just not coming round from Turin.

I was string to get both pissed off and worried about the lack of progress in my recovery. The race was well over 4 weeks ago and surely there should have been some improvement? The numbers did improve at first but have remained more or less on the same level since the start of May. I know I have messed up my recovery in the past by running too hard, but the last 4 weeks have seen me running slower than ever in a recovery program and yet the legs don't seem to acknowledge that.

I knew I was taking a risk and might have set back my recovery once again but with only 19 days to go until the Cork marathon I was starting to panic, so I decided to run a few 7:20 miles this morning, the pace required for a 3:15 marathon (7:25 in reality, which comes out as 7:20-ish on a GPS watch). In past years I would have jumped in straight away and done 8-10 miles at that pace so I think I was actually being sensible by doing only 3 miles after 7 at the usual recovery pace (not sure what MC would think of that, though). It actually felt better than expected but I could tell I was rather close to my threshold because when I went just a little bit faster my breathing started to become distinctly laboured, which isn't great. I still have a couple of weeks to improve. As it happens, today's pace/HR figures look at lot better, especially for the slower miles, so all hope is not lost just yet.

One weird thing was that the Ambit watch clearly showed an average lap of 7:20 after those 3 miles but once I uploaded them into movescount/strava, it came out as 7:25 pace. Bizarre! But either way, the pace was there or thereabouts and in addition to the watch I'll have the use of a pace band and the mile markers in Cork to make sure I'll get it right.

On a much lighter note, for a bit of fun I played around with Microsoft's how-old app and my race photos. Marathons do tend to take quite a bit out of you - I usually age by 20 years between the start and the finish. The one glorious exception was Portumna last year - a mere 3 extra years, and that wasn't a marathon but a 100k!

There were a few interesting results, though, One day, when I feel particularly reckless and suicidal I'll start uploading a few pictures of Niamh and show her how old the computer thinks she is. I better make sure my will is in order before that, though.
10 May
10 miles, 1:25:05, 8:31 pace, HR 145
11 May
10 miles, 1:25:15, 8:32 pace, HR 141
12 May
10 miles, 1:24:58, 8:30 pace, HR 142
13 May
10 miles, 1:20:11, 8:01 pace, HR 146
   incl. 3 miles @ 7:20 (HR 158)


  1. Good to see signs of progress this week.

    Tried two photo's of me, one at the start of the Fling, and one at mile 39 and it suggests 39 for both, hehhh that's 6 years off my real age, I would gloat but it'd probably make me look older :-)

  2. Ah, I wouldn't do that if I was you!