Sunday, February 21, 2016

"You Look Like Shit!"

Niamh's assessment was brutal but it perfectly matched how I was feeling. Sunday's 21 miles had knocked the stuffing out of me and I was totally knackered. I have finished 50 mile races in better shape!

Every training cycle seems to have at least one training run that turn into a total sufferfest and this one fulfilled that function for the present one. I now hope that I can recover - if I can't I'll have to dial back.

There were several factors that contributed to today's exhaustion. I had gotten Saturday's effort completely wrong. It was supposed to be an easy run but I had already violated that by running the first 3 miles into a very strong headwind. I was in Tralee for the day and the unfamiliar surroundings somehow threw me - I'm sure at home I would have managed to slow down. It left me far more tired than I should have been.

As someone had asked in the last post, I never take anything with me when I run, no water, no gels, nothing. I drink plenty of water before I go out but otherwise I'm running on empty. I'm used to that and I'm sure I'm reasonably well adapted to burn fat as fuel but today's run also incorporated 3 marathon pace miles from miles 12-15, and during those I must have burned off most of my energy reserves because the last 5 miles felt like I was running totally on empty. The marathon effort did not quite go according to plan either, 7:07 pace was all I could manage, though the strong wind had some direct input into that, so it wasn't a complete failure.

It wasn't just the legs, my stomach felt awful as well. For a start, by the time I finished the run I hadn't eaten for over 15 hours, but I've done that many times before without feeling unduly stressed. This time I felt ravenous but at the same time unable to hold down any real quantities of food. I gradually felt better as the day passed by, but still not quite 100% in the evening.

"Why exactly are you doing this to yourself?" (Niamh again)
"For the sex, money and fame" (hey, she asked)
"You're not getting any of those!" (no surprises here)

19 Feb
5 miles, 41:13, 8:14 pace, HR 142
20 Feb
9 miles, 1:07:17, 7:27 pace, HR 151
21 Feb
21 miles, 2:44:39, 7:50 pace, HR 148
   3 miles @ 7:07 pace


  1. Niamh's comments could have been stolen from my wife's mouth!

  2. It's very difficult for our supporting individuals to understand why we're doing what we're doing if they are not into running themselves. We need to appreciate their ongoing help without frustrated and snappy comments. Sex, money and fame are all external and limited rewards, but we truly run for internal and unlimited rewards, like better health, more positive outlook, increased performance, feeling of freedom or connectedness with nature... If you talk to her about this again, it might be helpful to compare similarities with her hobbies. For instance, reminding her of the happiness she feels when making a gorgeous cake and how much work goes into that, etc.

  3. The description of your long run sounds all too familiar. On such runs for me I can trace it back to running pre stressed, running on adrenalin and cortisol, dipping deep into your reserves. Is there a chance you haven't recovered fully from illness? Were you not sleeping as well as normal?

    Good to see your recovery runs since look to be taking things back in the right direction.