Sunday, August 21, 2016

And Back Again

Ah well. Holidays don't last forever, though I sure wish they did, especially this time round. On Wednesday we stepped into the plane in Vienna beneath a blue sky and 27 degrees. It was nice weather all over Austria, Germany, the Netherlands and England, and just as we got near Dublin the clouds appeared and as we stepped out of the plane it was 15 degrees and lashing rain. I did ask myself why I just had not stayed there, but by that time it was too late.

That was the only day this week I did not run. Actually I was tempted to run that day as well as we did not have to leave the house until 1 o'clock but eventually decided that a day's travel was enough stress on my ageing body.

On Monday, still back in eastern Austria, I did a run that should have been fairly easy, 10 miles at 30-50 seconds slower than marathon pace, basically an easy run. Well. I guessed my marathon time would be about 3:10-3:15, because that's what I usually run when I do a marathon for training and it never takes much out of me, so I tried to run about 8-minute pace, bread and butter really. That was the theory. In reality I struggled from the start and it never got any better. While it didn't get much worse either, at the end I was knackered and had to conclude that I could not have run a marathon at that pace, never mind 30-50 seconds per mile faster!

That minor disaster was followed by an easy day and the flight back home, and the first thing on the schedule here in Ireland was a speed workout! I guessed if that would not shake out the legs, nothing would. It was another ladder session and I was actually looking forward to it. This one went very well, the pace was significantly faster than last week for pretty much the same effort, and it left me feeling good! The good news kept on coming when the easy run on Friday was 15 seconds per mile faster than the ones in Austria had been and I figured the higher temperatures had been responsible for the slower pace, which made sense. It would also go a long way explaining the poor performance on Monday, so I thought maybe 7:20 was my present marathon pace after all, at least in Irish conditions.

I put that to the test on Saturday with a 16 mile run with 12 miles of them at marathon pace. I didn't force the pace when I got going and was content to leave it at the 7:28 pace I saw early on the watch. Well. Disaster struck quickly. With each mile I got slower and slower even though the effort remained roughly at marathon pace. I averaged 160 beats for those 12 miles, which would be a bit low for a marathon but seems about right for a training run, but I sure had not expected that towards the end I could not even hold 8-minute pace, even though I was working fairly hard.

That was bad! I am happy enough with my short, fast workouts and the 20 mile run last week went well enough, but my stamina is badly lacking right now. It's not that I hit the wall, things went downhill straight away and got progressively worse. I ran the workout on an empty stomach and without any carbs, so my blood sugar levels were probably low but I run virtually all my workouts on empty and it never tends to be a problem.

Things have definitely improved in the last few weeks but something is definitely still missing, I'll talk to my coach.

Update: The next 2 weeks will be very easy.

15 Aug
10 miles, 1:18:23, 7:50 pace, HR 153
16 Aug
6 miles, 56:51, 9:28 pace, HR 133
17 Aug
18 Aug
8 miles, 1:07:47, 8:28 pace, HR 149
   1600-1200-800-600-400-200 at 6:37/6:32/6:26/6:17/5:52/5:00
19 Aug
6 miles, 55:11, 9:11 pace, HR 132
20 Aug
16+ miles, 2:11:00, 8:09 pace, HR 153
   with 12 miles @ 7:53 pace, HR 160
21 Aug
4 miles, 37:29, 9:22 pace, HR 132


  1. Your tenacity is admirable, great mileage during vacation!

  2. Interesting. A combo of coming off holiday and the change in the weather? I wonder what the coach will come up with?