Sunday, September 11, 2016


I was quite surprised to see the legs feeling pretty good on Thursday morning; I would have expected a 14 mile run just 4 days after a marathon to leave its mark but it looks like recovery is going remarkably well, even if the marathon did not.

Nevertheless, the next 2 days were easy recovery days, though as it turns out that wasn't just to get over the previous runs, they were there to get me ready for a bit more work over the weekend.

The weather forecast had been nice for Saturday, the only half-decent day of the week really, though it wasn't quite as nice as hoped early on (it did improve for the afternoon, which was good as the Flavour of Killorglin festival was on that day) but it was manageable all the same. The idea was to run 7 miles at easy pace and 6 at marathon effort. The easy miles passed quickly enough and before I knew it I had to speed up. I realised very quickly that my choice of route had not been ideal as most of the marathon effort miles were right into the headwind, not strong but definitely noticeable. What bothered me more, however, was that my left knee started hurting again at times. I had a few twinges a couple of weeks ago but they went away again, though only temporarily by the looks of it. The knee hurts when running downhill, though tensing the quads before foot strike does solve the problem - however, I do not want to alter my gait for a twinge, that only leads to secondary problems.

Anyway, with about 2 miles to go a group of cyclists went by, then another one, then another one, and I soon realised that I inadvertently had gotten into some cycling event. Not a race, thankfully, so there was no problem. However, for some reason all those cyclist passing me made me forget that I was to remain at marathon effort and those last 2 miles were definitely a bit too quick. I wondered if I would have to pay for that on Sunday.

Afterwards I wondered why I had not taken up the option of running this workout on the Kerry Way trail, when the coach had given me the option (MP pace would have been MP effort instead in that case). I still have no idea why I didn't!

I had been groaning as soon as I saw the workout for Sunday on the training spreadsheet. 18 miles, keep the HR under 136. That kind of mileage at such a slow pace was new territory for me, and I really was not looking forward to hours of slow paced shuffling. However, I did dawn on me that this time round is really my first ever "proper" ultra training cycle. Up to now I have been a marathon runner that also ran ultras. This time round I am definitely an ultra runner. It does explain why faster paced running feels so much more challenging. The hope, obviously, is that slow running will feel easier.

The knee did bother me again at times, though at the moment it is more of a nuisance rather than a real problem but obviously it's a bit of a worry that it might turn into something more serious. The run itself was much more of a mental challenge than a physical one. It was really windy, which is why I ran back-and-forwards to Ard-na-Sidhe a few times where it's a bit more sheltered, though thankfully, and unexpectedly, the rain held off until after my run, which made things a lot more comfortable. The effort felt very easy, even with my indiscretion yesterday. I started getting thirsty at mile 14 and tired at mile 16, which I attributed to low glycogen levels due to running without breakfast and no sustenance during the run either, but by then I was homeward bound anyway.

The first back-to-back weekend went well. There will be more to come.
8 Sep
6 miles, 54:39, 9:06 pace, HR 134
   with strides
9 Sep
5+ miles, 46:35, 9:13 pace, HR 132
10 Sep
13 miles, 1:44:16, 8:01 pace, HR 152
   with 6 miles @ 77:47 (HR 160)
11 Sep
18 miles, 2:49:56, 9:26 pace, HR 134


  1. The new coach really likes spending lots of time at around ultra race pace. I'm sure this will help the body recover quickly and handle high mileage as well as give your body time to tune into race pace, helping efficiency. The point long runs at low HR/pace start become easy mentally will probably be the point that your body now is tuned in.

    One thing I noticed about your weekend runs is that the Saturday run will have burnt more muscle glycogen thanks to the faster second half. If your body didn't have a chance to replenish this before Sunday then training stimulus from running fasted will have been further enhanced towards the fat burning side.

    To me this all looks like smart approach to ultra training. One thing it'll also be training is your patience, it's training for long term gain rather than short term sharpening. Patience has to be an asset for an ultra race too.

  2. Nicely done with the 18 miler. I'm liking your new coach - she's setting paces I can relate to! I'm very familiar with 9:26 miles. Thanks coach!