Sunday, June 18, 2017

One Last Big Effort

Usually I would have started to take it easy by now. While I never quite managed to figure out the ideal length of a taper, a 24 hours race seems to call for a longer taper, but maybe it just doesn't quite work like that. The coach definitely had other ideas - I've had quite some week,

Having gotten through Wednesday's alternating loops in very good shape I took it very easy for the next 2 days. In the olden days I used to push the pace a little bit even on my easy days, basically always trying to run under 8-minute miles, but at some stage I must have grown up a bit and now I no longer care. Easy days are just that, very easy running without ever looking at the watch.

I still wasn't quite sure if I was ready for another workout on Saturday morning but decided to give it a good go. The schedule asked for the second pickups workout. The previous one, 3 weeks ago, had gone very well but now the coach turned the screw further and this was going to be tougher: half miles at fast pace interspersed with miles at 7:20 pace.

Right from the start, 7:20 pace felt aggressive, and of course it didn't help that I had run the first half mile faster than I should have. I did wonder straight away how long I was going to last. It also didn't help that it was already quite warm - it's over 20 degrees right now even in Kerry, which counts as a heat wave by local standards, Not that I'm complaining - but it didn't make that workout any easier.

Anyway, running this in Kerry meant I didn't have the very convenient half mile loop in the park at my disposal, which meant I was looking at the watch a lot more often, which subsequently meant I wasn't pacing myself off effort as much as I would have liked. But even in cooler temperatures and in the park, 7:20 would still have been an aggressive "recovery" pace and it would always have been a challenging workout.

6:27 / 7:21 / 6:36 / 7:23 / 6:49 / 7:19 / 6:44 / 7:22 / 6:28 / 7:17 / 6:36 / 7:27 and bailed after 0.2

I lasted for 6 segments. The sixth was already a bit compromised as I tried for another 6:30 but that was just that little bit too hard. After that, I tried to get back to 7:20 for recovery but realised very soon that I was cooked and pulled the plug. I could have pushed on further with some big effort but 2 weeks from the race that would have been counter-productive; if anything I should have bailed 1 repeat earlier because you should always end a workout with 1 still left in the tank.

Afterwards (and only afterwards) the coach told me that this had been a real redline workout, as hard as any he would ever give me.

And with that, I am definitely in my taper. The madness is about to start.
15 Jun
6.2 miles, 50:01, 8:04 pace, HR 139
16 Jun
8 miles, 1:06:38, 8:19 pace, HR 136
17 Jun
12 miles, 1:29:38, 7:28 pace, HR 156
   6:27 / 7:21 / 6:36 / 7:23 / 6:49 / 7:19 / 6:44 / 7:22 / 6:28 / 7:17 / 6:36 / 7:27 and bailed after 0.2
18 Jun
7 miles, 58:30, 8:20 pace, HR 134


  1. Good workout and sensible to stop when you did. Luckily for me 'taper madness' is limited to 3 easy days before a 5k race. Don't know how you ultra and marathon runners do it.

  2. All the best Thomas. You know what you have to do.