Sunday, December 31, 2017

Happy New Year!

Dear Wind! You have been here since Christmas, making your presence felt continuously, at times in a rather forceful manner. Please fuck off. You've more than outstayed your welcome. I just want to have one single run without having to work like a trooper just to keep moving at times. Take that Storm Dylan with you as well on your way out and tell it to go elsewhere.

This might me our last Christmas in Kerry, which feels like the end of an era. We've been here since 2003, so I guess in some ways it is. To add to the feeling of moving on, our youngest daughter informed us that she no longer believes in Santa, which means that after all those years our house has now turned into a magic-free zone once more.

I used to hate Christmas for the shallow consumerism it promotes, but seeing little eyes light up at the mere thought of Santa is special and a much treasured memory. I'd like to hold onto that rather than concentrate on the superficial side of it.

On the running front, things are progressing nicely, a few hiccups notwithstanding. I always leave 2 relatively easy days after each speed session, including hill sprints, which is a nod to my ageing body and its reduced capacity for recovery, so Wednesday and Thursday were reasonably easy. The next session was on for Friday. My initial plans were another evaluation workout but the strong winds put me off, the numbers just don't make sense in those conditions, so I changed it to half-mile repeats, and since it was so windy I did them on the Ard-na-Sidhe road where it is a little bit sheltered. The plan was to run them at 6:30 - 6:20 - 6:10 pace and if I was still up for more at that point then do more at 6:10 pace. The odd numbered intervals were into the wind but net downhill (but with a nasty little steep climb) and the even numbered ones with the wind but net uphill, though the elevation change was not significant.

The first was fine, so was the second, though both could have done with a better sense of pace instead of starting out at 5:00 pace. The third was much more challenging, and it didn't help that the watch displayed slower numbers than later appeared on the web page after importing the data, which meant I inadvertently ran each repeat a few seconds faster than planned. Whether it was the pace or the wind or the asthma but I then spent the next 80 seconds trying to breath as if through a thin straw and knew that was the end of the speed session and made my way home. I also noticed afterwards that the second repeat was at a lower HR than the first despite being faster - the wind direction clearly being more significant than the modest elevation change.

Halfway through the way home I suddenly seemed to black out for a split second; I felt light headed and found myself stumbling into the middle of the road rather than running at its edge, feeling a little unsteady. However, it was over as soon as it began, and since I was on my way home anyway I  just continued on. I used to faint a few times when I was a teenager, which felt somewhat similar, and it was always related to low blood sugar, so maybe there's something in there as well. However, I sure was glad I had not attempted a fourth interval.

I was fine afterwards. I then made use of my last day in Kerry on Sunday to head for the local hills, in the freezing cold rain and the remnants of Storm Dylan still noticeable. It made for 2 character building hours.

And so ends another year. Race-wise it was disappointing with my one A-race a complete disaster, but things have picked up significantly since with an unexpectedly good performance in Dublin and some much coveted silverware in Monaghan and Sixmilebridge, and also coming first in the B2B in Howth. It leaves me with plenty of optimism for 2018.

2017 Yearly Mileage: 3062

27 Dec
10 miles, 1:17:31, 7:45 pace, HR 140
28 Dec
10 miles, 1:15:42, 7:34 pace, HR 143
29 Dec
6.7 miles, 53:28, 7:58 pace, HR 144
   3 x 800 @ 6:24 (163), 6:16 (161), 6:06 (167)
30 Dec
10 miles, 1:18:12, 7:49 pace, HR 146
31 Dec
16 miles, 2:08:59, 8:04 pace, HR 141

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Ho Ho Ho

The weather Gods aren't entirely in the Christmas Spirit this year. The temperatures dropped close to 0 again but were accompanied by icy cold rain and some biting wind, which are just about the least favourite running conditions I can think of. Of course it didn't stop me from running. It might feel a bit uncomfortable for a few minutes but once you're warmed up you're fine. And if you feel warm at the start of your run, you're overdressed.

I stayed in Dublin until Saturday, which saved me from the usual traffic jam on Friday evening that turns the trip towards Naas into a 2.5 hours stop-start session. We left Saturday lunchtime and just breezed past those sections. Now I have a week in Kerry, which means I finally have a bit of a break. I hardly had any holidays this year as I had them pay me off both times I changed jobs and immediately started new employment on both occasions.

I'm getting into damn good shape now, at least damn good aerobic shape. I think the back-to-back marathons are really paying off. I didn't do a long run or a speed session the week after Howth in order to ensure I can recover fully, but now it's systems go again.

I did another session of hill sprints this morning, on the usual dirt road to the Caragh Lake Coillte area. It was freezing cold so I did a few miles just to warm up (7:50 pace, HR 135) before launching  myself up the hill, 8-10 seconds for each repeat, full tilt as fast as you can accelerate, with a long recovery of about 2 minutes, including walking back down the hill. A few things I noticed were that the HR dropped down to 110-120 during the recovery and was still in the 120s at the end of each sprint and only went into the 140s with delayed reaction. The pressure I always feel in my chest started appearing after 3 or 4 repeats but much less bothersome that usual. At the 7th sprint I felt I could no longer produce full power output and called it a day.

I can feel it and the numbers do tell the same story. I'm starting to get into damn good shape.
22 Dec
10.15 miles, 1:23:40, 8:14 pace, HR 139
23 Dec
10 miles, 1:18:58, 7:53 pace, HR 139
24 Dec
11 miles, 1:28:01, 8:00 pace, HR 142
25 Dec
10 miles, 1:16:06, 7:36 pace, HR 144
26 Dec
8.75 miles, 1:14:48, 8:32 pace, HR 133
   incl. 7 x 8 sec hill sprints

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Happy Solstice

From tomorrow morning on it will get brighter again. Good thing too. As much as I like Winter (it's an Austrian thing), the lack of daylight does make things tricky, from SAD to the fact that running in the dark through Dublin City isn't entirely without risks. At the moment it's invariably pitch dark every time I run and cycling home from work can be a bit scary at times as well, mostly due to the appalling state of the cycle paths, especially around UCD.

Anyway, my running is entirely focused on recovery this week. For once this is going really well. It is quite astounding that running two exceptionally hilly marathons in around 3:40 is so much easier on the body than one single flattish marathon in 3:10; at least I find it rather surprising.

I never had any muscle pain, walking down the 3 flights in our apartment was never an issue (I didn't even remember that I was supposed to be sore) and running 5 miles a day, as I always do immediately after a marathon/short ultra, felt actually a bit too short. By Tuesday I was already tempted to run a bit more but didn't. Instead, I re-started my cycle commute (me being redundant sure didn't last long!), and the 20 miles of cycling seemed to tire the legs more than the back-to-back marathons had done.

Wednesday was the one day where the legs felt a bit heavy during the first mile, which I attribute entirely to the cycling, but even then they started to feel better very quickly and by the end of the run I felt so good I was sorry to be done.

My HR values have been staggeringly low. It's been a while since I last saw values in the 120s. The HRV measurements are giving me very good readings as well, the last few days have always shown a solid green light, indicating excellent recovery (still not 100% sure about the validity of the those numbers, though).

I'll take a bit of break from marathon-length training runs now, hoping to focus a little bit more on running faster rather than going through an endless cycle of marathon/recovery/marathon. I already started that the week before Howth with a set of hill sprints and one evaluation workout, as a kind of transition. However, I'll wait for at least one week after Howth before even thinking about another fast run. That phase will last until Donadea in February, at least if things go to plan, and I hope that a slightly different stimulus will help to push things up a bit more.
18 Dec
5+ miles, 43:16, 8:29 pace, HR 125
19 Dec
5+ miles, 42:01, 8:19 pace, HR 128
20 Dec
8+ miles, 1:05:03, 7:59 pace, HR 136
21 Dec
9.7 miles, 1:16:03, 7:50 pace, HR 138

Sunday, December 17, 2017

EOI B2B marathons in Howth

The back-to-back marathons I ran 2 months ago in Monaghan had gone so well that when I saw that the EOI crowd was putting on a similar event in Howth in the middle of December I decided to do that as well.

I had never run any of the EOI marathons before, even though I'm good friends with all of the organisers. As long as I was living in Kerry it was always a bit too far away and once I had moved to Dublin I still spent most weekends in Kerry, so I had to wait until now. A bit surprisingly, the back-to-back marathons were scheduled for Friday and Saturday rather than over the weekend, but since I happened to be made redundant from work on Wednesday the schedule actually suited me very well.

It sure was a low-key event on Friday, just turn up shortly before nine am and then off we run. You'll be pointed into the right direction on a rather idiot-proof loop, just follow the main road until you're back in Howth. No road closures, so stay on the footpath, and certainly no chip timing or pacing teams, but a table at the end of each loop with drinks and encouragement.

We started pretty much on time. Howth itself was very quiet and there was very little traffic on the road. It was freezing cold, especially thanks to a biting wind, so I wore long sleeves as well as running tights, though at least half of the lads were clad in shorts nevertheless. The loop was to be run in reverse to the standard EOI Howth loop, which meant an insanely steep climb right from the off, about 1.2 miles and almost 400 feet / 115 meters of elevation gain, though those numbers don't give justice to the much steeper first half of that climb. Not only was that the start to a marathon, I would also have to keep my legs fresh for tomorrow, so I tried to take it easy but it's hard to take it easy on a hill like that and after the very first mile I was already knackered! There was some respite on the other side of the hill in form of a much more gradual downhill segment for close to three miles, where once again I tried to take it easy, though with the fastest mile coming through at about 7 minutes I'm not sure I was entirely successful in that. Once we got to the bottom we had about 2.5 miles of flat roads to get us back to Howth, only to do it all over again. The second loop was already more challenging but I held it together alright. It was during the third loop that the suffering started, and once you start feeling the pain on that climb you're unlikely to recover much. At least I had plenty of targets to catch on that third loop because that's where I gradually reeled in the early starters who'd set off an hour ahead of us, and every time I passed one of them and exchanged a few friendly words, the next one was usually in sight already. However, by the time I got back to Howth for the third time I was pretty much cooked and not looking forward to a fourth loop.

Totally wasted after day 1
This time that hill REALLY hurt, and the only reason I managed to survive was because I kept telling myself that this was the very last time I would ever have to put myself through that particular torture because tomorrow's loop would be run in reverse, though I wasn't particularly looking forward to bombing down that steep decline on tired legs either. After what felt like far too many minutes in hell and agony I got to the top, not that the downhill segment felt any easier. I just about held myself together and my pace had declined sufficiently to barely make 8-minute miles on the downhill. Once I was back on the flat bit I gradually managed to get into my head that I was almost done and eventually picked up the pace a little bit again for a reasonable finish. All the while I had not checked my pace even once, just used the watch from time to time to reassure myself of the distance covered but had literally no clue as to what time I was doing, until the moment I pressed the stop button at 3:38:54. I more or less collapsed on the bench, feeling wiped out and totally exhausted. I left soon after because I was getting cold very quickly and drove home, which was one of the most uncomfortable drives ever as my left leg, which had been fine while running, kept cramping every time I had to use the clutch, which was not great timing driving through a very busy Dublin. The cramps kept on coming all afternoon back home, until they finally subsided in the evening. In addition I tortured myself a bit more in form of an ice bath, which was probably the most torturous part of the day, despite everything else.

And as for never having to climb that hill again? As soon as I had finished Gary explained that they would have to change tomorrow's route due to a Christmas market in Howth, and instead of doing 4 loops we would instead run over the mountain and back again three times each, basically leaving out the flat bit and just keeping the hills in it. I looked at him wide-eyed, waiting for the punchline that never came. He was being serious!

My left calf still hurt from all the previous day's cramping when I got up on Saturday morning. It's fair to say I was not looking forward to it. I was nervous about my legs cramping, about running out of energy on the hills, about the pain that was in store.

(most of) the runners for day 2
There were a few more runners in it on Saturday compared to Friday but the vibe was still as friendly and the race was still low-key, with a minimum of fuss, absolutely perfect for a training run with friends. It was even colder than the day before but once we were off that immediately became much less of an issue than having to climb that hill yet again. I started at a measured effort with half the field streaming past me initially, though that included the half-marathon runners and of course plenty of runners who hadn't put themselves through the wringer the day before. Despite my fears, the legs actually felt pretty good without any muscle pain, and the longer the hill dragged on the more I grew in confidence and I started moving up through the field again, without apparently having to increase the effort. Due to the lower temperatures the footpaths were still partially covered by a slippery layer of frost and you had to be a bit careful, on the first loop at least, though thankfully there were no accidents as far as I can tell. I still felt surprisingly good on the first downhill, even going a bit faster than yesterday with a 6:50 mile, not that I was aware of it at the time. I just tried to keep everything under control. We got to the turn-around point after about 4.4 miles and now I would get to experience the hill in reverse for the first time. The one thing I noticed straight away was that it felt a lot steeper than the gradual gradient when running downhill, and this time we had close to 3 miles of climbing to do before we would get to the top (with a dip in the middle). The one bit I was dreading the most was actually the steep downhill into Howth on the other side, I didn't know what that would do to my quads. However, I was pleasantly surprised by how well that went. The footpath was very uneven and the road too busy to be running on it so you couldn't just release the breaks and go hell for leather, but a more measured descend worked very well. Ger asked how I was doing, I responded with "better than expected" to which he encouragingly responded "just wait for loops 2 and 3, then". Thanks, mate! I wasted some time here by drinking my bottle at the table instead of bringing it with me (because it was my son's bottle, not a throw-away, and I didn't want to carry it with me for the next 8.8 miles), but soon enough I was back on the road, climbing that hill yet again, and feeling better than expected yet again.

about to waste a lot of time!
Nevertheless this was starting to become challenging again and my breathing was a bit ragged, but as always I sounded worse than I felt. I still managed to keep going at a decent enough rate. On that loop I once again started to catch most of the early starters, and as always we exchanged a few friendly words along the way, with "looking good" almost always being an outright lie but nobody ever minds. I wasted even more time at the turnaround point when due to fatigue and clammy fingers in the cold I struggled to extract my little ziplock bag with caffeine pills and salt tablets from my pocket, promptly spilling the entire content on the road and picking it up again (not giving a damn about road dirt), which may have cost me as much as a minute. Ah well. I wasn't going for a time today anyway. The hill on the return leg was still steeper than it had been on the downward stretch but I got over it and the steep downhill on the other side was once again better than expected.

There was even more time wasted at the aid station when Ger offered me a Coke and I sure wasn't going to say no but had to walk a bit to drink it without spilling it all over me. I guess I really wasn't in race mode today, which is not a bad thing when you're doing a training run, of course. The hill definitely was a challenge now, alright, but I actually felt a lot better than yesterday. I got over it, again. I caught a runner on the downhill who then seemed to just disappear, not sure what exactly happened but I didn't see him on the return leg. For once I got through an aid station without wasting time and did the glory stretch all the way home.

Much better after day 2
I finished in 3:41:08, just 2 minutes slower than yesterday, which is probably the time I needlessly wasted at various aid stations, on an even tougher course and on pre-fatigued legs, so overall actually a much better run than the one on Friday. I might have exaggerated a little bit when I said I was feeling fresh as a daisy but the contrast to the day before was truly remarkable. Once again I could not hang around for too long because I was getting cold and made my way home, which also went a lot better than yesterday.

I was flabbergasted when I saw I had averaged 138 on the HR on Saturday. Even considering that I had taken it easy, that's an incredibly low reading for a marathon, hilly or not.

All in all it had been a very good set of races, thanks to Gary, Frank and Ger from the EOI crowd, all their helpers,  and all the runners who shared the road with me on those 2 days. I expect I'll be back for more soon enough, though maybe not in Howth.
13 Dec
7.6 miles, 1:00:55, 8:00 pace, HR 141
14 Dec
6.3 miles, 51:56, 8:14 pace, HR 136
15 Dec
EOI B2B marathon p1, Howth, 3:38:54, 8:20 pace, HR 144
16 Dec
EOI B2B marathon p2, Howth, 3:41:08, 8:26 pace, HR 138
17 Dec
5+ miles, 45:11, 8:56 pace, HR 125
All photos from the EOI FB page. Thanks, guys!

Friday, December 15, 2017

EOI B2B Howth Marathons, Part 1

This is not a race report. I'll wait for tomorrow's race before I start writing one.

There's a hill in Howth. Actually, Howth IS a hill. I can see it very clearly all the way back from my balcony in Cherrywood. It's just one single hill, thankfully. Except that we got to climb it 4 times on that loop course.

I survived the 4th loop only because I told myself that I'll never have to climb the ridiculously steep bit ever again because tomorrow's race would be held in reverse direction (though I was already dreading running downhill on that). Except that Gary told me, after I'd finished, that they will have to change the course because of tomorrow's Christmas market in Howth, so we'll just go over the hill and back several times, leaving out the flat bit. On already dead legs from day 1. That's going to be ... interesting.

Have you ever found yourself at a junction in central Dublin (actually, any very busy junction anywhere in the world will do), the light just turned green but you can't move off because your left calf is just about to cramp violently and you can't operate the clutch, and you're starting to panic because of all the cars behind you, except that due to your rising panic you forgot which way you have to move your foot to release the cramp, because if you move it the wrong way the cramp will get much, much worse and you're already screaming in pain? It's not a good place to be in.  Seriously.

Well, if you do find yourself in such a situation then the answer is to dorsiflex the foot, which I thankfully managed to remember before an irate driver behind me would have taken me out. The drive home was a rather uncomfortable one. Interestingly, it was only the left leg that gave me troubles, even though when running I almost always cramp in my right leg only. It's operating the clutch that was the problem. I'm tempted to hire an automatic for my next marathon.

Which is tomorrow. Oh F...!

My right knee hurt on loop 1's downhill section, the balls of my right foot REALLY hurt through laps 2 and 3 and my right calf was very painful on lap 4; not a cramp, some muscle pain. I need a new right leg!

Second place today in a very modest 3:38:54. I tried to take it easy, with tomorrow weighing very heavily on my mind.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Man In Tights

Winter is here. We even have the fields covered in white, though in Dublin at least that's frost at the moment, not snow. We did have snow as well but it didn't stick. Now we just have the freezing cold temperatures and the icy road conditions (I like the former, not the latter). Nevertheless I get amused by Met Eireann's description of the present conditions as "bitterly cold". Not where I come from, guys. Bitterly cold to me is -20 degrees (ok, -15 qualifies as well) and temperatures around the freezing point are just  - Winter. Suck it up.

Anyway, after taking a good look at my numbers and my training in the past few months I have come to the conclusion that while the base training is getting me into pretty good shape (as witnessed by running a surprisingly easy 3:10 Dublin marathon) this is just about as good as it gets and for further improvement I have to introduce a new stimulus. None of that comes as a surprise, I had been waiting for that point ever since I started training. If anything, I am surprised base training got me as far as that. Also, I didn't want to do any faster running until I was completely sure I had recovered from Dublin/Sixmilebridge, which seems to be the case now. My numbers are good. My resting HR has dropped as low as 36, which equals the lowest number I have ever seen, and that was while taking recordings in a seated position, not lying down. A low HR doesn't automatically translate into being in good shape and well rested but the other numbers, and most importantly the way I feel, supports the same conclusion.

As an introduction into faster stuff I did a set of hill sprints last Saturday, back home in Kerry, which enabled me to do them on the same hill I used to do them on in previous years. Then again, in my memory it had been much steeper and I was surprised how "easy" it felt. I still had the familiar tightness in my chest 20-30 seconds after each sprint, which I now attribute to my exercise-induced asthma, plus a wave of nausea, but I'm used to that by now. What wasn't quite so great was that my right calf started to feel tight; maybe I should have called it a day after 6 repeats rather than 8. The tightness stayed with me over the next few days when running (not noticeable at all otherwise) but it has gotten better. By Tuesday morning I could just about feel it during the first mile but after that it was gone.

The "long" run on Sunday was made interesting by some rather inclement weather, which prevented me from following my initial plan of running around the lake. I didn't want to be caught out on high grounds in a storm, so I remained reasonably close to home but still got one big hill in. I had to be home in time for Cian's birthday party and cut it short at mile 15, though in marked contrast to last week I was still moving well at that time.

Back in Dublin I did one more workout on Tuesday morning. I resurrected the Evaluation workout, which consist of running 4 miles at HR 160 (used to be 161 but I made a small concession to old age) while taking splits at each mile and basically measuring how much you slow down well you can hold the pace while running at the same HR. In this case I was less interested in the actual numbers but more interested in the fitness gains from a moderate workout. Actually, when I say moderate, it didn't exactly feel particularly moderate at the time. I paid the price for not having run at that effort level for many, many months and was breathing rather hard, and my asthma was noticeable as well but all was fine in the end. Then again, once I had finished the workout I very quickly felt fully recovered and rather good, so it can't have been that hard. Oh and the numbers - well, I'm having troubles getting them off my damn watch and Suunto's movescount website insists on rounding them to the nearest 5, so all I can say it was about 6:30, 6:30, 6:40, 6:40, with 40-45 seconds of full recovery for the HR to come down to 130. I need to bring my old Garmin 310 to Dublin with me, it works better for such a workout (the evaluation workout is the one reason why I kept it after replacing it 3 years ago with my Suunto, which is a better watch in all other aspects). Anyway, while I don't have the exact numbers that will do as a baseline. In fact, that's a pretty good baseline, I had not expected to be under 7-minute miles, certainly not for the 3rd and 4th miles.
7 Dec
9.35 miles, 1:13:26, 7:51 pace, HR 139
8 Dec
8.35 miles, 1:06:22, 7:56 pace, HR 141
9 Dec
8.75 miles, 1:17:08, 8:48 pace, HR 131
   incl. 8 x 8-10 sec hill sprints, 2 minutes recovery
10 Dec
15+ miles, 2:01:39, 8:04 pace, HR 138
11 Dec
8.35 miles, 1:06:18, 7:56 pace, HR 139
12 Dec
9.2 miles, 1:07:27, 7:19 pace, HR 145
   incl. 4 miles @ 6:36, HR 160, 40-45 sec recovery to HR 130

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

Missing Ingredient

One thing that has been slightly bugging me since moving here to Dublin is a distinct lack of hills on my running routes. Obviously I can see the mountains right behind my home but the problem is that most of my running here is my commute from and to work and there is no realistic way to incorporate those mountains into that.

However, last weekend was one of the rare ones where I stayed in Dublin, so I was keen to see some new places. Strava is great in that way, I just had a quick peek where others (Gary, Mick, Dom, ...) are running when in the vicinity and quickly came up with a a couple of viable options that would see plenty of verticals.

the scratches to prove it
On Saturday I headed towards King Puck's Castle, which had been taunting me for months because I can actually see it right from my window. Also, coming from Killorglin I just had to head up to a place named like that. Obviously. I got my route slightly wrong, however. First I followed the road until it turned into a dirt road and then I took the trail that seemed to head towards the top, only for it to end right in the middle of nowhere. I decided against turning round so I bushwhacked my way to the top through some gorse, which really was not my favourite part of the run. And, of course, just before I reached the top I came across the trail that I should have taken all along, which would have saved me from bushwhacking and the bleeding scratches that came with it. I'll know better next time.

I went for a longer loop on Sunday, but this time exclusively on the road. The plan was to be out for 15-18 miles, depending on how I felt. I did wonder if it was a good idea to head for the hills twice in a row when I had been confined mostly to relatively flat routes for the last few months, but weekends are two consecutive days after all, that's how it works. I made the mistake of running way too hard at the start when climbing the long winding road towards Kielternan, but didn't quite realise it at the time. The view from the Scalp Road was absolutely stunning, it's amazing to have such a place so close to Dublin. However, after crossing the Wicklow border and going through Enniskerry it gradually dawned on me that I had overcooked myself and I was starting to run on fumes. By the time I went through Bray, about 12 miles in, I'd had more than enough and would have loved to be done but I was still 3 miles from home. I dragged my sorry backside home at increasingly pedestrian pace which made this a 15 mile run, and absolutely no intentions of adding any more.

As nice as the view was, Gary warned me afterwards about running on the Scalp Road, where there is at least one mile without sidewalk and where you might encounter some less than accommodating drivers, so I might have to reconsider future options.

After exhausting myself like that over the weekend I very much expected Monday to be a tough run and wasn't particularly looking forward to it, only to be very pleasantly surprised to have a lovely set of seemingly fresh legs available to me. I took it easy and could have sworn I was running not a second faster per mile than 8-minute pace, but would have been wrong. The same happened again on Tuesday, I could have sworn I was going very slowly, only to be a good bit faster than 8-minute pace. My internal gauge seems to have gotten misaligned. The HR is actually in line with a slightly faster pace but the subjective RPE is a bit off and every step feels easier than I would expect it to.

Not that I'm complaining. I'm starting to experience that flow again when everything just feels effortless and easy. Running through Dublin isn't ideal for that sort of state, every traffic light or road crossing can get me out of The Zone, but I usually manage to get back into it straight away. Nice.
2 Dec
9+ miles, 1:21:29, 8:51 pace, HR 140
   partially off road
3 Dec
15+ miles, 2:01:57, 8:06 pace, HR 141
   rather hilly
4 Dec
9.3 miles, 1:12:33, 7:48 pace, HR 140
5 Dec
9.25 miles, 1:12:10, 7:48 pace, HR 141
6 Dec
am: 9.2 miles, 1:11:39, 7:47 pace, HR 141
pm: 9.3 miles, 1:15:30, 8:07 pace, HR 140

Friday, December 01, 2017


As mentioned last week, I have a new toy. Accidentally, really. All I was looking for was a replacement for the HRM I somehow managed to lose, but once I had the new one in my hands it dawned on me that it supports HRV measurements and I started using that a few days ago. The early readings were encouraging and improving, until yesterday morning when it suddenly sounded a warning that my Parasympathetic Nervous System was overactive and I was in danger of overtraining.

That's a new one. I don't know very much about HRV readings and I certainly don't know all that much about the Central Nervous System but my understanding was that overtraining would be related to an overactive Sympathetic Nervous System, not the Parasympathetic one. And I'm pretty sure I didn't move into an overtrained state overnight on Wednesday, when the previous days' readings had been very good. There is still a learning curve here, either by me or the HRV app.

The legs are starting to feel better again but the Dublin/Sixmilebridge load is still there. I am consciously running easier now than I did after Dublin and I can tell an improvement in my recovery rate by RPE, though it's not really reflected in the numbers, which are quiet similar to the post-Dublin ones. I'll see. I tend to feel good if there are 1.5 days between running but a lot less good if the rest is only half a day, which isn't too surprising, obviously. Next week will tell me more
because the third week after DCM was when I started to feel significantly better again; let's hope for a repeat.

On the plus side, while the company I am presently working for is sadly closing down I already have a job offer from another place, before I even finished working here. That's great, I won't be starving after all. I was actually looking forward to having some time dedicated to running and training full time but it looks like that's not going to happen.

Onwards and Upwards.
26 Nov
10 miles, 1:20:01, 8:00 pace, HR 139
27 Nov
8.4 miles, 1:06:25, 7:54 pace, HR 140
28 Nov
9.25 miles, 1:13:18, 7:55 pace, HR 138
29 Nov
9.5 miles, 1:16:48, 8:05 pace, HR 139
30 Nov
9.3 miles, 1:13:40, 7:55 pace, HR 142
1 Dec
9.25 miles, 1:15:22, 8:08 pace, HR 139