Monday, May 13, 2019

Upwards and Onwards

The past week was the one where I finally felt some real progress had been made. The legs might not have felt perfect but all of a sudden my pace is dropping, the HR is somewhat stable (not entirely) and I'm starting to wonder if there might actually be some life left in the old dog.

I did a couple of runs that felt as easy as the other ones but the pace was below 8-minute miles, and it's been quite some time that I have been able to write such a sentence. While an 8-minute mile is just as arbitrary as any other pace it feels like a bit of a threshold and it happened to be my easy run pace for many years. I do want to point out, though, that I never paced myself deliberately to run a certain pace - on my easy runs I just run the pace that comes naturally and an 8-minute mile was generally the outcome.

I'm sure the recent improvement in form is related to a bit of faster running I did recently, and it's quite amazing just how much effect just a little workout can have in that regard and how quickly it starts to work. All the same, I have to be careful - my history of overtraining is directly related to running too many fast miles, and they don't even have to be particularly fast. Just a bit too fast and things can crumble.

My one workout this week was a little bit different. Instead of running intervals or a tempo run I headed to Bray Head and ran up that little mountain. The original plan had been to go up and down two or three times but the lower third of that climb, the one inside the wood, was very muddy and I was slipping all over the place so on subsequent attempts I ran back down only to that point where the mud started before turning around, and I did that smaller section three times in addition to the full climb at the beginning. All in all it added up to a bit over 9 miles of running and 1650 feet / 500 meters of elevation change, and I got home feeling I had done just the right amount of work.

Well, looks like my quads disagreed and on Sunday morning they were distinctly sore. I had forgotten how tough a few steep downhill miles are on unaccustomed legs. As a result I postponed the long run I had planned for that day and just did a bog-standard 10 miler instead, which went surprisingly well, even on less than perfect legs.

I'm up to about 60 miles a week, give or take a little, which is a lot less than I used to do but my legs seem to be okay with that kind of mileage at the moment. I'm actually off work this week, staying at home, and the weather is gorgeous, so I guess I'll take advantage of that fact and do a bit more. I'll keep an eye on the recovery - or at least I'll try to, restraint has not exactly been my strong point in the past.


  1. Great to hear that you are back to sub-8 min miles on your easy days, and your weekly mileage is good too. Still firm on your resolution to not do any long ultras this year?