Sunday, January 18, 2009

Stormy Nights

We are just experiencing the worst storm of the winter so far, and the most important factor in running was to time your run in-between lulls, to ensure a safe return. Yesterday, Saturday, I was quite keen to get out early because the weather forecast had left us in no doubt that a serious storm front was on its way and expected to hit us by lunch time.

I set off on the Caragh Lake road initially, but the heavy wind changed my mind very quickly and I turned around towards the Ard-na-Sidhe road. I just about managed to resist temptation as I was passing our driveway, it would have been so easy to get back inside rather than battling the elements. Anyone seeing me out there would have thought I’m completely mad; but actually it wasn’t the worst weather I have ever run in by any means. 8 easy miles passed by fairly quickly. Considering that I had covered 19 miles on Friday, albeit in two runs, I felt surprisingly fresh. The most pleasing aspect of the run was the realisation that my dead-easy pace is zoning in on 8:00. There’s progress.

The storm did indeed come, and boy was I glad to be inside. Further north they apparently measured wind speed of over 100mph. Here it wasn’t as bad, but we did go past the 60mph point, and today there were a number of fallen trees on some remote roads. Luckily we got away without damage around here, but the storm outside was nothing in comparison to Hurricane Maia inside our walls. She woke at 1 am, just as I was drifting off to sleep, and kept us awake until 4:30! She just kept going and going, and didn’t take too well to us trying to get some sleep. Eventually I managed to rock her to sleep on my chest, but somehow she woke again less than 3 hours later, and that was the end of my night! At some stage during the night I made the final decision not to have any more children (Niamh has come to that conclusion 14 months ago. I’m just slow in catching up). Niamh managed to add a couple of hours sleep in the morning, but I didn’t. I predict an early night for myself.

Bleary eyed as I was, I did manage to get out for a run. For my speed work during this training cycle I’m trying something new, as described here and here. I ran one 30/30 workout last year and decided to give this a proper go. Once a week I’ll do one of those runs. I’m starting out with 30/30 (30 seconds fast, 30 seconds slow, that is), in a few weeks I’ll switch to 60/60, and closer to the marathon I’ll attempt 3min/5min. I believe this is compatible with Ron Daws’ training program. He gives plenty of options for speed training, including steady runs, 400s, or 200s. I only cover about 150m in 30 seconds, but I don’t think that’s a sticking point.

After a false start (it started hailstoning literally as I was leaving the house), I was on my way. (I still got a beaning later on). Today’s intervals were rather slow, about 6:10 pace on average, definitely slower that they’re supposed to be. Since this was my first attempt at that kind of workout, I’m not too worried. I expect to improve as the legs get used to that workout. In fact, this improvement is the entire point.

As Private once pointed out, I like to experiment a lot, and he’s absolutely right about that. This has backfired quite a few times (remember the Red Bull before the Dublin marathon? I do!), and this is yet another experiment. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. I’ll see how it goes.
17 Jan
8.1 miles, 1:06:07, 8:09 pace, HR 135
18 Jan
8 miles, 1:01:12, 7:39 pace, HR 155
including 21x30/30

Weekly mileage: 87+


  1. I think its always a good idea to experiment a bit, it would be pretty boring if you did exactly the same training year after year!
    I went out in 90 mile winds last year and knew it was a mistake as i ran past old ladies hanging on to garden walls for grim death! and dodging slates falling off roofs!

  2. Your training is always amazing. Liked the bit about Hurricane Maia. Kids are great...

  3. Great mileage, keep up the solid running!

    So, keeping with your marathon tradition of trying something new on race day, what gives for Boston?

  4. That's a nice training session. For some bizarre reason I have a favourite session of the week and it's the same concept: 14-16 x 1 minute fast with about 90 seconds jog in between. Before my last attempt at Dublin I did them at least once a week, come the last few you're dying... unlike the 3 mins fast where you're just dying come the end of the first 3 minutes - pace judgement has never been a strong point for me.

  5. Sounds like a wild night at your house! We've had those 60 mph winds - they are something. Glad you got through it safely!

  6. I don't know Thomas, 60 mph winds is still pretty brutal. No doubt people would think you're a bit batty. I remember going out to run last year in a windstorm when power was knocked out and I think the winds might have been hitting 50 mph with gusts in the 60's. It was kinda cool though.

  7. That was funny about the instant decision to have no more children. Come on Thomas - you're not even half way to a cricket team yet!

    Good idea with the 30/30s. The quick acceleration to top speed will be beneficial. Good also to hear Guinness is served icy cold :)

    I like the short races, that's why I'm doing them. My marathons have always been crap compared to my halves (3:11 v 81) - I'm a hopeless marathoner! Speed does go as we age, but if you keep in touch with it (short races and speedwork), you can retain sufficient speed to enjoy the short races (or so I've been told!).

  8. You're right about the biking , you can't just switch off. I don't know how you manage some of those early starts with the limited sleep you often seem to get. I'll be going through that all again myself by the end of the year!

  9. Imagine if Thomas Edison didn't experiment?

    I hope Hurricane Maia has passed.

    "...we did go past the 60mph point, and today there were a number of fallen trees..."

    " started hailstoning literally as I was leaving the house..."

    And you call me mad?