Thursday, March 12, 2009

Use and Abuse

Of course I still have Sunday's race in the legs, but that doesn't necessarily mean that I'll take it easy. If you've been reading this blog for a while, that won't come as much of a surprise to you.

The legs felt stiff and heavy when I left the house Wednesday morning for my workout. Last week I had tried a 10k time trial and was less than pleased with the result. After some deliberation I decided to attempt 3x2 miles at roughly the same pace. I knew that Sunday's race would have an impact on the legs, and I gave myself permission to bail out any time. During the warm-up I wasn't particularly looking forward to the faster part, but when it started it actually felt ok. The first pace segment was with the wind at my back, and I managed 6:36 pace, which I was quite pleased with. The second was half with the wind and half against it and yielded 6:44. which actually came as a pleasant surprise because I had expected a lot worse. The third segment saw me battling the wind and mounting fatigue, and if there were such a thing as a helpline for abused legs they would have dialled the number at that point. I managed to complete it in 6:58, which meant that I had run those 6 miles a good bit faster than last week, albeit with half-mile breaks in-between. But with the race still in my legs, this was a much better workout than I had dared to hope for. I know I had gotten slower with each segment, but if you take the wind into account, it would explain a lot of the difference.

My training paces are always slower than you would predict from my race results. I prefer to look at it from the other side: my race results are better than my training paces would predict. That's something I can definitely live with, I just have to learn not to have an eye on the training pace all the time.

Despite being sore all day yesterday I did notice a marked improvement in the legs for today's easy run. It looks like I have recovered from the worst bits of fatigue from the race, despite my workouts. I think my heart rate has dropped slightly as well, which is a normal post-race effect.

I was hoping to run another race before Boston, but it's not looking good. There is a 10k in Limerick next week, but I just found out that it's on Saturday, which makes it impossible for me to attend because either Niamh or me will have to drive the twins to Cork that day and the other one has to mind Cian and Maia. The only other race within reach is in Cork on 5 April, but I don't think running a 10k two weeks before the marathon would be a good idea. What do you think?
11 Mar
10 miles, 1:13:14, 7:19 pace, HR 158
incl. 3x2 miles @ 6:36, 6:44, 6:58
12 Mar
8 miles, 1:04:40, 8:05 pace, HR 139


  1. Good workout there Thomas, almost the same workout as in the runners world London program.
    I have often run the clubs 4-6 mile race, two weeks before London! with good results, it would give you a good indication of you race fitness and with two weeks to ease up before your race it should sharpen you up!

  2. BUT; Its always worth looking through your training diaries to see what worked well for you in past marathon build ups!

  3. I told you once before Thomas I always thought you ran too fast for your training runs.

    I remember when i was wishing I could knock only a min. off my training pace. Now its worst. I can't honestly say anymore my racing pace is 1-1.5 faster than my training.

    I'm starting to feel my training pace in my races way too much lately. I pray its only a phase I'm going through.

  4. A guy with your level of ability and exceptional discipline could do the 10K as an indicator. I doubt it will minimize or maximize your fitness for Boston. By the way, I'm sick now and I hope I make it through like you did.

  5. Dude, the hay is in the've been training so well, the recent 10 miler suggests a 2:59 marathon (and that could drop even lower because the marathon is in April, and your body will feel stronger in April than at the 10-miler in March, because of the way Mother Nature picks up strength as she moves along toward mid-year), and there's nothing left to prove. You're only going to risk nagging muscle-tear injuries by racing again before Boston. Sure it'll keep you sharp and polished, but you don't need that for this race as much as you need to be rested and excited for the grand adventure. Train strong for a few more weeks, build the anticipation and then release the energy in Boston, not in Cork.

    Anonymous Rubbish Blog Follower

  6. Thomas there is a Munster masters (O/35& O/50) road race on in Beaufort on 22nd March - a 4 miler for the men. Unfortunately it's a club competition.

    Maybe you could turn up and just run! you might not get a number to pin on your shirt so maybe you'll have to bring your own - for the motivation.

  7. what do you want to achieve out of the 10k? i personally think you'd be better off running that last longgg run or dialing in at marathon pace.

  8. 2 weeks out is lots of time, remember you get and extra day with the marathon on Monday. Time to test your fitness don't you think? Good luck!

  9. Many people seem frightened to race, which is bizarre! as its the racing that will help you to the next level!
    Its reckoned that it takes two weeks to see the improvement gained from racing or training. that 10k could be the different between 2.59 and and another 3 hour plus run!
    If you do the race then book a good sports massage the day after!
    decisions, decisions !!!

  10. p.s. in my first marathon 10 years ago I ran a 10k two weeks before and smashed my p.b. by over two mins [35.14] Two weeks later I ran London and ran 2.49 and felt fantastic!

  11. I don't think a 10k race two weeks out will do you any harm, and might do you good (as long as it's not on a mountainous course). Also, you're doing lots of mileage so you should recover quickly.

    A blogging friend has just run a 35:48 PB one week out from his goal marathon!

  12. where are you staying in boston??