Thursday, May 07, 2009

The Way to Dingle

As my legs slowly regain their running ability, I’m already looking forward to training properly again. Recovery from a marathon is very much a mental thing. Eventually I reach the point where I really want to run again, and can’t wait to get out. This is exactly where I am now.

The last 3 runs have all been short but too fast. I have to learn to run slowly and relaxed again. I remember the same happening after Dublin. I set out easily, and within half a mile the legs are at 7:30 pace. I reign them in, but as soon as my mind starts drifting, they’re accelerating again. And all the while they still feel heavy and awkward, and after 5 miles the quads are tired as if I’d just done a long one. I’m sure I’ll get the hang of it again soon enough.

The weather has been abysmal. On Tuesday, it was very windy. On Wednesday, it was even windier and raining. Today, the wind and the rain were heavier still, and at the moment it is hail stoning and I am so glad I'm not out there. It can only get better.

I have another experiment planned for this marathon training. 2 years ago, when training for Loch Ness, I managed the highest mileage I have done to date, especially in a three weeks spell of 100 miles each. Ever since I have wondered what would happen if I did this for much longer, 10 weeks or even more. The idea now is to check this out for real.

I might not reach 100 miles per week because I don’t want to slow down too much just to reach a mileage target. I want to incorporate a tempo run and a hill workout each week as well, and might have to sacrifice a few miles for that. As for faster training, I won’t be doing any 30/30 or 60/60 workouts this time round. They were fun, and they gave me a decent finishing kick, as witnessed in Ballycotton, but I don’t think they did much for me as a marathon runner. My plan for now is to race often, ideally every 14 days or so, and get my speed workouts that way. Since I can only manage to run fast enough with a number on my chest, this should be at least as effective as struggling to attempt some repeats on the roads around here. At least that’s the idea.

At work, my team has gained 2 more members, and wouldn’t you believe it, both have run the Dublin marathon last year, and both have caught the bug. One just ran Belfast as his second marathon, and the other one has targeted Dingle as her second. She managed a very decent time in Dublin, 4:07 on not a lot of training (which, incidentally, is almost exactly the same time I did on my first marathon, on little training as well). I think she could become really good and I have given her some suggestions, but I don’t want to give the impression that I'm telling her how to run. I certainly don't want to give too many details about my own training - it might scare her off.
5 May
5 miles, 38:50, 7:46 pace, HR 158
6 May
7 miles, 53:02, 7:34 pace, HR 161
7 May
5 miles, 39:03, 7:48 pace, HR 157


  1. 100miles per week for more than 10 weeks plus races. WOW - ambitious target but with your determiniation I'm sure that you will do it.

    Would there be a risk of overtraining with this volume of miles? Given that there is only 18 weeks to Dingle will how long will you give to get to 100miles and what taper will you take? Just interested - as I'm lucky to do 100miles in a month at present!! :)

  2. Glad you have recovered. Funny how the legs want to go fast!

  3. I once built up to 14 hours per week and raced very well off it!
    BUT I would include a easy week once a month or you might start to get very tired well before the tenth week!

  4. Sounds like a good plan Thomas. I like the race every 2 weeks, and the tempo and hill session. With the tempo, I'd be inclined to have some of those as longer tempos at marathon pace.

    10 weeks of 100 miles would be hard. That's equivalent to 140ish miles for elite runners. Maybe 2 on, 1 off would be better? Say 100, 100, 70, 100, 100, 70 etc. That would give you an average of 90 miles for the 10 weeks. Anyway, whatever you decide, I'll be interested to see how it goes.

  5. Thomas,

    Can you post something about the Dingle marathon course? When I checked the website, I saw some great pictures, but the details (particularly challenging hill information) of the course were missing.

    I'd love to come over and run this race this year.

  6. Thomas,

    2008 Cork City Marathon video clip on youtube - go to 6:55-7:10 - a young man from Kerry punches the air!

  7. "what would happen if I did this for much longer?"
    Like some of the other people who have posted comments, I would worry about over-training with this regime
    My understanding is that most runners get a progressive improvement from increasing mileage up to 70 miles a week and then you rapidly hit diminishing returns. The 100 miles a week is on top of a cycle to and from work as well? There are two risks you run with your plan: 1. Higher risk of overuse injury 2. You risk compromising the speed workouts. If you run them while tired, you won't be able to run them fast enough to generate the physical adaptations you are looking for.