Thursday, June 18, 2009

Missing You Already

I don't know Niamh managed to persuade me, but in two days we'll be going to London for one week, leaving Maia behind to be looked after by her grandparents. Oh yes, that's right - she didn't ask me, merely informed me of her decision. The main problem with that bright idea - apart from separating me from my baby for an entire week - is that she's picked up whatever Cian had been suffering from the last week and is now rather poorly. Which meant I didn't sleep much last night (again!). On the plus side, at least as far as her Nana is concerned, she should be better by tomorrow. Still, leaving my baby behind for a week! How did Niamh manage to persuade me? Oh right, she didn't! She merely ... ok, I'll shut up.

It was either former world record holder Steve Jones or Brendan Foster who said that in order to become a good marathon runner you have to be prepared to wake up in the morning feeling tired and go to bed feeling very tired, for 10 years in a row. Now, I'll never reach a level that either of them would have even remotely considered as good, but the rest of the statement rings rather true at the moment. Having a sick toddler in the house doesn't exactly help, of course. But sore legs are quickly becoming a chronic feature.

Actually, I thought of yesterday's 15 miler as an easy recovery run. I guess it shows that my mental adjustment to the high mileage training is coming along nicely. Unfortunately the physical adaptation is lagging a bit because the toughness of said run caught me slightly by surprise. With the legs feeling like they had ankle weights attached I was happy enough to plod along for 10 miles when I suddenly got ambitious and decided to push the effort in order to get the average pace under 8:00. A few faster miles at 7:20-7:30 pace brought me closer, but it still needed a 6:53 (uphill) final mile. Ok, so I overshot the target by 24 seconds. At least I know I am still able to run at goal marathon pace for the last bit of a hilly 15 miler that started out on tired legs in the first place.

There was no respite today and the ankle weights seemed to have multiplied overnight, which made me an originally highly unwilling participant of today's workout - hill sprints! As always, they were preceded by a 3 mile tempo run. A few strides during the warm-up injected sufficient life into the legs to start moving. At the turnaround point I realised how strong the wind was - and now I was running straight into it. I didn't have much hope for a decent pace, but somehow inexplicably managed to pull out a 6:44 average pace for those 3 miles. That was 16 seconds per mile faster than last week. Admittedly, I was wearing my racing shoes today instead of last week's trainers. The drawback was that I arrived at the foot of the hill with already tired legs. However, my brain seemed to have switched off and I managed a few repeats pretty much on autopilot. By the time I realised how much I was hurting the workout was almost over. All in all a good, if rather painful, run.

Previous weeks have shown that I tend to be very sore for the rest of the day after hill repeats, but the soreness seem to disappear overnight, leaving me in good shape for Friday's second long run of the week. With 18 miles on the program, that would be nice.

Still, I have decided to cut back next week's mileage. Running 100 miles in an unknown location, while on holiday, was always pushing my luck and probably never going to happen anyway. As it is, an easier week should be attainable and leave the legs in better shape for the training yet to come. As an aside, after seeing the improvements I made in today's 3 mile tempo segment compared to last week I decided to bring my racers along with me to London. Which means 3 runners in my suitcase. Plus all my other running gear for a week. Which leaves no room for "normal" clothes, probably. Niamh's gonna go nuts if/when she finds out. Ah well. You gotta get your priorities right. Right?
17 Jun
15 miles, 1:59:36, 7:58 pace, HR 144
18 Jun
10.5 miles, 1:25:38, 8:09 pace, HR 147
incl. 3 miles @ 6:44, 9x45 secs hill sprints


  1. You're certainly getting the benefit of the high mileage. Enjoy the holiday.

  2. You don't need to persuade her to let you bring those shoes. Just inform her of your decision.

  3. Have fun in London, I'm sure you'll find some great routes... I did. Looking forward to reading about it!

  4. Thomas, I am really impressed by the way in which you can ramp to the mileage to 100+, avoid injury and still complete good speed work-outs. I wonder could your best distance actually be an ultra-marathon given the way your body can adopt to this?

  5. Great idea, Andrew. But if you don't hear from me again it means she didn't take it very well.

    Thanks for the compliments, mithril. As a matter of fact, I have every intention of testing out my suitability for ultra running next year, and in years to come

  6. Have a great time in London! Hope all goes well with Maia and with your training. I always love to run in new cities - have fun!

  7. I hope for your sake the missus does not consult your blog everyday!

  8. Good idea Andrew! Show her who's wearing the pants ;)

    Enjoy the holiday, and come back refreshed and ready for the next run of 100 mile weeks!

  9. Or at least who's wearing the shoes.

  10. who knew that the sex pistol's guitarist was a world record marathoner!