Sunday, July 26, 2009

And Miles To Go

After Wednesday's less than brilliant long run I kept asking myself where all that training was going. There is no doubt that I have been training hard, and the new PR in the 10k was a clear sign that I was doing something right, but one botched workout later all the old doubts had come up to the surface again.

The dark clouds on Friday morning matched my mood. The weather had been awful during the night, I had woken several times by the storm outside. When the alarm went off the first thing I heard was the rain against the window. Just as I decided the use the snooze button for once and cut the run from 18 to 16.5 miles, the rain stopped and I took that as a sign to get up and run the planned distance after all.

I got as far as 5 miles, almost reaching the apex of the big hill when the rain returned. It only stayed for half a mile or so, but it was poring enough for me to get soaked right through. The one advantage was that I didn't have to worry about the puddles all over the road. With my fees and socks dripping wet already I just splashed through them.

However, I did not let that stop me from having a good run. For some reason I felt great and once the hills were behind me after 10 miles, I decided to put the pressure on a bit more. I didn't quite reach marathon effort, but I was cruising along at a nice pace, 7:20 at first and down to 7:10 later on. The thought struck me that I was having the workout I had hoped to have on Wednesday. Ironically, then I had avoided the Caragh Lake hills in order to run a bit faster. Today I did run those hills, and the pace came as soon as the worst of the course was behind me.

With Niamh gone I decided to swap around the weekend runs, because on Saturday I still did not know if I would be able to run on Sunday. Unless there is a race on I always have a fast long training run at the weekend. Ideally this should be on Sunday to recover from Friday's long run. But I decided to do that workout on Saturday; I'd rather run it on tired legs than not at all. The grandparents were here but wanted to leave at 8:30 in the morning, which meant an early rise at 6 o'clock, very early for a weekend run. The weather was taking a bit of a breather, I caught a window between two storm fronts, and at times the sun managed to come out, making for very nice conditions. Even though yesterday's 18 miles were clearly still in my legs, I felt pretty good and did the first half at almost 6:45 pace. This was never going to hold as I climbed back up, but I still was able to keep a decent effort. I passed our driveway at 10.5 miles but kept going for a bit longer. I had easily enough time for 14 miles, and that's what I resolved to do. On that last bit I started to feel the fatigue in my legs but I managed to hold on. At 6:53 I didn't quite hit sub-3 marathon pace, but it was close and of course there is still some time left for further improvements. I only realised at one point much later, in the afternoon, that I had covered no less than 109 miles in the last 7 days. It wasn't planned that way, but that's how the week so far had turned out.

Being married to the best wife of them all has its advantages. Niamh actually managed to talk to our neighbour who agreed to look after Cian for a while on Sunday lunch time, enabling me to run after all. The wind was fierce, and I decided to run on the Ard-na-Sidhe road, my usual shelter on stormy days. I took it easy, or at least so I thought. When I checked the Garmin after a few miles I was astounded to see the average pace close to 7:30. It felt like jogging. Since it felt so easy I just kept going. Towards the end I added a set of strides into the mix. After 7 miles, when 100 miles for the week had been covered, the legs started to feel very weary. It must have been purely psychological; yesterday nothing like that had happened. Even so, things seemed to get back together again after a while. Running 100 miles a week isn't that tiring if you're used to high mileage.
24 Jul
18 miles, 2:19:39, 7:45 pace, HR 147
last 6 miles @ 7:17 pace
25 Jul
14 miles, 1:36:37, 6:53 pace, HR 160
26 Jul
10 miles, 1:14:50, 7:27 pace, HR 146
incl. 12x100 strides

Weekly Mileage: 103


  1. Some seriously good training Thomas. The high mileage tends to work all your fibers making it easier to maintain race pace well into the marathon. Remember that high mileage runners need a longer taper to fully recover and get full use of all that training in the marathon. And you're right about the mileage: once there it's not too hard to do it.

    I track my past 7 days mileage in addition to the "official" week ending mileage too. I think it is relevant. It can show you if you're getting in too much monotony.

  2. 107 miles a week, impressive.
    If life was fair you would be doing 2.30 for your next Marathon, saddly its not and some bastard is running 30 miles a week and will run 2.23 in his first ever Marathon.

  3. p.s. think i'm even more impressed by your wifes understanding than your epic milage.

  4. I'm inspired to up my mileage!

  5. Hi Thomas,
    Are you planning on just going under sub 3 in Dingle or do you have a goal time? My original plan was to do the half and aim for sub 3 in Dublin but another race has got in the way. Not sure if I'll be ready for sub 3 in Dingle but that's what I'll be aiming for so if you want some company during the early miles I'm there.

    John O'Regan

  6. You've done this long enough that you should expect an occasional lousy run - it'd be a miracle if every run was great! I always take it as a sign that I need a bit of extra sleep, and maybe a bit more focused fueling. (Especially if I've been eating lots of junk). Glad you bounced back, but not at all surprised!

  7. Thomas,
    I'm thinking the same so how about we give it a go?