Friday, August 07, 2009


Last week, Niamh had come home from Dublin with a cold that had us miss our anniversary dinner. We made up for it on Tuesday night, had a few drinks, left the car in town and I volunteered to pick it up the next morning.

Killorglin is about 5 miles away from home, but I was planning on doing a little detour to boost my mileage. The first thing I felt after the alarm went off was a hangover, but I dragged myself out of bed and onto the road anyway. I went towards Dooks and Cromane, the route I had suffered on two weeks ago on my 22 mile run. This time I was running it the other way and had the wind behind me, helping me along the way. The first 5 miles passed soon enough, but then I really started suffering. For the next few miles I was looking at the Garmin far too often, not understanding how the mileage figure could go up so slowly. Since the misery was both deserved and self-inflicted I kept going, but seriously considered taking a shorter route into town. Then, at the 10 miles point, the worst was over all of a sudden. Maybe I had sweated out the worst of the poison, and I really started enjoying the run. I went down 2 roads that I had never been on before, all the way down to Ballykissane pier, and eventually got to my car with 15 miles under the belt just as the heavens opened. Luckily enough I had managed to remember bringing the car key along.

Since the rain did not let up, Niamh drove me into work, and since the weather was so nice in the evening I ran home. This wasn’t quite what I had planned for a recovery day, but surprisingly enough I felt very good after both runs. The day’s mileage of 20 miles might have been a bit high, but running it in 2 shifts, hours apart, made it much, much easier than one long run would have been.

Thursday is always the day of hill repeats, which meant 3 tempo miles at first and then a series of painful charges up that by now very, very familiar hill. I was seriously dreading the oncoming pain today, but having taken 50 seconds off my 10k time over the last 2 weeks I can clearly see the benefits. The workout is painful, the legs hurt for the entire rest of the day, but it is worth it.

There are only so many ways to describe an ever-repeating workout, and I won’t bother with the details. The workout seemed to be getting easier as the weeks have gone by, but I took that as a hint to work harder. For some reason, I was almost floored after the seventh repeat; it took an awful long time to regain a normal breathing pattern after that. Because of that, I left it at the standard 8 repeats rather than adding a bonus one, like I had done last week. It was enough to turn the legs into jelly anyway.

I was all set to run 18 miles today, I had already set the alarm for 5:05am, when I checked the computer one last time and read Mike’s comment. Not that I want to give the impression that I ignore everyone else, but Mike made me sit up and think, because he has been through the 100-miles-a-week training several times before (in fact, he inspired me towards it more than anyone else). Eventually I decided to listen. I reset the alarm for 5:30, which I was grateful for when I got up, because the extra 25 minutes of sleep were highly welcome. It meant only 15 miles for today, and even though I felt good it was rather slow, certainly slower than normally. Maybe it's a sign that cutting off the last 3 miles was a good idea, though I felt perfectly fine all the way through.

With 5 weeks to go before the marathon I’m not quite tapering yet, but with Mike’s (and everyone else’s) warning ringing in the ears the highest mileage is now behind me. I’ll take it easy over the weekend, but will still get to 100 miles for this week. Two easy days should provide enough rest for a strong long marathon-effort run on Monday, followed by another couple of easy days. This might not sound like me and will require keeping my runner's OCD in check, but I’ll get used to it, I’m sure.
5 Aug
am: 15 miles, 1:57:21, 7:49 pace, HR 141
pm: 5 miles, 38:25, 7:41 pace, HR 141
6 Aug
10.5 miles, 1:29:52, 8:34 pace, HR 143
incl. 3 miles @ 6:46, 8x60 secs hill sprints
7 Aug
15 miles, 2:00:59. 8:04 pace, HR 139


  1. No wonder the hill sprints turn your legs to jelly with 3 tempo miles in front of them. I did 1 tempo mile ahead of my 30 sec hill sprints this week and could feel the effect.

    Just wondering what's the benefit of the tempo miles before the sprints other than making them more challenging perhaps? Are you not better off getting better quality sprints in and keeping good running form rather than tiring your legs beforehand and risking poorer quality sprints?

  2. I've got a cure - swap the Guinness for decent Aussie beer like Boag's.

    Haven't got one for the OCD - I've had that since 1979.

    Enjoy the easier weekend!

  3. Not tapering but... almost tapering, isn't it?