Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Back To School

It was interesting to see the contrasting moods this morning as everyone got ready for the first day of the new school year. Shea was excited, Lola resigned, Cian obnoxious and Niamh delighted. But they all got there in time.

What we didn’t get was the promised improvement in the weather, but if unsubstantiated rumours are to be believed, this will happen by the time the weekend comes along. Just as long as it’s not too hot 11 days from now (a pretty safe bet, I’d say), I’m fine with that.

After the interval workout on Saturday I settled into a lazy weekend, the first race-free weekend in 3 weeks. With the taper upon me, all I could do was to take it easy both running-wise and in real life. Believe it or not, I managed to slip into couch potato mode very quickly. I could get used to that, especially since the weekend featured Kerry’s progress to a record-equalling sixth consecutive Football Final in a row, providing plenty of material to wind up my father-in-law in the process. I’ll go easy on him, promised; eventually.

Anyway. Running. Just under 9 miles on Sunday gave me 67 miles for the week, which is slightly below target, but as I’ve said, I’m in couch potato mode. Monday was even easier with 7 miles. I did notice that the legs really appreciated the reduced mileage. My easy running pace has dropped from 8:00 to 7:40, and I frequently have to reign myself in. While it feels cool to cruise along at 7:10 pace without pushing hard, the heart rate monitor tells me that this is not as easy as it feels. Still, I’m not complaining.

After two easy day it was time for another workout this morning. I dipped into Jack Daniel’s little book of wisdom once more, but made sure to scale down his workout from the elite to my level. The plan was to run 16 miles, with 3x1.5 miles at tempo pace. The unusual thing was that the tempo segments would all be during the first half of the run. I was looking forward to it.

It was still quite dark, but I managed without a light. The weather could have been better, with a blustery wind and the occasional rain shower. I might have made an odd sight wearing a singlet and fingerless gloves at the same time, but this felt appropriate for the elements, no matter how dorky it might have looked.

I got the tempo segments out of the way early on. It’s difficult to compare them because the first one was with the wind, the second one was mixed and the third one was against the wind, so naturally I got slower with each segment. Paces of 6:32, 6:36 and 6:48 seemed reasonably appropriate, and I continued on with the second half of the run at easy pace.

Easy pace turned out to be in the region of 7:30; I felt entirely comfortable at this level and had the feeling that I could cruise along forever – though I know from experience that this is not the case. Around mile 12 I felt the first signs of fatigue, but by mile 14 I was still fresh enough to decide to up the pace for the last stretch. In effect I added a fourth tempo segment as I finished the last 1.5 miles at an average pace of 6:33 with the last mile in 6:27. If it hadn’t been raining I would have been tempted to continue running, I felt really good.

If there is one problem it is the fact that the marathon is still 11 days out. I feel strong, fit and more than ready. I know I won’t lose fitness between now and race day, but there’s always the fear that this might happen no matter what the experts say.

Sigh. Just keep the taper madness in check; don’t get injured; don’t get sick.
30 Aug
8.75 miles, 1:07:15, 7:41 pace, HR 145
31 Aug
7 miles, 53:40, 7:40 pace, HR 146
1 Sep
16 miles, 1:55:39, 7:14 pace, HR 151
incl. 3x1.5 miles @ 6:32, 6:36, 6:48


  1. Sounds like you are primed and ready! Good luck!!

  2. Sounds as though you are peaking at just the right time. Best of luck!

  3. you're in terrific shape thomas... good luck and hopefully you'll get a pb.. you deserve one after your race preparation.. all the best to you

  4. Trust in the training. You're fit. More is less. All the best.

  5. wow, less than ten days. It's a good time to be visualizing that marathon PR.

  6. That last run was a good sign.

    I'm no expert, but you won't lose fitness - just don't do every run at jogging pace and spend every spare minute sitting on the couch with a beer in your hand ;)