Monday, September 07, 2009

Two Different Grades of Easy

I did a pair of rather contrasting easy runs over the weekend. The plan for Saturday had been to run 90 minutes at easy pace, by far the longest run before the marathon. Initially the Garmin acted up big time when it refused to come alive. Apparently the battery had drained overnight. Since it had been fully charged and definitely turned off it’s a bit of a mystery, but this has happened before at least twice. I did recharge it for a while before heading out, but when the “low battery” warning came on within the first mile I decided to run by feel.

Running by feel has its drawbacks when you’re used to running 100 miles per week and have just cut that in half. When I glanced at the Garmin 3 miles later (it was still alive), I saw that the pace was somewhere around 7:15. Oops. Having said that, it felt super easy with the HR hardly above 150. I knew this was too fast to call it an easy run, but kept going as I felt good. I reckoned with 7 days to go I would not suffer any repercussions on marathon day. The only time I felt like straining was on the second-last mile, which climbs about 80 feet up from sea level. When I reached our driveway 10 minutes ahead of schedule I thought about adding 10 extra minutes, but decided against it. Less is More. And for an additional bonus, the Garmin was unexpectedly still working.

While this run had felt easy enough, I knew this would not do for the rest of the week. Before Sunday’s run I programmed the Garmin to beep whenever the HR went over 150. This kept the pace very much in check; the knowledge alone that the thing would start nagging at me as soon as I would run faster kept me from doing so. The only exception to this was a set of 6x100 strides, which I added towards the end of 7 easy miles. But, unlike Saturday, this was definitely an easy run.

I also measured my resting HR that morning. It came up with 37, equalling the lowest reading I’ve ever got. All signs are on that I’m in prime shape, no matter how much Rick complains that my training plan was badly structured.

Today, 5 days out, was the last workout, but strenuous it was not. Anything I do this week is for the mind, not the body. After 2 miles of warming up I did a set of 4 minutes at threshold pace, which, according to Jack Daniels, is around 6:20 pace. For once this was achievable, which I put down to the short nature of the repeats. I also welcomed the sunny morning, which was quite some contrast to the day before (“you’re going out into this?” Niamh had asked incredulously on Sunday, looking at the wind and rain). Anyway, the paces for the threshold repeats were 6:15, 6:22, 6:19 and 6:25, which reflect the slightly undulating road. It was over before I had gotten tired, which was of course what it was supposed to be like.

As Wayne just said in his latest entry, it's a great feeling to know all the hard work is done. That’s one way to look ate it. The other one is to get mad from the tapering. As much as I feel like running twice as much right now, exactly 5 days from here, around mile 20 or 22, the muscles will be screaming and I will be desperate to stop, and that’s when I hope to be able to remember that this is exactly where I want to be.
5 Sep
11.25 miles, 1:20:28, 7:09 pace, HR 154
6 Sep
7 miles, 54:12, 7:44 pace, HR 145
incl. 6x100 strides
7 Sep
7 miles, 50:37, 7:14 pace, HR 152
incl. 4x4 mins @ 6:15, 6:22, 6:18, 6:25 pace


  1. Everything looking good Thomas. Enjoy the last few days of preparation.

  2. When I hear you saying "less is more", I know you must be going mad from the taper ;)

    Enjoy the carbo loading, but stay away from Niamh's desserts.

  3. work on some mental training-rhythm and discipline will get you farther, fading any, forbid, thoughts of stopping

  4. It's encouraging that you're calling 7:15 pace easy!! Looking good!!! and the weather is getting better too...

  5. You are well prepared. Good luck

  6. Structure
    Thomas I’m not out to criticize your training a 100 miles per week with a full family life and full time work is very impressive, to get up at 4.30 in the morning takes a whole load of determination and drive! There is nothing wrong with making your training up as you go along and using new ideas that you find interesting, I’ve done it myself in the past-with good results at times! No I was merely pointing out that with a little more structure to your training, see here;
    You could get that little bit extra , that might be all important with breaking through to the next level.
    Anyway its good to see your feeling good and ready to do the business in a weeks time!