Friday, October 16, 2009

Progress(?) Report

I can finally state with absolute confidence that I’m getting over that blasted cold that has had a hold on me for the last 10 days. On Wednesday I was coughing early morning as I got out of bed. Yesterday I was coughing maybe once. Today I’m officially cough-free.

However, one look at the HR for the last few runs shows that not everything is hunky dory just yet. I have always been able to measure my fitness from the average heart rate on my slow recovery runs, and the numbers clearly show that the HR is a few beats higher than it should be. Yesterday’s run, for example, should have yielded an HR well below 140; instead I got 141. And I’d normally expect my resting HR at this stage to be below 40; when I measured it on Wednesday I got 45. That’s better than a few days earlier, but still rather high. With 10 days to go until Dublin I’ll wait and see if those figures will come down. However, I’ll be there at the starting line no matter what.

After Tuesday’s goose egg I did 8 miles on Wednesday with a set of strides. The highlight of that run came the second I opened the front door. The sky was entirely clear, and I was presented with a million glittering stars and a tiny sliver of moon. Brilliant. I even made out 3 planets to my left, Venus, Saturn and Mars in reasonably close proximity. I love running beneath the stars.

The low point of said run came about 10 seconds later. We share our driveway with our nextdoor neighbours, and for some reason that night they had decided to close the gate, for the first time in 6 years. Had I run with a headlamp I would have seen it, but I didn’t and I sure didn’t expect it. I saw it about a tenth of a second before my left knee slammed into it. I’m sure it would have made one hilarious video, but standing there cursing it didn’t quite feel so funny at the time. Anyway, I managed to unlock the gate in the darkness and was on my way. The knee didn’t bother ne during the run, but was really painful later that day. It wasn’t swollen, but I could hardly bend it, and cycling home from work was a challenge.

It was still sore the next day, except for the 40+ minutes of my run when the endorphins suppressed all pain. I also made sure to look out for the gate. Slamming into it twice in a row would have made me feel even more stupid than usual, but it was open anyway.

Today, Friday, I wore my headlamp for the first time. With the moon now gone in the morning it was pitch dark outside. I guess it’s time to get used to that again. Anyway, it’s 10 days until the marathon, and the P&D schedule always has a set of 3x1600 on the cards for that day. Originally I thought about replacing that with a set of 800s, but then decided to go ahead with the prescribed workout. I didn’t want to tire myself out at that stage and opted for slightly slower than 5k pace; 6:20 would have been ok. On the first mile I opted to run relaxed, concentrating on my form, running fast but not all-out. I had done exactly that on Sunday during the race, and back then I had managed sub-6 for the first mile. Today I was absolutely dismayed to find the clock at 6:36. I had avoided looking at it during the run, running entirely by feel. Maybe that was a mistake. The second repeat wasn’t much better. Even though I was forewarned and determined to do better, it took me 6:31. Blimey, what’s wrong with me! For the last repeat I opted to run homewards rather than turn back towards Ard-na-Sidhe; that way the next mile would be slightly downhill, not much (maybe 20 feet or so) but noticeable. It might have been cheating, but I reckoned a faster time would at least fool my confidence. It worked somewhat and produced a 6:10 mile, but I didn’t exactly cover myself in glory that morning.

I just don’t do intervals very well. It probably means that I should do more of them. Of course, I had 3 excuses today: the Dingle marathon, Sunday’s race and Monday’s 18- miler were all still in my legs. Then again, marathon training always happens on a tired set of legs. Time to move on and forget. Again.
14 Oct
8 miles, 1:03:16, 7:55 pace, HR 152
incl. 8x100 strides
15 Oct
5 miles, 41:45, 8:21 pace, HR 141
16 Oct
7 miles, 53:20, 7:37 pace, HR 157
incl. 3xmile @ 6:36, 6:31, 6:10 (2 mins rest)


  1. Yeah its funny how much harder trying to run at 5-10k pace is in training than a race, your not alone on that.
    On Wed I had to run a 1 mile time trial, but it did not go well, but in the evening my wife asked my If I'd run with her down to the club session. they were doing reps over a long bridge, I ran at the back and decided to take it easy, Surprisingly I found myself running at a faster pace than my afternoon mile effort yet it seemed Ridiculously easy, I guess thats the difference between running on your own or in a group.
    Often If I try long intervals on my own I seem to think too much- is my turnover fast enough, what about my stride length etc, yet in a group I just relax more and everything seems to flow along so much better!

  2. You're right about high mileage marathoners going to bed tired and waking up tired.

    Good to hear the cold has settled down. The gate episode could have put an end to more brothers and sisters for your brood ;)