Thursday, October 22, 2009


When feeling like death after Monday’s 13 miles I decided that the best action was to take no action at all. The fewer miles run the better. However, the mere thought of no running for an entire week, especially the week before a marathon, gave me the heebie-jeebies, so I decided to come up with a compromise. I would not set the alarm clock at all, but should I wake in time for a run and it wasn’t raining, then I’d go for a few easy miles. Otherwise there would be no run.

Well, I woke shortly before 7 o’clock on Tuesday (the longest I have been sleeping in a very long time, including weekends), the sky was entirely clear and I threw on some clothes and did no more than 3 miles. I can even claim to have run without my watch, but the truth is that I forgot to press the start button. That’s never happened before. Anyway, I guess it took about 25 minutes, and the HR for the last 1.5 miles (when I did turn on the Garmin) was 137, reasonably low.

Despite waking in time on Wednesday again and no rain I decided to sleep inread. Less is More.

Today, Thursday, was the last day of some proper running. The original plan would have called for 7 miles with 2 miles at marathon effort but I cut that down to 5 despite waking up early again. The 5 miles were easy enough, and on the last 2 I upped the effort to about 6:55 pace with a heart rate of 167. That’s at the upper end of marathon effort; in fact it’s what I started out with in Dingle 5 weeks ago. But the road was slightly downhill, and that certainly does make a difference. Maybe I can just about keep up with Grellan’s little 7:00 pace group on Monday. I can try. If they let me, that is.

For the rest of the week I’m planning on doing the total sum of zero miles between now and the marathon. That’s the most drastic taper I’ve ever even contemplated, but I don’t think running is doing me much good at the moment. I tried to measure my resting HR this morning, hoping that it would have come down from the weekend’s 45. It never went lower than 47, but the fact that our kitten was keeping me company, repeatedly attacking my feet, hands, face and even the Garmin might make that reading irrelevant. It’s hard to relax when you have a miniature tiger trying to take chunks out of your toes/fingers/eyes/watch.

Maia had a good week; she finally managed to break the child lock at the kitchen cabinet, after months of incessant trying. I didn’t have a spare one, and by the time I got round to replacing it we were down 2 cereals and several juice boxes. And I’m not entirely sure if the cat appreciated orange juice in her food bowl as much as Maia expected her to. She also managed to scribble on the walls with pencil and broke one baking dish. *sigh* I still remember Cian going through all that not very long ago, and we’re obviously in for a repeat.

Next week she’ll have the chance to wreck Nana’s and Gaga’s house instead. I think a couple of years ago we were on the verge of being exiled for good when Cian was on the toddler rampage. Let’s see how Maia compares.
20 Oct
3 miles, ~25:00, ~8:20 pace, HR 137
21 Oct
0 miles
22 Oct
5 miles, 36:49, 7:22 pace, HR 157
incl. 2 miles @ 6:55


  1. I think you are smart about getting the extra rest and having a full taper. Of course, the race will be the final judge of whether or not it helped.

    I've felt the vengence of the toddler tornado many times. Nothing wrong with letting her tear up someone else's place for a little while.

  2. In my experience (30 marathons), I've found that cutting off all running the week before the race is not ideal. I think I may have shared the following logic with you before you ran Boston, but it goes like this: we usually have our best runs on the heels of a couple of days of build-up, as the body adapts (as long as the workouts aren't too strenuous, necessitating rest). So really, if you think about it, you should taper more the week before the final week, so that in the week leading up to the marathon you start to "build back up" to being able to maintain the uber-strenuous racepace. If you don't do any running at all for 4-5 days prior, then in my opinion you go in with too much rust. It's like the ol' adage of needing to get the best sleep two days before the race, not the night before. Meaning, the week before a marathon, you should be resting but also starting to build toward a monumental undertaking, with fresh legs from the true taper the week prior. I know it's too late now to do that, but I recommend resting a day, then doing some runs in the days leading up to the marathon...unless of course you really are just exhausted, in which case, you really need to adjust pacing goals.

  3. I did the exact same workout this evening ( 7 miles with 2 at MP) and can't say the 2nd MP mile felt "easy". Hopefully the first 2 miles on Monday will feel less stressful.

    Grellan's little pacing group got whittled down to 1 on Tuesday. Pat and Paul are heading for 7:10/7:15 pace. I'm thinking of heading out at that pace for the first mile or 2 and ramping up gradually to 7:00 pace. I figure it's safer to start slower than target pace and 30 seconds is nothing compared to the potential lost time after mile 20.

    You're more than welcome to join me. I reckon you'll be fine once you find your feet after a few miles. Start relaxed with no expectation. See you Monday - I'll give you a ring on your mobile on Sunday.

  4. Thomas I left a comment from my daughters account (Saffy face)

  5. Taper/shnaper it only makes you crazy. Running without a watch?! Running by feel is a great way to go. If it's your day, just remember to hold back for 20 miles and then hang on for the last 6. Simple eh?

  6. thinking of you... in maui. hang in there, and all the best on race day. i hope you come around and have a good race.

  7. Bide your time on the 7:00 bus until 20 miles Thomas. Remember my money is riding on you - no pressure though. Don't forget the salt tablets for emergencies ;)

  8. best of luck and most of all enjoy the run!!

  9. Best of luck. Fingers crossed for you.

  10. Hope you feel good on the day and run a good marathon. Looking forward to your race report.

  11. The past few weeks have been up and down; a cold three weeks ago, yet a week later you coasted most of the way to record 18:52 in a 5 K. Then there was a session in which marathon pace has seemed difficult, but for someone who can do 5K in 18:52 while taking it easy, the apparent difficulty with marathon pace was mainly an indicator of how you brain was reacting, not your heart, lungs or legs. In the midst of all that you had little difficulty with an 18 miler. You have done the training; your heart and legs are in great shape, but the cold has left you a bit bamboozled. Conscious fears can undermine the brain’s non-conscious ability to regulate the pace. But your non-conscious brain has a lot of experience. So start easily, and if you trust your non-conscious brain to get things right, there is a good chance that you will feel increasingly strong as the race progresses. Good luck.


  13. Here's hoping your result is all you have hoped and worked for. Looking forward to the results and stories.