Wednesday, March 28, 2012


Training (from 28 Nov)
17 weeks (18 if counting this one)
Miles per week:
62, 69, 78, 82, 62, 77, 74, 77, 75, 79, 78, 81, 46, 59, 50, 69, 47 (average before taper: 70)
The drop 5 weeks ago was due to recovery from first Donadea and then Ballycotton
# runs of 20 miles:
2 (!)
I started my training after running 3 marathons/ultras in quick succession and felt a lot of long runs on top of that would be counter-productive
# runs over 20 miles:
1 (Donadea 50k)
# of PBs:
2 (or 4 if you count in the fact that I broke my 5 miles and 10k PBs along the way during the Ballycotton 10 miler)
- none (still 4 days to go, of course ;-) )

After pacing the Dingle and Dublin marathons and then running the Sixmilebridge 30-miler late last year, I went into the training cycle with an emphasis on recovery. I used last year’s Vienna training plan as blueprint, both for the overall structure of the training plan as well as for individual workouts. One main change was switching the marathon pace runs for ultra pace runs but for longer durations. The other main difference was a much better understanding of the system, especially with regards to recovery. I won’t claim that I actually know what I'm doing but I must have guessed right more often than not. I finished a lot of workouts thinking “that’s how I should have done them last year”.

It didn’t start out all that well, I never felt good during base training, which is almost certainly down to the 3 long races at the end of 2011. It just took a while for my legs to recover from that. Things changed radically as soon as I started the hills phase, I could feel the legs improving virtually every single day and things just took off from there. All of a sudden I was hitting paces easily that I struggled to hit last year and I finished all my workouts with something left in the tank. Still, if anything I was developing too quickly, but I just about managed to keep a lid on things and stopped the pot from boiling over, so to speak. The races in Donadea and Ballycotton confirmed that I was in excellent shape and two hard runs (Ballycotton and alternating paces a week later) hopefully put the icing on the cake. Everything since then has just been in order to keep things ticking over until the race.

I am in my best shape ever. No doubt about it.

I also had a major shift in expectations. Two years ago when I ran the ultra in 5:15 I felt I had finally cracked this ultra running malarkey and run it as well as I could. Now I think I didn’t push hard enough. This year will be different. I am prepared to take a few risks and chase a much more aggressive target, and my confidence is high.

This week is of course all about not doing anything stupid. Monday and Tuesday saw easy 5 mile runs, and this morning I did my taper workout, the last workout before the race. I started with 6 miles at race pace, which was a bit faster than planned (I started at the right pace but gradually drifted into a higher gear), then one mile easy followed by 3x800s in 2:57, 2:55 and 2:46, with 2 minutes recovery, and finally an easy mile to cool down. The sunrise right during my second 800 was an added bonus, and I noticed how quickly the temperatures rose after that.

The upper limit from now is 2-3 miles per day. Seriously. And then we race.
26 Mar
5 miles, 39:48, 7:58 pace, HR 129
27 Mar
5 miles, 39:13, 7:51 pace, HR 135
28 Mar
10.15 miles, 1:11:36, 7:03 pace, HR 146
   6 miles @ 709 pace, 3x800 in 2:57, 2:55, 2:46


  1. I have commented for ages - but I am still following.

    Best of luck Thomas.

  2. Looks like you are on the ball for a great Ultra.
    Will be very interested to see your final result.

  3. Big Mileage put in there Thomas, best of Luck at the weekend.

  4. Good luck, Thomas, from the family fest 10km

  5. All the best for Connemara at the weekend.

    Hope you have a great run and achieve your goal.

    Looking forward to the race report already!

  6. You've put the work in, paid your dues, your in great shape. I can't see a sub 5 hour time as being aggressive given the how the training has gone. Good luck Thomas, you deserve a great day.

  7. I'm sure you'll have a good one Thomas. Expecting a headline with a '4' in front of it.

  8. Thomas of BrightonSun Apr 01, 12:17:00 am

    Good work and best of luck, Thomas. Revel in every minute.