Sunday, April 22, 2012


On Friday evening Niamh and me mentioned how nice it was to be looking forward to a nice, quiet weekend with nothing on. No obligations, no plans, certainly no early morning trips to Cork for a change. We really had no idea.

My Saturday morning run started off in an entirely unremarkable fashion. But about 2 miles into it I approached a blind corner leading to a 4-way junction. It was steep downhill so I was going at quite some speed and as I rounded the corner I quite literally found myself staring at the headlights of the car coming towards me, just yards away. I managed to jump out of the way, bumping against the side of it as I was still unbalanced after coming round the corner and abruptly having to change direction. Somehow I did not get hurt. I asked the driver if he was ok, which even then felt like a stupid thing to say but I couldn't think of anything else at the time, and I'm sure he had gotten just as much a fright as I had. I apologised, because the whole incident was clearly my fault for coming round the corner like that. I still don't know why I had not heard the car. He must have been slowly coasting towards the junction, which also explains why bumping against its side had not hurt.

I have run on these roads for 8 years without incident. They are narrow and windy and there are many blind corners but encounters with cars are sparse enough, especially since I tend to run early in the morning. I'm not a complete idiot (debatable, I know) and I do take precautions like wearing reflective gear in the winter and never listening to headphones. I do tend to worry about boy racers as I can hear them from time to time, especially as this year's Rally of the Lakes is fast approaching, but on the rare occasions when we did cross paths they were just as sensible as anyone else. I never considered that the idiot causing a danger by coming flying round a blind corner would be myself.

After that bit of drama I carried on for the rest of the run without incident. I did raise an eyebrow when I looked at the average pace and HR after the run. I thought I had run at the same, easy effort as every other run in the last couple of weeks but in actual fact I had been a good bit faster than usual. Maybe the adrenaline following the near-miss had something to do with it.

Sunday's run was totally mundane in comparison, but it was good to get back to doing a full loop around the lake. The big climb always feels a bit tough at first, but I will need exactly that kind of training for the Bangor race. Hills build leg strength, and leg strength is extremely important. It feels strange to be running hills to prepare for a completely flat race, but that's the way it goes.

I was wondering about my training pace recently because it felt much too fast compared to race pace. I studied what others had been doing. The general consensus is that almost nobody trains at race pace. Some people include walking breaks or regard hill hiking as part of their training, but nobody really recommends running at 12-16 minutes per mile pace in your day-to-day training. My thoughts at the moment are to train at whatever pace comes naturally and not to worry about it at all. I have been doing exactly that recently, certainly never speeding up, but I never bothered to slow down either. Looking at my recent training paces I do have second thoughts to that approach because 7:30 is a lot faster than anything I'm planning on doing in Bangor. My latest thinking is to keep doing what I have been doing for my midweek runs but to slow down a lot over the weekend long runs and go more for a time-on-feet approach. Then again, I have a few marathon pacing gigs coming up soon. That should help with time on feet, and the pace will be slower as well. It's a step into the right direction, I suppose.

There was more drama on Sunday, which led me to get Shea to A&E in Tralee. There's no need to go into more details about the cause, let's just say boys will be boys and the culprit is very sorry and feeling sufficiently guilty. The trip cost over 100 Euros (and imagine, across the border that kind of thing is free!) and a few nerves, but the one thing that counts is that he is fine. I can hear the boys fighting again, right now. I guess things have gone back to normal sooner than expected. So much for an nice, quiet weekend.
19 Apr
10 miles, 1:15:17, 7:31 pace, HR 148
20 Apr
10 miles, 1:17:06, 7:41 pace, HR 147
21 Apr
12 miles, 1:28:15, 7:21 pace, HR 152
22 Apr
15.1 miles, 1:56:57, 7:44 pace, HR 150


  1. Got hit by a car meself four years back but it was the drivers fault. Still we're still here so no harm done. On the training, keep the fast stuff going so when you run in the 24 hour you can run at a pace where you're very slow to start sweating - Recommendation of Mick R. Regards, MO.

  2. I was only out in the hills last Saturday thinking: Some of these drivers are going a bit fast and my choice of a black top (the only clean one) might have been a bad one.

    I always run defensively and will step out into the traffic until I'm confident the oncoming driver can see me. I'm still stunned at the number of walkers and runners who travel 'with the traffic'. I was always thought to run into the traffic - i.e. the opposite side of the road - with the exception of blind corners.

    On a totally unrelated point I often wonder if those calling for universal pay cuts for the workers of Ireland realise how much everyday things cost - like a trip to the doctor? If they were all free I'd happily earn less.

  3. That was a close one. Great tip not to listen to headphones. A jogger down here was killed by a car and she was wearing headphones.

  4. You had a lucky escape Thomas. Maybe you should run a long run immediately after one of your pacing gigs and your pace might drop a little ;)

  5. Actually Grellans onto something there, back to back long runs can help with slowing you down... i know i certainly dont feel like going fast 20km into the second long run of the weekend.... half the time im not certain if i feel like finishing the run at all...