Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Muddy Puddles

After unexpectedly managing two runs in Clifden last week's mileage again touched the 80 mark, a lot more than I thought, but the easy pace of those runs made it a fairly easy week despite the mileage.

I felt pretty good on Monday but with less than 3 weeks to go before Dingle it's slowly time to cut back a little bit. I guess I am supposed to start tapering now, but I'm not entirely sure what I am tapering from as I haven't done any real training since Bangor, everything I did was just recovery from that race.

Monday was a beautiful morning and the legs felt very fresh. As I stated already, as of last week I am feeling really good again and my HR/pace numbers have improved on an almost daily basis, backing up that subjective feeling with some real, objective, numbers.

My key workouts before Bangor had been a few mountainous runs, especially one where I crossed the Windy Gap 4 times, which added up to an elevation gain of ~3000 feet. In an attempt to get my leg strength back to the same level, I repeated the same workout on Tuesday morning.

The weeks of rain have turned much of the dirt road into a mud bath and the rest is quite stony, so I wore my off-road shoes but started suffering after a while because they provide virtually no cushioning and the stones really started hurting my feet. However, I was more concerned about the slow pace; I ran 10 minutes slower than the last time and if I had returned home any later Niamh would have called a search party. I know that time on feet is more important than pace when it comes to ultra training, but it definitely bothered me.

Anyway, my experience from the Bangor training cycle was that I recover very quickly from these mountain runs but not only did I feel rather stiff this morning, I also felt some discomfort in my right calf muscle. Strangely enough, the only time of the day when it did not hurt was when I was running, but that may be purely down to the endorphins. I took it very easy today and expect to bounce back quickly. The Stick will also see some use.

Normally I would be counting down the days to Dingle at this stage, willing time to pass faster, but actually I am feeling the complete opposite right now. I know that every day will make me a bit stronger after Bangor and that race day will come a bit too soon for me, so I am actually hoping time will pass more slowly (I know, it doesn't really make sense). I have no idea how Dingle will go. I will play it by ear. It has the potential to turn into a very long day indeed, but I'm hoping for better.
13 Aug
8 miles, 1:02:27, 7:48 pace, HR 137
14 Aug
14.75 miles, 2:30:23, 10:12 pace, HR 138
   Kerry Way: Windy Gap x 4
15 Aug
8 miles, 1:04:36, 8:04 pace, HR 139


  1. Does Dingle count towards the 100 marathon club?

  2. Doing 3000ft ascent/descent in ~15 miles is pretty good going, 10 min/mile pace for such terrain is not sloughing at all. The poor underfoot conditions could easily explain when you weren't quite as fast previous times.

    With the feet being sore, in the past I've had this when running on stony trails with lots of steep descents, particularly when my trail shoes have lots of miles on them, so it might be time to check if the mid-sole is worn out.

    For the last 6 months I have run about 1/3rd of my miles in Vivobarefoot Neo Trails and at first when wearing them on stony trails I had to be very careful about foot placement to avoid getting sore feet, the sense that I was coming close to bruising them. Fast forward to today and my feet are now stronger and probably have better proprioception too so very rarely ever get a landing where it hurts. Now I actually use the Neo Trails as a form of recovery when I have overused feet, after a recovery run in them it feels very much like a good foot massage.

    So getting sore feet is not necessarily a bad thing, like any other ache and pain you get when training it's a sign that you are pushing your body to adapt and become stronger. Like all other forced adaptations you just need to be careful not to cross the line between making yourself stronger and injuring yourself.