Sunday, December 09, 2012

The Next Step

The training has definitely gone up a notch this week. I am still following my vague outline of a Canova build, and the advice for the last month of the base phase is to add a hilly fartlek run as well as a tempo run once per week.

This meant that the average training pace made a bit of a jump this week. The other by-product is that I was running a lot of miles at race pace or faster. I know that most elites, as well as a lot of not-so-elites, tend to run about 26 miles per week at marathon pace, which makes a lot of sense because the way to get good at running at a certain pace is to run at that certain pace, and now I'm basically trying to do just that myself (minus the elite bit, obviously).

The mileage dropped a bit, which helped keeping the legs reasonably fresh despite the increase in intensity. It is the standard thing to do when you start running faster, though I didn't plan a reduced mileage, just tried to adapt to the way my legs were feeling.

They definitely needed a bit of encouragement after Thursday. I tried to run that tempo run, with 6 miles at roughly half-marathon effort. I haven't raced a half-marathon in well over a year, but figured 6:20 pace should be pretty much it. Unfortunately, on the day itself I never managed to get going properly. Right from the start the pace was not there. The heart rate was quite low and I never managed to push it up to a higher level and I could not even hold 6:30 pace. I figured I was still fatigued from Tuesday's fartlek; I haven't really got any other explanation.

I took it especially easy on Friday to give the legs a break; I also happened to fast all day that day. I was a bit nervous how that would impact on my training, especially on Saturday. Although I had eaten again by the time I hit the road, I wasn't sure if running at a reasonably hard effort with definitely still reduced glycogen levels was really such a great idea, but got a pleasant surprise. I easily managed to run faster for 10 miles than I had managed for 6 on Thursday, and the expected sugar crash never came, so all was good.

My sugar levels definitely hit a high again at Cian's birthday party, but I wasn't the only one who loved Niamh's cake. It wasn't as sugary sweet as the photo suggested (see previous post) as the icing coating was quite thin, but the cake itself was just fabulous. It's a good thing I am a high mileage runner, imagine what I'd look like if all those extra calories weren't burned off day after day!

I decided to take it easy again on Sunday and just go for a fairly leisurely stroll around the lake. Halfway through the run I hit a rough patch that I initially attributed to empty glycogen stores, still a hangover from Friday's fast; when I felt better again a few miles later I dismissed that theory. With about 5 miles to go all of a sudden I decided to inject a bit of pace into the proceedings and dropped the pace from 7:45 to 6:45. It was a spur of the moment thing and initially I thought I'd do it just for one single mile but ended up running that pace for the rest of the run; I guess my glycogen stores were definitely not empty, then.
6 Dec
10 miles, 1:09:14, 6:55 pace, HR 152
   6 miles @ 6:32 pace, HR 159
7 Dec
10 miles, 1:14:46, 7:29 pace, HR 144
8 Dec
10 miles, 1:04:43, 6:28 pace, HR 159
9 Dec
18 miles, 2:14:18, 7:28 pace, HR 144
   13 miles @ 7:45, 5 miles @ 6:45
Weekly Mileage: 76


  1. Great going on the unexpected marathon pace run. Come the new year you will have the back of the training broken. Maybe a 2.50 - 2.55 should be the goal rather than a bald sub 3? Time will tell but great training Thomas.

  2. Everything sounding good, Thomas. 7:35 135 10 miles Great sign of fitness.

  3. Thomas, feeding off your local knowledge, is there any 'bit of a run' going on around Kerry on Sunday 16th, maybe Saturday 15th with a push? I missed my Half in Clon last Saturday because ... well, the logistics of babysitting 4 nieces under the age of 8 got in the way (despite my best efforts and the presence of two other adults!?!). Seriously, though, I feel like one who missed 'a fix'. I'd love a 10k, but a 5k would suffice.

    1. Niamh, the 5k Killarney Santa Fun Run will be on 15 December, 2pm; the webiste is

  4. I think doing more mileage at marathon race-pace will pay off - provided you're recovering well of course. My friend ran 2:51:54 on the weekend and she was doing quite a bit of marathon pace running (within 100 mile weeks!).

  5. Agree with Ewen, but it seems Thomas is breezing his current marathon PB pace at the moment, more improvements on the cards?