Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Aeolus, The Bastard!

I cannot remember when we last had a spell of such high winds lasting for so long; we have basically been battered for a week by now. At least the rain (and hail!) seems to have mostly stopped, though the occasional heavy shower can still catch you out if you're unlucky. And through all this I'm doing my best to keep the training going, which is now in its most crucial stage, with less than 7 weeks left until Tralee.

By the way, they rounded my time from Saturday's race up to 18:00, which did not come entirely unexpected, but which makes it feel a lot slower all of a sudden. On the plus side, I finished in ninth position; a top 10 place always sounds good.

Because the weekend had been a touch more demanding than usual with a week followed by a fairly tough run on Sunday I had to get recovery right. I did my by now customary 8 mile easy run on Monday morning, where the out section felt significantly harder than the back one, the difference being a the gale force wind being in my back rather than in my face. And it was absolutely bucketing it down, after two steps outside I was already wet throughout and the sudden appearance of an entire new set of potholes ensured that my feet got a particularly good soaking. Having said all that, since I was running easily and entirely by feel I just got on with it. There is no danger of chasing a particular pace or HR when you're not looking at the Garmin anyway.

The storm reached its apex on Monday evening, so much so that Niamh refused to have me cycle home from work (and quite rightly so, I hasten to add), but since the worst would be over by Tuesday morning my running would not really be affected. Or so I thought.

What caught me out was the fact that I use an electronic alarm clock and when the storm knocked out the power in the middle of the night, that created a problem. The most annoying aspect is that I was actually awake at the time when I was supposed to get up (I usually am), but did not realise that the time display was wrong. By the time I finally twigged it it was already past 7 o'clock and I rushed out of the door for 4 miles, which was all I had time for. It can be argued, though, that the extra hour of sleep did more good than the lost 6 miles would have done.

With that additional, if unplanned, recovery I hoped I was ready for Wednesday's workout. Canova's specific phase has a lot of long intervals at slightly faster than marathon pace. I admit I chickened out of the original schedule which basically consisted of 30 km worth of intervals for each session (including recovery), something I fear would burn me out rather than  build me up; accordingly I "only" did 5x4k repeats (actually 2.5 miles because I train in miles). The main worry was the continuing gale force wind which shows now signs of abating. Then again, it may well be windy on race day, so it would be beneficial to have run in those conditions before and I went ahead just as planned, but with the caveat that I would not get too hung up on actual pace and rely more on feel for pacing myself.

The first repeat was more a warm-up, the second was all with the wind and accordingly quite fast while feeling easy enough, and then the fun started because the last 3 repeats would all contain significant portions of running right into the gale, with the last one doing so entirely. Add to that the steadily mounting fatigue and you get a good grasp of what it was like.

I sure was glad I had chosen a shortened version of the original workout. I am worried enough about over-cooking myself as it is. The next two days will be easy again (though I am not planning on oversleeping this time), and Saturday will be fun again before a real-world-induced interruption of the training kick in.
28 Jan
8 miles, 1:01:39, 7:42 pace, HR 135
29 Jan
4 miles, 29:52, 7:28 pace, HR 137
30 Jan
17+ miles, 1:55:43, 6:46 pace, HR 158
   5 x 4k @ 6:33 (HR 152), 6:21 (156), 6:31 (164), 6:35 (161), 6:30 (164), 1k recovery @ 7:20 pace


  1. I think the sleep-in is your body telling you something ;) 5 x 4k is a serious session. I can see the wind strength from the pace/hrs of the into the wind ones. You did well.

  2. Great work!! Did you wake up earlier for the long interval session?