Thursday, February 21, 2013

Dodged Yet Another Bullet

I knew there was trouble brewing. I awoke several times on Tuesday night with a sore throat, something that was still with me when I finally got up at around 6:30 in the morning. It was uncomfortable but not too bad, so I went ahead with the workout.

My very first thought on speedwork days used to be “oh no, speedwork!” but I wasn’t too bothered this time round; maybe because the workout didn’t seem too hard, especially after running 18-minute 5ks several times this year already. The plan, which originally came from my previous coach, was to run 6 half miles around 2:50-3:00 with 2 minutes of recovery. Perfectly doable.

I felt awkward and slow during the warm up but once I got going I was fine and the sore throat was completely forgotten. The workout went very well, I hit all the paces and was always in full control and reasonably relaxed.

2:56 (HR 156), 2:57 (160), 2:53 (163), 2:54 (165), 2:52 (164), 2:51 (169)

The last one was tougher than the previous ones but still nowhere near all-out. I was very happy with it and that’s not something I tend to say after intervals.

However, I did not feel great for the rest of the day with some cold coming on, and Niamh chided me for not wrapping up the day before when it was cold. I thought that kind of talking-to had stopped about 35 years ago when my mum gave up, but apparently not.

The sore throat was worse on Wednesday, and this time I seriously contemplated binning the run. What is there to gain from an easy run if you’re on the verge of being sick? Then I decided that I had no symptoms below the neck, my usual cut-off point, and that yesterday’s intervals had gone exceedingly well despite the sore throat and went out after all, but only for 6 easy miles. The HR monitor supports my decision I suppose, the HR was not elevated. If something had been properly wrong I would have expected to see a different value.

I guess I got away with it. I still felt some very minor discomfort this morning but it’s definitely a lot better, and I’m feeling perfectly fine otherwise. I did another mellow workout, 8 miles at 7-ish pace with a surge towards 6-minute-pace every mile for 0.3 - 0.4 miles before falling back to 7-minute pace, which felt like jogging after surging. Due to the strong gale force winds I did not take much notice of the actual pace and went by feel only, which was about 5:50 pace with the wind at my back and closer to 6:30 against the wind, and I cut the very last surge short with an eye on Saturday’s final 5k of the race series.

I have basically decided that I am tapering for Tralee already, so there won’t be any more real long runs. Ballycotton will be the last big workout, and I’ll do a few more faster but shorter runs, in the hope that it will make running at 6:30 – 6:40 pace feel easier.

My biggest worry for Tralee is that we will have to deal with winds like today. It would blow away any chances of a decent time, and it’s a factor I cannot control (so why worry?). I’ll need to get my head around this before race day.
19 Feb
7 miles, 50:14, 7:10 pace, HR 147
     6 half mile repeats: 2:56 (HR 156), 2:57 (160), 2:53 (163), 2:54 (165), 2:52 (164), 2:51 (169)
20 Feb
6 miles, 45:25, 7:34 pace, HR 138
21 Feb
8 miles, 54:57, 6:52 pace, HR 154


  1. You half mile repeat sessions looks much like a Yasso 800 session.

    If Burt Yasso's rule applies to you then it look likely that you'll be on for marathon time in the low 2:50's. Which if try is a massive improvement over your current PB :-)

    1. I know about Yassos, Rob, that would have been 10 repeats and ~3 minutes recovery. But I expect I would hit pretty much the same numbers.

      Btw, they do indeed seem to work surprisingly well for predicting marathon times, at least for me. Low 2:50s will be my gold target, conditions permitting.

  2. Wow, they're very low HR's for 2:54 800 repeats! I usually do mine in 2:36-2:40 but when I got my HR checked it was like 193 or so. Are you running these totally relaxed?

  3. Geez, 17:51! My PB as a 34-year-old is in danger ;-)