Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Getting older

Perfect for my two bookworms!
The twins just celebrated their 12th birthday. I think this is supposed to make me feel old, but since I started bringing home trophies the moment I hit 40 I don't mind being old; age definitely has its privileges. Niamh once again surpassed herself with her cake-baking skills. In many ways, baking is to Niamh what running is to me and luckily these two fields are perfectly compatible; she bakes, I eat and then run off the calories. It's the perfect match.

Back to running. The legs were a bit heavy on Monday morning, Sunday's 20 miles had clearly left their mark. I ran on autopilot, but what blew me away was the low heart rate which basically brought me into Maffetone territory. I got used to seeing low HRs for decent enough paces when training for Tralee, but did not expect to see those figures again so early in the new training cycle.

With my training settling down now that I have reached a decent weekly mileage and it so far basically being marathon training, I felt it was time for another evaluation workout. With this being the first evaluation in this training cycle and the legs probably not entirely recovered from Sunday I did not expect much from the numbers, apart from giving me a baseline with plenty of room for improvement.

This is what I got instead: (the numbers in brackets are adjusted pace, 7 seconds for every 2 heart beats off the 161 target):
        Mile 1    6:28   HR 161    (6:28)
        Mile 2    6:25   HR 162    (6:28)
        Mile 3    6:32   HR 161    (6:32)
        Mile 4    6:26   HR 161    (6:26)
        Recovery to HR 130: 32 seconds

I found these numbers nothing short of astounding. These are just about the best numbers I have ever seen (regarding my own evaluations, that is), but I did get an email from MC saying that they ARE the best figures I have ever produced. He did not seem surprised, but I was, little over 6 weeks since the Tralee marathon and my training has only just started! (MC also said that a sub-2:50 marathon has my name on it [though that will probably have to wait until next year]).

Something is clearly working, though if it's the best preparation for a 100 mile run is still as open to discussion as ever. The one workout I value most as far as ultras are concerned is my by now routine and weekly mountain run on the Kerry Way over Windy Gap, and that's what I did this morning. I followed the same route on the trail towards Glenbeigh and back, which gives me 2 crossings of Windy Gap and a combined elevation gain of about 2000 feet, most of it on the very steep climb up to the Gap itself. I'll never be a great mountain runner, I just cannot let go on the downhill, but I do enjoy these outings a lot and I also enjoy what they're doing to my fitness.

My achilles has improved a lot since I started doing the exercises mentioned in the last post. It was just about noticeable this morning, but definitely improved. I just have to keep doing those eccentric calf raises - actually remembering it is the hardest part.
29 Apr
10 miles, 1:14:49, 7:29 pace, HR 141
30 Apr
11.8 miles, 1:21:53, 6:56 pace, HR 153
   4 mile eval: 6:28, 6:25, 6:32, 6:26, 32 sec recovery
1 May
12.25 miles, 1:47:01, 8:44 pace, HR 145
   mountain run, Windy Gap x 2


  1. You are putting in some great mileage Thomas, well done! I'll be 50 in July and will be "racing" for age group positions :)

  2. That's an impressive HR for yesterday Thomas ;-)
    I think I've seen before that hill running is thought of as great for people with achilles issues...maybe the more elevated runs are helping out with the stretches also?

  3. Scratch that about the achilles...just read your previous post!!

  4. Thomas the recovery to 130 is impressive.

  5. Wow - great numbers. Yes, I'll put $5 on you for a sub 2:50 (provided you don't wait until the 50-54 age-group for the next serious attempt).