Friday, March 07, 2014


I had a look through my most recent log entries and immediately noticed a sudden clustering of "slightly heavy legs" notes. Marathon training is always a fine balancing act, trying to train hard but not too hard and it's easy to cross that line, especially if you introduce new stressors like I did recently with some speed workouts.

I did react by cutting Wednesday's run from 10 miles down to 8. While I was sure that my diagnosis was correct I wasn't quite so sure if I had the right cure, but it meant a reduction of 20% for that day and an easier day than what I am used to, so surely it would have some positive effect?

Well, it may have had, but looking back now I most likely wiped that out by doing another session on Thursday. I thought of an easy speed workout option and figured that fartleks should do the trick, so I did 8 miles again, with 6 miles of alternating one minute hard and one minute easy. I call them Kenyan fartleks because they are described in that book. I did not set any targets and certainly did not monitor speed or HR, just had the watch beep every 60 seconds and switched effort levels accordingly each time. While I felt pretty good on the run, I was rather tired afterwards.

It wasn't until Friday morning that I realised that yes, I really must have overdone things. For the first time the legs were not slightly heavy but definitely heavy, and if I had the chance I'd go back a day and not do the workout, but time is a one-way straight and I'll have to settle for learning the lesson instead.

Until last week I have always been careful to build in sufficient recovery into my training program and I always had 2 easy days between workouts (apart from back-to-back runs, obviously). But since then I did volume repeats on Friday, a 20 miler on Sunday, quarters on Tuesday and a fartlek on Thursday, basically 4 sessions in a row with only one easy day inbetween each, which wasn't such a great idea after all. For the first time this training cycle I'm behind in my recovery, and of course that had to happen with a race approaching on Sunday.

I'll still run Ballycotton but will make sure to take it easy the following week, which I probably would have done anyway because the Tralee marathon is just a week away (though I'm using that as a training run rather than a race). The Connemara Ultra follows only 3 weeks later, and while that is not my goal race I still want to do well, so call it my "B" target  for 2014. I guess it means that Ballycotton and Tralee will be the only big training days for a while while I try to re-gain the balance in the never-ending battle between training and over-training.

5 Mar
8 miles, 1:02:39, 7:49 pace, HR 139
6 Mar
8 miles, 58:46, 7:20 pace, HR 150
   incl. 6 miles 60 sec hard/60 sec easy
7 Mar
8 miles, 1:04:54, 8:07 pace, HR 132


  1. That's a great book, inspiring like your blogs. Best of luck at your upcoming races, Thomas!

  2. 101! Did you get a t-shirt??