Monday, December 21, 2015

Old And Soft

We're all getting old eventually and apparently we're increasingly craving creature comforts as we go along. While I'm not quite ready to retire to sofa, beer and 42-inch telly just yet (I was for a week after my first 24 hrs race in 2012 but subsequently changed my mind) I can see the signs as Santa must have visited us a week early as there is a whopping big treadmill in the corner by the tree where none used to be.

I'm not planning on cutting out the road just yet. The idea is to use it for potential second runs in the evening. I did one last month, and apart from hurting my foot I did not like the traffic. Running in the dark on twisty narrow country roads is fine at 6 am when there are almost no cars out there but things are very different at 6 pm and it just did not feel safe. In good old Western society tradition I'm trying to solve the problem by throwing money at it.

It got delivered on Friday and I used it for an inaugural run that evening. It was a slow, easy recovery run but in actual fact I was very slow working out that the 5/8 button was not minutes per km/miles but mph/kph instead, which translates into 12-minute miles. No wonder it felt excessively easy! One side-effect is that the kids have found a new toy, I can hardly get them off the treadmill! At least they're getting some exercise that way but if that will still be the case once the novelty has worn off remains to be seen.

I managed to do all the weekend runs on the road, despite the challenging conditions. The treadmill is strictly there to supplement road running, not replace it.

Saturday was the faster day once more. I actually ran a tad slower than last week but the effort was much more controlled and the lower HR shows that - it was a much better effort in the grand scheme of things. I could feel the benefits on Sunday. Last week's long run had turned into a bit of a slog over the last few miles, this one went much better. The last five miles were still challenging but that was more down to the fact that they were all right into a fairly strong headwind, which was never going to be easy. I felt remarkably good for the rest of the day, not tired at all, and was rather pleased with myself to be honest.

After feeling so good on Sunday, Monday's heavy legs came as a complete and very unwelcome surprise. There are several mitigating factors: conditions were rather awful with lashing rain and strong gale force winds, which was always going to force a slower pace. On top of that we had spent Sunday evening at a Christmas party. I might have been one of only 2 sober guests as I restricted myself to a single glass of wine, but I still ended up standing around for several hours and by the end my legs and lower back were killing me, which may well have been responsible for the heavy legs 7 hours later, especially coming on top of all the training. Lack of sleep didn't help either, 7 hours between the end of the party and the alarm clock just aren't enough (and that's after leaving the party early!).

Despite all those perfectly valid excuses there is still the possibility that I was running just that little bit too hard. MC used to warn me that too high an effort would invariably and mercilessly be revealed on the third day of the 10-20-15 combo, which is exactly how it felt. I could claim that I took it very easy, as shown by the low HR, but truth it the legs just didn't have it this morning.

Tuesday will be an easy day, and I will also try and get more sleep. With Christmas around the corner at least there's the chance of a few extra hours of sleep in the morning. I'll just have to hang on for a few more days.

Update: I was asked to pass on the following message:
I am unrolling news of my PhD project today. It is an exploration of community in ultrarunning. I am hoping to recruit AS MANY participants as possible. This includes runners, volunteers, directors, coaches, documentarians, fans. Elites and DFL. Veterans to the sport and those training for their first ultra. It is my hope to create the most extensive, comprehensive, and representative study of ultrarunning to-date and so I need your help!
If you're interested please contact me directly at my (new) project-specific email address: Please feel free to share news of the project with others that may be interested.

18 Dec
am: 8 miles, 1:02:51, 7:51 pace, HR 139
pm: 4 miles, 34:50, 8:43 pace, HR 131, treadmill
19 Dec
10 miles, 1:09:47, 6:59 pace, HR 154
20 Dec
20 miles, 2:35:16, 7:46 pace, HR 142
21 Dec
15 miles, 2:00:46, 8:03 pace, HR 138
Weekly Mileage (up to Sunday): 92 (88 road, 4 treadmill)


  1. A treadmill!? Start of a slippery slope, Thomas!! Very impressive training though...

  2. Ah welcome to the treadmill club ! I had to get one for the many snow/ice days here in Quebec. I was back in Donegal last week and I couldn't get over how dark it was running in the morning. I've no idea how you do it everyday ?
    Anyways, I look forward to you trying to get to grips with the 0-1% gradient issue or the outdoor/mill pace v bpm [I eventually found out my "mill pace" is 8bpm lower than real outdoor pace].
    I'll drop Ian a line. I had the pleasure of meeting him when I was working at the UT Harricana du Canada earlier this year.
    Congrats for 2015 and all the best for 2016.

  3. Must say I love my treaddy, especially in winter on those short days. Up to 40 minutes, no worries, but beyond that... although I have a friend who runs 20 milers on the 'mill if need be. Great for data test runs too, as conditions are always the same. And for strides! But be careful - I know a bloke who broke his arm drifting off the back of a treadmill.