Wednesday, January 06, 2016

The Best Laid Plans

After some fairly brutal training over the last week/weekend, I made sure to take it easy at the start of this week. Monday's run was a 10 miler, going as slowly as I could while still moving. This was actually a very pleasing run - 2 months ago I would have strained to run at that pace, just a tad slower than 8-minute miles, by now this is my recovery pace. I ran at the same effort level again on Tuesday morning but ended up a little bit quicker, probably the extra day of recovery making itself show already. I added a short run on the treadmill in the evening, more to pass the time before a late dinner than any serious training application, but in retrospect should probably have run a little bit slower. I started out slowly enough but steadily kept cranking up the pace over the next half hour. Not particularly fast by any means but it sure wasn't recovery pace any more at the end.

I might have paid the price on Wednesday morning. I expected to feel fresh and recovered after two relatively easy days but reality didn't quite match expectations. It wasn't a disaster by any means but the calves felt a bit tight and the pace was flagging towards the end, which is very unusual for me.

The other mistake I made was going to bed too late. The Christmas holidays had made a massive difference to how I felt, sleeping 8 hours per night instead of 6.5 made me feel much more rested despite an increase in mileage, and going to bed a midnight when you're getting up at half past five just isn't a smart move. I generally don't do New Year's resolutions but maybe I should make an exception and attempt to go to bed earlier.

In my last post I promised to say something about my plans for 2016. I took my times making up my mind, playing around with different options, and finally came up with an outline I'm fairly happy with. The main goal will be the Belfast 24 hours race, moved forwards by 3 weeks compared to previous years. It had been on my initial plan but I hesitated when I heard it was going to be moved from the track to a nearby park because I actually prefer running 24 hours on a track. I find the rhythm of the 400 meter oval almost hypnotic and get into The Zone almost by default, something I found much harder in Turin. Anyway, eventually I decided to keep this as my A goal race.

There will be two B goal races. The first is the Manchester marathon in April where I intent to run sub-3 and hopefully have a go at my marathon PB. Initially I had targeted Tralee but they changed the course yet again and now it resembles a mountain run more than a road marathon and a PB there is no longer feasible. The idea behind targeting a marathon is to get some speedwork done as part of the preparation, which I think I sorely lacked last year. Since this marathon will be a stepping stone for Belfast rather than a major goal in itself I might find out if I'll have the willpower to push myself through the pain barrier - I need to work on my head as much as my legs.

The other B race will be the Spartathlon, thereby immediately breaking the vow I had made repeatedly between km 205 and 245 last year never to do anything like that ever again (let's face it, I was always going to break it) and proving that I really am stupid enough to willingly put myself through that kind of inhuman torture for a second time. I just did not do myself justice in that race in 2015 and want to have another to get it right.

4 Jan
10 miles, 1:21:42, 8:10 pace, HR 135
5 Jan
am: 10 miles, 1:19:24, 7:56 pace, HR 138
pm: 4 miles, 32:28, 8:07 pace, treadmill
6 Jan
15 miles, 1:57:19, 7:49 pace, HR 138


  1. Spartathlon is your B race? To a 24 hour track event? How is that possible? Anyhow, best of luck with all of those races!

  2. Yeah, Spartathlon as a B race is a surprise. But I guess '24 hour' really means more in the wider world. We all know what a good 24-hour time is. I'm also looking forward to the sub-3 PB attempt in Manchester. Surely a low 2:50... I'm contacting my bookmaker now.

  3. Have a great year Thomas. All the best for a Marathon PB. You can do it! Funny how now you are using the marathon for "speed work"!