Monday, April 04, 2016

Half A Workout

Tapering for a marathon is as much an art as it is science and there are plenty of different basic strategies. Most, but not all, show a stepwise and significant reduction in weekly mileage. Some include a reduction in intensity as well, but others actually see that increase. My present marathon plan is of the later kind. The mileage has been reduced significantly but the fast miles have actually increased recently. Whichever strategy works best is the subject of much disagreement. It probably depends on the individual runner, and even then things change as the runners gets more experienced.

Anyway, after a short and easy run on Friday I headed up on the Kerry Way trail on Saturday, for the first time in a long time as I wasn't convinced the trail was in a safe state during the winter. To my delight,the bit that had been affected by a small landslide last summer has been repaired so you no longer have to precariously pick your way through a stream over slick boulders. The legs felt rather tired initially, clearly remembering Thursday's mile repeats, but felt better with almost every step and by the time I hit the really steep climb up to the gap I was actually feeling pretty good and posted one of my faster times there without even trying.

I have run several good marathons a week after a run on exactly that route. I think it's an excellent way to increase leg strength, especially in the calves, and one week seems easily enough to recover fully. Let's hope for another notch in that tally next Sunday.

The major downside was that I awoke with some discomfort in my left hamstring,

This Sunday was different, just another short easy recovery run. At least that was the plan but reading an abusive post on a social media site aimed at me was not exactly conducive to a slow pace; under the circumstances I think I did well to show enough restraint to keep the pace to 7:46. It sure could have been worse. The same abuse kept gnawing at me for the rest of the day when I had to drive all the way from Kerry to a Dublin hospital and then back again, making an already stressful and shitty day considerably more so. The fact that I slept really badly that night did not come as much of a surprise. And sitting for so many hours in the car did nothing for my hamstring.

However, mentally I somehow felt a lot better on Monday morning. The fact that I had some more mile repeats to hammer out was probably excellent timing, if entirely accidental. As stated in my previous post, the real workouts are already behind me and today I just did 2 miles at 10k pace, though they weren't much faster than Thursday's. I checked the watch halfway though the first mile and was doing just under 6-minute pace so I backed off, probably a bit too much. The second mile was smoother and better, and that was the "workout" already over and done with. It was even too short to feel tired. Of course I had been a bit worried about my hamstring but regarded it as a test. The hamstring didn't bother me, though the level of discomfort seems more or less unchanged. I'm fairly optimistic it won't be a factor in Manchester.

The race is getting close - there aren't even any more mile repeats left. Just easy pace and a few strides - and of course a marathon!
1 Apr
5 miles, 40:00, 8:00 pace, HR 140
2 Apr
10.75 miles, 1:30:17, 8:24 pace, HR 152
   Kerry Way
3 Apr
5 miles, 38:50, 7:46 pace, HR 141
4 Apr
6 miles, 45:13, 7:32 pace, HR 152
   2 x 1 mile @ 6:16, 6:12


  1. With all of your successes, some people might be envious of you and vent their frustration on social media. That's their issue, try to ignore it, although I understand how it would feel personal. For most runners, you're a great inspiration!:) Good luck at your marathon!!!

  2. Chin up, Thomas. I saw the post and the ones that led into it. Ignore them and get on with your life and your running. It's jealousy and begrudgery. Simple.

  3. I am shocked to hear about the negative comments. I haven't seen them, nor do I want to. I follow your posts closely, and I love reading them. You are an inspiration, certainly to me anyway. Your achievements in sport and your dedication to your training put the average of us to shame, and obviously a tiny (brained) minority to jealousy. Best of luck in Manchester, I will be rooting for you.

  4. Ignore social media. Unless you know the person - even then, if they are negative, ignore them! Enjoy the rest of the week. You're in a good place to run well.

  5. Someone must be having a rough time in their own life to be deliberately trying to negatively affect yours. Still, often hard to ignore. Good luck in Manchester, Thomas and May the Force be with you.

  6. All the best in Manchester Thomas -looking forward already to your report.