Saturday, July 23, 2011

Marathon training update - week 3

So I'm in full on marathon training right now. I had one recovery week after the Clontarf HM, eh, which I didn't do. But things have been getting busy last week and this week. To give you a flavour, here's how this week went:
Monday - Rest
Tuesday - In the gym for 06:00 and 1:45 of core and upper body work, no big weights but enough reps to have me tired. Then that evening was track session: Run to the track and 800m warmup (2.2k total), then 6 x 100m sprints with a 3min recovery at the end then 5 x 800m with a target of around 3:45. I only went over that target once, so maybe I'm going out too fast...Anyway, I ran home after to cool down, so that's 1.4k or so. I had run over in the VFFs and brought my Asics to change into, but when I got there I realized that I had forgotten my I did the lot in the VFFs...
Wednesday - An easy 10.5k run, but I could only start it after 21:30, and it was raining. So I had my high viz vest and headlight on for the wet run!
Thursday - Up at silly o'clock for the same gym session as Tuesday, then in the evening an easy run in the VFFs, covered 7.3k
Friday - Another track session. Run over and 800m was 2.2k. Then 7 x 80m sprints (I meant to do 6, but lost count and only realized I had done 7 when I saw the Garmin readout at home later!), I took a 3-4 minute recovery and then did a tough training run. I was actually nervous about doing this: A 15 minute hard run around the track and check what distance I got. Do the same in two months and see what improvements I have made, if any. I went out too fast (sub 3:20min/k) to be able to sustain it and had to back off. I was checking the Garmin every minute or so, willing the clock to move faster. Mentally this was definitely the toughest training run I have ever done. I know now that I am being too competitive with myself and pushing myself too much. The fine art of negative splits was out the window on this one! Even the cool down run home was tiring...
So I have today (Saturday) as a rest day, but I had to get some stuff done. I ended up cycling about 15k to different shops to get bits and then spending a few hours painting and cutting grass etc. Then I had to do some actual work from 18:30 until after 02:00...and I have a LSR to do tomorrow, ugh...
Update: The LSR went ok, but slow. I had a lack of energy from working late so my pace was slow. But I still did a little over 23k in 2:20. I'll have to improve on that pace if I am going to get my marathon goal time.

Keep running,

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

5 miler in the park

So this was the first of three races in the DCM race series, building up to the marathon in October. I had taken Friday off from training to prepare for it, the weather wasn't looking good though.
Saturday morning we were going to pack up the family and all go to the park so the kids could watch the race, but with a gale force wind and rain it wasn't going to happen. So I set off on my own and got there about 9am, and hour before the start.
I sat in the car eating fruit and drinking water until about 09:30 and then did a warm up run of about 1.8k to the start line, or to be specific, the portaloos! There were lots, so I didn't have to wait long :-)
According to the instructions on the website, and sent out along with the bib numbers, there were three wave starts. Wave 1 for sub 40mins, wave 2 for 40-50mins and wave 3 for +50mins. As my previous 8k time was 36mins, I went into the back of wave 1. I soon realized that most of the crowd (runners/joggers/walkers) did too! As the race organizers said afterwards: "The fact that 3974 entries went in wave 1, 1782 started in wave 2 and 562 started in wave 3 did not help".
There was an announcer talking over the PA system pre-race, and I presume he was trying to keep people's spirits up etc, but saying that, "there is a tail wind the whole way around" on a loop course is just wrong.
Anyway I set my Garmin to a "quick workout" and set it for 8km in 35mins. Then I reset it to 40mins, so I wouldn't be putting too much pressure on myself - glad I did that now.
There wasn't a starters gun, but I did notice the front runners move off rapidly, so I guessed we had started! It took about 20 secs for me to get over the line, so I started my Garmin then. The narrow roads in the Phoenix Park made it pretty congested, and as there were a lot of people starting with wave 1 who clearly should have been in wave 2/3 it held up things considerably! It took me about 1.5-2k to get past the walkers/joggers that had started in front of me, but I was able to get my pace up to 4:30-4:20min/k, which was my target really. There was one water station about the half way mark and I took a cup, but I can never get the hang of drinking from a cup while running. I managed two small gulps and dropped the rest over my legs, which actually felt good and cooled them down.
Then came the real test: Kyber Road, 1km all uphill. I focused on keeping running, slowing as needed and not looking too far ahead. I went down to about 5:30min/k, but that should have been ok along with my earlier pace overall. I tried to give encouragement to people who had to walk, and a few of them started running again. At the top of the hill, the finish line was about 200m away and I gave it all I had, although I was tired from the climb. The clock said 39:32, but my Garmin said 39:20, which would be more accurate. I was disappointed with my time, but given the congestion and lack of organization in the waves it couldn't be avoided really. I got a cup of water, two bananas and my goodie bag and started to breath normally again. I was cooling down pretty fast and started to feel cold in no time, so I jogged the 1.8k back to the car as a cool down run.

Our chip/electronic timers were a part of the bib numbers, so when we crossed the start line my race time should have started. However, looking at the results page my start time and my chip time are identical, so I can assume that my chip didn't register when I started for some reason.
Also, when I got home and looked at the t-shirt in the goodie bag, the date on it is wrong, weird! It says "July 6", instead of "July 16".
All things considered, if I had the chance I wouldn't run it again unless it was organized better. It is more time consuming to get a previous result from people and give a coloured bib number for each wave, and to get volunteers to police it correctly, but it means that people can run at the speed they wish (pretty much). Apparently there was a group of six women with identical t-shirts at the back of wave 1 that walked the majority of the race, at the start they were strung out across the road holding hands! I admire their solidarity, but that's bad etiquette (holding hands/taking up the road) and lack of organization (in wrong wave).
The signage should have been a lot clearer and hopefully the issues will have been ironed out by the time the 16k/10 mile race in the series next month.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

General update June/July

Well I haven't posted a monthly update for June, that's because I was in between two different websites for logging all my runs (went from DailyMile to RunAhead). Some are entered on both sites, some one one and some on neither. It's something over 125k running last month, but I'm not sure by how much, and I don't have the time or inclination to go and figure it out. I could go into Garmin TC and check, but other things in life are more important!
So this Saturday is the first of three races in the Dublin Marathon series, the Irish Runner 8k (known as the 5 miler, but I work in metric). The last 8k race I did was on Paddy's Day and I had indigestion for it and still managed 36mins and a bit, but it was quite flat. This time I won't have the stomach issue, but there's a 1k hill right at the end, and oh yea, there will be upwards of 6,500 runners on narrow roads too. There's three waves and I'll be in wave 1, which is for sub 40min runners. But it's self seeded, so anyone can jump right in and slow you down if they feel like it. I'm hoping for a reasonable time, sub 35min would be good. Rain is forecast and that would be welcome as it's pushing to 20 degrees these days - when its not raining of course :-)

Keep running,

Friday, July 8, 2011

Irish Runner Episode 9

In this episode, I take you on a 5k training run, discuss a recent 5k race, POSE running and my DCM training plans.

Keep running,

Thursday, July 7, 2011

South O'Hanlon 5k

Short version: It rained and rained, we ran in the rain and it rained.
Long version: Well, it was raining...The race was due to start at 8pm and I got there just after 7:30. As it was raining I got out of the car in all my running gear, rather than get any other clothes wet too. In the hall at the GAA pitch I got my number (€12 for entry) and realized that it must be getting close to start time. So I jogged about 1k from there to the start line (my warm up!) while pinning on my number.

A few hundred runners were hanging around the start area (in the rain) waiting for the start, so I did a bit of dynamic stretching and got under a tree, although I couldn't get any wetter at this stage! We were told to get ready and we all moved up, then we had to move back behind the line, then we moved up and had to move back again (getting cold now) and eventually someone shouted "GO!". I was in the middle of the pack which, on reflection, was too far back to get a good start. After a couple of minutes I was able to break through the bunch and get up to a happy pace. I started out at about 4:15min/k pace, a bit too fast for the start. I had a look at the elevation the day before and it showed two hills, the biggest about 2.6k in, so I held back to save some energy. What I didn't know was that the elevation chart had "dramatized" the hills...grrr.
Anyway I kept a good pace and tried to run near someone who was going at the same pace as myself, so I wouldn't get carried away. That worked and when I realized the hills were a bit of a "no show" I put the pace on again. Photo below is me coming in to the only water station, less than 1k to go...

My last 1k I didn't have much to spare and would have liked to have gone faster but given the conditions I was pretty much going as fast as I could. In the distance I could see the finishing line and 22:xx on the clock. I couldn't make out the seconds due to people and rain etc, but I knew I was close to breaking my PB! I pushed again and when I got about 200m to the end I saw 22:50 (or so) and I knew I wouldn't get a PB. I kept going and finished strong (in the rain!). Unofficial time 23:33, just 9 seconds slower than my PB I set a year ago. We all got handed bottles of water at the end while we handed back the timing chips. In my head I was saying, "if I had done x or y I would have been faster..." but that's for another day.
I did a 1.5k cool down jog (in the rain of course) and headed in to the hall for the post-race refreshments: tea/coffee, sandwiches, cake and sticky buns! All the goody bags had been handed out already, as many more had turned up than they were expecting, but they know who got their bag and who didn't and I was assured that one will be sent out. I didn't get to meet any club members unfortunately, but I stayed and chatted for a few mins in the hall with other runners, did some stretching and got dried off and went home. Of course it had stopped raining by this time, ha ha!

P.S. Race results here
Official time was 23:37