Mondays are all about running easy to let the body recover. This week was no exception I did 6K in the morning at 4.30 pace and felt good. I was then able to get out of work at 5 and get up to Bushy to do almost all of the run on the grass. I did 16K at 4.25 pace and it felt slow!
Sandwiched between a Sunday Long Run and hard speed sessions on Tuesday, the best thing you can do on a Monday is get out of your own way and let the pace set itself. I like to think about this as transitioning from making it happen to let it happen . If you keep looking at your watch and telling yourself that pace is too slow then you often get injured, you get stuck, you become too pushy. Letting it happen can be uncomfortable, especially if you think of yourself as a highly-motivated, driven, Type-A pusher. Easy days are important and are the times when it’s best to let things happen and run by feel.
I didn’t run my normal Tuesday morning run as I wanted to get a good warm-up of 5K done before the evening session and I’d done a bit more on Monday than I had planned for. There is a fine line between having a weekly target and doing junk miles which will increase injury-related stress on the body. I don’t fully know what that line is but your gut instincts get better with experience.
Up at the club Emily recommended I do the bank lap instead of the hills and sprints. Drunk on Kudos I often get a bit too competitive and tried to do a couple of very fast laps. The best I could muster was a 4.42 lap according to Strava which is 3.15 pace. I did 5 laps in total and the watch said 3.3X per lap, those darn segments. My tactic is always to go out really hard and then to lean forward from the ankles on the downhill. When I turn the corner at the Dodder crossroads I steady the ship for 200M and then push until the steps. Often the wind is pushing you back up the road and your lungs are burning I’m not great with the steps as I have the coordination of a fainting goat when I see the big drop. I tend to tiptoe down and then charge up the hill. The last stretch is tough going until you see the village lights.
Arthur Leslie Lydiard was a New Zealand runner and athletics coach. He has been lauded as one of the outstanding athletics coaches of all time. If there is a secret to the Lydiard aerobic phase of training then it could be the mid-week long runs. Once a runner is able to run two hours at the good aerobic effort, they will do two mid-week runs of 90 minutes or longer and this is “where the money is”, to borrow a phrase. It is easy to think that the long aerobic run during the weekend contributes most of your fitness but the aerobic system needs to be challenged more consistently than just during a one-weekend long run. That is theory and when you start implementing it, shorter runs begin to feel much briefer in your mind and long races begin to seem like just a slightly harder version of the long runs you do almost every second day.
Any long-term progression contains inevitable periods of boredom. We are hardwired to seek novelty and stimulation. Going out to run 90 minutes, not a set distance, I set a target of 4.10 pace. I was doing laps of Terenure college and again felt a bit heavy so I backed off and ran 4.20 pace, so just over 20K. The effort level still felt easy but I’d want to be getting that up to 22-23 kilometres pretty soon. I might switch this out now that we are back in the park and do 5 fartlek laps to break it up a bit more.
In the morning I ran 6K in 4.56. Feeling a bit sore I decided to still do the session but hang back and not run with Karol. My rule of thumb is that if the soreness goes away after 2K it’s fine. I jogged up and ran the 2 x Terenure laps a tad faster than marathon pace for Copenhagen, in around 3.40 for 7.6K. You can add about 80-120 seconds to your time to get a 5-mile split. Running 22K for the day in total. I spent a good fifteen minutes with this bad boy below when I got home.
A rest day was needed. Friday was feet up all evening and a bath with some magnesium salts to relax the muscles.
After a solid rest day and an early bedtime, I was super excited to be hitting the track in Tallaght for the first session of the year. It was great to see so many people up there including lots of first-timers. The track is fast. It requires you to be present, really present, with the people and task in front of you. 400M is a long way and there is nowhere to hide. I love the feeling of legs burning, heart pumping and being on the edge of blowing up.
The workout went well. After running the first 400M in 65 I settled down and Karol and I took turns on each interval. We were doing 800M x 4 in about 2.21 on average and 600M by 4 in about 1.43 average with 80 seconds in between. The hip kids call that ‘a float’. Those times will come down as the summer progresses. I need to be able to run 600M in sb 90 seconds come July. That will give me the best chance of a 2.02 or 2.01 800M. Which would be a
There’s a lot of variables you can’t control out there, but you can always make the decision to show up, and you can always do the work. Putting in the work is a pre-requisite for success, but attendance is a pre-requisite for doing the work. After the session, I have kindly reminded my Myles that I’m running out of time to run fast times and I should make the most of 2019. I can’t disagree. I hope to do a period of focused track races in June and July.
Despite the clocks going back, I got up and at it early. I did 11K starting at 8.40 AM and then looped back around to meet the group doing their regular 10 miles. The Sunday run in the most important one of all for the Marathon. I aimed to cover 30k at 4.00-minute pace but ended up running 31 in 4.06.
The pace was a bit up and down as I took some time to warm up in the cold weather and then ran with the lads for 5K of their 17K. Those kilometres were around 4.30 – 4.20 so they brought the average down. I often think I wore a heart rate monitor for the long run to see if I ran near threshold. I was happy that the effort was quite low. I want to be avoiding threshold zone running until the last 10k of the race.
I’m happy with the run. I didn’t fuel before or during so reducing that by 15 seconds with fuelling would be very easy. I also need to keep in mind that whilst running on the grass is great for the body, is slower than the road so you get a few seconds back there At this stage confidence is there that 2.45 is doable in the race. It’s just a case of figuring out how to keep things ticking over and not train too hard. Berlin is the A race. My next step is to figure out if 2.40 is doable which is an average 3.48. I’d be pretty happy. 138k or 85.7 miles in old money for the week.