With Martin and Tom running Belfast this past weekend I’m starting to get into the Marathon frame of mind, running the pace calculations in my head and think about race weekend nutrition.
The past 7 weeks have been full of highs and lows. Working around a busy race schedule I haven’t managed to get enough quality long runs. The mileage has dipped below target with totals for the weeks being 122K, 139K, 98K, 118K, 76K, 118K and most recently 129K. Some of the races haven’t gone to plan whilst training has been good.
I was feeling a bit tired on Monday after Sunday’s road relays. In the morning I did a 6K run at 4.48 pace, a sure sign of some fatigue. In the afternoon I did 16K at 4.28 paces. Both efforts felt really comfortable so I’ll stick it down as a recovery effort.
6K in the morning at 5.00 pace, about as slow as it gets for me without feeling like bagging the workout and walking home. I try to never give up on a run unless injured or risking it. In the evening we did a set of intervals 1200M x 2, 800M, 400M x 4. I felt like crap doing these. Wasn’t running smoothly at all, struggling from the start. Maybe too tired? A good nights sleep sorted it out. A go-to strategy when I feel really tired is to try and get 8.30 – 9.00 hours sleep. Compared to the normal 7.00 – 7.50 this really helps. Any more than an extra hour can mess up your sleep pattern and be counterproductive.
Like brain training, enough sleep for tough training is so important. In a recent post, sports scientist Ross Tucker vigorously proposed that this is not an all or nothing argument. Just as the talent versus training debate is showing that 10,000 hours of structured practice may be necessary but not sufficient to create a world-class athlete, overcoming fatigue may not be a one-sided fix either.
No run in the morning when I have a long run in the evening. I needed to get along run in so ran from my house in Rathmines up to the Waterworks. It’s 33K along the Dodder river park. I ts a great run because the tough uphill part is right in the middle. You really can fly back down.
I ran 4.14 pace for the 33K and it felt very good, despite the hilly terrain and my heart rate is a little higher than I wanted. I would have liked more time in Zone 2. This is where I want to be for the first 15 miles in the Marathon.
Easy running of 13K at 4.22 in the afternoon. Nursing a tight calf after the long run. I went for a great session with Michael O’Grady. Michael got to work and his healing hands / dry needles got the calf feeling all good again.
I never really run on a Friday but decided to give it a go this week as I was away over the bank holiday weekend and had an early start on Saturday. On Friday evening 15K turned into 19K as I was feeling so good. Running 4.14 pace and moving quite nicely on the mended calf. My first few kilometres of a shuffle always slow the average down I might start to exclude these or split them out from my main runs.
If you were to look at my runs on Strava you would see that I’m very much a creature of habit. I tend to run the same or very similar routes every day.
Eventually, over my 10 years in running, I’ve come to realise that you’ll get better at running when you allow yourself to run fast and slow, long and short, sometimes distracting yourself with music and sometimes paying close attention to your surroundings and your effort level. Your assignment this week ‘should you choose to accept it’ is to switch something up. What’s something that you always do, that you’ve forgotten to question? Find out what happens when you change it up.
On a friend’s good advice I headed down to Ardmore in Waterford on Saturday. I stayed at Newtown Farm which is a 4-star B&B offering the authentic Irish farm experience. Aside from the running the weekend included exploring Ardmore with its sandy beach, traditional music and thatched cottages. Youghal, at the mouth of the River Blackwater just 15 minutes away, is one of the best examples of a Norman walled port in Ireland. Nearby Dungarvan is a thriving seaside market town, and pretty Lismore – dominated by the castle – is possibly one of the country’s quaintest villages. Added to that you have the stunning Cumeragh and Knockmealdown mountains close by to explore.
I went out for a 10k run on Sunday and ended up on my way to Youghal. Eventually finding my way back to the B&B along the N25 I’d done 18K, not ideal the day before a championship race but on the plus side, I hit 3 lovely beaches Ardmore, Goats island and Whiting Bay. In the afternoon I spent 3 hours slowly climbing the sugar loaf but don’t tell Emily. So many nice things to see from the Copper Coast up along the Wild Atlantic Way. Go explore this beautiful county and get lost on a run.
It’s time to start a taper. Two races next week Gowran and T5 Mile.