Sunday, 23 August 2009

The flu and marathon schedules do not like each other

The flu put paid to much of this week's scheduled mileage. Thursday evening, Friday and most of Saturday saw me confined to my bed. I decided I would try and pull off my sixteen mile long run with twelve at MP. Well, one mile into my MP phase and I felt terrible. My heart, lungs and legs were saying it was fine but my stomach, GI tract and head were screaming whoa!! A mile and a half into the MP the way I felt indicated my HR was in the 170s; I looked at my watch, which revealed a HR of 148! Now I knew I was not going to finish this run. I struggled on a MP for another half mile and called it quits and hauled my sorry frame back at nine minute mile pace with a HR in the low 120s but felt like it was in the 150s. I should be thankful the flu did not incapacitate me for longer, next week should see normal service resumed.

Saturday, 15 August 2009

Frank Duffy 10 miler

Surprisingly the race today started only five minutes late; I think this was the most punctual adidas series race I have participated in. I started in the sub seventy minute corral and surprisingly there was no one in there who patently would struggle to do sub 120, never mind sub seventy. I had a few silent chuckles to myself when the compére kept referring to those in the sub seventy minute area as 'elite athletes'! If only...
The first mile went well and while many people passed, who were obviously running at an unsustainable pace, there was plenty of room. The two mile mark was near the base of Military road whereupon I passed many of those who passed me earlier. It's a very satisfying feeling to pass people on a hill who passed you at the base. On each hill today people passed me at the base who I invariably passed approaching the crest. Starting slow and working up to a neutral gradient pace as you approach the top always works for me; I normally gain a few places too.
The end of the first lap of the section of the park we were running coincided with the half-way point and we started back down Chesterfield road, where the race had begun. I passed the halfway point in 34:33. The next two miles were a slight negative gradient down Chesterfield before turning off towards the Kyber road for a shorter second lap. These two miles elapsed in 06:43 and 06:47. The right turn back up to the hills of Military and Glen road took us into a heavy shower and a strong head wind. At this point I lost a guy in a red t-shirt who I seemed to have changed places with for most of the previous seven miles. I felt surprisingly strong but withheld the urge to go faster. Mile eight elapsed in 06:52. Here I decided I would try and overtake a guy in a Dublin GAA shirt who I had changed places with in the first two miles of the race. I really closed the gap on both sets of hills but he slowly pulled away on level ground. At the second approach to the crest of Glen road hill, approaching Ordnance Survey road, I was within six feet. However, history repeated itself and he pulled away again. Mile nine was a disappointing 07:03 and I decided I needed to inject a bit of discomfort and completed the last mile in 06:26.
My finish time was 68:42. I was fairly pleased with this, considering the hills and less than ideal conditions. Additionally, there was still a little left in the tank at the end and I would definitely have done a sub ninety minute half. Still a long way from a sub three hour marathon but I am not going backwards at least.

Friday, 14 August 2009

What to do?

Still procrastinating on how to approach tomorrow's 10 Mile Frank Duffy race in the park. I've religiously followed my marathon training plan for eight weeks now so it should be a good test of my progress. My last race was a half-marathon in baking heat shortly after a return from a four week lay-off where I posted my slowest ever race mile split times.
I'm thinking 06:40-45 average mile splits are realistic. However, I do not want to over do it so will aim for 06:49 and if I still feel fresh in the last two miles I will put the hammer down. There's a record entry of 6,500 this year and there will be predicted race time zones at the start. I guess people will ignore this as they generally do.

Monday, 10 August 2009

Progression run & weekly mileage

I completed an eighteen mile progression run yesterday. Apparently, these help build endurance and get the body used to running at a progressively fast pace over a long distance. Additionally the Phoenix park hosting vintage motor racing meant for a much diverted route and I took the opportunity to explore trails in the park I had never previously encountered. This made the run a bit more interesting and is consistent with my desire to do the majority of my training runs off concrete and tarmac.
A successful run with the last four miles ten per cent slower than targeted marathon pace. My average HR of 146 was very positive considering it was cross country with some very steep hills. Hopefully, this is indicative of progress. Also, this week saw the completion of fifty miles, which is my rather modest highest weekly mileage.

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Circadian cycles?

On Tuesday morning I hauled myself out of bed at 5.50am to do a ten mile run with five miles at tempo pace. I knew all was not well when my heart rate was in the early 150s after a very slow first mile warm up. Upon beginning the tempo pace section of the run I was huffing and puffing within quarter of a mile and I was scarcely making marathon pace! After four 'tempo' miles with a split average of 06:56 I 'bonked' on the fifth. I felt shattered and shuffled back home feeling miserable.
Reviewing the run information revealed an average heart of 166 during the tempo miles, which is quite high. However, it actually felt higher and the effort felt more like 10K than half-marathon effort.
A brief google search on 'morning running tips' revealed the following article from Running Times on 'circadian cycles'.
In short, it would appear that for most people, the early morning is the worst time to engage in vigorous physical exercise. Interesting article and I intend to hang onto this as an explanation for my rotten performance. My next tempo session, which will take place in the evening, should provide 'the litmus test' for this assertion.