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Speedy Gonzales or Slowpoke Rodriguez?



  • Xmas Cracker 5k. Xmas 2014.

    5-6 weeks base under the belt.

    I wasn’t going to get too many races in, one a month at most. I had a vague notion of doing all effort runs relaxed and let the speed or whatever other component develop. Harder to develop relaxation later.
    Windy, wet, cold day as I recall. Started relaxed and steady, maybe 10k effort. Slowly eased into it passing a few. Into the 4th k and I was running relaxed and well. Last 500 were tough but finished strong.
    I was a bit disappointed with the time (16:51) but other runners thought they had done better too. Just about sneaked into the top 10 and looking at other runner’s times I was very happy with where I was. No sessions as such just the steady runs as effort and the aerobic intervals. In the general windy weather the steady runs were sometimes a struggle to get under 7 min miles. The effort was there though and the mileage was coming together so I was bound to improve.

    Dublin masters XC.

    After a good stint of HADD last year with no leg speed I hadn’t made the top 30 in this one the year previously. I was looking forward to some redemption here. Still no sessions done and was going to have to start steady again which might put me at a disadvantage in a XC race. This course might as well be a trail race though so there was going to be good running for all 6k. Started OK and found myself feeling strong passing all the way. Almost caught Gary Crossan and was happy with 9th and a huge improvement from the previous year and good vindication of the training so far. Helped the team to silver, but was 4th M40 (top 3 were the 3 runners just ahead but I was a bit annoyed that I couldn’t take Gary).

    Raheny 5.

    Met Krusty before and immediately sensed that I would be close to him in this race. I can’t remember if I was aware of his results to date but I had a feeling he would be a good man for me to try and better.
    Started steady again, but my splits later told me it was average race pace. Anyway usual story started passing runners early enough. Soon I saw Krusty ahead. He was having the same race as me, group hoping except he was always one group ahead! I was like Tuco chasing the elusive man with no name! By the end of mile 3 near the start of the coastal 4th mile, I was confident I would close the gap before we turned inland again. The intervals I was doing were really helping on flat fast stretches. Krusty had caught and settled in a group that included my clubs first finisher in the recent XC race. I knew that Krusty was the strong man there today so I was pondering my options. Caught the group on the left turn up the hill at the 4 mile marker. Krusty was near the front unfortunately but I had to act as I figured I had a fast last mile in me and if I could get a gap I might be able to keep it. I made a burst up the hill. Immediately I heard footsteps accelerate and settle behind me. Krusty!
    No bother, just stick to the plan, run hard. We seemed to turn into some headwind and I hesitated a bit as my plan wasn’t such a good one any more. Krusty to his credit took the lead. I didn’t want to let him take the wind after such a noble gesture. So I ran side by side. Don’t know if it was a Noakes thing but I always felt that he was the stronger man (Maybe I shouldn’t read his reports) and to my eternal shame when the hurt started in earnest, I let him go. Sorry Krusty, it should have been better ending, not different, but better. To make matters worse Krusty had won a George Foreman for his efforts in the M40 (my category also). I got hearty congratulations at home on bringing home the Mickey Mouse micro food processor until I made matters worse again by revealing what could have been.

  • BHAA 4 mile St Anne’s.

    Getting into good shape. Still the same sessions but maybe one LT type session done also.
    Windy day. Two lap course. Down the wide avenue (big tailwind) then a loop back into a headwind. Two of those, and the second lap had a last 300m or so directly into a head wind up the avenue.

    Warming up looking around I actually thought I was stronger than anyone I had seen. I saw a DSD lad then who looked stronger. I was thinking to take it cautious with the wind. I was strong though and could take a few pace changes in a race. I had thought about the wind a good bit since my last marathon. One thing that pi--ed me off that day was that I struggled in the wind for much of the race. There was a 15 strong group 30 seconds ahead all the way that I could have been in and would have had to work a lot less. The lesson was it’s a big advantage to be in a group on a windy day and if you don’t kill yourself withy work you should be able to survive in a group with on average stronger runners than you.

    Ok, mind made up. I was going to go out with whoever was leading. I'd hide behind them for the second quarter into the wind. The third quarter was downwind and so at best I might be on for another sheltered 3rd quarter and a chance to literally rob a good place. At worst I’d be dropped on the 3rd quarter but would only have to negotiate one windy mile alone and shouldn’t lose places.

    Off we went. I found the fast pace comfortable enough (the 200 reps again). I was leading with the strong DSD guy (Kevin). I had to sneakily ease the pace down to make sure I was in 2nd come the turn and to make my race tactics less obvious. He didn’t seem too worried. At the end of the avenue we seem to have detached from the chasing group. We had to turn right before turning left to cross the avenue again for the 2nd quarter back into the wind. This cross wind bit was tough and I was hanging on a little. But I knew in a minute it would be easier once he turned into the big headwind full on the pace would drop. And so it did. This was comfortable so much so that a pang of guilt overcame me. “I can take it up for a while” I said. He almost took me aside like a schoolteacher (think he may be a lecturer actually). “Racing is racing” says he. “I have no problem with anything you need to do to win this race” (or similar). Fair play to him. And that’s the beauty of racing. Tactics change with opponents and conditions and races, but the goal is always to finish as high up/fast as you can. Anything (legal) goes. Well I wasn’t taking the lead after that! Now I played a lot of football in my youth and I was great at acceleration over 5-10m. If I let him do all the work I could make my attack with 10m to go! He was fitter and stronger than me but it might be 50:50 if it came down to that.

    This wasn’t a championship race, and I decided that I was only going to finish in the top 2 on the back of this guy’s strong running. Fair is fair. I took it up in the 3rd quarter. I thought Ill test his speed here. If I can’t drop him, I’m in dodo. I tore down the avenue for all I was worth. Hard and relaxed. I got 5 metres on him. But once we turned right for the cross wind bit I realised the flaw. He was going to catch me anyway once strength not speed came into it. So he did and I was in dodo.

    Ok new plan. Killing myself into the wind was going to end badly for me. In hindsight, he could either make his move on the avenue within 300m of the line. Or there was a long straight section perpendicular to the avenue.
    I wasn’t sure where it was going to happen but I had to take the wind and run slow enough to be able to react to his move. The pace was laughable slow compared to the first lap. He kept tripping on my ankles and apologising. He made his move early before the avenue. It all came down to this. If I could hang onto his coattails we were turning into a gale and I would be favourite. If he could drop me the race was over. I clung on just about. I felt the balance of power shifting. I felt I was going to wind. He reacted with one more powerful gear. So did I, but he slowly pulled the gap open. He had 5 metres and when I turned onto the avenue I was nearly blown down the road. He powered home. I arrived over the line maybe 10 sec after. The guy in third actually finished closer to me, due to my crawling pace into the wind on the 3rd quarter.
    After he said it was probably a true result as we took a lap each.

    I honestly do regret that I didn’t do what it really took to win that race. That I didn’t take the race to a 5m sprint for an imaginary football. That would be true pure racing. Dog rough racing. I probably will never get an opportunity like that again, to win a race like that against someone so much stronger than me and running well. But hey, may not have won it that way anyway and he’s a good guy and I’m glad he won too.
    One thing was sure. I understood how to use the wind to punch above my weight now. I was coming into a bit of form and I was starting to think that on a windy day in the national 10k in two weeks I might do some damage.

  • Is he really that much better than you?
    Sounded exciting but you where 12 seconds behind him in the end.

  • Is he really that much better than you?
    Sounded exciting but you where 12 seconds behind him in the end.

    I was only so close due to the wind. If there was no wind he would have been a comfortable winner with 30s plus to spare. When i took the wind he was only jogging behind it was so slow. I improved for the 10k but he was actually ill the week before that so was not as strong.

  • How do you know he is that much better than you?
    He has a 2.32 marathon from 2010 but doesn't race much these days.
    Maybe you lost the race before it started?

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  • How do you know he is that much better than you?
    He has a 2.32 marathon from 2010 but doesn't race much these days.
    Maybe you lost the race before it started?

    If you just re-read the earlier part of the report again you will notice that I was under pressure at his race pace even before the first mile is over. If we didn't turn into a headwind I would have been dropped by him early in the second mile (he didn't ease off in mile two but he did slow considerably into the gale wind.) He had 3 races in a month period (around that time ) including putting two minutes on the whole field in the previous BHAA race so he is racing regularly now.
    It can happen where you mentally concede to an opponent before a race. I'm pretty sure it wasn't the case on this occasion.

  • demfad wrote: »
    Thanks very much Wottle. Have changed the training a bit. Goal is an Autumn marathon, probably Frankfurt.

    Welcome back. Thought I saw your name down for leg 1 of the relay this morning but ye had a good sub with Bazman ;)

  • Welcome back. Thought I saw your name down for leg 1 of the relay this morning but ye had a good sub with Bazman ;)

    That's right Mick. I twisted an ankle badly on a road kerb of all things a couple of weeks ago so that put me out. Fair play to Bazman for selflessly stepping in and running a cracking leg to set the team up for a great win. Looks like he was needed too!

  • National road 10k, Phoenix Park.

    When I started my extended block of base training in late 2014 I had put a sub 33 as a secondary aspiration for this race. It’s a tough course and can have tough conditions but I had hoped that if I progressed well, a time like that or similar would bode well.

    The forecast was for moderate to strong westerly winds, nothing new for the Phoenix Park. I didn’t mind as the main goal was as high a finish as possible. From my experience in the St Anne’s race and others I had a strategy for the wind. The race would split into groups in the wind with empty spaces between the groups (apart from the odd dropped runner going backwards. Effectively each group would turn into its own mini race. I needed to identify the most advanced group I could survive in. Surviving in it would make me safe from all runners in groups behind, and leave me in a mini race with my fellow group members to decide the order. I also knew that I could survive in a group with mostly better runners than me if I was unwilling to take any wind. I was unwilling.

    The course started just North of the Phoenix monument on the main road, went North for a kilometre then turned right on North road looped back to the Phoenix just past 3 km (I think).
    On to Acres road before turning left down the Kyber road. At 5 km, turning right steep up military road passed the Magazine fort. Though the zigzags and down, across to the Glen road, a long drag up there (600m) passing 7k, and then down the Furry Glen up the far side before turning right and heading all the way to the end of the Furze road.

    With the wind that was in it, any group was going to move relatively fast with the wind around North Road before slowing as the race turned west at 3k. The race went essentially west until the top of the glen road, so it would be slow going mostly into a stiff headwind. The Kyber road was sheltered as was the first steep section of the military road. This was important for me to know. Because the effort was going to crank up for me on those sheltered bits before easing again as the wind slowed the group.

    To identify the best group for me, I planned to start reasonably fast and suss a likely group after a km or two. I knew I might have to run hard for the first 3k to stay with them and I was prepared to do so.
    I lined up alongside, Paul F from my own club and Kevin, my new running friend and rival from DSD who had beaten me at St Anne’s. I had my eye out for Krusty but didn’t see him at the start.

    Off we went; I was alongside those two starting hardish (for me). There was a very nasty side wind with a lash of hail, and people were lining up sideways (almost like cycling echelons to avoid it).
    We seemed to reach the right turn soon enough. It all seemed pretty compact still. I saw the Kenyan group turning first followed by other groups. Once on North road I made my way forward to get a view so I didn’t lose a good group ahead. From my new vantage point I could see, the Kenyan group well up ahead, followed by another group (the Irish Championship lead group), followed by a group with a lot of green in it (Bazman and the Rathfarnham troops). There was also a 4th group about 20-30 metres ahead of me and pulling away. I knew that if I was to run to plan that this was the group I needed to be in. I was about to tuck in and resign myself to fighting it out where I was. But then I thought, feck it, I’ve really planned for this one, let’s have a crack at it. So off I went. I heard steps follow behind and then recede quickly. My goal was simply to make the cover of that group before we hit severe headwind at 3k. As the race started to curve around North Road I was half way between the two groups. Isolated and on my own I felt exposed and started to feel foolish. I got a sinking feeling when I saw the group ahead increase the gap. All of a sudden they seemed to jump back towards me; it must have been a slight downhill. I realised I could make them. We were straightening out toward the west, so I quickly threw my imaginary lasso around that group and reeled myself in quick. A huge relief to make contact.

    I was breathing hard but slowing to the groups pace felt like rest. I needed more and that would come with the wind any minute now. Meanwhile I set myself the task of finding the most potentially sheltered spot in the group. The group was 10 strong including Brain F from my own club. The presence of the two mighty in O50s Mick Traynor and Paraic McKinney was great solace too.

    There’s the wind, and one of the two lads started immediately towards my sheltered spot and was surprised I think to see a new runner had popped in to it. I was concentrating on recovery and the slowing pace was beautiful. I was just about back, when we turned down the Kyber. I didn’t mind the shelter here because the downhill suited me as a hill runner. I feared military hill though. This was a key part and make no mistake runners were going to be spewed out of every group here.

    If I could make it through the first steep part of the hill, I knew that once it got shallower we’d be met by a howling headwind. That meant get passed the 5k mark and the pace would be manageable till the pressure came on after 7k on the Glen road climb.
    Up we went. Torture. I was hanging on but I kept hanging on because I knew there would be relief.

    Heaven! The windiest part of the park. Glorious wind! That said the competition for who could do the least work in the group was going down to the wire with me and the two 050 lads having serious tussles over getting the most sheltered spots as we changed direction on the zig zags.
    I knew the pain would start again in earnest soon. Half way up the Glen road as I resigned myself to it, Mick T seemed to move gently to the front of the group. McKinney was at the back. When I looked up again, Traynor was gone, 10m clear and horsing it up the hill. Here we go, I thought, all hell will break loose now! I knew Mckinney would be coming so when he passed myself and Brian F latched on. It gets a bit blurry here but myself and Brian (Brian had actually worked the hardest in the group) almost re-joined the breakaway after the Furry Glen downhill.

    I was now focusing on trying to beat Brian. I clung on to him as we turned emerging from the Furry glen. The group had disintegrated in the tail wind and it was everyone for themselves now. We were passing lads since the furry glen that had been dropped from groups ahead and passed a couple more. I tried passing Brian a couple of times but he reacted each time. Next thing Rob + of Crusaders came storming through impressively. Think he must have lost contact with the group on the Glen road and this was a great comeback. Brian took chase (me too especially as Rob is M40 too) but I lost contact with about 500m to go. A look behind told me I was safe and I ran as best I could to get in with 33:20 on the clock, a narrow PB, an 040 individial bronze and we got the team silver. I was delighted. And I was particularly satisfied that my plan and my move to chase the group had worked well. I definitely felt that I had pilfered at least 30s with that move. Paul F said to me afterwards that I had got it “spot on”. I could have started a little harder and made my life easier but anyway that’s praise enough for me.

    Edit: McKinney just edged out Traynor in their sprint.

    Paul F won the sprint in the next group, Kevin not far that, then followed shortly after by Krusty who had recovered well after starting the race at Conyngham road gate.

  • Now I see what you meant by "knowing the course and your strategy" :) Great report and congrats on the PB and medals!

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  • Dubgal72 wrote: »
    Now I see what you meant by "knowing the course and your strategy" :) Great report and congrats on the PB and medals!

    Thanks a million DG. I guess the more adverse the conditions the more planning comes into it. I'd usually also try and have the last couple of km of the race jogged as part of my warmup, no matter what the course. Didn't do it for that race as it was awkward with the big finish area. (I was getting stuck into the free coffee in spar tent anyway.)

  • demfad wrote: »
    I was getting stuck into the free coffee in spar tent anyway.
    There was free coffee?! I really wasn't well-prepared for this race!

    Are we going to do battle in Dunshaughlin? I am not doing anything 10k-specific - just hoping that my Magness 5k training will carry me over the line in a 32:xx.

  • There was free coffee?! I really wasn't well-prepared for this race!

    Are we going to do battle in Dunshaughlin? I am not doing anything 10k-specific - just hoping that my Magness 5k training will carry me over the line in a 32:xx.

    Al going well, we probably are! If you start from the back of the pack again I should be in with a great shout (see edit in report above)!

    PS. Bring the George Foreman :cool:

    Edit: I didn't know about the free coffee, just stumbled onto the shop and I was handing the money over when he told me. Already had a double espresso in Hueston station so I was well wired by the time I stumbled outta spar.

    Hopefully similar time goal as yourself. Nice to break that duck.

  • demfad wrote: »
    Al going well, we probably are! If you start from the back of the pack again I should be in with a great shout (see edit in report above)!
    Lol. The psychological warfare begins. I'll be toe'ing the line in Dunshaughlin (and jogging to the finish line from the 3km mark!).

  • This is a great race for a great cause.
    There is a 21k and a 10k option. The 21k is a favourite Ray D’Arcy, who supports the charity Debra Ireland who help sufferers of EB a debilitating skin disease and their families. I try to do one of the two options every year.

    I had missed the 21k last year due to fitness but ran the 10k albeit cutting a knee badly early in the race. The 21k runs along St Kevin’s way and has 3 big climbs. It’s nearly all off road. The first climb is up a forestry road, the second climb is 5k long topping out at the Wicklow gap, a beautiful long descent down into Glendasan valley and then at the Glendalough Hotel/Stone tower you turn left to climb up the Wicklow way onto Brockagh Mountain before descending down to Laragh near the Brockagh adventure centre (race HQ).

    We got the buses from the Brockagh adventure centre over the Wicklow gap and way down to the in a forest. We warmed up, I saw a few lads who looked like they knew how to climb a hill, there was a young lad there too, fit looking but obviously had worked with weights (Army I wasn’t surprised to hear after).

    My training for this was based on climbing the last climb well, as I hadn’t done this the last time here. To that effect I had done a couple of runs with steady road climbing around Killiney. Also one long run about 2 weeks before with 3 climbs around 3 Rock Mountain (on tarmac road and good forest road). All the climbs were steady but I made sure to put more effort into the last climb on each occasion.

    We lined up and were ready for off. One of the organisers explained about the charity and what the fund raising might accomplice. Off goes the starter and we started the first climb. Best strategy for me is to start gently and keep the effort below the red line. It was a wide forest road, good quality. The first climb had a plateau after about 5 mins running. I was actually not in the top 15 here. I wasn’t bothered as I knew my pace was right for me. Flat for a minute or two then up again. Now with the same effort the runners started coming back.

    By the end of the first climb proper, I was at the back of a leading group of 5 and as I let gravity take me down I was leading soon after we started the descent. I didn’t push, didn’t hold back just let gravity take me and I’d hope that the legs were strong enough to take it. I felt a big gap open and I actually thought the race was over at this early stage. After about 15 mins running I was down. It was a left turn now before the gradual long climb up to Wicklow gap started. I looked back and the young fella was right there only 20m back! A rush of doubt (felt like lactic) and I steadied myself and continued. His strides were closing quickly. After years of this type of running I know that the climbing endurance gets well developed, or maybe it’s climbing pacing. Anyway, I decided best not to panic just get into a steady climbing rhythm and I should cause him problems later on. It was between him and I now, that was sure, the others were too far back.
    He tried to pass at this stage once he caught me but no way was he getting a boost like that. I speeded up, and he quickly fell in just behind me. Not much fight to get past there, maybe he had closed the gap too quickly over the little bit of climbing we had done?

    We had to jump as stile before crossing to the South side of the road up to the gap and onto St Kevin’s path through the trees. I listened and heard a few seconds gap before he crossed the stile.
    I didn’t put the pressure on just tried to climb in a relaxed and controlled manner and put pressure on that way. It seemed to work and the gap slowly opened. It’s a tough climb with some surprisingly steep bits. It’s wet in spots, but some of it had that plastic mesh stuff they put on some walking routes to stop erosion. Some lovely little wooden bridges over streams. Made the tough slog a bit easier. I saw the road coming back into view on the left and I could see the gap up above. Maybe another km before we exited the forest onto the road and climbed the remainder through the summit car park. I looked back as I could see well down the hill at this stage. I spotted my pursuer, he was still running but I could see his gait was been affected by the effort. I thought the gap was most of 2 mins and I assumed I would be better prepared for the rest and fully expected Id push the gap out to 4-6 mins before the end. I underestimated him for the second time…

    Anyways, onto the road, finished the climb, running for almost 43 mins at the car park I think and at this point I wondered if I could run under 90 mins. (Ran just under 92 the last time I ran the half (2013) in very good shape). Onto the descent. This was where I busted my knee last time (last years 10k) so care was needed. The mind-set was controlled and safe. If I could do that fast even better. I couldn’t do it fast, but sure I got down in one piece. That first part was boggy beside a forest. Now it was onto dry gravelly stuff and stone steps down into Glendasan. All safe and controlled. Now flattish again along the Glendasan river which flows eventually to join the river that comes out of Glendalough. Fast gravel road here. A couple of km and passed Glendalough hotel, a water stop and left up the Wicklow way. The route crosses the Wicklow gap again after a bit of climbing. The marshal there said my lead was 2 mins. I was surprised actually and assumed he’d heard that from the other side of the gap. Up I went after crossing the road, a kind of nice wooded zigzagging climb. Looked down but couldn’t see the young fella. Now we went left onto a long steep forest road climb. After 3 mins of this I looked down and by the hokey, there was the young lad only about 90secs behind. I was impressed by this; I didn’t recognise him from hill races. He should have been falling further behind as the race progressed, he wasn’t though. He was doing brilliantly for someone new to this type of racing.

    I kind of knew though that as the climb kept going (same height gain as the other big one) he would suffer again. I concentrated again and climbed the remainder strongly and continued hard enough for the 3km down to finish in 89.12 (I think). I was delighted with that as a marker of fitness. I improved my previous time by almost 3 minutes. There was more in the tank at the end if needed too unlike the previous time. The second guy came in just shy of my old time which was a super run from him. He never gave up even though he couldn’t see me for long portions of the race in that terrain. I told him to consider that he might have natural talent in the sport (way more than me to be honest) and to consider more hill races.
    After the 10k race last time I had been in touch with the organisers about the 10k route, citing the start as a little hazardous. I suggested an alternative route perhaps one that started and finished in Laragh. This would eliminate the reliance and number limitation of the buses for the 10k race (10kers have to be bussed also, up to Wicklow gap) also and free it up to be a real challenge in its own right. They told me they had been thinking along the same lines for a year or two.

    Long story short, they came back with a provisional route that they picked that rivals the 21k as a classic. And believe me the 21k is a classic route. If anyone is looking at a March target or something different for a super cause. You could do a lot worse.

  • Lol. The psychological warfare begins. I'll be toe'ing the line in Dunshaughlin (and jogging to the finish line from the 3km mark!).

    lol. Better than jogging to the finish from the 13k mark!
    Make sure George is with you is all I'll say.

  • Decided to revive the training log.

    Having taken a 2 week break from running that's ongoing almost 12 weeks now I feel it's time to get back. I was actually thinking of letting running go and just doing some occasional moderate exercise . Runnings absence has left a much larger hole than i anticipated and I realise I can't do without it. Not a case of wanting to run at this point but most definatly a case of having to run in my case.

    Initial goal is just to get back running/exercising regularly. To up the initial enjoyment factor for this critical period I have joined a gym that also has a decent pool and good fitness classes. Also has a very good sauna, steam room jacuzzi etc. This should help. No fitness targets initially just getting the habit back and the gradual improvement that will come with that.

    For the running I might dig out the HRM as that should show improvement on the pace/HR which should be good reward. I don't want to lose the running so have skewed the reward factor to high in this stage. Once i am back running consistantly and am confident i'll sustain it i'll then start looking at progression (fingers crossed).

    I took the initial two week break because of a change to routine (dropping young lad to creche on bike meaning cycling to and fro work every day). My last big break was due to a big change (birth of second child) that I hadnt planned for. Planned as in had a prepared running schedule and tactics to keep fitness during that period. This recent change caught me by suprise a little.

    Hopefully this log will help keep me at it. I have a blog also which I post to occasionally here but ill give notice here of any meatier running updates.

    Recent/current exercise: 25k round trip to work on bike about 3 times per week.
    5-6 runs in last 12 weeks.

    Feel free to input here at any time.

  • Can catch up for a run some time. Still out Dun Laoire way? If you are on your way back to fitness I might be able to stay with you ;)

  • Can catch up for a run some time. Still out Dun Laoire way? If you are on your way back to fitness I might be able to stay with you ;)

    Anytime. Hoping to do regular lunch runs. Think you have them but will send contact details via PM.

  • Someone mentioned they have started work near where you live and were looking at going running with you. I will try and recall who that was and let you know!

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  • Peterx wrote: »
    Someone mentioned they have started work near where you live and were looking at going running with you. I will try and recall who that was and let you know!

    Great that would be super Peter!


    AM:Cycle in 50mins easy
    PM:5k dart mute home

    Friday: reverse of above.

    Saturday. 10k easy.

    I was actually slightly tired for a lot of Saturday and Sunday after this. A lot of muscle fibres getting used that havent been used in a while. Normally I curse and want to shake my fist at high winds when running. Saturday I just enjoyed every minute of it.

    Sunday rest.

    A slight look at medium term and I wont be using the long slow buildup to get fitness back. When youre over 40 it risks injury and you need to get strenght into the legs again quickly anyway.

    With that in mind I might pick a race targets to aim for with a full spectrum of training for each. Raheny 5 might be first one on 31st Jan. That's just under 8 weeks away. GIR 10k might be next.

  • Mon. 7th December: 10k with 7k steadyish

    Was meant to be a cycle home from work and run later but the wind wasnt safe for cycling so i had planned my usual run-DART-run. Arrived at my station, I saw that on the electronic message board that my train was delayed and not due for 16 min so decided to pick a station I might be able to get to first and then 'race the train'. Put a good effort in kept an eye on the trains progress on message boards passing intervening stations. Ducked in at the station, just made it. Good fun.

    Also AM Cycle commute 12.5k

    Tue. 8th December: 5k commute


    PM Cycle commute 12.5k

    Wed. 9th December: No running

    Cycle commute round trip 25k. Back sore

    Thu. 10th December: Rest

    Sore back and cold symptoms

    Fri. 11th December: 11k inc. 7k steady then 7 x 1 min hills on treadmill

    Jogged to gym , dropped bag. Headed out for a 7k run. Effort was a low steady intensity. Arrived in the gym and decided to do a few hills.
    Did 7 x 1 min @ 10 kph incline 15' rec 60-90s. Messed about with some of the weights machines in the gym, did a few quats with low free weights (20 kg). Sauna, Jacuzzi, Steamroom then jogged home. Grand couple of hours.

    Sat. 12th December:

    AM Strenght class (Core ), .

    30 min. Gym class, working Core, abs, adductors, glutes. Enjoyable class.

    In the gym.Climbed 20-30 stories testing out one of those moving stairs things. Great machine. Would be handy training for some of the big mountain races where mountain walking might be a requirement.

    PM 10k on the treadmill about 9k progressive-steady

    Incline 1'. Took a few minutes to get the legs moving up to speed. After about 12.5 kph started to up the pace by .1 kph every 30s, then every 45s, then every minute for a very gradual progression. At 14.8 kph (i think) corresponding to 4:03 min/k I felt I hit a groove, or a second wind or whatever. I upped it .1 k and it felt less comfortable again. Had intended to keep increasing pace till close to 16kph and hold. In truth this would have been too much work for me. Backed it down to 4:03 kph held it there for 10 enjoyable mins (until my legs got tired). More Saunas etc and then jogged home.

    Sun. 13th December:

    AM Gym classes: Upper and lower body strenght work on angled machine then Spin class

    First class good work. The class included some explosive squatting which was possible on the machine. Some rowing also to work chest and back.

    Leaving I spotted a Spin class starting and jumped in for the Craic. Worked hard, good 45 mins there.

    PM 10k easy-steady.

    Nice run in calm weather out to Clontarf's Wooden bridge and back. Wore these kind of minimalist trail shoes as schlopping through the grass was what I decided Id enjoy most. Suprisingly dry.

    Weekly Totals: Running 45k, Cycling 40k, 3 exercise classes.

    Delighted with the week. Critical part of it was the weekend. After missing a couple of days midweek it was looking like another failed effort to re-establish the habit. The gym saved me and my running reasons to join look vindicated. Not out of the woods yet but cautiously optimistic. I can see the path my exercise will take for the next number of weeks and it looks enjoyable and therefore sustainable. I'm doing a lot of the runs at steady paces (not easy) because I enjoy them more. Ill get fitness feedback quicker this way which will help too as reward. Also, my strenght seems to have been harder hit than my fitness, the strenght orientation in the fitness classes, hills and steady runs (compared to easy) will help too.
    Plan this week is to keep it going, maybe the volume will naturally creep up. I like the hill reps on the tread so will add another couple of reps onto that session. I probably should do some strides for leg speed, will see.
    Going to have a go at the climbing wall too. My 4 year old daughter can climb half of it by now and is egging me on.
    Back and cold are better.

  • Monday 14 DeC: 7k easy (+ Commute CyC 25k)
    Tuesday 15 DeC: no running
    Wednesday 16 DeC: Fitness lass ten 14k steady progression treadmill + Commute CyC 25k
    THur-Sat: No Running
    Sun 20 DeC: 10k easy

    Totals: Running 31k; Cycling 50k; 1 exercise class

    Not a great week on paper but looking at the positives it’s the second best week in the last several weeks. Glad to get the run in last night as I was heading for another drought. I should have an opportunity now to blast out a lot of exercise over Xmas. Wednesday, I inched the progression run pace down as previous week and got down to 3:49 per k. The treadmill is handy for these as you can manipulate it to really get that barbell pace profile and stay just shy of threshold pace.

    In other news I’ve entered the Wicklow mountains half marathon again which is on 12th March. It requires a good deal of strength and fitness so it’s a good target for me. (I don’t have either at the moment!)
    Assuming I can get going again I’ve had a few thoughts on the training for it.
    Usually the high mileage and a few long steady hilly runs with road climbs were sufficient enough for this race. I used to do the Marley – 3 rock masts - Ticknock – Marley loop for these often changing directions. I’d start at a steady effort and do each climb slightly harder than the previous with the last one feeling tough-ish. This mimicked the race and the real value of the session was giving the ability to run all the hills well. Crucially that means there will no fade in the tough last section. Ideally I should also have been doing shorter hill work (90-120s) which would give me more climbing power.

    Alone, that won’t be enough this time as I’d be hitting threshold to maintain any pace on the first Climb of tHat session. I’ll need a good bit of hill work and steady runs before attempting those sessions. They could progress from long runs then. Add a hill to the end of a long run, then run steady out to tHe Climb, then add anoter ill, then add steadier etc. till it resembles tHe raCe Course.

    I can do the hill work on the tread for starters and maybe mess around with some steady running before and after. I could do the odd steadier hilly runs on the tread too. Ill dip the odd progression run into threshold territory when I get a bit fitter and I’ll do those 200s again which worked so well for me last year. They will help keep the form good for the other training and will help keep me in touch with road running paces which I'll need later in the year.

  • Holiday Training:

    Week 1:

    Various short runs totalling about 60k. Ran everyday and finally re-established consistancy by running every day. Did a couple of slightly more intense runs like:

    3 x 3 min uphill (on a loop) then 6 x100 strides on the flat

    Week 2: 6 runs inc 1 double and a 14.5 k run easy-steady. Also did about 5k fast-steady during a run. After the 14.5k run I actually felt the need to recover i.e a fitness gain. Happy days.

    Looking forward to the running year ahead with a little more confidence. Plan this week is a hill rep session. 8-10 x 1 min @ 10kph and 15%, something like that. Also a steady run, may aim for 3 x 15 mins here. Ill try and throw in a run > 16km too. And Sunday I'm in for the annual Dublin masters at St Anne's. 4 x 1.5 k laps. I know whats in store, it will be Die hard and 3 sequels. I was worried that the race might negatively affect me. More confident that it will spur me on now.

    Hope to manage Howth hill race the following week.

  • Peterx wrote: »
    Someone mentioned they have started work near where you live and were looking at going running with you. I will try and recall who that was and let you know!

    Jason Reid

  • Monday 4th January
    11k easy.

    Run-dart –run commute both ways. Have reduced Dart by a station at each end which reduces my fare by nearly 50c. Takes about the same time. I’ll be cycling most days but still, an easy way to help increase mileage a bit and might cover a couple of pairs of runners a year.

    Tuesday 5th January
    14k easy-steady over a few runs.

    Wednesday 6th January
    18k easy-steady over a few runs

    Included 8k lunch time run on DL West pier. First lunch run in ages. These runs will be key for me to hit target mileages later.

    Thursday 7th January
    17k easy-steady over a few runs Inc. 7 x 100m relaxed uphill strides.

    I jog past a hill every morning and I’ve been eyeing it for uphill strides and sprints. Steepish and nice and quiet. Just concentrated on relaxation and form here. High knees and bouncy enough. Wanted the tiredness to hit my legs and I felt it a bit after 7. That was enough to be starting with.

    Friday 8th January
    11k easy jogdarts.

    Saturday 9th January
    13.5k easy with strides

    Jogged out to statue at the end of the Bull wall. Strides all the way back, starting with 5s progressing to 15s. Pleanty of recovery between and all relaxed.
    Just to put some 'Up for it' into the legs and mind before the XC on Sunday.

    Sunday 10th January
    10k Inc. 6k Dublin XC.

    Usually this course can be forgiving if you’re not 100% fit. There is a decent section of firm forest floor path (half the distance) and the grass is normally not bad. Due to a new laid tarmac path along the park perimeter blocking a section of the old route the course had to come in a bit. That added at least 100m to the course distance. It also meant that the firm grass of the well-drained park perimeter was replaced by ehh slightly wetter stuff in-park. Yesterday, apart from a few small sections of semi-quagmire, most of the grass was quagmire deteriorating badly every lap.
    I watched some of the women’s race which had a great turnout of around 150, and was won well by a Bros Pearse runner who seemed to be gliding over the muck effortlessly in her first XC race apparently.
    I was considering whether to go out hard to stay ahead of the main body of runners and try to hang on, or to start conservatively and move through. When I saw the course I realised that I would be racing for 25 mins here rather than the usual 20 and that most of it would be in muck. There is room to pass here so it was option B. This was going to be painful; I had plied myself and overdosed on coffee so the coffee buzz was trumping any fear.

    Lap1: Off we went, I started very controlled and was passed by a good few in the fast start. I wasn’t going to react at all. I had it in my head that I should be able to pick places on the firmer ground. So survive the muck and make hay in the forest. When we hit the forest I didn’t feel like it was a wise idea to push it, but I found that even so I was happy to notice I was now picking off places. Through that section of trees and over a fallen trunk over a path and now were onto another tree section where we run down and up both sides of the path that heads towards the coast road St Anne’s Carpark. Grand here slight down, and then back up again. Back on the muck and I’m still reeling runners in but not as quickly. I reach Paul M, a club mate and start working with him. Were in the quagmire leading to the finish line now. Its thinned out so runners are trying desperately to find good slightly less mucky lines, going way left of straight line in this section for instance. We pass the 1 lap mark and this lap felt loooong, glad i went out conservatively now.

    Lap 2. Paul passes me here and I have to work to stay with him through the muck. The ‘best line’ on this quagmire section early lap, is to run on the better grass between trees that border one side of the route, darting out and back to avoid face planting each trunk. There is extra difficulty in that the direct bright sunshine is blinding and is also being reflected into the eyes from the wet swamp that is the course. Paul passes a guy and I have to go out into the schlop to pass and keep up. Yep, the tree hugging is deffo better! Round the corner and no tree hugging available, so its schlop all the way until the ground rises a bit before the forest and gets slightly better. Legs feeling heavy now. Onto the traily forested bit and I find I’m relatively good again, passing Paul and I hear him working to try and keep up. This relationship is working very well! Pass a few more. One guy makes a big effort to pass me in the last bit of forest before the finishing straight on lap 2. No problem there except, he slows down once passed. I pass back immediately to let him know that I won’t be submitting that easily and to discourage any more of it. Back in the muck in the finishing straight and I try and take the straight line instead of veering left. Mistake, as I’m passed by Paul and another and it cost me about 5 metres.

    Lap 3: Working hard to stay with Paul through the sun blinded tree hopping section. My aim in this lap is to try and cover the forest a bit quicker. The guy who passed me earlier now comes bombing past in the muck taking myself and a few runners. I’m puzzled by this as he had to work to pass me earlier. Anyway, the pace was too hot for me so I let him go. Into the forest and a big Donore guy goes bombing past, again the pace is too much to follow. I do my customary place swap with Paul and we are still reeling in runners. The first guy who stormed past us stops ahead and retires either an injury, or more likely a bad blow up due to that big surge in the mud. I still see big Donore ahead and I feel he might be a target now to try and reel in. I turn the legs slightly quicker here. Back onto the schlop, and I stay left this time.

    Lap 4: Bell sounds and I try and work harder through the muck. I’m closing on 3 runners ahead. Then Donore then there is a big group of 5-6 ahead of them who seem to be coming back. Paul doesn’t pass me here, which means the work I’m doing is getting me around quicker now. Onto the forest and turn the legs to get speed. No strength to push. After the tired feeling early in lap 2, I was worried that I would start to fade and suffer. But the legs haven’t felt anything since and the coffee has done a wonderful job on easing the suffering. Hurting now in fairness, I think I pass a few more including a Sportsworld runner I recognise as very experienced. Onto the schlop and Donore is coming back but out of reach. People are now taking the straight line here. I know that going left is faster yet I follow like a lemming. Mistake. Final push and I’m just flapping around in the muck like a cat on ice. The sportsworld guy is right behind me and he finishes with strong strides to pass me fairly easily. Not much I could do about it. Paul was just a few seconds behind. It was a great break bumping into him on the course. Staying with him in the muck meant a lot of places for me, made the top 40 which was good and I think he got a guy late in the last lap to get 3rd in his category so fruitful for us both. I was worried that I would be so far back that the race would discourage me, but I’m happy with it and because I raced and paced it pretty well it will serve as a good marker for improvement. I’ll get a good fitness kick out of the race itself.

    Week total 94.5k. A bit of a jump in volume, but no cycling this week or fit classes and no real tiredness over it.

    I’ve entered the Howth hill race next weekend. Howth is different in that there is less room to pass so Ill have to start faster and try and hang on/hold runners off. Hopefully there is some climbing endurance in the DNA now and I can fight to hold places on the early main climbs after the more intense start. There is a big incentive then to work on the flattish section mid race as, if I can hold my own there, I should be able to hold runners off on the narrow twisty descent home. Thats assuming I know when the twists are coming, which I will as hopefully I'll have a chance to recce it and practice it in my warm up.

    Easy days now as I recover. May do (8-9) hill strides again this week, a steady run and a few strides the day before Howth. Loads of time to get fit. I do need to lose weight. As I’m a stone up on normal race weight. Dropping sugar and dairy will do it. For once I’m eager to do this as a permanent change. Hope to start that this week. Similar mileage to last but there will be a few extra cycle commutes thrown in.

  • Nice going in the muck - tree hopping, wish I'd thought of that. :)

  • Murph_D wrote: »
    Nice going in the muck - tree hopping, wish I'd thought of that. :)

    Thanks a million. I read your report, great going yourself and a very decent improvement on last year especially considering they are the only XC races you've ever done.

    I don't do well in the muck so any line with less of it helps me. Some folk are faster going straight through, like yourself.

    Have you considered doing a few BHAA XCs? Good for marathons.

  • demfad wrote: »
    Thanks a million. I read your report, great going yourself and a very decent improvement on last year especially considering they are the only XC races you've ever done.

    I don't do well in the muck so any line with less of it helps me. Some folk are faster going straight through you, like yourself.

    Have you considered doing a few BHAA XCs? Good for marathons.

    Thanks - yes, would like to do more, I can really see how they would help with leg strength and endurance. Hope to get a couple more in over the next couple of months as long as it doesn't interfere too much with the marathon plan. A lot of clubmates do the BHAA races so plenty of rivalry!

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  • Monday 11/1 : 11k easy commutes PM 10k Inc. 6.5k steady. 21k Total
    Legs felt good after the Dublin Masters on Sunday. Went with the flow and ran steady as I felt. Last few minutes legs were tiring a little.
    Tuesday 12/1 11k commutes, PM 5k easy. 16k Total
    Easy day, let the legs recover a bit from Sunday’s race and Monday’s steady effort.
    Wednesday 13/1: 9k easy commutes.
    Same as above. Meant to add another 5k easy, but kids up late and I was tired anyway.
    Thursday: Lunch 11k hilly including 7k steady on hilly ground
    Main steady part was clockwise outside the perimeter of Dalkey/Killiney Hill Park. Definitely hit threshold or slightly over climbing to the wee roundabout near Killiney village. Ran through for another few minutes on the down before easing off to finish the remainder of the run as warm down. Commutes today were on Bicycle=25k.
    Friday 15/11: Commute in = 4k. Commute home = 12.5k Total 16.5k
    First run home in ages. Felt good all the way although tired from Thursday
    Saturday 16/1: 11k Inc. various strides.
    Plan before kickoff was to do 6 x 100m strides.
    Ended up doing. 6 strides increasing from 32 steps, to 60 steps. Initially with an exaggerated stride progressing to one with faster cadence. The idea was to try and run fast and relaxed. As I wasn’t used to this, it seemed like the best way to progress it.
    I felt ready for more after those, I had my hill race next day so didn’t want tom overdo it.
    Did 3 x 30s fast and relaxed. Just a little taster to prepare get back into my aerobic strides next week. That brought me near the end of Alfie Byrne road and East wall and a wee hill there. The race was starting fast on an uphill. I decided to leave the muscle memory 'uphill'
    Very fast up the hill with high cadence and then after cresting I kept going for about 50m at a slower steady pace until my legs had mostly recovered. Just to get the legs a little practiced at that transition from climb to flattish which was going to happen on particularly 2 significant occasions in the race. Probably wouldn’t be worth much time wise, but I should get more out of the race having a little prep. Also I fired up most of my quad muscles firing up the hills which was going to happen anyway in the race, so best to have them woken up and used a bit first.
    More of a blowout than strides overall but I was happy after.
    Sunday 17/1: Race IMRA Howth. 5th place. 12k total
    The field would not be as competitive as the Dublin Masters, and I hoped that from the masters race itself I’d probably come back the week after a minute faster. Start was on tarmac in the deerpark carpark for 80m, then a flat and slightly downhill 100m until narrow steps.
    I spotted Ocnoc who used to post on these parts and a guy called Gerry H who has ran under 50 mins for 10k up and down Lug. Enough said for anyone who knows that race. He's not running as much but I had half an eye on him as someone to take on. I had Ocnoc as favorite because he looked strong and fit and he’s good on the rough stuff.
    Warmed up with a few lads. Passing the top of the first climb I remarked on the open ground and advised to do any passing on the way back here as it’s a lot more difficult to pass after. Should have kept the gob shut!
    So at the top of the carpark you have to cross a concrete slabbed pavement and up a few steps passed the hotel before the 100m section to the steps up the hill. Didn’t like the look of those first steps. Start fast I thought and then ease during the hundred if needs be.
    Started fast just behind Ocnoc in second. He didn’t bother with the first steps just did a fancy orienteer vault over a hotel fence. Those orienteers are gas. He would have smashed through the hotel reception window if he thought it was faster. I thought the steps were a bit faster than the route he took, I would have shouted it to him but I was breathing too hard!
    I decided I’d stay in second till the steps. There was a bit of a gap behind (clogging on steps) and I kept looking behind like a track race qualifier making sure I was in the top 2 when we reached the steep steps. Up we went. I planned to ease off immediately so as not to red line. It didn’t feel right to hold people up, so I kept behind Ocnoc for half the initial climb. My effort levels were now such that I had to let him go. Soon after a young man bounded past and bridged the gap to Ocnoc. Good luck to him! Over the craggy deerpark summit and the first bit of downhill. Still needing recovery big time, so controlled, not slowing, and not pushing just concentrating on foot placement and recovery. Near the bottom in passed again. This guy looks very lean and fit, I reckon heed be good on the steep climb ahead as we started onto the lopped section (2 loops). He was indeed. I ran 3/4 of this. I would always run all uphill on principle but being a little wiser now I had planned to walk the final steep part to aid to ingoing recovery process. Passed by a group of 4 here which was annoying including Gerry H. He’s paced this better than me I thought, he'll be eating most of the runners ahead of him for breakfast. Over the summit and Gerry B on the photos.
    Onto the flat, I am still recovering and notice that I’m gaining on the group ahead, except for Gerry who is gone. I pass 3 on the remainder of the loop including an M40 (Pat) who looks suspiciously like one of the chaps I was liberally throwing advice at pre-race. Doh!
    Looking ahead I see Gerry H demolishing the steep climb as he starts loop2When I arrive at the bottom, I hope I have put distance between myself and the chasing group so I can concentrate on reeling in those ahead. We are passing big groups of lapped runners. Near the top I am passed by 4 again, including a new chap in yellow. It’s Ok, because ill tag behind them and get them early on the flat. I pass lapped runners on the wrong side and I find myself well adrift of the 4. The M40 chap is ahead again and with a gap now. I actually assume Gerry H (also an M40) will finish top3 which means me and Pat are battling for the category prize.
    I just pass him before the small climb to the masts mid loop. Cadence is good here. Descending towards the end of loop 2 and were passing lapped runners. I keep losing concentration wanting to settle and having to jee myself up. I stumble and nearly fall while actually daydreaming and finally I force the effort up again. There are a few lads catchable ahead. Climbing back onto the deerpark summit before the final descent, I take my own advice and put it all in to pass a chap before the descent. Pat is close behind but putting a body between us makes me feel safe. I shoot down. There is a guy ahead and then its yellow jacket. The guy ahead is moving quite slowly and makes room when he hears me approach. It turns out to be the guy who passed me in second early in the race. He took Ocnoc on and he was unlucky in that the leader was exceptionally good. He got burned obviously or had a twist. Anyway closing on yellow jacket but no cigar. Ocnoc won, Gerry H got into the big gap between ocnoc and everyone else, the guy who passed me for third kept his spot. Then yellow jacket, then me. Good to scat to Enduro after, who looked much recovered after his brilliant exploits in the spine race. He said he could have raced, but didn’t fancy a 'sprint'. I was glad he didn’t anyway! Good crack after, seeing familiar faces. A great way to spend a Sunday morning.

    Week total 96k:
    Happy with the week. 2 steady runs and a race. Strides developed more. Same volume of running next week but with more cycling and a return to gym classes, and a start to strenght work.