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The Windy Road to Nowhere

  • 19-05-2013 9:02pm
    Registered Users Posts: 2,643 ✭✭✭

    I've finally given in and decided to start up a log here.

    The main reason for the log is that I feel I'll need any advice and extra motivation I can get for the fairly ambitious target I've set for this Autumn. Currently, my marathon PB is 2:58:16 from Budapest last year, and I'm setting the target of a sub 2:50 for Chicago in October.

    My marathon history is one of good progress in the first 4 races, going from a 3:36 debut in Dublin 2005 to a 3:00:21 in April 2008. For one reason or another, that sort of stalled for a couple of years, until I finally got the 3 hour monkey off my back in Spring 2011 with a 2:58:23 in Seville. A very poorly exectuted 3:07 that October and an underprepared London were followed by last October's run in Budapest.

    College and work committments have meant that since January, I've struggled to do more than 25-30 miles per week at best. But, anything I have done has been of fairly good quality, and the results in races have remained fairly good, with 17:50 in a 5k and 1:22:55 in a tough half marathon being the running highlights of 2013 to date.

    Thankfully, time will start freeing itself up in about a week, so I'll be able to get back to some more regular training, hence the start of the log.

    The goal for June and July is to run fairly high mileage at a low enough intensity to build myself up for the specific phase work in August/September. Initally, I hope to jump up to about 50 miles a week fairly rapidly, and if possible, max out close out at around 90-100 for a couple of weeks. There'll be a few races in there, but short enough. The National Half at the start of August will signal the end of base building at the start of specific marathon training.

    I don't follow any particular plan, but I plan my running around my life as much as possible. The rigidity of some of the plans puts me off, but I borrow what I want from lots of sources and make it suit my own life as best as possible.

    Right, that's all the introductions out've the way. Now I've just got to follow through with it, do the work and get to Chicago in good shape. If I can be honest with my efforts, I'll be happy with the result.



  • Registered Users Posts: 2,643 ✭✭✭ThePiedPiper

    May as well get the log up and running:

    Week ending 19th May.

    Saturday: 4 miles in 27:03 (6:45 pace).
    This is a tough route up by my house. There's a very tough climb from 3-4 miles which accounts for most of the 200 feet elevation gain on the route.

    Sunday: 12.3 miles with PConn in 1:31 (7:27 pace).
    A warm, sunny morning around quiet roads with a bit of hillwork thrown in. I felt great the whole way through this, and effort levels felt low.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,820 ✭✭✭blockic

    Best of luck with it RFR, I'll be seeing you in Chicago. Hoping for in around 2:55 myself if the weather plays ball.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,458 ✭✭✭Peckham

    Will be monitoring this one very closely!

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,900 ✭✭✭KielyUnusual

    Best of luck with it RFR. I'm looking foward to seeing how you approach this. All the advice you've given me has been spot on so I'll be looking to gleam some information from here over the next few months. Looks like there'll be a good gang of Boardsies going over to Chicago with similar goals. This can only help.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,643 ✭✭✭ThePiedPiper

    Tuesday, 21st May: 5 miles in 37 mins
    Did this as a progressive run on the treadmill, starting quite slowly and building it up to MP for the last half mile or so.
    I usually do this as a recovery run. I'm not a major fan of the treadmill, but when I can't get out of the house, I'll take it over doing nothing. I've found in the past that running indoors on the treadmill, in increasing heat and humidity is actually a decent way of preparing for those type of conditions should they happen in races. With the possibility of a scorching hot day in Chicago, I'm going to test myself in hot weather, or simulated heat and humidity on the treadmill.

    Anyway, delighted to have gotten in a few miles in midweek for the first time in weeks, even if it's only a measly 5 miles.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 2,643 ✭✭✭ThePiedPiper

    Friday 24th: 4 miles in 26:14 (6:34 pace)
    This was my happy dance after finishing up a long and busy last two months of college work. Beautiful sunny afternoon. Probably my overall happiness at finishing up on the college work, but felt like I was bouncing around the road for this run.

    Headin on a stag party today, so it might take a bit of stubborness to drag myself out've the bed tomorrow for a few miles, I'll take the runners anyway.

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,370 ✭✭✭pconn062

    Enjoy the stag, remember the golden rule, it's one mile per pint consumed!

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,643 ✭✭✭ThePiedPiper

    pconn062 wrote: »
    Enjoy the stag, remember the golden rule, it's one mile per pint consumed!

    I think I might just about have done this.. Hard work for the first mile or two this morning, but they ticked by nicely after that.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,643 ✭✭✭ThePiedPiper

    Saturday: 5.25 miles in 35:25 (6:44 pace)
    Lovely warm sunny afternoon. Was flying for the first 4 miles of this, but as always, the last uphill mile is a complete burner. Good run all the same:

    Sunday: 10.2 miles in 1 hr 17 (7:38 pace)
    Post-stag long run at 8.30 in the morning in Belfast. Got off the busier roads and into the harbour area. First couple of miles were a bit of a struggle, but was flying along by 5-6 miles.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,643 ✭✭✭ThePiedPiper

    Monday: 8.25 miles in 62 minutes (7:30) pace.
    This run had a bit of everything. Started off nice and slow on the treadmill, increasing the pace every half a mile, until I'd 5.25 miles done. Then, ran out the door for a 3 mile loop, with a bit of speed and hill work thrown in for good measure.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 2,643 ✭✭✭ThePiedPiper

    Tuesday 28th May: 11 miles in 1:19:30 (7:14 pace)
    Didn't really intend to run this as fast as I did, wasn't really running for pace, but felt good, and moved it on a bit. Beautiful sunny evening, great to be out in good weather like that. I think to prepare myself for Chicago, it makes sense to put in some faster running when the weather is warm, so that was another reason for the faster than intended pace I suppose.

    I'll hopefully get in a few miles tomorrow morning, but if not, I'll have the backup of the treadmill in the evening time. Might even do both. I intend on getting the weekly mileage up to 80-100 within a couple of weeks, but need to be cautious not to push it up too fast. If I run 50 miles this week, I'll be happy enough to push it on up to 75 maybe the following week. It'd probably make sense to have a stepback week after that, before getting up to 80-100 territory.

    I've added the Monaghan 10 miler to my likely races for the year. It's on 18th July, and I enjoy running in my home county, so will probably pick it over the 10 mile race in the Park the following week.

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,370 ✭✭✭pconn062

    Are you coming into the track tomorrow night? Think we're going to do a tempo run.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,643 ✭✭✭ThePiedPiper

    I won't make it in after all PConn. I'll have to make do with the treadmill for tomorrow evening. Great having it when its not possible to get out the door.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,458 ✭✭✭Peckham

    If I run 50 miles this week, I'll be happy enough to push it on up to 75 maybe the following week.

    Massive jump in mileage there - 50% increase in one week! However, I'm saying that without having any knowledge of your regular mileage.

    Thanks for bringing Monaghan 10 mile to my attention - think I'm up that way for a wedding that weekend anyway!

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,643 ✭✭✭ThePiedPiper

    Fair point Peckham. And, to be honest, if I was on the other side of the keyboard, I'd advise the vast majority of people against increasing the mileage so rapidly. Last July, I jumped straight from 40 miles a week to 110 when I was doing the low intensity base building. I know its unorthodox, but my body coped very well with that huge jump. I'll take it on board though, and maybe just go from 50 this week to 65 the following.

    Yes, Monaghan race would be a fairly decent one. I know the route well, its as good as flat, with just a bit of a hill to negotiate at around half way distance, but in no way would it be overly challenging. The field for most of the races in Monaghan is fairly good these days, so there should be reasonably good company at 60-62 minute pace, I'd imagine.

    What sort of plan of attack have you yourself Peckham?

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,458 ✭✭✭Peckham

    General plan of attack is get a 220-250 mile month under the belt in June and complete the McMillan 10k training plan (although will be dropping a week in it). Early-July I'll kick into Daniel's Plan A, with peak weekly mileage of 75.

    As for races - I've a 5k next week, probably two 10ks at start of July. Not sure on races after that, but leaning towards Monaghan 10 miles and Athlone half. Two flat ones to target confidence buidling PBs (current PBs are 81 for the half and a very soft 66 for 10 mile (unofficial 10 mile PB is 62 during my half marathon PB). Would be nice to go tight to 60 and 80 for the two races.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,643 ✭✭✭ThePiedPiper

    Agreed, it'd be nice to get close to 60 and 80, but for me, I think getting under either of them could be a step too far in August. At the end of the day, I'm looking to peak in October, so while I'll give the half and the 10 mile everything in the race, I'll likely not taper for them, or really target them.

    What's your current half and full PB Peckham?

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,820 ✭✭✭blockic

    Agreed, it'd be nice to get close to 60 and 80, but for me, I think getting under either of them could be a step too far in August. At the end of the day, I'm looking to peak in October, so while I'll give the half and the 10 mile everything in the race, I'll likely not taper for them, or really target them.

    Looks like 3 of us will be on similar paths. I'd be hoping to break 80 for the half and get pretty close to 60 for the 10 miles. But exactly as you say, won't be tapering or targeting them as A races. There will be a solid crew from here heading over by the looks off it. Pity we are all in different parts of the country or we could have a serious training group going!

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,458 ✭✭✭Peckham

    81 for the half (Bohermeen 2012), 2:58 for the full (Berlin 2010).

    Agree though - eyes are on the main prize in October. Anything else is a bonus.

    blockic - we'll just have to make it a virtual group!

  • Closed Accounts Posts: 13,915 ✭✭✭✭menoscemo

    Monaghan 10 mile? that sounds interesting...I am targetting the HM in Charleville at the end of September so a 10 mile tune up 5 weeks before sounds like a plan....a bit of googling says it's on 18th August but any info on the course? Fast, flat etc?

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  • Registered Users Posts: 2,643 ✭✭✭ThePiedPiper

    menoscemo wrote: »
    Monaghan 10 mile? that sounds interesting...I am targetting the HM in Charleville at the end of September so a 10 mile tune up 5 weeks before sounds like a plan....a bit of googling says it's on 18th August but any info on the course? Fast, flat etc?

    Meno, I haven't actually ran the race before, but I've ran plenty of miles around what I'm fairly sure the course is.
    It starts in Monaghan town, and heads out to the village of Ballinode. Here, it does a loop of around 1.5 or 2 miles before rejoining the Monaghan road again, and back into the town.
    There are just a couple of gentle enough hills, the sneakiest of which would be coming into Ballinode itself at about 4 or 4.5 miles.
    It's about as flat and fair a course as you'll get, certainly in Monaghan.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,643 ✭✭✭ThePiedPiper

    Wednesday 29th May: 7 miles in 53:30 (7:39 pace)

    Easy, progressive run on the treadmill. I don't like running fast on the treadmill, and most of the time, like to keep it just for the easy, recovery miles.
    The miles are ticking over nicely this week. I need to keep reminding myself to run the easy miles easy, but the treadmill's perfect for discipline, keeps manners on me!

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,643 ✭✭✭ThePiedPiper

    Thursday 30th May: 7.5 miles in 56:50 (7:35 pace)

    Out nice and early this morning in the breezy sunshine. Went down one of my favourite routes, very quiet country lanes with one bridge passing over and another under the Dublin-Belfast railway line. The Northbound Enterprise and the Southbound met each other on one of these bridges, just as I was approaching.

    I'd a lovely run too. Really had to force myself to run slowly heading down the hill. Kept myself in check with the fastest mile being 7:25. There'll be plenty of time in August/September for the faster stuff.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,643 ✭✭✭ThePiedPiper

    Friday 31st May: 6 miles in 41:30 (6:55 pace).

    Legs felt a bit stiff for the first mile of this, so started slow enough, relaxing into it after a while. Got a fairly stiff breeze into my face going up the hill for the last mile of this, so it was hard work at the end.

    I'm not sure if I'm going to fit in a run tomorrow, might squeeze in a couple of miles on the treadmill first thing in the morning maybe. On Sunday, I'm having a 4 mile novelty handicap chase around my own area, before a big barbeque and party, so its unlikely I'll get anything resembling a decent long run in this weekend. I might get out for 15 or 17 miles on Monday maybe.

    The first week of proper training has gone fairly well. I've ran 8 days consecutively now, which I haven't done since probably last September. I'm feeling generally ok, a bit of stiffness, and the odd little muscle pain that hung around for a day or two, but I think its just my body's way of telling me its working again. I've tried to stay fairly conservative with the running I've been doing, haven't considered doing any sessions or tempo work. Most of my runs from 4-6 miles have included 1 or 2 miles at in or around PMP, just to get my body more comfortable with this pace.

    If I can kick next week off with 15-17 miles on Monday, I'll probably push the weekly mileage up closer to 60 or so. So far, so good, I suppose.

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,370 ✭✭✭pconn062

    Damn, that sounds awesome on Sunday. Stupid Leinsters!

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,643 ✭✭✭ThePiedPiper

    Saturday 1st June: 5 miles in 38 mins (7:35 pace or so)

    Jumped on the treadmill first thing in the morning, glad to squeeze in a couple of easy paced miles. Pushed the pace a little more than normal towards the end of this, going to gradually increase the pace of my easy miles over the next 8 weeks. The way these go at the minute is I start at 12km'h, and increase by 0.1 every 800 metres (half mile). So, next week, I'll start them at 12.1, the following at 12.2 etc. By the end of July then, the easy pace will have increased quite a lot. There's no theoretical reason for this plan, but it makes sense to me.

    Tomorrow will be a bit of a laugh, a 4 mile novelty handicap chase before eating and drinking for the rest of the day. PConn, we'll be kicking off around 4 on the run, 5 on the food, drop by after the Leinsters. Best of luck with the racing.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,643 ✭✭✭ThePiedPiper

    Sunday 2nd June: 4.3 miles in 29:10 (6:45 pace)

    Good laugh, this run. All of my fellow runners took a wrong turn. As race director, I had to accept my share of the blame, and go back to pick them up, after my brother (cheating by riding a bicycle) caught up with me and told me!! Nice steady pace with a couple of the lads followed by copious amounts of beer and food.

    Monday 3rd June: 7.5 miles in 54:10 (7:14 pace)
    Got out at 6 in the evening for a few miles to shake off the remains of the hangover. Fantastic weather, very warm. Pace felt comfortable on what is a tough old hilly loop.

    Long run was never a serious option today, but I'll hopefully get in something around 15 miles tomorrow or Wednesday possibly.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,643 ✭✭✭ThePiedPiper

    Tuesday 4th June: 16 miles in 2:02 (7:40 avg pace)

    Took in a lovely route through Drogheda, out along the Boyne Estuary, past Baltray and Termonfeckin, then back up the hills. The pace felt very comfortable, until 14 miles, was averaging around 7:35 a mile until then. The last two miles up the hills were a real struggle. The 20 degrees heat, a bit of dehydration probably, and maybe a lack of conditioning for longer runs at the moment made me drop the pace back into the 8:30-8:50 range for the last couple of miles.

    Delighted to get in a decent length of a run in very hot weather. I'll probably not push the long run beyond 17 or 18 for a few weeks. I want to be able to run every day, and I think at the moment, a long run of 20 miles would probably take a bit too much out of me.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,643 ✭✭✭ThePiedPiper

    Wednesday 5th June: 7.5 miles in 56:58 (7:36 avg pace).

    More scorching hot weather in the early afternoon. Went over a very hilly route from Drogheda over the Hill of Rath, and up again to my own turf. I'm finding myself very inclined to doing a lot of hillwork over the last couple of weeks. It might not make a huge amount of sense, given that Chicago is almost completely flat, but the base-building I did in Donegal last year was all in the mountains, so I think it's giving me a lot of strength, that'll make running on flat roads very easy. I'm definitely starting to acclimatise to the heat. Pace is still pretty modest, but I'm happy to keep it in and around the 7:30 mark for most of the next few weeks.

    I ate a $h!t load of crap food lastnight, and stomach has been fairly iffy this morning. I'll give it a couple of hours before deciding on whether to chance a few miles later. I'm liking this bit of a mini-streak I have going, so don't really want to miss a day because I ate like a possessed man lastnight! 4 or 5 miles would do nicely.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 2,643 ✭✭✭ThePiedPiper

    Thursday 6th June: 5.5 miles in 38:50 (7:04 avg pace)

    Stomach a bit dodgey, so I started off a bit cautiously on this. I felt grand after a bit, so pushed on and did 2 miles PMP. Mile 4 was a bit of a mess, as I had to pull in a couple of times with lorries, vans, etc on the road, so pace dropped back to 6:50. Happy with the run, considering I had my head stuck halfway down a toilet this morning!

    I might try and get in a decent long run Saturday probably. Can't decide if I'll do 18 or just about 14. I'll see how I feel then.