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Running away



  • Registered Users Posts: 4,299 ✭✭✭ariana`

    It's a tough call, I guess what I really want is something on paper but without the accountability aspect. I did have a coach for a bit, but I called it a day when it hit a point where the accountability factor was a negative or an additional stressor in my life (through absolutely no fault of the coach in question I must say, totally on me and my personality). And I've proven I can run consistently without that accountability factor, maybe slightly lower mileage perhaps, but still consistently steady.

    I'll read up on Lydiard. And I think you're right about racing and that is what I'll have to do. It will be last minute entries, if any, for a while I think...

    Thanks P. There should be an annual award for the person most likely to reply - you'd be a shoe in ☺️

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,582 ✭✭✭Swashbuckler

    I was actually going to start off my post with "I bet you knew who was gonna be the first to answer". haha.

    Listen to some other opinions too. Sometimes launching in with strong opinions can put other people off posting their own so hopefully some others chime in and I havent put them off.

    I purchased a McMillian Plan this year that is Lydiard based and is the guts of 6 months if I recall.

    Also, I get what you mean in terms or accountability..I was the same...Put too much pressure on myself on that front which heightened the overall pressure with work and family added to the mix.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,831 ✭✭✭Annie get your Run

    The EIM approach might suit you? It looks (from the outside anyway!) like something that would keep you in decent shape all the time with the constant (but apparently easy 😄) faster stuff throughout. I'm sure E & S would give you tons of info!

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,807 ✭✭✭skyblue46

    As a plan to maintain a decent level of fitness while keeping runs interesting I would hugely advocate this. I don't see any negatives in a period of maintenance training. The 'plans' are more a case of the author suggesting a way of doing it but it's not cast in stone. It has definitely taken me 18 months of watching others tweak varying approaches to make it race specific. For a maintenance plan I would just follow the book. E, feel free to give me a ring if you want any more info.

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,236 ✭✭✭AuldManKing

    Personally - I wouldn't follow any structured plan or method.

    I think your experienced enough to know what works for you, but also what you enjoy.

    The 1st positive is that you're still willing to 'be a runner' despite the chaotic world that being a mother is!!

    The thing I'd do is set some groundrules for yourself and keep it very simple and focus on the enjoyment.

    e.g., I'm going to run 3 times a week / one of these will build to 14-15 miles over the course of 4 months / the other will be some sort of session, but one that I enjoy doing and I can progress it by either increasing the rep or decreasing the rest or doing it faster - again over a few months. The other day (or days) run as you want - 2 miles, 6 miles whatever you have time for.

    I think enjoying running is what you want to be doing, following a structured plan while not racing can become a 'chore' - and you don't need more 'chores'.

    As always - just my opinion :)

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  • Registered Users Posts: 4,299 ✭✭✭ariana`

    Thanks a million for all the replies. 100% something to take away from each of them 😊

    AM I have an EIM book actually but at the time of reading I felt it was more focussed to shorter stuff & track and not very specific for longer distances, but I will definitely dust if off again as non-specific might suit better right now. @skyblue46 I appreciate the offer to reach out to you, I may do that.

    AMK, I love your confidence in me that I have enough experience to plot my own way by now. You are possibly right but I fear I'd end up in a state of paralysis by analysis with over-thinking it all. You are right though; I don't need any more chores, or pressure.

    As it happens, I ended up doing a 10k this weekend, @Swashbuckler I tried to channel your thought process that races are over-rated and just went and did it without over thinking it. I'll fill in a bit more detail when I log the week's running, but I was happy with the effort. I've never ran a strong 10k so it wouldn't be hard to improve but this was definitely an improvement in terms of performance.

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,299 ✭✭✭ariana`

    Week 4 of 10 ('til the end of 2022)

    Not a super start to this week, I was tired and not sleeping well in the early part of the week but that improved thankfully as the week went on. I've been hoping to race before the end of the year and had taken note of a few upcoming races in the locality - the Border Half was one of them but more recently I had notice 2 10k races in Mayo, one on Nov 20th and one on Dec 4th, I hoped one of them might work out. At the start of this week, the Sunday didn't suit but that changed later in the week, so this week includes an actual race 😄

    Monday: Just strength.

    Tues: Planned a session but I had the offer of company for an easy run, so I happily took it - 65' easy chatting with friends

    Wed: Session + Strength. Limited to 45mins so did 4 * 3' @ CV (8:00, 7:57, 7:54, 7:52) + 4 * 30s hard.

    Thurs: Nothing

    Fri: Strength + Easy

    Sat: Easy

    Sun: 9m incl. 10k race @ 7:38min/m - a 2 min race PB (my best 10k effort is still during a 10m TT early last year)

    My expectations going into this - an undulating course, potholes, and floods - I was advised to wear my oldest runners!

    I did 2 8k races this past Summer and both were awful - the first in June in 39:33 and the second in August in 40:13. Training paces have been fairly comfortable recently, so I wanted to test myself. Going out the door my hubby asked me what I was hoping for (as he always does), my answer to him was that I'd be thrilled with 48-49 but I could as easily come away with 51-52! I really did not know what to expect after the (unexpected) struggle in those 8ks.

    This was a looped course, it started at the bottom of a 400m drag to the finish line and then 3 * 2m loops, so that drag would have to be done 4 times. The crowd at the start line was very small (73 I found out after), and we were off without much fanfare. I tore off of course and was halfway up the drag and into the breeze when I realised that the leaders had gone, and I was leading the next pack with open road ahead of me. FFS, this is what always happens me on these runs, I end up on my own when I really could do with a big, tall lad to shelter behind or even just company to keep me motivated later on. Thankfully as the road levelled out, after we passed the finish line for the first time, a few came alongside, and I thought I might have a group. By the time we hit 1k a couple fell back and maybe some went on ahead, but I did have 1 lady just about 10m ahead of me, a lady I recognised, an O65 runner with a lot of street cred on the Irish & European scene in track, cross country and a national marathon team medal winner in her age cat. So, I basically ran the next 8k about 10m or so behind her. I was conscious every so often that I was breathing down her neck (not to mention photo bombing her 😆) and she could be cursing me but at least I wasn't wearing loud slappy shoes 😂 I never looked at the watch once the entire race. I just ran along and clung to the coat tails of my new BFF, total blind faith in her pacing even though I had no clue what time she was aiming for (seems a bit stupid written down, but it felt right at the time). Around 9.2k I passed out my fellow runner. It wasn't a conscious decision, I wasn't feeling in the slightest bit competitive towards her, it happened without me realising it and if I'm honest I instantly regretted it with a moment of panic when I realised I had to commit to pulling ahead now and of course I was about to face into the toughest part of the course for the last 800m, the part where she had extended her lead on me each and every other time before I closed it down again on the more favourable parts of the course 🙄 But I was committed now. As I passed the volunteers at the bottom of the drag for the 4th time, I realised my head was up, something which gave me a bit of satisfaction at the time. I started to count down from 120 (seconds) in my head and went for the finish line with the sun in my eyes blinding me. I was bent over at the finish line for a minute before I could even register the time, 47:39, a PB. 4 seconds ahead of my fellow runner whom I had a lovely chat with afterwards in thanking her for dragging me along. Of course, the splits don't look that impressive at all - I ran a fairly hefty positive split 🙄 but with my track record at 10ks I will take it. All in all, a very satisfying Sunday in November. Thanks for reading.

    31 miles for the week.

    Post edited by ariana` on

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,429 ✭✭✭Dubh Geannain

    What is the book that you do have?

    I'm very much in a similar situation with races being mostly an inconvenience. And while I might enter things, it could be the day before when I decide to actually run it. I did manage to actually run two target races this year (the most successful one was off the back of around 6 weeks focus) but am always willing to accept any child related cancellations; such is life.

    Congrats on the PB too by the way. Imagine what you'd do off a focussed block! 😂

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,299 ✭✭✭ariana`

    Thank you! The book I have is the Easy Interval Method by Klaas Lok. It might suit you.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,021 ✭✭✭Kellygirl

    I’m delighted you did that race and got yourself a nice PB too. Big congrats on that again. It would be nice to do a few of those sort of races and just turn up when suits. They are usually a bit cheaper than some of the bigger ones too.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 5,236 ✭✭✭AuldManKing

    Thats a great race well ran - congrats on the PB and dont knock it - its a PB!!

    (you might want to edit your time in your report though - 37.39 nearly had me with my calculator out)

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,582 ✭✭✭Swashbuckler

    Awesome stuff E. Like AMK you had me wondering.....

    You might be like me, more suited to low pressure, adhoc racing, often not with a specific block. I've always preferred that. I can only think of a few races I did a specific block for that I was delighted with. Well done you. That's a big chunk off a 10k time, thanks in no small part to you building your aerobic base massively.

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,807 ✭✭✭skyblue46

    I agree with what all the others have said above. I'm in awe of the effort you put in all the same. I have got myself to a very good place fitness wise but I still won't go all in like you did. Fair play!

  • Registered Users Posts: 7,738 ✭✭✭Mr. Guappa

    Congrats on the PB - they don't happen by accident! Plenty of work and sacrifice goes into achieving one - both on the day and in the preceding weeks/months/years. This one was well deserved and great to see.

  • Registered Users Posts: 10,454 ✭✭✭✭Murph_D

    It's always fun to focus on the race so I'll comment on that first - I think you had a superb outing there. Racing is all about (well, at least partly about) finding some motivation within the circumstances that present themselves and this was a great 10k from that perspective. You went off hard, found yourself in no (wo)man's land, then consolidated and found someone to work off for the meat of the race, before pushing on at the end. I mean, that's excellent work in anyone's language. All the better that it was a seasoned racer that you could work off, and you were careful to pay her plenty of deserved respect! Well done on a great PB.

    The structure without racing question is a really good one, and it reminded me of the situation in the first half of 2020 - no races on the horizon for a good while, and even if that was by necessity rather than design, it made me think a good bit harder than usual about what I needed to be doing to be in good shape for the future -that unspecified time when you'd be ready to race again, with other life stuff less dominant. My own instinct was to focus on developing aerobic fitness, aerobic capacity - the kind of work that is enjoyable enough to do (provided you mix in plenty of steady stuff with the easier stuff) and that you know is building your engine for the eventual return.

    That's not answering the question of course because it's about structure, not the principle. I just tried to stick to plenty of challenging but not too hard runs, without any real structure at all beyond at least one midweek session (steady to tempo pace) and a long run at the weekend. For me it was enough to feel I was staying in the game while not getting burned out or bored. I took sessions from various places - @Swashbuckler provided some suggestions when I asked, and others came from looking at what some clubmates were suggesting and doing.

    Your recent PB suggests you're in good shape and it's a question of keeping that going, maybe the way you currently are with consistent training and taking the odd local race opportunity that crops up at the right time, while also having an eye to the future which means just working on that aerobic base, which as P mentioned above is something that can be as long a process as you like.

    At the end of the day, nothing helps more than consistent and steady mileage, and building that mileage, so that it's there for you when you tackle the sharp stuff at the end when you decide to focus on a particular race. And you seem to be doing plenty of that already - the evidence is in the weekend race result - so happy days.😀

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,582 ✭✭✭Swashbuckler

    Great post.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,314 ✭✭✭Bluesquare

    I’d watch those hungover runs - I seem to pick up niggles lol . I find when I run fast with a hangover I’m much more relaxed . We did 5k time trials during the first covid lockdown - I won’t lie I was hungover for all of them but have no idea where I pulled those times from. Maybe it’s the way forward

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,314 ✭✭✭Bluesquare

    I see Pfitzinger has a full chapter on training for multiple distances in his faster road racing book which includes schedules . His mileage is a bit rich for me but you could probably use it as a base . I’m using his half schedule ( but with a bit of mileage shaved off).

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,314 ✭✭✭Bluesquare

    Well done on pb - sorry for all the posts I didn’t see the last page somehow so posted on last weeks stuff .

    Great running without training with a focus and nice report !

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,299 ✭✭✭ariana`

    Thanks for all the great replies last week, I appreciate every one of them 😊 @Murph_D wise words as always, I'm glad someone could put some logic to my strategy! I wish I could say it was a well thought out plan on my part, but it was just what felt right and thankfully it came good, a bit fluky perhaps!

    I ended up having a kind of rough week since unfortunately, not a whole lot of running between the jigs and reels. I developed a pain in my mouth on about Tuesday I think it was, I thought it was a tooth ache at first, though it was affecting the whole side of my face/head. Got to the dentist on Friday and confirmed it was an abscess so had a deep clean of 1 tooth under local anaesthetic and an antibiotic for a week. I was only at the dentist in August and got a clean bill of health so we're not sure what caused this, apparently the tooth is sound thankfully.

    Monday: Hamstrings a little bit tight so took a complete rest day

    Tuesday: A very easy hour long run, circa 11min/m pace

    Wed: A long day doing a course work related, fairly wrecked after. Made it to the gym for strength.

    Thursday: A very easy 40mins while child 1 is at soccer, all I could muster, feeling rubbish but the air did me some good.

    Friday: Attempted to run but ended up doing more of a run/walk for 2 miles and then went home feeling disgusted with myself. Fell asleep about 15 mins into the Toy Show - I never make it to the end but this was an all-time low for me 🤣

    Saturday: Just strength and a walk.

    Sunday: 1hr run with some moderate intervals - best run all week.

    18 miles for the week.

    Onwards to a better week ☺️


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  • Registered Users Posts: 4,299 ✭✭✭ariana`

    Last week was pretty uneventful, got a decent week of running ticked, happy days. Keeping things simple for the rest of the year and probably into 2023. By simple I mean run when I can, mostly easy, the odd tempo, the odd run with some easy tempo/moderate intervals, maybe some strides or a sprinkling of short faster reps for turnover. The next few weeks will be a bit unpredictable with the festivities, but I'll roll with it, it's great to have a normal Christmas season to be excited about, even school plays are back on the cards - I have one child playing the part of a sheep something which he is very h-a-a-a-apy about, we're flat out practising his lines, who knew a sheep could have so much to say 🤔

    Monday: 30mins easy around town while my middle had music, streetlights & footpaths for this, didn't know what to do with myself, found myself getting a bit annoyed hopping up and down off curbs 😆

    Tuesday: Very easy hour with some friends, chat time

    Wednesday: Gym

    Thurs: 30min tempo @ 8:10 approx.

    Fri: Rest

    Sat: Gym session followed by parkrun @ 7:44min/m - had no real plan for this but I have a very poor track record at running easy at parkrun. Started off easy enough, around 1k I was at marathon effort (just had HR on the watch) so decided to hold that but of course I ended up picking it up unintentionally and doing a progression run - 8:08, 7:42, 7:28, 7:02 (.14). At one stage I wondered what pace I was doing and figured around 26-27mins, so I was very surprised to see my finish time at 24:13. It was the most perfect morning, not a Puff of a breeze on any part of the course. I was sorry after I hadn't planned to go after a parkrun pb, I'm pretty sure I had it in me or close enough. Numbers were low but there were 7 people ahead of me so I'm sure I could have latched on to someone around 22-23mins. An opportunity missed but hardly a big deal.

    Sunday: 8m with 3 * 2k easy tempo thrown in to break it up.

    Post edited by ariana` on

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,299 ✭✭✭ariana`

    I've fallen a bit behind again...

    Week of Dec 5th

    Most exciting thing this week was I booked a repeat LT test for Friday. The recommendation is to taper as you would for a race before this so that shaped the week somewhat.

    Monday: Easy 30mins incl. a few strides

    Tues: Very easy hour

    Wed: Strength + an easy hour

    Thurs: Just strength

    Fri: LT treadmill test, more on that below.

    Sat: Strength & Parkrun - new parkrun PB of 22:59. Wasn't really expecting this at all. I had very little time as I was in the gym at 8:30am, out at 9:20 and straight down to parkun. I only had about 5mins to warm up and couldn't even run from the car in to the park as the carpark & paths were too icy. Thankfully the paths in the park are mostly gravel and were runnable but parts were still dodgy. Very small showing, only 17 runners, I was in 5th place from the start, by about 2km I had worked my way into 4th place and by 3.5k I worked my way into 3rd place and there I remained. I wasn't looking at the watch, but knew I was running as hard as the conditions would allow. I was quite surprised at the end to see I'd run a parkrun pb. Coincidentally I'd run my previous parkrun pb on the same weekend last year. I'll have to go after my actual 5km pb sometime, it's starting to look breakable 😊

    Sunday: Back to the park again for a crunchy 5m. Had hoped to do a long run but my whole body was tired and I'll be honest I just wasn't enjoying the baltic conditions at the slow pace I was able for.

    27 miles for the week.

    LT Test. So I originally did this test in 2019. Initially I used the zones to guide all my LT runs but over time I had started to doubt the zones and particularly recently I feel like my HR has dropped considerably. At the time of the initial test in 2019 my Max was 180-182 but in the past year I have only been able to hit 172 which put into question my LT HR. Going into a year where I'll be planning my own training I wanted to arm myself with as much reliable information as possible. I chatted about this before the test and was told that yes HR zones can change over time as part of the aging process although they don't necessarily change for everyone either. The test is basically 3mins intervals on the treadmill at increasing paces, with 1 min between each interval where a blood sample is taken to check the lactate levels, HR is recorded every minute and RPE is recorded in the 2nd half of each interval. In the early intervals it was very clear I was running much faster than 3 years ago for the same effort (HR & RPE) and over the course of the test it became clear also that my LTHR really wasn't going to be much different to before either. This is not a Max HR test but because I had explained I felt my HR couldn't go as high as before and because I was comfortable with all the paces we'd run, he decided to do an extra interval after we'd reached my threshold and 2mins into this interval he increased the pace for the last minute - I hit a HR of 177 at the end of this interval and didn't feel like I was quite flat out so I can only assume from this that my Max HR is not changed much - possibly around 179/180... I got the full report a few days later with some suggested race times and suggested training etc.. Delighted I did it as it definitely has given me the confidence to push myself a bit harder again, I think I've gone soft over the past couple of years with very little hard racing, and doubts creeping in.

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,299 ✭✭✭ariana`


    Week of Dec 12th

    Not much of substance really, lots of easy runs in icy conditions, I had a sore knee for a few days, could be related to wearing trail runners that I'm not used too and also holding a bit of tension while running in poor conditions, but perhaps something to watch. It was my right side, all my niggles over the years have been on my right side.

    Monday/Tuesday: didn't do anything 😕

    Wednesday: Strength + some easy miles

    Thurs: Strength + some more easy miles

    Fri: Just a very short easy run

    Sat: Nothing

    Sun: A thaw finally, thank god. Got out and did 10mile long run including some steady efforts and an LT effort, all using HR. Sweated buckets during this run.

    25 miles for the week.

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,299 ✭✭✭ariana`

    A 2 week update to close out the year

    Week of Dec 19th

    I didn't run til Wednesday and I can't remember why - busy tying up ends in work, kids school play & last minute shopping/Christmas prep most likely

    Wednesday: Easy run of 6.5miles

    Thurs: 2 * 10mins threshold based on HR, paces were 7:31 & 7:28, a lot faster than Tinman gives me for Threshold (7:50-8:00) but I'm going to stick with HR for a little while anyways and assess as I go. LT test couldn't be any more recent really so I'm going to trust it.

    Saturday: An easy run of 7m

    Sunday: Christmas day and no run again.

    A very light week of 20 miles

    Week of Dec 26th

    Tuesday: 7m easy

    Thursday: 10k/6.25m easy

    Friday: A short session of 5 * 2' on/1' off, around 5k effort.

    Saturday: another easy run

    Another light week of 23 miles.

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,299 ✭✭✭ariana`

    2022 Recap

    1584miles for the year, my lowest mileage in 3 years. The 2nd half of the year was lower than the first so I'm on a downward trend it seems😏

    3 PBs from 5 races this year - HM in March, 1:45 down from 1:48, 10m in March 1:19 down from 1:26 and 10k in November 47:39 down from 49:40. Also did 2 shocking 8ks in the Summer where my legs were like they were running through treacle and are definitely better off forgotten. I got my Parkrun best down from 23:06 in 2021 to 22:59 in 2022 without doing very many park runs, maybe 2 hard and a small handful of others with my kids.

    Those are the metrics but a lot of other things went on this year that the metrics don't show, 6 months of frozen shoulder, Covid, change of jobs, kid starting a new school and a new routine with it and so on.

    I'm grateful for every mile I was able to run in 2022 and proud of the races I was able to push myself a little bit to run a distance a bit faster than I had run it before.

    Onwards to 2023 and some new goals which I will have to think about 🤔

    Happy new year everyone x

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,021 ✭✭✭Kellygirl

    3 excellent PBs too. The year ahead should be interesting too with training with the new paces etc.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,314 ✭✭✭Bluesquare

    Happy New year ! You had a great year - 3 fab pbs despite the decrease in mileage and all the other obstacles life threw in the way ! Well done and I look forward to reading your log in 2023 !

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,250 ✭✭✭coogy

    Plenty to be proud of there E! Great to see how so many folks like yourself are constantly striving to keep going one better, it's inspiring!!!

    Best of luck for 2023!

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,299 ✭✭✭ariana`

    Thanks @Kellygirl, @Bluesquare & @coogy 😊

    Goals for 2023

    I didn't set any goals last year and I don't think it stood me well really.

    I got a full report from the LT test in early December, and it included some race times that are achievable with training. There are two that stick in my mind so these will be my goal times for 2023:

    • Sub 22min 5k (from 22:42 on the road in 2019 & 22:59 park run in 2022)

    I can't see myself specifically targeting 5k but I'm going to be less afraid to throw in the odd hard park run when I have a free Saturday morning and maybe I can work my time down over the course of the year that way, and if a road race pops up then that would be a bonus. It's one I'll keep an eye on but not the priority.

    • Sub 1:42 HM (from 1:45:xx in 2022)

    This will be the main focus. I have no specific race(s) yet, there's a few races in March that I'd love to do but March is completely tied up with family so I'll be looking a bit further ahead to April or May. Possibly Limerick HM and/or the Dublin race series HM or Charleville in Sept.

    Generally speaking I'm hoping to stay injury free, train consistently, keep up the gym/strength work that I started in 2022 and be less afraid to race hard at any distance (except the marathon of course) without specific training. Training wise I'll continue to set my own but I'll aim to plan it on a weekly basis rather than flying by the seat of my pants which I've become guilty of recently! Loosely speaking there will be threshold runs, strides, long runs, some work at CV and some steady/moderate intervals mixed in with easy runs - piece of cake to plan it all out, right, what can possibly go wrong 😅

    Thanks to everyone who has contributed here over the last 12 months, I appreciate every post and wish everyone well in their running and life endeavours for the year ahead.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 4,834 ✭✭✭OOnegative

    The very best of luck with the goals E, knowing you & having followed your running progress, those targets are more than attainable.