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Steady As She Goes



  • Registered Users Posts: 2,501 ✭✭✭Laineyfrecks

    Very best of luck 😊

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,616 ✭✭✭token56

    Thanks Murph_D and Laineyfrecks!

    The hard work has been done in training so hopefully it pays off although I don't think I'm going to have the best weather for it 😅

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,616 ✭✭✭token56

    11/07/23 - 8.35K - 43:17 (5:11/km) - HR - 123

    The real start of the taper with a 45 min easy run. The legs and body was starting to feel much better on this thankfully.

    12/07/23 - 11.65K - 55:56 (4:48/km) - HR - 130

    A mostly easy run here with 8 x 45 sec @ 5K pace off 1:15 thrown in to keep the legs ticking over. I was being quite conversative on the 45 secs on not really caring too much about the actual pace and just working off effort instead. All very controlled and comfortable.

    13/07/23 - 8.89K - 45:04 (5:04/km) - HR - 122

    I was really starting to feel the reduced mileage and taper here, legs starting to feel really fresh and strong. Pace is a good 10sec per km quicker than the usual easy runs feeling probably more relaxed too.

    14/07/23 - 9.19K - 45:43 (4:58/km) - HR - 128

    Another 45 min easy with 5 x 20 sec strides

    15/07/23 - 6.98K - 35:28 (5:04/km) - HR - 127

    A final 35 min easy to keep the legs ticking over until the big day. The weather was pretty shocking on this so really just hoping it would improve a bit for the race.

    16/07/23 - Termonfeckin Half Marathon - Race Report

    The big day and everything had gone exactly to plan, now it was hopefully just a matter of execution. Thankfully the weather had calmed down a small bit, there was still a decent wind but not quite as severe as the day before. I had a good chat with the coach during the week about tactics and the plan was simple. A conservative first 5K followed by a steady 10K and then hopefully be able to push on the last 6K or so. Really the main thing was to not get too excited if feeling good and push hard too early. Half marathons should feel relatively comfortable for a good portion of it or so I'm told.

    Arriving on location and everything looked really well setup. I was there with plenty of time to spare as I had to pick up my number of on the day but that was completely hassle free. This left me loads of time before needing to warm up so just chilled for a small bit with my partner who had come to support. This is only the second running of this event and looking at the results last year there wasn't huge depth at the top end of the field but there looked to be a few more quicker looking athletes around this year. Eventually the time came to warm up and got an easy 10 mins in as planned before getting changed. The legs felt pretty good and I decided to run along some of the main road which would have the headwind just to get a feel for it and yep still a decent wind for sure. But tried my best to put it out of my mind. Going to the start then I did a few strides to prime the legs and I had that jelly like feeling but I knew it was just nervous energy. The legs were well rested and I had plenty of energy, no reason to believe otherwise.

    Lining up at the start and I positioned myself at the front. If I was hitting my target time of 1:25 there still shouldn't be huge numbers around of me so I thought that was fair enough. As the race started I was really surprised by just how many people race off like I would expect from a 5K but I ignored all that and just try to settle into my pace of around 4:00/km.

    The first 5K, the early part was into the headwind but I just focused on staying relaxed and not waste too much energy. I got passed by a good few people here but I wasn't letting that bother me. After turning off this road there is a nice bit of a downhill but the coach said to stay relaxed here again and not try to bank time. I was still probably quicker than what we had discussed but I was feeling very comfortable and again another one or two passed me out here. By the end of the first 5K we were onto a nice flat part of the course alongside the river and the wind was helping here. Through the first 5K in 19:53, a bit ahead of target. The heart rate was a bit higher than expected and I was sweating a bit more than I would have liked but from an effort point of view I was feeling very comfortable so just settle in now.

    The second 5K and by this stage the field had stretched out and settled down and there was no one coming up behind me but I was very much isolated. However there was someone in a green top who had passed me out earlier that was now starting to struggle and come back to me. I passed by him quickly and just motored on at a nice steady pace. The next people ahead of me were a group of 3 in white tops but they were a good few hundred meters ahead so not really thinking about them too much. The last 2K of this stretch was a constant little uphill though, nothing severe but noticeable. I kept my pace up and could see they were slowly starting to come back me. By the time we got to the end of this 5K the gap was down to about 30 meters and we were due to turn back along the main road and into the head wind. Through the second 5K in 20:00, perfect pacing and still feeling very comfortable.

    The third 5K and this is what I had been fearing, about a 5K stretch along an open road into the wind. I was expecting to slow down a bit here naturally but I knew I was feeling good. After a few hundred meters of turning onto this road I had caught up with the group of 3 in front of me. I was considering settling in with them and just working with them for this stretch of the race but they were slowing down too much and I just felt strong enough to go on my own. So head down and just grind it out. There was another considerable gap of a few hundred meters to the next person in front of me and I wasn't really thinking about them to be honest but after 2K on this stretch the gap had closed considerable and I was going very strong, in fact I had picked up the pace just a fraction. By about 14K we were back to where we turned onto the main road at the start of the race and we would be repeating the next few K so I knew exactly what was coming up. By the end of this 5K I had flew past this other runner and there was a bit of a downhill coming up. Through this 5K in 19:51.

    The last 5k+ and at this stage I knew with how I was feeling the target time was almost a guarantee baring a complete disaster, it was just a matter of how much I would break it by now. This was where the plan was to pick the pace up which I did but I wasn't sure by exactly how much I should. There was still 6K of running left and there was the risk of blowing up so I couldn't just sprint off. The next group of runners in front of me I couldn't really see until I reached the bottom of the downhill but the gap was considerable enough again so I wasn't really considering getting up them, just grinding out the last few K. The pace was certainly starting to feel less comfortable at this stage but I was still moving well. However there was one last sting in the tail to come, a tasty little hill during the last 1.5K and I was probably conserving myself for this a bit. Again to my surprise just before getting to here I managed to real in one of the runners in front of me and just as we approached this hill I got up on his shoulder. I pushed hard here and he tried to go with me but I managed to pull ahead. The last 600m or so then was relatively flat, there was one runner another hundred meters or so ahead of me and I know I could have made more of an effort here to maybe try to catch him but I was happy to just cross the line at this stage. The runner I had passed did make a final effort to catch me so I had make a bit of a last ditch burst to stay ahead of him which I did successfully.

    Crossed the line for an official time of 1:23:27 and 11th place overall.

    To say I'm delighted is an understatement. This is well beyond anything I was hoping for and such a huge confidence boost and validation of the effort I've been putting in the past few months. Everything really did just go perfectly today and it is such a wonderful feeling to see everything come together. I think I may have actually found a new favorite distance to race. If I'm being really honest I think I probably left a bit out there too and probably had another 30 seconds if not more in me. I paced it really well but could probably have pushed harder in parts knowing now what I was actually capable of. Being the first time to race this distance it is tricky to know exactly when to push. But this is all if's and but's and I'm still thrilled with the end result. Obviously this is the only HM I've done but I would absolutely recommend it. There is some elevation change, in particular the finish hurts but overall I think it is a fast enough route to be honest.

    Hopefully all this means I'm in a strong position for the sub 3 target. I know my coach is confident I am and maybe even a bit quicker. For now I'm just looking forward to getting into the next block of training and pushing on even more. That is after a nice recovery week of course 😁

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,501 ✭✭✭Laineyfrecks

    Absolutely thrilled to read this! What an amazing time but as you say it's all down to the consistent hard work you have put in. Enjoy the buzz & confidence boost this has given you😊

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

    What a brilliant run - superb execution. Really super job.

    I love this line;

    "This was where the plan was to pick the pace up which I did but I wasn't sure by exactly how much I should."

    I think at times people (me included) think that we can just naturally pick the pace up by 10-15 secs per mile at the end of a race - when our legs are used to running a certain pace and we are really tired.

    I think the best we can do here is pick it up by 4-5 secs per mile and then hope that our kick at the end brings down the average for the last mile by more.

    It seems you paced it perfectly - if you had of picked it up sooner, you may have really struggled at the end.

    Well done on a great job.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 2,616 ✭✭✭token56

    Thanks Laineyfrecks and AMK. I really appreciate the kind words.

    AMK - I very nearly made this exact mistake. With about 5K left my pace had picked up to about 3:45/km and while I felt ok in the moment I had to have a very quick talk to myself and slow it down. That would be a sub 19K last 5K which on it's own is still a decent effort for me, let alone after 10 miles of solid running so I'm really glad I did slow down here. One of the big benefits of the longer hard efforts recently is having the feeling of knowing what is and isn't sustainable pace wise.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,616 ✭✭✭token56

    18/07/23 - 7.2K - 45:04 (6:15/km) - HR - 107

    My partner wanted to get out with me on this run which was absolutely perfect to start off a recovery week. This was day 2 after the HM and I had developed a case of DOMS in my quads after feeling pretty good the day before. The weather for this was a bit miserable and after a tender few first hundred meters I enjoyed it.

    19/07/23 - 10.52K - 55:48 (5:18/km) - HR - 122

    Still a bit of DOMS for this. Increasing the time on the feet slightly to 55 mins but keeping the pace very relaxed and not forcing it anywhere. The legs were definitely still feeling tired.

    20/07/23 - 12.34K - 1:05:04 (5:16/km) - HR - 119

    The legs were finally starting to feel a bit more alive on this one but still holding back the pace to make sure it stays easy.

    21/07/23 - 13.01K - 1:06:07 (5:05/km) - HR - 123

    Easy 65 mins including 5 x strides. The legs were feeling better again and it was nice to have that feeling of speed in the legs with strides. Nothing crazy pace wise for those, something around 3:20/km

    22/07/23 - 12.35K - 1:05:10 (5:17/km) - HR - 122

    Not sure why put the body was feeling very tired on this so I did my best to listen to it and keep it very relaxed.

    23/07/23 - 24.12K - 2:00:02 (4:59/km) - HR - 127

    The plan had me down for a 2 hour easy run but it was probably a bit harder than easy towards the end. Surprisingly after the previous day the legs and body was feeling really good on this. The first 30 mins or so of this was uphill into the wind and I was running just on perceived effort but the pace was a bit quicker than the rest of the week, closer to 5:10 I reckon. The next 60 mins or so then was all downwind and I was cruising very relaxed and easy just below 5:00/km pace. The last 30 mins then was back into the wind and this is where I should have eased off the pace but I kept it up and the perceived effort definitely increased a bit.

    I know it's silly to say but I wasn't expecting to feel as tired in the days after the HM so while this run wasn't to plan I'm happy with how I felt.

    So after 3 weeks of a mix of taper, racing and recovery it's back to the grind before the marathon which is only 12 weeks away if my counting is right. I'm expecting the mileage to start increasing on the weekend long runs which is all uncharted territory for me but I can only feel confident after how well the last block has gone. If I can replicate that consistency I know good things will happen.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,616 ✭✭✭token56

    25/07/23 - 12.35K - 1:05:03 (5:16/km) - HR - 123

    An absolutely beautiful morning to start the running week. Running along the coast for this and it was the best morning for a run in a good few weeks. Really enjoy it and kept the pace very comfortable.

    26/07/23 - 24.04K - 1:44:01:48 (4:20/km) - HR - 142

    Back to the sessions with a bang, 20 Easy, 8 x 5 mins off 3 recovery, 20 Easy. The target pace was 3:32/km which was aggressive given that the last time I did this about two months ago the target pace was about 3:50/km.

    I'll be honest I found this really tough, I was doing it in my nice flat loop but a gusting wind about which was hard to run fast into. I still managed to hit the pace with the reps paces being: 3:30, 3:31, 3:31, 3:31, 3:30, 3:32, 3:32, 3:30. The second half in particular was a real grind and the legs felt drained but I guess it's good knowing I could do it even feeling like that. I'm not sure if the HM was still in the legs at all but this far after I wouldn't expect that it was.

    Unfortunately on the 20 easy cool down I took one bad step up a path which caused a very slight twinge in my leg quad. I was able to continue on no problem and it didn't get any worse but still just about noticeable. It felt almost identical to an issue I had back in April when just starting out the last block.

    27/07/23 - 12.05K - 1:05:12 (5:25/km) - HR - 121

    The day after what is probably a very marginal strain of the left quad and it felt fine. A couple of little tests and I felt comfortable to go out knowing I just had an easy run. The legs were pretty wiped from the session the previous day so the pace was very slow anyway. For I would say 90% of this run I had no issues at all but there were moments when I could feel that little twinge again.

    Again after the run it was feeling almost perfect. However last April I continued to run on it and it definitely got worse. Thankfully last time it resolved itself in a matter of days with some rest so I made the decision to take the next few days off and just clear it up before it became anything bigger and the coach fully agreed.

    30/07/23 - 8.56K - 41:33 (4:51/km) - HR - 130

    Two days rest for the quad and it felt 100% so just a short run to test it out. The first 6K of this nice and easy and picked up to HM pace for the last 2.5K. Thankfully the quad felt absolutely perfect and no issues, even at the harder pace. The legs however did feel quite sluggish at HM pace but that could be not having run for a few days and the mid week session still in the legs. Not to worried about that just happy the quad came through it ok.

    So not the ideal week but still one really good session done and in the grand scheme of things hopefully all this is will be is a few days missed which isn't a big deal. Much better to happen now than in 11 or so weeks time. The plan is for a normal week of training assuming there won't be any more quad niggles. If this doesn't turn out to be the case we will of course adjust but I'm really hoping it doesn't come to that.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,616 ✭✭✭token56

    It's been a while since my last update, each week I mean to get around to it but just been very busy and then end up waiting too long and thinking I'll do it next time, but here is the past few weeks:

    01/08/23 - 12.48K - 1:05:48 (5:16/km) - HR - 126

    02/08/23 - 13.61K - 1:00:02 (4:25/km) - HR - 139

    This was going to be a higher volume session but with getting back from the quad niggle the coach decided to scale this back and just do a simple 20 easy, 20 tempo, 20 easy to test it. All went well thankfully and 20 minutes tempo averaging 3:45/km. Looking back at it the pace was very consistent and I remember feeling pretty comfortable on it.

    03/08/23 - 10.48K - 1:05:02 (6:12/km) - HR - 107

    04/08/23 - 12.83K - 1:05:50 (5:08/km) - HR - 126

    05/08/23 - 12.35K - 1:05:03 (5:16/km) - HR - 121

    06/08/23 - 24.91K - 1:52:01 (4:30/km) - HR - 138

    This was a bit of a mixed long run, 30 Easy, 35 HMP, 5 Easy, 6 x 45s on, 1:15 off, 30 Easy. Remembering back to this one and the HMP effort didn't feel as comfortable as it probably should have but it was still well executed and when it came to the 6 x 45s there was plenty of pace in the legs.

    Weekly Mileage - 86.6K

    08/08/23 - 10.09K - 1:05:02 (6:27/km) - HR - 107

    09/08/23 - 17.08K - 1:15:52 (4:27/km) - HR - 140

    This was supposed to be a session of 20 Easy, 12 x 3 on, 35s recovery, 20 Easy but I misread the instructions and only did 10 reps 😅

    The specified pace for the reps was approx 3:50/km which I was expecting to feel pretty comfortable even with the short recovery and it very much did. I ended up picking up the pace a bit as the reps went on and honestly this was one of the easier sessions I've had in a while.

    10/08/23 - 12.37K - 1:06:03 (5:20/km) - HR - 124

    11/08/23 - 12.69K - 1:06:02 (5:12/km) - HR - 125

    12/08/23 - 25.75K - 1:53:18 (4:24/km) - HR - 145

    Long run of 2 miles easy, 12 miles MP, 2 miles easy so starting to build the marathon pace efforts now. The coach has this at approx 4:11/km which is 2:57 pace. We will see how realistic that is but I'm happy to go with it right now. I chose a new route for this out some long main roads into neighboring towns but on this particular route the first half was pretty much straight into the wind a few nice rolling hills so it was a bit more effort than it should have been to hold the required pace. The first half was actually a few secs per km slower but then the way back it picked up a bit and ended up averaging exactly 4:11/km for the 12 miles.

    The legs were pretty tired after this not helped by playing a round of golf too.

    13/08/23 - 10.20K - 1:07:06 (6:35/km) - HR - 105

    Weekly Mileage - 88.1K

    15/08/23 - 12.29K - 1:05:13 (5:18/km) - HR - 123

    16/08/23 - 21.74K - 1:34:43 (4:21/km) - HR - 141

    Progressing on from last week this time 20 Easy, 15 x 3 On, 35s recovery, 20 Easy. Straight away this didn't feel as comfortable as the previous week. I was definitely feeling the longer run at the weekend. The target pace here again was around 3:50/km which I was hitting perfectly and managed to feel stronger as the session went on even with the short recovery. In the end I picked it up a bit for the last 2 or 3.

    17/08/23 - 12.61K - 1:06:28 (5:16/km) - HR - 124

    18/08/23 - 10.96K - 1:05:07 (5:57/km) - HR - 115

    19/08/23 - 7.76K - 40:03 (5:10/km) - HR - 129

    19/08/23 - 5.05K - 26:57 (5:20/km) - HR - 126

    20/08/23 - 32.19K - 2:26:13 (4:32/km) - HR - 140

    My first 20 miler and truly into peak marathon training now. A breakdown of 3 miles warm up/down, 14 miles at 4:21/km pace. With the pace being about 10s per km slower than last week I was hoping this was going to feel easier but it really felt a lot harder than it should. The route I chose probably didn't help again, a long out and back along some rolling hills. The way out the wind was helping but it didn't feel like it, the way back it definitely hurt. Despite feeling how I did I managed to hit the pace exactly as prescribed averaging 4:21 for the 14 mile block and my first 20 miles and highest mileage week ever under the belt.

    Weekly Mileage - 102.5K

    22/08/23 - 12.33K - 1:05:16 (5:18/km) - HR - 125

    23/08/23 - 21.67K - 1:35:02 (4:22/km) - HR - 139

    This weeks session was 10 x 4 on, 90s off in between the usual 20 mins, target pace again 3:50/km. I really wasn't looking forward to this after the long run at the weekend and started off feeling very sluggish but hitting pace. It was really a hard grind of a session but managed again to grow into it and finish stronger than I started. Overall the average pace for these was closer to 3:47/km, a good bit shy of the 3:30's before the half marathon but feeling as hard with the shorter interval and miles in the legs

    24/08/23 - 10.17K - 1:07:30 (6:38/km) - HR - 108

    25/08/23 - 12.50K - 1:05:04 (5:12/km) - HR - 123

    26/08/23 - 11.50K - 1:06:21 (5:10/km) - HR - 115

    27/08/23 - 32.20K - 2:21:42 (4:24/km) - HR - 142

    Another 20 miler and I'm going to need to get used to this distance quickly. The breakdown for this was 2 miles warm up/down with 16 miles at 4:18 pace. The past two long runs I had my partner with me on a bike which helped with the delivery of gels/water and also provided some high visibility coverage on some roads I'm not exactly comfortable running on but I didn't have her for this. Instead I decided to use a 2 mile loop close by. It was pretty perfect in that it had a bit of undulation so still challenging and I could leave some gels and water at a corner to pick up on different laps as I passed by.

    The run itself went a lot better than expected as I was feeling wrecked before hand. For about 15 of the 16 miles I felt quite good but could feel the body running out of the steam on the last mile. Still holding the pace but more effort than the rest of the run. Overall ended up averaging 4:14/km for the 16 miles which was ahead of the target and something I know I'm really not supposed to do on these runs so I won't make that mistake again.

    Weekly Mileage - 100.3K

    29/08/23 - 12.31K - 1:05:04 (5:17/km) - HR - 124

    30/08/23 - 21.69K - 1:36:02 (4:26/km) - HR - 138

    This weeks session was 8 x 5 min on, 2 min off with 20 mins either side, target pace of 3:50/km. Again very much doubting my ability to execute this but I was able to deliver. The first few were around 3:47 pace and the final 4 intervals I was able to increase the pace a couple of seconds each time finishing in 3:36 pace. A strong session on tired legs.

    31/08/23 - 12.33K - 1:05:13 (5:17/km) - HR - 118

    01/09/23 - 10.04K - 1:07:29 (6:43/km) - HR - 108

    02/09/23 - 32.36K - 2:24:45 (4:28/km) - HR - 140

    I was in the beautiful location of Killarney for a few days holiday so need to switch the long run to the Saturday before a round of golf later that day. I had already scouted out a loop which took in a lap of Muckross Lake and I don't think you could find a better location to suffer through 20 miles 😅

    The breakdown for this was 3 miles warm up/down, 14 miles at 4:11/km pace. The lap of the lake really did have lots of tiny rolling hills, only a few meters long at times but constant which made it feel like I was constantly surging then slowing down. It made it entertaining but difficult to pace and the trees messing with the GPS at times didn't help either. I still managed to come in with an average pace of 4:12/km for the 14 miles so pretty pleased with that.

    03/09/23 - 10.01K - 1:06:30 (6:39/km) - HR - 106

    Weekly Mileage - 98.7K

    So a lot of weeks and for my background a lot of miles. The body is certainly feeling it and there are small little aches and pains everywhere to be honest. Thankfully nothing that is stopping me from running and I'm getting regular massages which are undoubtedly helping. There is one bigger issue in the abdomen area that I'm going to need to get sorted but I'm hoping I can leave that until after the marathon.

    A few positives however, I finally found a pair of carbon shoes that I wore for the last long run and I think will work for the marathon, the New Balance FuelCell SuperComp Elite V3, a right mouthful to say. Comfort wise I have no issues with hotspots, the only issue is a small bit of heal slippage on one foot, but my feet are about half a size different in size unfortunately. Tying the laces a bit tighter seems to be enough to resolve it so I'm pretty confident I'll go with these for the marathon but I'll continue to use them on the long runs to be completely sure.

    I've also found a good pair of shorts for holding gels/water etc on the longer runs, something I've been struggling with. Pretty satisfied these will be the shorts for the marathon too. On the gels side I've tried two different ones so far, ones made by Kinetica and then Maurten. The Kinetica ones are quite sugary and a bit bigger in size/weight compared to the Maurten however I've had no issues with them. I only tried a Maurten gel for the first time on the last long run and I was not expecting the consistency of it at all. So different to the Kinetica and I almost got sicked when I first took a bit. It is a type of consistency I hate and would avoid at all costs in other circumstances but just had to power them down during the run. So still unsure what to do here. I'll experiment a bit more before deciding.

    Just 6 weeks now left until the marathon itself and I do feel a bit like the body is just about hanging on from an injury point of view. Also at the moment it feels like every run is on tired legs but I guess that part should be expected. The next 3 weeks will be the toughest I'm sure so I just need to get over that before hopefully starting to taper.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,007 ✭✭✭Lambay island

    nice strong long run and great spot for it too! In terms of the tried legs comment, i'm similar myself at the min and its just part and parcel as you alluded to. More than likely in a couple of days the legs will feel fresher again for a period then rinse and repeat.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 2,616 ✭✭✭token56

    05/09/23 - 12.05K - 1:05:04 (5:25/km) - HR - 123

    The usual easy run to kick off the week but the body was feeling quite tired so took it very easy. My right leg wasn't feeling 100% before this, basically since after the long run last weekend, particularly in around the hamstring/glute area, but didn't feel like anything too serious at this stage.

    06/09/23 - 21.02K - 1:32:22 (4:24/km) - HR - 142

    20 mins Up/Down, 5 x 8 mins @3:50 off 3 mins @4:45

    Walking up before this run and I was getting some familiar pains from years ago when I had my herniated disk and sciatica in my right leg. I was in a bit of denial though and didn't think it was really anything like that. Headed out and on the 20 mins warm up everything felt fine. Soon after then when doing the reps I was definitely struggling a bit. I wasn't in pain so to speak but rather discomfort and felt like I was lacking a bit of drive/power off the leg. It ended up being a very hard session just about hitting the required pace on each rep but it felt a lot harder than I think it should. I'm sure some of this could have been tired legs but definitely something up with the leg. I put a call in to the physio and managed to get an appointment the following evening. I also gave the coach notice and we agreed to just see what the outcome was before making any firm decisions.

    07/09/23 - 10.39K - 1:05:08 (6:16/km) - HR - 113

    This was the last day I was going to be able to get out for a run with my partner for a few weeks and my legs wasn't necessarily feeling any worse after the session yesterday. It felt ok on this but with the pace I wouldn't expect to struggle anyway.

    Had the physio session later this evening and it is sciatica or at least sciatica like symptoms, pain in the glutes and tingling down the leg and into the foot, actually it's mostly in the foot to be honest. However he and the coach are hopeful it is piriformis syndrome/deep gluteal syndrome. My right glute area was badly locked up and something likely in spasm so a lot of painful work done to help release it all. Along with doing some exercise and another physio session next week it is pretty much a waiting game to see how/if it improves.

    10/09/23 - 8.65K - 43:49 (5:04/km) - HR - 128

    Gave it two days rest to see how much of a difference it made and day to day there were some small improvements. In general there is just a persistent low level tingling in my lower leg/feet like a very mild pins and needles but apart from that no other real pain or discomfort. The run itself however still wasn't ideal. I wanted to do about 40 to 45 mins to just test it out and again when running easy it was pretty ok, that tingling was still sort of there but got tuned out after a while. However I picked up the pace to around marathon pace for the last 1.5K and then started to feel discomfort in my glute just where it meets the hamstring and a bit of the hamstring itself. It is difficult to know if there was the same loss of power like the session during the week but the harder pace just wasn't comfortable.

    I'm trying not to be all doom and gloom but I really worry this could finish my chances of even getting to the starting line. If things stayed as they are now I really don't know if I could manage a marathon at any sort of decent pace. I'm holding out hope that this will improve and hopefully very quickly otherwise I also won't be able to maintain the fitness I've been building either. I am going to try to keep up the easy runs in the coming days and no mid week session. Hopefully by the weekend there will be more of an improvement but I'm really not feeling confident right now. I'm feeling like this is pretty much a disaster right now.

    Post edited by token56 on

  • Registered Users Posts: 341 ✭✭sann


    Just wondering if you had any improvement since or got back running.

    I am in exactly the same situation and wondering how long I should rest.

    Its not sore running but it's a niggle in the back of my head as I know it's not right and want to give it every chance.

    Got some anti inflamatorys yesterday to try and speed things up a little.

    Trying to stay positive but time is ticking towards DCM and taking time off now means the goal time is out the window.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,616 ✭✭✭token56

    Hi @sann sorry for only replying to you now. Unfortunately sciatica seems to be a very individual thing in terms of both cause and recovery but I will let know what has happened for me. I am back running and never really had to take a prolonged period off because I could still manage easy running thankfully, albeit with a mild discomfort but I couldn't run at any decent pace. For me the most prevalent symptom was a tingling/numbness down leg and radiating along my foot along with some leg weakness. Those symptoms have more or less eased off but I still have some discomfort in the glute/hamstring area which I particularly notice when running at a harder pace. For me it took probably 3 to 4 weeks for those initial symptoms to truly go but even now I get the very infrequent bit of tingling if sitting down at the wrong angle.

    My issue does seem to have been caused by deep gluteal syndrome/piriformis syndrome and it has taken 4 weeks of some solid physio session to get this area even somewhat released but again the cause of yours could be very different. I haven't exactly been the most sensible with mine trying to run through a lot of it but the best thing you can do is listen to the advice of whatever healthcare professional you are seeing and hopefully the symptoms ease up. Like yourself I don't think my time goal is going to be realistic anymore but all we can do is chalk it off as bad luck and learn for the next time.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,430 ✭✭✭Dubh Geannain

    Fingers crossed on the recovery but just also to say congrats too on the Termonfeckin run. That was great stuff.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,616 ✭✭✭token56

    Thanks Dubh Geannain, I appreciate it.

    12/09/23 - 12.44K - 1:05:03 (5:14/km) - HR - 128

    13/09/23 - 12.69K - 1:07:11 (5:18/km) - HR - 122

    14/09/23 - 11.52K - 1:00:48 (5:17/km) - HR - 124

    15/09/23 - 13.46K - 1:05:07 (4:50/km) - HR - 128 (Treadmill)

    16/09/23 - 12.65K - 1:05:02 (5:09/km) - HR - 128

    17/09/23 - 18.01K - 1:30:15 (5:01/km) - HR - 128

    This was week was mainly just easy running trying to recover from the sciatica. Throughout the week the symptoms were slowly improving and running easy was relatively comfortable. I did throw in a small bit of quicker pace work towards the end of the week to see how I felt with the most being 10 mins at the end of the 90 min run. The harder effort was still uncomfortable but improving.

    Weekly Mileage - 80.7K

    19/09/23 - 12.62K - 1:05:21 (5:11/km) - HR - 132

    20/09/23 - 13.55K - 1:00:02 (4:26/km) - HR - 141

    The first real proper test of the leg with 20 up/down and 20 tempo (3:48/km). Completed it successfully and while still uncomfortable it didn't really get worse during it although the right side with the sciatica did seem to fatigue a small bit towards the end. Fitness wise I feel like I've taken a big step backwards as this felt a lot tougher than it should really and even on the HR data I could see some HR creep which I usually don't.

    21/09/23 - 12.36K - 1:04:06 (5:11/km) - HR - 125

    22/09/23 - 12.84K - 1:04:04 (4:59/km) - HR - 129

    23/09/23 - 12.47K - 1:06:22 (5:19/km) - HR - 122

    24/09/23 - 32.19K - 2:20:56 (4:22/km) - HR - 147

    This was a make or break run, 2 miles Up/Down, 16 miles MP+ 5 secs. At this stage 3 weeks out from the marathon I needed to know if I had any chance of completing the goal of a sub 3. I had chatted with the coach about this and I was going to use a 2 mile loop so if I needed to bail out I could. Going into it I really wasn't feeling confident but knew I had to give it a go. The 2 miles warm up felt ok and then into the harder effort. I could feel a mild tightness in the hamstring/glute area similar to what I have been experiencing for a while now but it was relatively low level so I wanted to stick with it for a while.

    I had actually used this loop for the exact same session 4 weeks previous and straight away the effort for the same pace seemed harder and the inclines were that bit more of a struggle. After about 12 miles at MP I was definitely struggling more than I should, in particular on any incline and the tightness was getting worse over these too. In hindsight I should have called it a day here but I pushed through as best I could but the pace definitely slowing down by a few secs the last few km. Overall average pace for the 16 miles was 4:14/km. As tough as it was physically this is probably the toughest run I've done mentally, knowing that I could have stopped every 2 miles and would have had plenty of valid reasons. So at least one positive is winning that mental battle.

    Comparing the stats to the same run 4 weeks previous the heart rate was about 5bpm higher throughout the whole of the MP for the same pace and this just confirms how I felt. Directly after the run the leg was sore but it actually settled relatively quickly and thankfully by the end of the day didn't seem to be any worse off.

    Weekly Mileage - 96K

    26/09/23 - 12.01K - 1:05:19 (5:26/km) - HR - 125

    27/09/23 - 19.03K - 1:23:02 (4:22/km) - HR - 143

    Extending the run from the previous week, 20 min up/down, 2 x 20 min tempo off 3 min jog. This was due to be at 10 mile pace but I wasn't completely comfortable going straight into that so started at HM pace and increased the pace gradually. It went about as well as I could expect really, still the same tightness in the leg but it didn't get any worse throughout it. The first 20 min tempo averaged 3:55 pace and the second averaged 3:47 pace. Again I'm not really feeling particularly fit or strong on these runs but I'm hoping this will improve.

    28/09/23 - 12.24K - 1:05:30 (5:21/km) - HR - 124

    29/09/23 - 9.43K - 48:36 (5:09/km) - HR - 128

    This should have been another easy 65 min but I was just feeling rubbish and everywhere sore/tight so got a few strides in towards the end of the run to try and shake off some of that stiffness but cut the run a bit short.

    30/09/23 - 13.10K - 1:08:35 (5:14/km) - HR - 125

    01/10/23 - 28.97K - 2:05:41 (4:20/km) - HR - 146

    Technically starting to taper now although I feel like I should be ramping up again, so 2 miles up/down, 14 miles MP. Up early for this one in the phoenix park and the amount of people/groups out running was astonishing, it truly is peak marathon training season. The previous few days running I had been feeling really stiff, tight, flat, all the bad things so I wasn't sure how this would go but again had to try. The 2 miles warm up felt ok and I set out at MP which we had been planning to be 4:11/km so I decided to see if I could do that. It took me a few km to get into any sort of flow but after 15 mins at MP I got to the Upper Glen Rd and could settle in.

    I was able to keep the pace tipping along for 10 mile or so but again I was working harder than I really should have been. The last 4 miles though I had to pick the effort up even that bit more heading into some wind and struggling a bit and two slowish km's slipped in. The last 2 miles was back along the Upper Glen Rd and Military Rd and I happened across what looked like some club members out for probably their usual steady Sunday run and they were tipping along nicely themselves. I was sort of catching them but then was increasing the pace without realising it trying to get up and past them and a 3:50 km slipped in heading downhill here. The finish was along the S bends and while I was struggling I didn't completely die.

    Average pace for the 14 MP ended up being 4:09/km so a couple of seconds faster than planned but this is definitely not sustainable for a full marathon. The leg was very similar to the previous week, bearably uncomfortable is the best way I can describe it.

    Weekly Mileage - 94.7K

    I was hoping after the last weeks to be able to tell if I going to be ok for the marathon or not but unfortunately I don't feel conclusive one way or the other. Fitness wise, even though I've been hitting respectful paces the last two weeks I feel like I've gone backwards quite a bit and I'm struggling to understand it really. I only took 2 days of a break after which I was able to keep up easy running. The injury is obviously still limiting me in some way and I will admit I'm not feeling very fluid in my stride. I could be reading into way too much but again comparing my long run at the weekend vs a previous one a few months ago at the same pace in the Phoenix Park there is a noticeable consistent difference in stride length and cadence. At the moment my stride is a fraction shorter and cadence a fraction up for the same pace which correlates to me feeling that tightness and just more stiff in general. I guess the positive sign is that the long runs have not made things any worse and I still have just under two weeks for my condition to maybe improve a bit more.

    So back to the all important question, would I be able to get through the distance, yes I'm confident I can at a slower than planned pace. Can I go sub 3 hours? I'm not very confident, even if the leg was ok I'm no longer confident the fitness is there to be honest. But I will continue to hold out hope for as long as I can. The things I do have going for me is that there is still a very small bit of time for things to improve, although this may be wishful thinking. Also, the majority of any trouble I have had over the past two weeks has been with inclines/hills, thankfully Amsterdam won't have that so maybe that might help. Realistically I know how stubborn I am and if I'm on the start line I'll give it a go. If I fail, well I fail but it certainly won't be because of a lack of trying.

  • Registered Users Posts: 341 ✭✭sann

    Hi token56. Thank you for the info. Mine stemed from racing a 5k on a sat and a 38k on the Sunday with quiet a bit of it at MP.

    Think I was just over fatigued and the piriformis took the brunt of it.

    2 trips to physio, stretching every day and about week completing off running seem to have done the trick thankfully.

    Ran XC yesterday flat out and all good this morning, but this week's long run will be the true test.

    Not too bothered about the time at this stage.

    Just happy to make the start line.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,616 ✭✭✭token56

    03/10/23 - 11.5K - 1:01:45 (5:22/km) - HR - 126

    04/10/23 - 21.42K - 1:40:02 (4:40/km) - HR - 136

    05/10/23 - 9.02K - 47:25 (5:16/km) - HR - 124

    09/10/23 - 9.01K - 47:35 (5:17/km) - HR - 125

    10/10/23 - 8.67K - 40:05 (4:38/km) - HR - 141

    12/10/23 - 8.19K - 42:58 (5:15/km) - HR - 126

    13/10/23 - 7.97K - 40:43 (5:06/km) - HR - 129

    So to cut a long story short, the day after my last post the whole leg/sciatica/loss of power situation appeared to get worse which resulted in some last gasp treatments in an attempted to recover in time. Until probably the middle of this week I had almost given up but it does feel like the treatments along with the few days rest have made a significant enough difference. The past two days in particular things have felt much better and on this mornings run I threw in a few minutes at MP and it's the most comfortable from an effort point of view it has felt for quite a while. Hopefully my luck might just have turned.

    The body is still far from 100% but I think it's good enough to at least attempt it. I know the risks but I'm pretty confident I can cover the distance at least. The pace is still completely up in the air but I'm going to try to see how close I can go to the sub 3. My plan will be to try get through the first 21 to 25K at sub 3 pace and I'll know then whether or not it's on. If it's not I'll dial it back, if I think it's a possibility I'll try keep it up.

    Now that my mind is made up it's time to just relax, a final shake out run tomorrow, then just commit to it on the day and Que Sera Sera.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,616 ✭✭✭token56

    15/10/23 - Amsterdam Marathon - Race Report

    Build Up: The few days leading into this and the body was feeling as good as I could have hoped under the circumstances. Getting to the airport I wasn't really sure what to be feeling, nervous, excited, anxious but I would be seeing my partner on the other side who was travelling over from the UK so first of all happy to see her. I did happen to run into Catherina McKiernan in the airport, a former winner of this marathon of course, who was heading over on the same flight with an athlete she was coaching and had a nice short chat with her. Turns out she was staying at the same hotel as me too.

    Anyway the morning of the race itself was relatively uneventful thankfully apart from the Metro line being short of carriages and insanely packed but got to the stadium at a nice time. Just arriving a short but heavy hail shower had runners scattering for shelter which was quite entertaining. After a very efficient bag drop I head into the stadium in my starting wave. When I signed up for this way back I had put down 3:10 as my predicted finishing time not trying to get ahead of myself so I actually wanted to be in the next wave up. Once in the stadium I could see a few people hoping a barrier to go into that and I cheekily did myself. Before this I did run into a fellow boardsie who I recognised from Strava and had a bit of a chat with him too. It didn't feel like I was waiting around all that long before the race was ready to start and I just tucked in at the back of this wave. Unfortunately this meant all the different pacers were a bit ahead of me but that didn't really matter.

    0-5K: The start of the race was very well handled, just before the start line people were funnelled into a narrower slot and then released back into a wider area. It meant there was plenty of space for people to quickly get up to pace and very little of people trying to dart around each other and risking tripping up. The first 5K then I was just trying to settle into a comfortable pace and rhythm. I was conscious that my watch pace would probably be a bit slower than my actual pace so I just tried to match those around me who I thought were going for a sub 3 but also ease into. Effort wise it was feeling unbelievably comfortable which was very unexpected but I was delighted with. I thought to myself this might actually be on.

    Split of 21:27, a bit outside my target of 21:15 per split but certainly not time to panic.

    5-10K: This section had a small little bit of an out and back which meant we got to see the elites coming back in the opposite direction and it was just spectacular to see. Just so quick, so smooth, amazing to watch in person. For the most part this section felt good but it was the first time I could feel a little niggle in the leg as we had maybe a 2K section into the wind. The small bit of increased effort to maintain the pace was enough to put just that bit of extra strain. I think it was also during this split that I passed the 3:20 pacers who had started off in front of me in the way.

    Split 20:59, Total time 42:26 - A fraction quick on this split but back on target pace.

    10-15K: Thankfully as we got out of the wind everything started to feel very comfortable again. There was a constant flow of people overtaking me and me overtaking people but I noticed one lady who was consistently the same pace so I had a quick chat with her to confirm she was going for a sub 3 too and decided to try stay beside her. Unfortunately between narrowing of roads which meant slowing up and speeding down and aid stations it was difficult to actually stay beside anyone during this section so I lost touch with her. I was still going along at a nice steady pace but mindful to not speed up. The watch was averaging 4:11/km however I new I was already about 200m out in terms of distance, but it gave me a target to try to maintain or at least not go any quicker than. We were also starting to head out along the canal now which I believe is known as the Amstel section. During this split I also passed the 3:10 pacers.

    Split 21:00, Total time 1:03:26 - Again a fraction quick but I was very happy with how I was feeling.

    15-20K: This was definitely the narrowest part of whole race so overtaking etc was difficult. Thankfully I could see some more pacers not too far away and it was actually the 3:00 ones. I knew then I just had to maintain the distance/pace and it would be happy days. I noticed an Irish club singlet and got chatting to him for a while. It was surprising how easily I was able to chat at this pace but aerobically I really was feeling comfortable, exactly what you should be hoping for at this stage I suppose.

    Split 21:06, Total time 1:24:32 - Very consistent pacing.

    20-25K: Hit the half way point in 1:29:10 and everyone had bunched a bit behind the pacers. This is arguably a bit fast but I was really still fresh and remember thinking to myself again that I just couldn't believe it. I had some genuine believe the sub 3 was on. Unfortunately though this hope faded quickly. We were now heading back the opposite direction along the canal and there was surprisingly strong wind. Not something I felt on the way out but it was obviously there. As this split went on I was keeping up the pace sticking with the pacers but with the extra effort into the wind I could feel my leg getting tighter and pain starting to creep in. I knew this particular section was exposed and the wind wouldn't be like this once we got away from the canal so I was hoping it would improve once we did.

    Split 21:13, Total time 1:45:45 - Bang on perfect pacing and the pacers were doing their job well.

    25-30K: Unfortunately what I had hoped didn't come to pass. I was keeping up the pace but my leg was getting worse, tighter and tighter and more discomfort, I knew it wasn't sustainable. I tried to fight as best I could in the hope of a miracle but it wasn't to be. As the discomfort increased and my form began to slip I could feel other issues beginning to start. In particular my knee/ITB band on the other side which gave me so much trouble last year. I was in danger of doing more damage here so I just had to accept the reality that the sub 3 was gone. The goal now was to just finish the race.

    Split 21:25, Total time 2:07:10

    30-35K: This is probably where I made the biggest mistake, I slowed down but not by enough. With the stream of people starting to pass by I put pressure on myself to try maintain a respectable pace when I should have eased off more. I was still tipping along well under 5:00/km pace which I should have pulled back to. By the end of this split I was really starting to struggle with the leg and in quite a bit of discomfort.

    Split 23:03, Total time 2:30:13


    Without a doubt this last few K was the most difficult running experience of my life. I gradually reduced the pace until about 37K when I had to stop to stretch the leg out. This was a huge mistake, it help a bit with the injury but the rest of my muscles then just started to cramp up and getting back going was a real challenge. The crowd were absolutely fantastic though. Seeing me struggle and having a pretty simple to say name printed on the bib I had a pretty much non stop stream of spectators encouraging me along. I just couldn't respond with any increase in pace which was hard to take but I appreciated the encouragement so much. Eventually I had to stop and walk for about 500m at around 38K. I was limping a bit but the crowd continued to encourage me. It was a horrible feeling having so many people pass by but I wasn't alone.

    After a drink from an aid station I got going again and I happened across another runner who had been stopping and starting in front of me. He was walking as I started to jog by and I gave him a shout to join me, that I was struggling too. We exchanged names, he was a very friendly German name Tobias, and we jogged together for about 1.5K but he was struggling again and suggested we slow down. I asked him did he want to walk for a bit and he was very happy to. I think at this stage I could have kept going but we were in it together now and time didn't matter anymore so I was sticking with him. Around this time I came across my partner supporting from the sideline, I hated that she saw me walking and not running but she was thrilled to see me regardless. After another few 100m Tobias was happy to give a final push to the end. We got back jogging which was excruciating for the first few steps but only another 1.5K to go. As we approached the stadium a final bit of adrenaline seem to kick in and we both picked the pace up a bit as we crossed the line together with an official finish time for me of 3:12:34

    After some fist bumps, high fives and a friendly thanks to each other we parted ways. The last few K might have been torture but the camaraderie of meeting a stranger like that and helping each other through a common struggle put a lasting positive glow on it.

    After it was all over it took a while for my partner to come find me and I don't really know what was going on but I was struggling badly. Shaking quite badly and getting quite emotional any time anyone tried to speak with me and emotional for a while after. Not helped by the fact that every muscle was aching and my abs were cramping too. Once she did find me she helped me get changed because I simply couldn't do it by myself. Back to the hotel then to recover.

    I will say the event itself was an extremely well organised and well run race. Everything from the expo the day before, the bag drops, the entry to the stadium, finishing, and of course the crowd were absolutely amazing. If anyone is wondering about their next marathon I would certainly recommend it.

    After all is said and done it's not a bad first effort for a marathon with all that has happened but I can't say I've been left feeling satisfied or accomplished by it. I don't regret doing it and I wouldn't change the pace I went out at. I know I can do a sub 3, I just have unfinished business now. I've learned a lot about the marathon distance itself, the training and area's to improve on for the next one. There is also a huge amount of positives to take away from the past 6 or so months of training. I'm undoubtedly fitter than I've ever been and I think I've found new favourite race distance in the half marathon. I don't know what the next few weeks or months will have in store from a running point of view but the number one focus right now is get the body healthy again. There are a few shorter races I would like to do if I can recover for but I won't be putting myself under pressure to commit to anything. With that in mind I'm probably going to put this log on hiatus for a few weeks until I'm confident on what the longer term picture looks like. Thanks to anyone who will spend the time reading all of this, and for the comments over the past few months.

    Post edited by token56 on

  • Registered Users Posts: 755 ✭✭✭marathon2022

    Brilliant report, I almost cramped up reading it. Enjoy your break and no doubt it won't be too long before the sub 3 report is up.