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Swashbuckler's Marathon Debut?

  • 17-11-2021 6:18pm
    Registered Users Posts: 6,582 ✭✭✭

    Crappy title I know........................


    For those that don't know me this will be my latest attempt at getting and keeping a log going. Feels like I've been running forever. In truth I have been running since 2010 but spent roughly 7 years running like most of the "unconverted" and trying to run as hard as I can every day that I went out, without any meaningful structure.

    In 2017 I started getting coached (by ecoli/Myles Splitz/Testosterscone) from these parts. That was when my running really took off. In that same year my first daughter joined the world. 2018 saw me hit some PB's at various distances that still stand today. 36.05 for 10k, 1.19.52 for HM being the two that stand out.

    Some injuries & interruptions to training hit me a bit towards the end of 2018 and into 2019 but I got back on track. 2019 saw my second child arrive to the world. No major PB's achieved in 2019 and another injury break. Most of my focus that year was around 10k training - I struggled a bit that year.

    2020 was the pandemic year and I spent a lot of time building strength, staying away from race specific stuff. Very enjoyable year of running to be honest. Ran a 17.02 5k TT although I'm skeptical as I haven't got near that since. I came into 2021 in good shape without the distraction of races.


    2021 saw my third child arrive to the world. I have spent a good chunk of this year being coached by a friend in Kerry. Racing was limited again in 2021 but the one race I did run was Banna 10k in August where I ran 36.22 on a course that had a very tough windy last 3km. Was feeling decent after 7k and was on track for sub 36 but the last 3k caught me.

    Since the birth of my third I have really had to manage the running carefully. I have made the mistake in the past of trying to balance everything ramping at the same time (work, life, family, running). That kind of stress is probably one of the main reasons for injuries in the past. I am no longer coached. I feel I need the flexibility to pick and chose what I do rather than sticking to a rigid plan. This will be completely contradicted later when I explain my next plan! You could argue that a coach would be flexible and that has certainly been my experience. I just don't feel like I want to be last minute texting all the time to suss out what can change because I had a sh*te night sleep, or unplanned meetings at work. As it stands I have moved to a new role at work, new baby is here and we're in the middle of a neverending pandemic.......Seems like a bad time to set a big goal right?


    It's been a running (literally) joke for a few years on here the fact I've stuck with the shorter distances and refused to go near the marathon.....Well rightly or wrongly it feels like its time. At this stage it feels like there's always a reason or an excuse not to take the plunge. Realistically travelling abroad is off the cards for me for a while. Similarly, getting into Dublin is unlikely in the next couple of years. With that, it seems like Limerick Marathon is ideal - I live here so I dont have to worry about any of the travel logistics. Do I want to wait til 2023 - No........Do I want to spend another year just training away - No...So my plan is to start training for Great Limerick Marathon which will be run on the May bank holiday 2022. Whether I make it to the start line I'm not sure. Whether it all becomes too much with everything else going on, we'll see. I'm more than happy to try - and if it doesnt work out then so be it. Nothing ventured nothing gained.

    The Plan

    As I said above , right now I'm not coached and I feel like this needs to be the way for a while for this to work. Maybe I won't have the most optimal training programme but I need flexibility right now. I've sussed out several different plans. To me the one that seems to fit me the best is a Jack Daniels plan for a few reasons - 1. Two big sessions and the rest of the weeks running is flexible as long as you hit weekly mileage target. 2. Not ideal but there is flexibility for sessions to move around if necessary. 3. I like the look of the sessions - lots of mixed tempo, threshold sessions. However, I will adjust if/when necessary.

    In terms of the plan itself its the 2Q 56-70 miles/week plan although i wont be going near 70 miles peak. I plan on training ultra conservative over the initial 6 weeks and seeing how I'm adapting.

    I will need to improve diet/nutrition. That's a work in progress and has always been an issue for me.

    My intention is to start the plan on Dec 30th which allows me roughly 17.5 weeks of training. I will be initially targeting running my big sessions on weird days. Not what people will be used to seeing - Thursdays and Mondays. We'll see how it goes.

    Until then my intention is to keep things ticking over as I have been doing since Baby No.3 arrived in September. I'm in decent enough shape right now - possibly not peak shape but not far off. Training has gone pretty well since the 36.22 in Banna apart from sleep dis-improving with the new arrival.

    Let's hope I can keep the log going - at least up to May 1st! Part of my motivation for logging again is down to the endless amounts of experience on this forum that I hope to leverage. Also so I can stop asking AMK endless questions on his log................



  • Registered Users Posts: 2,181 ✭✭✭healy1835

    Just get rid of that question mark in the title and you're all set 😁 great to see you logging again. Will be following with interest. Starting on Dec 30th you say 😮 I might be a few weeks after you...

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

    Well I want to start on a Thursday and I definitely won't be starting on the 23rd! The question mark is there as I'm genuinely not sure how things will go from Jan to May outside of running....we'll see. I could make it to week 2 of the plan and think hell no!

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,601 ✭✭✭Wubble Wubble

    Healy beat me to that one....fingers crossed come May it will have changed to an exclamation mark! Best of luck with it, I'll be checking in here too.

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

    Log should be called “Swashbuckler should stop procrastinating, take the fookin finger out and run a marathon!!”. Best of luck P.

  • Registered Users Posts: 10,455 ✭✭✭✭Murph_D

    Good luck with this, P. Assume you're focusing on the marathon because you want to, not because you feel you have to. But it's been a long time coming, and that long period of strength building should serve you well. Looking forward to seeing the progress. I suppose it's too early to start asking about goals, but what do you hope to get out of it?

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

    Good questions D. And thanks for the well wishes...firstly 100% it's what I want....the interest was there at the end of 2019 but we all know what happened in 2020. When I look at the training I enjoy the most its the tempo, threshold, marathon pace range stuff. I'm not gonna lie , I'm a bit sick of those 3k, 5k style sessions...they are hard .....all sessions are hard but there's just something mentally tough about doing hard 5k sessions for prolonged periods in training...

    As for the purposely gonna avoid picking some random time right now..translating equivalent shorter distances would suggest 2.50ish. Current theoretical marathon pace is 6.25ish. I'm not intending on putting myself in the position to even think about attacking a time like that. For now the C goal is sub 3. A and B goal are TBD. Better and more experienced runners than me have struggled to get low 2.50's and I don't intend on going there on my first effort. So we'll see. The main point of doing this is the fresh challenge and change up in goal distance and training style. I wanna see how I cope with those bigger MP sessions.

    I won't lie though. The JD plan is a little on the aggressive side....there are big 15/16M sessions. I'm gonna try offset that with conservative paces in training.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,760 ✭✭✭ReeReeG

    Best of luck with this, will definitely be following this! Limerick was my first marathon too, hope you don't get the really hot weather after training in snow like I did 🤣 Will you have anyone to do the long runs with?

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

    Delighted to see this (finally 😂) and wish you the very best with it! More than anything I hope you enjoy the process , I think you will.

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

    Thanks a mill....I'm afraid I'll be training solo...the fact I'll be doing my long runs/sessions on Thursday and Monday evenings (at least that's my initial plan) and the nature of the long runs (lots of mixed tempo and threshold stuff) means I've no other option really. That being said I've been training solo for years although I'm sure some company would help.

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

    Looking fwd to this - its like the DCM Novice log all over again - except its just 1 guy and its Limerick.

    Prepare for info overload as you move through it.

    Regarding the goal: No doubt you'll read back on various posters 1st sub3 - for me, it was always Sub3 - I didn't care if it was 2.55/2.56/2.57/2.58/2.59 - they were all meaningless during the race - it boiled down to sub 3.

    But I will say - dont underestimate it as a 'C' goal - Marathons are a different beast.

    A Debut sub 3 is amazing in its own right.

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

    Nice one and great you have a plan in mind. Intriguing to follow your training. I was thinking of doing Cork as I have a rollover entry from ages ago but Limerick an option for me too.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,181 ✭✭✭healy1835

    All are welcome on the Limerick Bus...😀 May is always a bit of a risk as regards warm weather (and my own greatest day in the Treaty City was accompanied by 20C temperatures), but June would just freak me out. Also, May is the latest I'd leave it if you're going again in the Autumn.

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

    Yeh, thats my thinking. I entered Cork in June as I thought that had a chance of going ahead as opposed to Dublin in October at the time but yeh there is f all down time there before hitting into a new block.

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

    Completely get what you mean and that's my mentality to be honest. Sub 3 is a big target for anyone, especially a first timer, regardless of decent times in shorter distances...Actually a few people think I'm mad to be chasing sub 3 first time out. But I'm the same as you. It's an exciting target. It's my C goal but I'm under no illusions it's not your typical C goal. The way I see it is I'll have A, B and C goals and if I don't manage the C goal then I expect it could be a death march! All well and good saying all this now but there's literally a lot of road between now and May so who knows what could happen. For now, once Dec 30th hits, my plan is to start off with relatively conservative paces of 6.40 MP and 6.15 Tempo/Thresh for the first few weeks and adjust as I see fit.

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

    We're building up a bit of a group for Limerick it seems! Me, Healy, possibly MYBAD, possibly Lambay.....Any other takers?!

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

    Looking forward to following the Marathon's Swashbuckler debut!

    I think I do quite well with 3 young kids to get just 30 miles in per week. Flexible would be my way to go alright if the work front is ramping up too. Best of luck with the training.

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

    I won't lie - its been a struggle the past several weeks but i've somehow managed to train 50 days out of 55 since the day she was born. One of the things that has made it so tricky is mornings have not been an option. With the night feeds and school runs and balancing all that I only have two windows to get my run in. Lunch time or evening. And several lunch breaks have been lost to helping out with the kids or last minute meetings. So that leaves evenings - I like to help with dinner and bedtime so most nights I haven't been getting out til 7.30/8pm and sitting down for dinner some nights after 9pm!

    Working from home makes it all a little more hectic to be honest. But hopefully it'll settle a bit. My wife has looked at me like I've two heads some evenings as I head out after a longggggg day but that's the habit at this stage. I've conditioned my brain that if I can run, I must run. Unless there's an emergency or I'm just completely wrecked, I'm getting out that door rain, hail or snow. The mental reset of a run is huge for me too - I really notice it the next day if I havent got out for a run the day before.

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

    Best of luck with it P. It'll be good to have something new to read on here 😀 Picking a race distance based on the training you enjoy seems a great way to ward off any motivational or pressure issues over the winter months. Hopefully that motivation also extends into regular log updates 😉

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

    Cheers S.

    That's the hope but I have tried and failed to keep the log going in the past. That being said I'd hope that this very specific goal will encourage me to keep it going as I really plan on relying on the advice of all you folks on here rather than Google. Nothing quite like getting the exact info you need direct from the horses mouth.......

    Very selfish reason to have a log now that I think about it 😄

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,760 ✭✭✭ReeReeG

    Would you consider a treadmill? My brother has one in a shed outside his house for the very reason that he doesn't want to be missing bedtime etc, so I'll often see a logged treadmill run at 9 or 10 at night! He even swears by it now for saving the legs a bit along with the hard road sessions... Space and cost are of course an issue.

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

    In short - never!

    I dunno - nothing can replicate the road running other than running on the road but that's just me. Plenty of elites and other folks using the treadmills regularly....I'd only go that route if I was desperate.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,760 ✭✭✭ReeReeG

  • Registered Users Posts: 753 ✭✭✭marathon2022

    Sounds like a fantastic project, best of luck with the training.

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

    I'm jarred 🤫 but I'm in!

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,178 ✭✭✭MY BAD


  • Registered Users Posts: 6,625 ✭✭✭ThebitterLemon

    Great stuff P

    Best of luck with it.

    Might see you in Limerick


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,415 ✭✭✭Singer

    Congrats on giving in to the inevitable :)

    I think you should be looking for more than a sub-3 performance, ideally with a few 10 mile - HM races to set you up well in advance.

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

    Cheers lads.

    I see where you're coming from B. We'll see how I'm feeling in April/May. Need to get through a block of training first.

    Probably won't race much in the block. No plans on racing 10M or HM really. Maybe Adare 10k in Feb but that's more for my love of the race than anything. Plans could always change though!

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,178 ✭✭✭MY BAD

    I feel a sub 3 is a very good target. I don't really know the course profile but the race itself won't be stacked as much as the big city marathons. Its better not to over reach for the first one and enjoy it, then take it from there.

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

    Cheers for all the support folks..Exactly the reason I wanted to get the log going for this..I know I'll get some great inputs on here.

    So for the past several weeks the focus has been on getting out when I can and do what I feel I'm able for. The past few weeks I've been able for more so the volume of the sessions has increased slightly. I'm doing two sessions a week rather than my old two session, one long run. The idea being that going forward I'll be doing two big sessions a week so I'm adjusting now. Plus I'm trying to limit time away from home at the mo. Disappearing for a 90min session is better than a 2hr long run. That will change in January. So with that id be interested to hear anyones thoughts on the best way to prep for the marathon block over the next 5 or 6 weeks - keep doing what im doing? Reduce intensity and let the legs freshen? Get some hills in?

    This weeks training;

    Monday : Easy 8M at 7.58 avg (1hr 4mins)

    Tuesday: 10 x 800m at 6.05ish (threshold) off 75s

    All ranging 5.53 to 6.06. Big enough session but felt strong. 10 miles all in with warm-up and cooldown. Flat route.

    Wednesday: Recovery 5.5M at 8.38 avg (48mins) - the pace says it all.

    Thursday: Easy 1hr with 6 x 20s strides : 7.1miles at 8.23 avg (stride recoveries mess up the average). Felt recovered. The slow recovery runs definitely help.

    Friday: 20min MP (6.35ish)/3min jog/5x1min hard off 60s/20min MP

    Another big enough session by my standards. Love these . First 20mins are handy enough. The 1min turnovers have the legs nice and tired for the second 20mins..nicely tired at the end. Trying to use these as a gauge on how ready I am for a marathon block. Verdict? Not a clue. 10.23 miles all in

    Saturday: Recovery 5M at 8.32 avg (43mins) another necessary slow recovery

    Sunday: Easy 7M at 8.00avg (57mins) on a hillier route than normal. Enjoyed this.

    Total: 53 miles, 6hrs 56mins

    Total Quality: roughly 11.5 miles, 1hr 15mins

    Decent week....