Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Tempo That

How do you find out your race execution from the last race was your downfall? Run a tempo run with a relaxed start and end up running faster splits than the race.

That is essentially what happened last night on a slow grass lap that I train on. Inside the first few kilometres I had a brief chat with one of the lads before focusing properly on the task at hand. After two or three laps I started to calculate the times we were doing per lap and worked out that at that pace we'd pretty much cover 10k in or around my last race time. A few minutes later I was warned to make sure I wasn't pushing it too much as I'd be close to race pace - I told them I'd just worked that out and decided I'd jump ship at 30 minutes. In the end I went slightly over 30 minutes before calling it quits. I was quite tired at that stage and didn't want to unnecessarily push myself and leave everything out there in training. The lads finished up their 10k(ish) steady run in 34.46, one second slower than I raced two weeks back!

My 30 or so minutes felt a hell of a lot easier than the first 30 minutes in Firhouse and I probably covered close to the same distance. There was no way in hell I'd have been able to start a chat with someone in the first 2k of the last race. I've been saying for the last while that training has been going well but my racing has been letting me down. This workout has reinforced that no end. It was pointed out to me afterwards that in a race you more often than not are running at someone elses pace rather than your own. Hopefully the next race will have someone racing at my pace for me to run with!

Monday, September 28, 2009

The Next Step

Like a child who takes out their football boots for the first time in September after the summer holidays to find them still caked in last May's mud I headed out to the Phoenix Park on Friday evenings with my spikes in a bag.

Good News - The ground was so hard that there is no longer any of last February's mud on them
Bad News - I got a blister on my little toe that took up over 50% of the toe.
Good News - It was a really, really easy to burst blister.
Bad News - I may have to buy new spikes before the first race in two weeks.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Race Report #29 - 10km in Perfect Conditions

With the weather playing its part for once and my legs feeling fresh, there wasn't much doubt in my mind that this race was going to be a good one. As I jogged around the course, warming up, there was barely a hint of wind about, there was a bounce in my step, no breeze, stiffness or fatigue - there could be no excuses.

Strides done, last swig of water taken, I was ready to go. I took to the starting line. As the gun went off I tucked myself onto the back of the lead pack where I stayed for not much further than 500m. The plan was to go through the first 3km steady, but not too fast, before picking up the pace. Even with this in mind I probably set off a tad fast, but then again, how do you run a fast race if you don't start fast? After 3km there wasn't much more I could be giving so I stuck with it the same tempo. Whenever I felt I was slacking I injected some pace. At this stage there was a runner about 10-15 metres in front of me, who had the same gap to the runner in front of him. The lead pack had stormed on and was a fair bit ahead of us now.

What was disconcerting was that no matter how many times I injected some pace I couldn't close the lads in front of me down. They were hardly upping the tempo at the exact same times as me. As we finished the first lap there was a marshal calling out times - 17.01 for 5km. I'm not sure if I'd have been happier not knowing this. My logic behind this is that I felt like I wasn't going to be able to put the same time in again for the second lap. This time meant that if I slowed ever so slightly I'd be struggling to make a PB. This is where the mind started to weaken and definitely played a part in how I ran the second half. This is an aspect I need to strengthen.

Just before 6km I could feel the runners behind me closing in. I slowed down to let them go ahead, with the idea to dig in and go with them. As they flew by I nearly threw in the towel. I slowed and pretty much resigned to fast jogging to the end. I was done. This was followed by a self inflicted kick up the ass. This was the pain I was meant to be teaching myself to run through. Too often I finish a race and feel like I could run another mile or two. I had to get back in with these guys and use them to take me around to a fast time. A quick spurt to catch up with the three lads who just past me and I started running at a pace that bizarrely started to feel easy.

Coming into the last 2km the 3 lads seemed to up the pace again and this time I didn't go with it. I struggled on at my own pace. Not too far down the road and one of them came back to me. Past him and on I went. I knew there wasn't much further to go - the nice thing about a two lap race. The worst part of the whole race came just as I was turning onto the final 200m. I heard the loud speaker announce that the guys just ahead of me had come in just under 34.30. That was the PB gone. Even if I had stuck with them, to bring me around to a fast time, the PB may still not have materialised.

One thing I can say for certain though after this race - I could not have kept going for another mile or two.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Rith me go mall

Well that was a let down...

I've got a bottle of Rioja and a cheese board... I think we all know who the real winner is!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Race You

Heading around the Phoenix Park this evening for an easy 5 miles my legs certainly didn't feel like they had a zip about them. The absolute pounding they took at the hands of the magician probably had something to do with that! In the days before the Ballycotton 10 in March I didn't feel that sharp and and before this race last year I felt awful during the warm up, only to run a massive PB when the gun went off. So I'm not going to worry about heavy legs two days before a race.

I still don't feel I've had a good race since Ballycotton as every race result since that shows. I want to change that come this Saturday afternoon.

Half Marathon
PB: 1h21m
McMillan Says: 1h15m
I race: 1h17m

PB: 34m25s
McMillan Says: 33m55s
I race: 35m00s

PB: 2h46m
McMillan Says: 2h39m
I race: 2h42m

PB: 9m45s
McMillan Says: 9m21s
I race: 9m46s

10 Mile
PB: 56m50s
McMillan Says: 56m50s
I race: 58m30s

To stop this trend of late I've busted a gut for the past few weeks to get into a position where I feel like I'm in decent shape. The last four weeks have consisted of one week to ease into everything, two weeks of hard training, and now this week, the taper. I can't think of the last time where I've had 4 weeks of concentrated training all aimed at one race. If this all works out it may just be a plan I'll copy going into future races.

Friday, September 4, 2009

I'm Flying

It had been a while since I last chatted with CR. He's been making the most of his time off work during the summer and been travelling around somewhat. I on the other hand, for the first summer in God knows how long, have spent the whole summer here in Dublin. When he enquired as to how training has been going of late my response was quite simply "I'm flying!". Then I rattled into the various sessions I've carried out over the past few weeks - 8 x 4 minutes, 18 x 1 minute, 16 and 17 mile runs, 8 x 3 minutes, and the rest of the days filled in with easy runs between 8 and 10 miles. Just going through everything I've done filled me with no end of confidence. Next week all this hard work has to be taken and turned into a solid 30 minute effort... Ok 33 minute effort!

From there we talked on the way the race is to go next week and the training in the remaining days leading up to it. Training naturally enough will take a step back during the week - there's nothing to be gained by training hard in the few days before a race. All the work has been done already so the next week just involves ticking over. As for the race plan - I've got to get out of my comfort zone early and to start hurting from the second mile in.