I took it very, very easy the two days following Wednesday's tough workout, even easier than usual. I did no more than 5 miles on Thursday and 8 on Friday, all at a very easy effort. What I liked best about it was the improving weather; it has mostly stopped raining but more importantly the wind that has battered us for over a week has finally died down, thank God for that. We must have had a dozen power cuts this week, which does not speak much for the strength of the power supply in rural Ireland, something that will not come as a shock to anyone.
Saturday was a completely different story altogether. If you have read a few things about Canova's training you will have heard about his special sessions where you cover the full marathon distance in two runs over one day, the second half of each run being at marathon pace (there are a couple of variations to that). I initially intended doing just that, maybe a mile or two shorter, but then another idea really started appealing to me.
The second race of the 5k series in Killarney was on today, and instead of missing that race I decided to do it and then run a long-ish marathon effort run immediately afterwards, as a replacement of the special session, the idea being that running marathon effort on already tired legs should be excellent preparation for the marathon. Quite possibly MC will be complete exasperated when he finds out, but I liked the idea.
The weather was much improved compared to last week, which promised better times. I was quite determined to push that little bit harder than last week when I felt I didn't quite leave it all out there. The start was a bit tricky as the front rows had been pretty much taken over by an entire contingent of teenagers which required a bit of weaving in and out over the first hill, but after that the field was settled. George passed me shortly before the 1k marker, which has by now become a consistent pattern. I played leapfrog with three other runners, we kept passing each other several times. By the halfway mark there was only me and one other youngster left, and on the way home I had to pass him three times. The first two times he sprinted all out as soon as I had gone past to regain his spot but by the third time he finally remained behind. I kept chasing another runner to the line, which at least ensured a strong finish, even if the pursuit itself was futile. Most pleasingly of all, I passed the finish line with the clock displaying 17:51, which I rounded up to 17:52 in my head after last week's happenings, but that's still a PB and very, very welcome.
That done and dusted it was time to relax and refuel for a bit and then I changed out of my racing shoes and set off again, criss-crossing the various trails in the demesne of the National Park. It was a lovely day and there were plenty of other people out and about as well, including a few runners. I started at an easy effort to give the legs a chance to recover but gradually increased the pace over the next couple of miles until I was doing 6:30 pace. The idea was to keep that going for as long as I could and stop when I was no longer able to hit the pace. It was a tough workout, but eventually I noticed that while the legs were clearly hurting I had no real problems staying on pace, and after 12 miles of marathon effort I decided to call it a day. At that point I had almost covered 20 miles for the day, including an all-out 5k race, and that really seemed more than enough. Whether or not doing such a workout is a good idea, it sure is great for the confidence (and highly satisfying!) which has to count for something,
You might be wondering why I'm doing these massive workouts all of a sudden, and doing them fairly close together. Well, as of now I'm on an extended and scheduled R&R for a few days, and I might not be able to do any running, so I thought I might as well do some running that will require a few days of recovery anyway. It might not be ideal for a training point-of-view, but I will be back on the Caragh Lake road before I had the chance of losing any fitness.
- 31 Jan
- 5 miles, 38:12, 7:38 pace, HR 136
- 1 Feb
- 8 miles, 59:53, 7:28 pace, HR 141
- 2 Feb
- 19+ miles, including:
Killarney 5k, 17:52, 5:43 pace, HR 178
and 12 miles @ 6:33 pace, HR 163