Thursday, July 30, 2009

I can run but I can't hide

I've started using a 'Spot Me' satellite messenger thanks to the Great Outdoors which allows family and friends to track my location anywhere in the world. I'll be testing the unit over the next few weeks to familiarlise myself with it's use starting with the Mobile Marathon Relay for the Jack & Jill Foundation starting on Friday 07th August. Later this week i'll post a link so you can check out the unit in use.

Although I say I'm testing the Spot Me it's really a tried and tested unit and is one of the compulsory items supplied and carried by competitors in the Yukon Arctic Ultra a race which I took part in back in 2005 (100 Mile category).

As well as finding a user's location the 'Spot Me' also makes it possible to follow user's adventures via Google Maps tracking a route in real time. But most importantly, in times of need, a user can request assistance from family / friends or from an Inernational 911 Emergency Response Centre which will direct help to an exact location if requested.

I have on ocassion carried an emergency transmitter when travelling in an extreme environment which is good for one use only although it will be replaced if used in a real emergency. These units can cost a few thousand euro but for less than €200 and a yearly registration of around €100 the Spot Me is now making this technology more accesible and adding a fun element to something that can be quite serious.

An obvious use which springs to mind would be for the parent of a teenager heading off on a backpacking trip for a few months. The Spot Me is an inexpensive way of knowing where they are and where they've been.

Click Here for a recent article in the Irish Times about Spot Me.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Week 5

This week went as planned finishing with a very important 18 mile Long Run with the middle 10 miles run at Marathon Race Pace of 6:52 min pace.  I was away in Kerry for the weekend at a Barbeque and overdosed on beer and food so there was no guarantee of making this run and that's when having a training partner pays off.
Tony was also busy today and  late getting home and I'm guessing if we were both training alone we might have found an excuse not to run.
I managed a run everyday this week which included a few early morning recovery runs.  Scheduling the recovery runs for early morning allows extra rest before the next hard session.  Another key session for this week was a Tempo run last Tuesday which consisted of a 2 mile warm up at 7:30 Pace followed by 5 miles @ 6:30 Pace and 2 miles to recover.

When running the Marathon Pace Miles and Tempo Miles I pre set the Heart Rate Zones in my Heart Rate Monitor to prevent over doing it.  If my out of zone alarm goes off which sometimes happens on a hill I ease off.  Running within the prescribed zones and keeping a check on your pace will let you know if your pace is over ambitious and if you are over reaching.

I'm pre planning a heavy week ahead as I prepare to transition across from my Dublin Marathon schedule to my now Dingle Marathon schedule which means increasing mileage but being sensible and remaining injury free.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Week 4

A busy but enjoyable week with some good training sessions including 2 races and finishing with an 18 mile long run over a local but new route.
Yesterday I raced in the Irish Runner 5 Mile race in the Phoenix Park and because I'd decided to train through these early races I wasn't expecting good results. As detailed in my last post I was using my HR to determine effort rather than trying to maintain a constant pace as I normaly would when chasing a P.B (Personal Best).
Using my HR meant slowing on the hills and speeding up on the flats or downhills within reason so in some ways the races were a bit less pressurised although Tony was still there to keep me on my toes.
Suprisingly enough even after a full weeks training I finished both races with personal bests by a few seconds and seemed to recover quite quickly.
For my training sessions the day before each race I went for an easy effort and ran before work (6 a.m) which gave me an extra 12hrs recovery time. For these early morning sessions I would run on an empty stomach and have my breakfast when I got home. This might not suit everyone but is something I got used to when training for Ultra Marathons. Mind you I can also run within minutes of eating a full meal or eat as I'm running if needs be.

Because Tony and I had both raced twice this week we agreed that it would be sensible to run a slower than usual pace for our long run but we found ourselves constantly having to slow down to stay on pace. We talked all the way and anytime we lost concentration we seemed to drift back into what now seems to be our default long run pace of 7:30 min mile.

I'm sure that Tony would agree that a few months ago this pace would have been fast but after a while on a structured programme the body adapts through stress and recovery.
Train slow all the time and you will run slow all the time.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Monitoring Progress

Here's where the Heart Rate Monitor and the associated software comes into use. This evening I ran a 5K race and used my Heart Rate to determine effort rather than pace and when compared to a race of the same distance over a similar course I can see that I'm running faster for the same effort. My Heart Race average was the same for both races and my max was 1 bpm shorter for tonight's race. Rather than Tapering for this race which is the norm I decided to train through it and knowing that I went into it after a heavy few days of consistent training I know I'm improving. The improvement in time might seem small at 10 seconds but it's 10 seconds in the right direction.

Tomorrow I will run an easy 6-8 miles and might do the same again on Friday in advance of a 5Mile race on Saturday. Again I will run not at an all out effort but stay within the same Heart Rate zone as today between 162-172 bpm but will think on my feet and take a step back if needed.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Week 3

Another good week, mileage is slightly down but did manage a few tough sessions finishing the week off with a 14 mile long run at a slightly faster pace than previous runs for a lower average heart.  My long run should have been 15 -16 miles but I was stuck for time as I needed to be home for 10am.  I should have started at 07:30am but struggled to get out of bed and paid the price.  Next week I expect my mileage to be slightly down yet again as I have a 5K race on Wednesday evening which will cost me a few miles and a 5 mile race on Saturday which could cost me a few miles on Sunday depending on how much effort I put in.  I won't be tapering for these races but will train through them using the races as speed sessions and a measurement of my progress.  After a race I would usually compare my results with one of the many race predicting calculators such as the Runner's World one.

Because of the races next week we (Tony and I ) ran our interval session earlier in the week to allow enough recovery time.  Last Tuesday after training we ran 4* 1000M repeats at a constant 3:40 min per K and on Friday we ran a 30 minute Tempo run at faster than our planned / predicted Marathon Pace.  The Tempo run includes a 2 mile warm up and 2 mile cooldown.
I also signed up for the Dingle Marathon this week and might end up running this instead of Dublin, will explain in later post.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

The Jack & Jill Mobile Phone Relay

Over the past few years I've been helping to raise awareness for a local Charity called The Jack & Jill Children's foundation and next month I'm involved in a fundraising effort through the collection of old mobile phones as per the attached press release.  The plan is to run with 2 running friends from Galway to Dublin and collect 10,000 old / unused / broken mobile phones along the way.  It might sound like an ambitious target but I'm guessing that there must be thousands more than this figure lying around because most people I mention this to reply saying that they have 2 or 3 at home.  Collection points will be set up in advance with full details available shortly from Jack & Jill.

Please contact Deirdre in Jack & Jill 045894538 for more information or Jonathan Irwin on 087 2558451.


Mobile marathon from Galway to Dublin in August in aid of the Jack & Jill Children’s Foundation

39 year old John O’Regan from  Leixlip  will run a Mobile Marathon Relay from Galway to Dublin on 7th, 8th, and 9th August 2009 in aid of the Jack & Jill Children’s Foundation and he’s looking for more relay partners to join in along the way for any distance – long or short.  The target is to collect 10,000 mobile phones along the route and John & his team are asking people of every age to join in by paying an entry fee of 3 old mobile phones at the 10 designated pick up points along the route.   The Jack & Jill Mobile Marathon will take the AA Roadwatch route avoiding motorways, passing through Oranmore, Loughrea, Ballinasloe, Athlone, Mullingar, Athboy, Navan, Dunshaughlin, Dunboyne and then finishing at The Spire in Dublin’s O’Connell Street.  John who works with Irish Rail is well known for planning “unusual” runs for charity  earlier this year he ran the 1576 steps of The Empire State Building in New York.  He also ran a Marathon on each of the seven continents, the North Pole Marathon in April 2004 and many more.


People can find out more about the Jack & Jill Mobile Marathon and how they can join in by logging onto The Jack & Jill Foundation supports 300 families around the country with children who are born with or who develop brain damage and who suffer severe neurological delay and need intensive home nursing care as a result.


Welcoming the new fundraising initiative, Jonathan Irwin, CEO of Jack & Jill said, “We are delighted to see volunteers like John supporting our families who live in every community in Ireland through exciting initiatives like this one.  We have huge admiration for John and his crew and we will have drop off points for mobile phones all along the route and we’ll be following the race in a Jack & Jill van.  I want to remind people that 250 old mobile phones buys home nursing care for a sick child for one month and it doesn’t matter if people run a few paces or a few kilometres – every little helps and this mobile marathon will go a long way to achieving our 2009 target of collecting 500,000 phones.  I want to thank John and his team in advance, to wish them the best of luck and to ask communities along the route to show their support by joining in.”


The Jack & Jill Children’s Foundation ( was set up in 1997 by Jonathan Irwin and his wife MaryAnn O’Brien (MD of Lily O’Brien’s) to help young children in Ireland who are born with or develop brain damage and who suffer severe intellectual and physical developmental delay as a result.  They decided to set up Jack & Jill based on their own experience with their son Jack whoseshort life showed them the ideal way in which little children can be nursed at home.  From their experience evolved the Jack & Jill model of home nursing and respite care that supports 302 families in Ireland today and has helped over 1,100 children and their families since 1997.  The service includes home visits, advice, information, funding, lobbying and bereavement support.




For further information:       Jonathan Irwin 087 2558451

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Week 2

This week went more or less to plan with the addition of the 'Army All Terrain 6K' instead of a slightly longer but possibly slower Tempo run. Finished the week with a 16 mile long run which included 8 miles at my goal Marathon Pace of 6min52sec after a 4 mile warm up and followed by a 4 mile cooldown.
During one of my recovery runs earlier this week I was feeling a bit low in energy and was constantly slowing down to keep my heart rate in the training zone. This has happened before and I put it down to needing more carbohydrate in my diet. I have since increased my carbohydrate intake and that seems to have done the trick. Todays Long Run is in the graph above.

Carbohydrate Drink
  • 60gr Glucose
  • Sachet of salt (McDonalds/BurgerKing)
  • 1L of Water flavoured with cordial

This drink gives 50gr of Carbohydrate per Litre and the reason for using the sachet of salt is because it's an exact measurement.