Sunday, August 30, 2009

Week 10

There's only 12 days until the Dingle Marathon and the forced rest over the past week has me feeling slightly unfit and under prepared. I'm now hoping that the few days off will be just what I needed and with a bit of luck i'll get the all clear to start back training on Tuesday. All going well my plan for next week is to do a few short but fast sessions to get my legs used to running fast again and maybe i'll finish the week with an easy 10 miles joining the lads for the last few miles of their Long Slow Run in advance of Dublin.

My plan for today was a 10K road race in Punchestown for Kildare Athletes and as hard as a 10 K race can be when you're running it, sometimes it's harder when you're not running.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Tapering and just in time.

Medical Check, Everest Base Camp.

It seems that my recent poor performance in the 10 mile race was more serious than just carbohydrate depletion.
I was lucky to get an appointment with Dr Nick Mahony in the Anatomy Dept & Human Performance Laboratory of Trinity College yesterday and after a short discussion about how I was feeling and my current training regime including racing and diet I was told that I was in the first stage of overtraining syndrome. His prescription included an immediate break from training and a follow up appointment next Tuesday.

At first I was in disbelief and the thoughts of a total break from training seemed excessive as I didn't feel that bad! I wasn't injured and apart from the feeling of tiredness and the heavy legs I was was fairly ok but apparently most runners won't admit to being overtrained until the last stage. Recovery in the early stages of OTS seems to be straight forward but if it reaches the final or 3rd stage the recovery is a much longer and more difficult process.

My condition at the moment was described as a feeling of staleness and athletes that experience this feeling usually feel the need to train harder to make an improvement but it's the training harder during this stage that leads to Stage 2. An hour before having my appointment in Trinity confirmed I phoned Tony to arrange a session of Hill Repeats later that evening which fits in exactly with what Dr Nick Mahony was saying. Hill repeats were cancelled and I sent an email to Dingle Marathon requesting a change from the full to half Marathon as I start my recovery.

Having had time to think back over the past year I've ran quite a few races and changed my plan a few times to fit in extra races such as the Empire State Building Run Up and the Celtic 100K which were on top of my planned 8 min mile Pacing for the London Marathon and The North Face 100K in Australia. Training runs were regularly longer than 20 miles with a few beyond 30 miles and I also broke my 5K PB twice as well as improving on my 5 Mile race time.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Tony Mangan in the Guinness Book of Records

Tony Mangan & Cian O'Regan

Tony Mangan's 48-hour treadmill record has been added to the 2010 Guinness World Records book and will appear on page 227 in the Sports Track & Field section. Tony's profile can be viewed on Ultrarunning Ireland. Congratulations Tony!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Week 9

After my disappointing race result last weekend which I put down to being low on fuel I decided to increase my carb intake and reduce my training volume & intensity for this week. This didn't really suit me as it was also the week prior to starting my Taper. I took it easy on Monday and ran my usual 5 mile recovery run along a flat course and skipped a planned Tempo run on Tuesday. Ran home from work at an easy pace on Wednesday & Thursday, took Friday off and ran an easy 6 miles on Saturday which included 6* 100M strides on the grass track to loosen my legs out. Finished off the week as planned with a group training run of 23 miles at 8:30 pace.

During my Taper I will reduce the volume of training but maintain the intensity and still include Tempo & Speed Work. If I'm right about my recent tiredness I should start to feel recovered during this week and if all goes to plan I'll be racing a 10K in Punchestown, Co.Kildare this coming Sunday.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Week 8

Started the week with a pain at the front of my lower leg / shin which I'm guessing was brought on by the camber of the roads over last weekend. Luckily I managed to book a lunchtime massage that had me close tears and as usual it did the trick.

Went for a very easy recovery type run on Monday evening but stopped after 3 miles because the pain was still there and decided to take the next two days off.

Took a chance with an easy run on Thursday on the grass track and threw in a few strides of less than 100M. Met Jarlath from the club just before I finished and together we knocked out a few extra strides.

My running shoes (Saucony Pro Grid Guide) were due for changing so I decided that now was as good a time as any so I picked up a new pair in the Great Outdoors on Friday and did 2 easy miles on the treadmill to try them out before the weekend.

Ran the Frank Duffy 10 Mile race on Saturday finishing in 65mins 10secs which is my worst time over that distance. My race started as planned with a 6:05 min mile and my plan was to run as close to an even 6:15 pace throughout. On the second lap of the 2 lap course my mile times dropped to 7min pace as soon as I hit the hills even though it didn't feel the I was slowing down. Checked my Heart Rate and it was lower than expected so I tried to push the pace but my legs wouldn't go any faster. I finished the race well under my goal time and I'm putting it down to not replenishing my carb stores since last weekend and not enough recent speed work.

Started to correct the problem as soon as I got home with the carbs and finished off the week with an early 21 mile long with Jarlath. We ran a fairly even 8:30 pace over a familiar route and what better way to spend a Sunday morning.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Mobile Marathon Relay

We met as planned at 06:45am on Friday 06th in Heuston Station and travelled to Galway with Carmel from the Jack & Jill Foundation. Arriving into Galway at 10:00 I made my way with Carmel to Galway Bay FM for a pre run interview while the lads waited at Eyre Sq for the arrival of our Support Van and Darren our Driver / support crew. We didn't have a lot of time between arriving in Galway and starting the run and before we knew it we were running on the first leg of our journey towards Oranmore. Leaving Galway we were joined by a local runner Stephen Connaire from Loughrea and his local knowledge was a great help getting us out of the city.

The day was quite warm which didn't suit as I knew staying hydrated could be a problem but having the van no more than 10k ahead prevented any problems. The route to Oranmore and onwards to Loughrea was quite scenic and the time passed quite quickly. We shared the distance running an average of 10K at a time with the resting runners travelling in the support van.

Anthony didn't make the start of the relay as he couldn't get off work but made his way to Ballinasloe and joined the team as we passed through the town. He threw his bag into the van and started on the road to Athlone. Athlone was the end of Day 1 and shortly after arriving at our hotel we met up for dinner and took a tour of the town.

Day 2 was to start at 8am but based on our timings from Day 1 we knew a later start would still have us arriving on time into Mullingar which was 50K away. Unlike yesterday it was raining and looked like it was down for the day. My plan for today was to run what would have been my regular training run followed by a long recovery type run at a much slower pace.

As planned we passed through Mullingar on time and made our way to Athboy and finished slightly ahead of time in Navan. We were all fairly tired by the time we reached Navan didn't have a repeat of Friday night.

Day 3 and yet again we decide to start later than originally planned knowing that we had plenty of time to reach the Spire on Dublin's O'Connell St at 2pm. The route to Dublin from here was fairly direct and on the way we met up with family and friends some of whom would run with us to the finish. We took a slight detour as we approached the Phoenix Park to avoid road closures and made our way towards the Quays leading towards O'Connell St. Slightly ahead of time we slowed down slightly as we approached O'Connell St and then it was all over. The phone collection along the way didn't go too well but we did get a fair amount of media coverage which should in turn raise awareness for the foundation.

My thanks to all who helped along the way and thanks to the team that were asked to take part at short notice. I knew there wasn't time to train for this event and although the distances were divided up well I knew that if anyone dropped out due to injury or some other reason any other runner could have taken up the slack.

The Team:

Seamus O'Dowd, Clogherhead, Co.Louth

Anthony Lee, Clane Co.Kildare

Padraic Doherty, Maynooth, Co.Kildare

Monday, August 10, 2009

Week 6 & 7

Week 6 was supposed to be an easy week but because it was leading into my holidays which started on Saturday I decided to front load the week with some tough sessions.
My Tempo run this week included 40 mins of fast paced running followed by a rest day and then a session of hill repeats.
The hill repeats are done after a hilly warm up for 2 miles and then I run hard up a hill which takes about 75 seconds.  At the top of the hill I try to maintain a fast pace for a few strides before turning and running at a very relaxed pace and almost falling back to the start.  

Before driving to Kerry on Saturday to start my holiday I ran an easy 7 mile recovery run and as I ran I tried to plan out how i would train for the next week.  My plan for Sunday was to get up early and do a 20 mile long run but that didn't happen and my window of opportunity was gone.  Later that day I took a spin out to Dingle and drove the Marathon course which has me thinking i'll be doing well to finish in under 3hrs10 but I'm still looking forward to it.

Drove to Limerick on Monday 03rd and this was the first time in a few months that I've had 2 back to back days off and I'm starting to get edgy.  The roads around the hotel look very busy so I don't think i'll be slipping out for an early morning or late evening run.
Decide to settle for the Treadmill and make the most of my Tuesday evening session by opting for a Tempo run.  If stuck for time it's probably best to do a short fast run than to use up the time running a short distance at a slow pace as you'll maintain endurance by doing speed work but won't maintain speed by doing endurance work and I don't think 60 mins at a slow pace on the treadmill will do much for your endurance.

Drove home alone on Wednesday as I was heading for Galway on Friday to start the fundraising run for the Jack & Jill foundation and shortly after arriving home I was out the door for an 11 mile run at an easy pace.
Did a similar run on Thursday morning followed by a 1hr cycle and then it was pack the bags for Galway.

Run Report for the Mobile Marathon Relay to follow.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Tracking The Mobile Marathon Relay

The Mobile Marathon Relay for the Jack and Jill Foundation starts tomorrow and you can follow our progress online by clicking here.