Thursday, June 30, 2011

Starting the Taper.

Trail Running in the Alps

My original focus for this year was the 24-hr World Championships in Brugg Switzerland which was cancelled so I then decided to sign up for a 24-hr Race in Belfast on July 22nd as it was a continuation of how I was already training.  The training for this event consisted mainly of long slow runs based on a heart rate level well inside my aerobic zone and close to what I would usually class as a recovery run.

This all changed with my late selection for the Irish Squad to compete in the World Trail Championships as a chance to run for Ireland will always take preference over any other race.  I wouldn't call myself a Trail Runner but I am quite strong in the hills as I make sure to include a decent trail run in my training routine at least once every 2 weeks and because I'm aware of these events and the possibility of being selected I always train to be event specific at short notice.

In between events I train at the higher end of my Aerobic Threshold and would train almost every day with as many double days as I can manage without actually planning them and taking whatever opportunity might arise.  To make the transition from 24-hr to Trail Running I first of all substituted as many runs as I could with Trail runs and spent as much time as possible in the hills.  To maximise my time I tried to run for maximum ascent with minimum distance to work on my climbing muscles and also included hill sprints on short hills and longer slower intervals on longer hills.

To peak with my training I had a massage today which went better than planned and I was very happy with the lack of pain which tells me I must be doing something right.  Following on from the massage I did an 18K run at slightly faster than my Aerobic pace which also went well.

Last week I ran an un-tapered 5K with a new PB of 17:26 and the recent inclusion of running specific Crossfit training with  Stephen Weinmann & John Belton at Performance Therapy Ireland has without doubt kept me injury free and made me stronger.

Monday, June 20, 2011

World Trail Championships (course recce)

Tony ascending Diamond Hill during course recce.
Descending Diamond Hill with Kylemore Abbey in the background.

As part of the race preparation I went to Galway with Tony Brennan to meet with Keith Whyte, Barry Murray and Richard Donovan to do a recce of the WTC course and get a feel for what to expect.  The race starts Kylemore Abbey and follows the road into Letterfrack before the serious climbing starts.  The ascent of Diamond Hill which happens within the first 10K is fairly severe but the pain numbing views are spectacular.  I've ran trails all over the world and this has to be one of the most impressive courses I've ever been on.  
The short recce was enough to get a feel for what to expect and I finished the day looking forward to race day and have a fair idea of my race day plan.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Irish Team for Trail Championships

Ireland's Keith Whyte, John Byrne, John O'Regan, Thomas Maguire and Daniel Doherty
Ireland have entered a strong men's team for the IAU Trail World Championships in Connemara.
The team is captained by John Byrne, who was first Irish finisher at the Anglo Celtic Plate 100km when finishing third in 7:09:33.
Thomas Maguire, the Irish 100km (7:05:06) and 24 Hour (248.392km) record holder is additionally on the six-person team.
UK-based duo Daniel Doherty, who has a PB of 7:19:29 for 100km, and Barry Murray, who has posted very strong peformances in UK trail races, are also in the squad.
Keith Whyte, another sub-7:30 hrs 100km runner and who recently won the Kildare Marathon, runs in his first world championships.
Paul Tierney, winner of the Wicklow Way Ultra and the new record holder for the Wicklow Way, makes his debut for Ireland.
In addition to the team, trail running legend Eoin Keith will represent Ireland as an individual. Keith is making a comeback after injury and finished 11th in the 2009 Trail World Championships.
John O'Regan, a 24-Hour international athlete, is also entered as an individual.
The squad, which has a representative from all four Irish provinces, will be managed by Tony Brennan and John Collins.