Sunday, January 29, 2012

Donadea 50K, First Race of the year.

With less than 3 weeks to go I'm undecided about whether to Taper or just keep going as I am and maybe substitute one or two of my steady runs with some tried and tested speed work.  It gets harder as you get closer to race day as you know you should do less but feel like you should do more.

I don't expect to be at the business end of this race as I don't have the leg speed for these shorter Ultras but that's not to say I won't be trying and the least I'm expecting is a decent improvement on my finish time from last year.  Training has gone quite well but for one reason or another my distance is slightly down on last year but I have still managed a few decent long runs so there's no excuses.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

2012. Here we go..

First race of the year will be the Donadea 50K on Saturday 18th Feb which I'll use as a fast paced training run and a benchmark session on the way to some yet to be confirmed races.  I've turned down a request to pace the London Marathon and have also ruled out some club and county races as I want to concentrate a bit more on building a stronger base on which I can improve on my race results from last year.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

The year in review 2011

Yet another busy year with my training distance slightly up on 2010 but because I also had less rest days my average run distance is down.  When compared with last year's figures I estimate that I should have covered at least 600K (372 Miles) more and it seems that the shorter races were at the expense of more important longer runs as they usually fall on the same day.  For 2012 I'll be a bit more selective and not race as often unless of course it fits in with my plan or I can afford the time.
Anglo Celtic Plate 2011

The year started with an early call from Ultra Running Ireland asking if I'd run on the Irish Team for the 100K Anglo Celtic Plate to be held in Scotland in March.  A great start and I followed this with another 2 appearances on the Irish Team with the Trail World Championships on home soil in Connemara and the  100K World & European Championships (&Masters) in Winschoten, Holland.

Trail World Championships 2011

100K World & European Championships.

The 24-hr World & European Championships to be held in Brugg Switzerland was cancelled and attempts to find an alternative venue were unsuccessful and the race was officially cancelled in March.  This was to be my goal race for 2011 and although disappointed I was consoled with the other opportunities to run on the Team.
Rather than waste my event specific endurance training I then decided to to take part in the Energia Belfast 24-hr Race which was also the Irish Championships but because it was only 2 weeks after the Trail World Championships I wasn't fully committed and my training became trail specific.  An early fall in the Trail World Championships slowed my pace significantly and I finished the Race knowing I wouldn't need much recovery for the 24-hr Race and I was right as I went on to win the 24-hr Race and the Irish Title.

2011 also saw the release of the 'Running Man', a documentary by Caroline Brennan and Giant Leap Production which followed my preparation and build up to the 24-hr World & European Championships in 2010.  And in September there was a big screen Premier of 'Defining Moment', a feature length documentary following my participation in the Spartathlon and telling the story of how I came to be there.

On Location in the French Alps.


Total Distance = 5500K (3250 Miles)
Rest Days = 69
Running Related injuries= 0
International Appearances = 3
Personal Bests = 5
Races = 15 which included:

1. Donadea 50K
2. Anglo Celtic Plate 100K
4. Energia Belfast 24-hr Race & Irish Championships
5. 100K World & European (& Masters) Championships.
6. National Novices Cross Country, running on Kildare Team.

As well as the above I raced a few shorter distances on road and cross country representing Club & County.

Other Stuff:
  • Profiled in Irish Runner.
  • Profiled in Runner's World.
  • Contributed to Feature in Runner's World
  • Irish 24-hr Running Champion.
  • Running Man Documentary
  • Defining Moment, Feature Length Documentary
  • Raced or Ran in France / Switzerland / Holland / England / Scotland / Gran Canaria. 
  • Outsider People of Year List 2011.

My thanks to:

Monday, January 2, 2012

Missed my Long Run

Christmas finally took it's toll and I finished off last year and started this year with a forced rest day caused by flu like symptoms.  I wasn't feeling too good on Friday and almost couldn't be arsed going for a run and when waking on Saturday morning my waking heart rate was almost 20 beats higher than usual so I knew something was a brewing.  With a long train journey ahead of me I decided not to run my planned hilly 30K and consoled myself with the thoughts of a quiet 30K on New Years Day around North Kerry to start 2012.
I took it relatively easy on Saturday (NYE) and drank very little but on waking the following morning my heart rate was still elevated.  Still tempted to go out for even a shorter run I knew it best to put the effort into recovering as it's at times like this that you are liable to 'overtraining'.  Overtraining is caused by doing more than your body is capable of doing and it's easier to bounce back from a flu than it is to bounce back from overtraining.
Today Monday my heart rate was still slightly elevated but lower than the previous 2 days so I decided to go for an easy run and just to be on the safe side I ran it in my recovery zone and even at that it still felt like quite an effort.
When your heart rate is elevated at rest it takes less effort to get into your training zone and if you measure your run by pace you may be pushing your body more than it can handle by trying to stick with your usual pace.  It's this increased intensity that can lead to overtraining.
Your heart rate can tell you a lot if you learn how to listen.  With regular monitoring you will begin to notice a trend and it's variations in this trend that will tell you what you need to know.