What's up pussycat?

Two Questions - what's next and what have I learned?

It’s time to reflect on my Dublin marathon experience in particular for future marathons. Firstly what marathons will I be doing in the future?

 I toyed with a number of ideas. Straight up my big target in 2013 is to get under 3hrs15mins in the Dublin marathon next year. Frankfurt or Amterdam are tempting races and if nothing else a bit of variety is a good thing. Then again if it ain’t broke why fix it? On so many levels Dublin hits the spot everytime.

That said I will be running the Connemara marathon on April 7th. I entered during the week and I am all excited even thinking about it. I know it is a very tough and challenging course and certainly ain’t a PB course but as the ultra is a non starter (de wife is the boss!!!) the marathon makes a lot of sense. For the first time since the Dublin marathon a couple of weeks I now have a sense of purpose. My long training runs will also reflect the nature of the course. I hope run a long run every second week up in Cork City.

Next target race will be the Dungarvan 10 mile in January. I have never run under 70 minutes in a 10 mile race so this challenge will be a good one. Also 10 mile races and 13.1 mile races are excellent tempo workouts in preparing me for marathons. I also hope to attempt the Ballycotton 10, Mallow 10, Kilnaboy 10 and Cobh 10 over the first 4 months of next year . On top of that I will attempt a number of 5 mile and 4 mile races over April and May with possibly a view to completing all 4 races of the Ballycotton series.

Anyway back to my original point- what have I learned from the Dublin marathon?

1) I can, if i work hard enough, get my marathon times down. In 2 years I have taken 31 minutes off my marathon times. A case of hard work triumphing over talent. Just how fast can I go?

2) I need to be running 6 days a week and each run must serve a particular purpose. Recovery runs, tempo runs, LT sessions, long midweek medium runs, short medium runs, long runs and marathon pace long runs. Running miles for the sake of it serves no purpose except perhaps in the base building stage. These training runs allow to me to successfully assess what pace to run in races.

3) Join a running club. I was lucky in that running with Mallow AC worked out so well. I’m not a “club joiner type” by nature but running the long runs in company and the benefit of structured speed sessions really helped me. Also talking and running with club members provides excellent focus and motivation.

4) Enter races!!! Ideally try to enter a race every two weeks. Physically it allows the body to adapt to running under stress and mentally gives one that bit of strength over the last few miles. When training for Dublin I entered 3 half marathons and a 15 mile race. The benefits were immense

5) Keep the weight down. I dropped nearly 10 pounds by the time the taper came around. Running 50 to 60 miles a week probably was the reason why the weight fell off me but cutting out or cutting down the beer, sweets, tea and cakes played a huge part as well.

6) Finally have a realistic plan when racing the marathon and stick with it. Treat bad patches and good spells with respective respect and caution. The blog was a great aid in allowing me to record my thoughts and ideas and to plan a sensible strategy. It was also nice to get comments, feedback and compliments on it. I might stick with it!!