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from Diary of a rubbish marathon runner What a difference a day makes! Running 15 miles on Tuesday, albeit on 2 runs, was a mistake. This was supposed to be my easy day, much needed after a tempo run on Sunday and a long run on Monday, and with all those miles I didn’t recover sufficiently for a decent workout on Wednesday.

I had my doubts about the workout from the first step, but decided to give it a try anyway. I was doing mile repeats at MP effort again. Last Tuesday I had left 2 minutes between each mile, which had been too long so I cut the recovery down to one minute. The run was 12 miles, and I did 9 mile repeats altogether. The break between the miles did not really seem necessary from a physical point of few, the pace was not fast enough to warrant a recovery, but it helped a lot from a psychological point of view because it meant a break from the harder effort was always near. The first few miles were ok, but I got slower towards the end. That in itself is not too surprising because on that loop the first half is net downhill and the second half accordingly net uphill. But I felt a lot more tired than I should have, and was utterly knackered by the end. I had originally intended to add a few minutes of additional exercises to the end of the run (skipping, bouncing, and so on), but I gave up soon, my legs were toast.

I did not need anyone to tell me to take it easy on Thursday. I could not have it taken differently any other way. I can’t remember the last time my legs had felt so sore, certainly not for quite some time. To add to the woe the wind was absolutely brutal. Normally I would have gone on the Ard-na-Sidhe road in those conditions, but for some reason I cannot remember I chose to brave the Caragh Lake road instead. It was tough, and I toyed with the idea of turning around after 2.5 miles and do the second half on a more sheltered loop. But with my tired legs I didn’t trust myself to pass our driveway without calling it a day. I’m usually very disciplined when it comes to running consistently, but there was no need to tempt me unnecessarily, and I continued on the Caragh Lake road, weary as I was. Of course, cutting the run short on an easy day would not have been that big a deal. However, I don’t want to get into the habit of cutting runs short. Next time, it might be a more important workout.

However, I did notice that I felt ok for the rest of the day. By contrast, on Monday, after my first 18 mile run in a while, I had felt sore all day. I was therefore reasonably optimistic that I would have a decent run today. My main worry was the weather. We had a major storm coming, and I wondered if I would be able to run at all. However, when I woke at 5:30 I was pleasantly surprised by the calm outside. I headed off on my loop around the lake, hoping that the weather would hold at least for a few miles. It was very windy up in the hills where the area is completely exposed to the elements, but otherwise it was fine; in fact it was a lot better than the day before. As far as my legs went, the difference to Thursday was simply amazing. I felt good, and ran the last 5 miles faster again. I managed an average pace of 7:27 on those last miles, which is a lot faster than last week’s 7:35 but a lot slower than what I used to do before the Dublin marathon. Initially those figures worried me a bit, but when I checked my logs from the summer I came across two 15 miles runs in July at almost exactly the same pace. This was reassuring; at the very least I’m in no worse shape now than I was 3 months before Dublin. With all of the marathon specific training yet to come, that will do me.

17 Dec
12 miles, 1:32:12, 7:41 pace, HR 159
incl. 9 x 1 mile @ 7:12 avg
18 Dec
10 miles, 1:24:01, 8:24 pace, HR 148
19 Dec
15 miles, 1:59:21, 7:57 pace, HR 153
last 5 @ 7:27