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Oh me Legs!


from Diary of a rubbish marathon runner Running your long run on Monday has the big advantage that it will be over as soon as the training week starts. You don’t have it hanging above your head all week. I only started worrying about running long on Sunday evening, but I told myself that 18 miles were just my usual 15 miles around Caragh Lake with a short 3 mile run attached to the end of it. That’s how I approached it, and that’s how it went, but when the legs grew wearier and wearier after passing the 13 miles mark I knew that it wasn’t quite so easy. This was the longest run since the marathon, and the legs were definitely not used to being out there for so long. I was knackered by the time I got home, and I kept moaning all day that the legs were killing me. Niamh took it as a sign that I had overdone it; I took it as a sign that I had been in desperate need of a long run.

One thing I noticed is that I run slower when I can’t see the figures on the Garmin. I turned off the backlight, and despite the moon being nearly full it is not possible to read the display. If I had peeked I would have seen a pace slower than 8:00 which would have urged me to up the effort a bit – I know, because that’s what happened on so many runs in the summer. But with me being ignorant of the exact pace I was content to just keep going at the same easy effort. The pace I tuned into is about 80 percent of my goal marathon pace; some experts recommend exactly that pace for your long run, but of course you can find plenty others with different opinions.

My legs were very heavy this morning, and I struggled through 10 miles. Maybe I should stop paying attention to the weather forecast. That just scared me unnecessarily last night. The predicted heavy gale force winds never quite materialised, and the rain wasn’t anywhere near as bad as imagined either. I’m used to wind and rain by now, and can handle it. I did cut the morning run from 11 to 10 miles though, because it was a bit too windy to cycle into work and whenever I get a lift from Niamh into town it means I’ll be running the 5 miles home in the evening. Even so it’s still an awful lot of miles for an easy day.

At least the pain in the legs can be attributed to proper marathon training. It beats the hangover from binge drinking, even though that opinion isn’t widely shared here in Ireland, especially not around Christmas time.

15 Dec
18 miles, 2:27:20, 8:11 pace, HR 149
16 Dec
am: 10 miles, 1:22:24, 8:14 pace, HR 144
pm: 5 miles, 39:56, 7:59 pace, HR 143