Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Off The Laois Half Marathon

I arrived in Portarlington just before 10am on Sunday morning ready for my eight Half Marathon. I was excited and curious to see how this run went as it was going to be my first run since starting Heart Rate training. There wasn't a cloud in the sky on what was a most beautiful, Winter-crisp morning. I'd never been in Portarlington before but it was hard not to miss the start line which was across from the Odlums factor which could be seen from all sides of the town.

Ready for road!

The run was meant to start at 11am but due to a backlog at registration, the race was postponed until 11:30 when both the 10K and Half runners started together. It's such a shame the mess-up at the start happened as it was the only blip in what was otherwise quite a brilliantly organised event. After a 10 minute warm up, the 500+ runners made their way to the start line and the race started bang on 11:30.

At the Start Line

My plan for the race was simple - run at Threshold Rate (151-155bpm) for the race. It was a test, just to see how long it and how fast it would take me. The crowd were off and so was I. I've spent the last 6 weeks not bothered about time, so I really wasn't paying attention during the run. I took everything in - the back roads, the scenery, the blue sky. I noticed the frost still on the ditches as we made our way around the course.

Saturday, 22 November 2014

Getting a place in one of the World Majors

Back in April, the ballot for the London Marathon opened (and closed within 24 hours) and I had registered my interest for 2015. Then last month I received this magazine:

Its a no...

My dreams of running one of the World Majors has dashed for 2015 as the others: Tokyo, New York, Chicago, Boston were out of the question. I signed up for Tralee (which is now only 16 weeks away!) - better get running. At the same time, I saw the ballot for the Berlin Marathon was open for the month of October, with the decision being made mid-November.

Friday, 14 November 2014

Are we out of the woods yet?

Trail running has never been something that has interested me. If I'm going for a run, I'm going for a run - that's it! So I was surprised last week when I saw that Sean from Amphibian King was starting up a Trail Run group on Tuesdays in Kilcornan (Clarinbridge). Described as an introduction to trails, I was keen to get tucked in. No more than with the cycling or the heart rate training, I'm always open to trying something new. Who knows where it'll lead or what opportunities/experiences will unfold.

After work on Tuesday, I went to Weight Watchers, home (grabbed a quick bite to eat) and was back in the car heading for Clarinbridge at 7:45pm. There was something spooky in the air as a heavy fog which had descended on County Galway disappeared upon entering the woods.

Following a quick introduction from Sean, myself and Alex headed off following Sean into the woods. In what I can only describe as a mixture between Temple Run and Tomb Raider, we ran, jumped, tripped, slid and navigated our way around the woods. Without any street light, it was completely different having to run only focusing on the spotlight in front of you.

Trail Run - Mapped

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Do you carry RoadID?

There is one piece of running kit that I never leave home without and no, it's no my phone, it's my RoadID wristband. I bought it back when I started running based on Sean from Amphibian King's advice. What if you were in an accident? What if you needed medical attention and were unconscious?

My Road ID (and my dog)

Without getting too dramatic here here, but the thought has crossed my mind before about what would happen if a car hit me (and drove off)? Usually I run alone and I run a lot of country roads around Oranmore/Clarinbridge which have both poor lightening and no footpaths in parts. (I'm sure however it is as likely to happen in a busy urban area as it is on a dark country boreen).

I always run lit-up with a headlamp and high-viz when its dark, but I'm not even talking about when its dark. You could be hit at midday, in July, when the sun is shining. Putting an ICE (in case of emergency) number in your phone is great and all but what if your phone was PIN locked or broken in the accident.

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Update on Heart Rate Training

I am three weeks into my HR training plan, and three weeks away my next race, a Half Marathon in Laois, so I said I'd do a quick update. I have been sticking to the plan as prescribed by Matt from Fitness Analytics, which involves two threshold runs (one short, one long), one interval run and two recovery runs.

I'll admit I am loving running 'with a purpose'. I have felt more engaged with each of my runs over the past three weeks. Yes I've had to keep an eye on the watch but I've found running without a time driven purpose has been a welcome change. Instead of going out 4/5 times a week running at the same intensity (5:00/km), I've really enjoyed using my heart rate to better understand how my running form differs on different days.

It doesn't matter how hard you push yourself, there are benefits

Weather, Mood and Energy Levels play such a huge part in effort yet I never really gave them credit before. This week (Week 3), I've really seen my times pull apart depending on the run type. For example, I ran my Interval (11km) at an average of 5:05/km while, Threshold (10km) at 5:22/km and Recovery (10km) at 5:30/km. Even having intent before I leave the house (e.g. This Interval Run is going to be tough, but its only for an hour and then I get a Recovery Run tomorrow) has been great.