Easy does it

And so onto day three of my Dublin training plan – an easy 5k.

After two fairly intense days of running I was initially looking forward to this, a chance to drop the pace and to loosen my legs ahead of a very busy weekend.

Except, throw in the heat and the fact my legs felt stiff, slow and every single one of their 47 years … I wasn’t entirely sure how this would go.

I ran with Iverene, which is always nice because we encourage each other although I did warn her that my plan called for an easy run, and easy I intended it to be!

For the second day in a row I ran along the dual carriageway to the industrial estate and back again. Boring and uninspiring but I know where I am with it. Yet, somehow, it didn’t seem as bleak this evening as it usually does … no doubt the sun helped with that.

Anyway, despite not being sure how it would go, it actually went very well. Once again, we tried to stay within a specific heart rate to ensure it would be easy.

Sometimes we went way over it, but it never felt uncomfortable or too fast. Then there were also occasions when we were within target but it felt we were going at a reasonable pace so, perhaps, this whole heart rate training kick is beginning to pay dividends.

Of course, the route came in at 3.07 miles so I insisted on a little squiggle around the car park at the end to bring it up to the magical 3.1 mark. Nothing else would do!

Thankfully, now, I’ve got two rest days ahead of me before my weekend trip to London for three races in three days. It seemed like a good idea at the time, but let’s see how I feel on the other side!

Relive my run


Meep Meep

Another Tuesday, another double run – albeit slightly different this week.

As mentioned yesterday, I’m now in training for the Dublin Marathon. Today my plan called for a speed session. Specifically, a three mile run with the first and third miles at an easy pace, whilst for the second I had to go at full effort and aim for nine minute mile pace!

That alone would have smashed my PB for the distance, so it was a little bit daunting even thinking about it.

Putting off this session for as long as I could, I eventually went out at around 4pm. My route was the old tried and tested path alongside the dual carriageway to the industrial estate, straight and uninterrupted.

As stated, the first mile was to be easy – and easy it was. I tried to take it very gently, just enough to get warmed up for what was ahead. I clocked the mile at 13:13.

Next up, the attempt at the nine minute mile. Sods law dictated that the first mile ended just when the route rose slightly, so setting off at pace I was immediately running up a bit of a climb, although I did turn around at the top which then gave me the luxury of a drop for a while. Again, like the rise, not massive but enough to provide a little relief.

Four minutes in, my legs and body started screaming at me. What the hell was I doing to them? What was this speed? They weren’t used to going this fast.

This was tough but, interestingly, I found that my stride began to lengthen which made the speed I was going more manageable. I naturally slowed a little, but this was partially caused by the road rising again. It’s impossible to find somewhere totally flat but I really felt the slight rise although, to be honest, that’s not necessarily a bad thing in a speed session like this. It can only make me stronger.

Anyway, I was sprinting along as fast as my tiny little stumpy legs could carry me, keeping one eye on my watch for my time. I was trying to get as close to that magic nine-minute mark as I could.

In the end, I ran out of puff, eventually finishing in 9:06 … but I don’t see that as a failure. Quite the contrary in fact. It was my fastest mile ever by some 30 seconds and, with it, my fastest ever kilometre too. I was challenged to aim for nine minutes and came damn close to it. Not bad for a first effort.

After that was another easy mile to finish. Strangely, despite expending almost every ounce of energy I had, I managed to complete this mile over a minute faster than the first one in tonight’s session. It felt sluggish, it felt laboured but, yet, it was quicker.

That done, I had a bit of a rest for an hour before going out to Cullybackey for week seven of the club C25K programme.

Tonight’s schedule called for 2×15 minute runs so I figured it’d be a good recovery session.

And so it proved. I felt really comfortable throughout, totally relaxed and fresh despite my speedier sessions over the last couple of days.

I didn’t opt to run home tonight. I figured I’d done enough for one day!

Relive my run (Session)
Relive my run (Cullybackey)

The rocky road to Dublin

I’m officially in training for the Dublin marathon!

Given my schedule over the next few months I decided a little while ago that it would be sensible for me to have a coach on board, partly to keep me on the straight and narrow but also to guide me through my plethora of half marathons with the ultimate aim of getting me ready for this years ‘A’ race, the Dublin City Marathon at the end of October.

After doing my research one name kept cropping up over and over again, Clean Coach Katie. People I respect and follow have, for want of a better word, endorsed her, and I have been impressed with how she conducts herself and her methods.

So, following discussions over the past couple of weeks, I took the plunge and asked Katie to work with me to get me to the start line in Dublin. It’ll be hard work, I am under no illusions about that, but I’m really excited to be getting started.

I need the discipline and I need the encouragement, and I go into this full of confidence that Katie is exactly the sort of person I need in my corner.

My plan began today with an ‘easy’ run to coincide with my normal Monday night club session.

As usual, I ran the mile from my front door to the leisure centre, managing to keep my heart rate firmly within zone 3, recording a time of 12:31. It was nice little warm-up, even if the cold rain didn’t make it a comfortable run.

Recently I have been going out with the 30-minute group  because the run there and back would bring me up to an hour anyway but, tonight, I opted to step it up a bit and go with the 45s, partly because the run up was gentle and partly because I simply hadn’t gone with that group for a while. A change is as good as a rest and all that.

It was definitely a change! We started off towards going through the town centre heading for the Ballymoney Road, clocking 10:52 for that first mile from the Leisure Centre to the back entrance of the Peoples’ Park.

Local readers will know that it’s around this point that the Ballymoney Road kicks on and up. We kept going at that pace, onwards and upwards, and up a bit more.

It was quick, but what was pleasing that it was manageable. Yes, I was maybe huffing and puffing a bit by the time we reached the top but that was due to the ascent more than the speed.

After that we crossed the roundabout to come back down the Carniny Road, uncharted territory for me despite living in the town all my adult life!

And down was the operative word here. It dropped as much as the Ballymoney Road rose but, the strange thing is, we took it slower but only just. Most likely this was because everyone had really applied themselves on the climb and treated the descent as a chance to recover a little.

The Carniny Road wasn’t entirely downhill, there were a few little short, sharp rises on it which were good to maintain my focus. I could see them laid out in front of me so, I guess, I saved myself for them.

That done, it was up Princes Street the back way, a part of the route I do on a regular basis now, and then along past the Fire Station, through the retail park and back to base. This last mile saw us pick up the pace a little again which was really good.

Indeed, for that three mile segment I was on 5k personal best time and matching the target pace that Katie has set for me for the Vitality 10000 next Monday. That is really encouraging considering the route tonight was more challenging than it’ll be in London.

So whilst tonight’s run was as fast a club session as I have done for quite some time I successfully came through it. My legs felt good, and never did I feel that I couldn’t cope.

All things considered not a bad old start to my training.

Relive my run