Fridays Retribution (23rd September)

After the disaster that was Thursday’s interval non-happening I had to get out and bring the mileage up for the week.

BTW what do you call the increase in mileage when you measure in kilometers?

 This is a straight forward run, nothing fancy. Keep it in the Zones and throw down the distances. Aim is to run for an hour and get 10k under the shoes. It’s all accumulating exercise and getting used to being on my feet for extended periods of pounding

HRM Data

I find my recovery is getting easier and easier. There is little or no stiffness in my muscles after the long runs. The knees are a little tender but having built up the distances slowly, the pain eases with no lasting effects. It’s a good sort of pain!

The Training Summary is showing the issue I’m having with the footpod, the actual run distance is 10.3km where the pod tracked it as 9.91km.

Its just skews the data enough to be annoying. My average pace for this kind of run should be around 5:45min/km and retain a mid Zone heart rate averaging 139 / 140bpm.

It’s interesting how the footpod did pick up the very end of the Cool-down where I did a short stretch of quick feet with high knees and kicking my butt.

Too much information?

I’ve been training really well recently but one of the things that’s starting to bug me is that I keen forgetting to calibrate my footpod. 

It appears that the footpod information overrides the G5 unit when used in conjunction and the G5 is relegated to mapping function only. My run data is coming up short when overlaid with mapping programs or simply in comparison to another GPS based unit.

I have been running with both the footpod and the G5 GPS unit and to be honest I don’t need to use both. The footpod is a handy tool that will give you pace, distance and information on your cadence and stride length. Right now pace and distance are really the only important factors I need to consider. The cadence is going to be steady, I don’t need to be churning out 90-95 strides per minute. I’m comfortable and steady at 85.

The GPS unit works by satellite tracking of my position and giving pace, distance information based on those algorithms. It also has the benefit of the mapping facility which is the better for visualising the routes, and reviewing the elevations etc when uploaded to the web services.

I think I’ll drop the footpod for the next while, stick to the G5 and then there will be no conflicting information on distance. 

Having just checked the Polar manual – when using an S3 footpod and a G5 GPS receiver together the footpod provides pace and distance, the GPS picks up the GPS markers for mapping.

Interupted Interval (22nd Spetember)

Not a chance of waking me.

Well the planned session didn’t start the way it was meant to.

At 7:40am I woke up after cocking one eye at the alarm clock to discover that I was 40mins past the alarm time and10 mins late for an agreed start time for our Interval session, never mind not getting a coffee!

Out of the bed check outside the window, no sign of Conor. 

“Ah!”, methinks, “He must have slept in himself, no harm, I’ll go down and ring him to find out where he is.”

Missed calls, missed texts, missed Tweets, I think he got there before me. 

Now I feel bad. Dragging him across the city for a run and there I am having a lie in.

A change of clothes that would make Superman jealous and I was off out the door hoping that he was sticking to the plan.

After a 15min Warmup we’d agreed to do repeats of 4mins down to the gate at Clarinbridge with 6mins recovery back to the church followed by a Cool-down.

Sure enough there he was, parked in Kilcornan, and running laps of the avenue.
I did catch up with him and the inevitable slagging commenced.  

A fairly dismal day out and we got drenched.The session didn’t last long. I was tired having had a very poor night with the kids back in our bed again, a couple of little niggles became an excuse and we headed back to the house for coffee.

The lack of results speak for themselves, I’ll have to make up for this tomorrow.

Tempo Tuesday (20th September)

Back to a tempo session again. The program is moving on a little each week, 5 minutes are added to the tempo run over last weeks planned session. The time in Tempo is increased slightly.

The plan for today is an hour, covering a distance of 10.5km. Starting a little later than I would normally like meant I knew I would be getting tight for time on the back end of the session.

Out from the house for the phased Warm up of 15 mins followed immediately with a step up of pace for 11 minutes.

Maintaining an average pace just below 5min / km and keeping within the prescribed Zone 4 is where I need to be at this stage, sticking to the HR training program. The weather however was atrocious and the last couple of minutes where my HR spiked out of Zone 4 and into Zone 5 is as much a reaction to the bitter cold of the rain water as an increased effort needed to ‘puddle jump’.

It almost became interval training trying to run between puddles and dodging cars, trucks and buses. The road is always quiet and I reckon these vehicles were trawling based on the following formula:

puddles + runners = great craic for arsehole drivers
As I expected, I did have to cut the cool-down short. Not just because of the time but I was also freezing, being soaked through and a cold wind coming across from the West is not pleasant. You’d think I would be better prepared for the weather.

 I finished up 4 minutes early and 800m short of the plan. So not bad. If I can I would like to stay slightly ahead of the time and distances, but otherwise I know that the plan has now merged pretty accurately with my current abilities.

Training Result 20.09.2011 08:22

Sunday Slog (18th September)

HRM Output for the LSR

Its been a while since I’ve done a proper Long Slow Run. 

The run at the end of the 70.3 was an LSR by default and doesn’t count.

Training plan from

Again it’s all to program where possible. Forecast was 12.90km in 01:35:00 costing an approximate 1050kcal.

What is the purpose of the LSR?

The benefits of LSR are building basic endurance by running a long distance. In the beginning of the long run, the intensity target is zone 2. In the beginner and moderate levels, zone 3 is included towards the end of the session. Running in zone 2 builds endurance by developing fat oxidation capability. Running in zone 3 in the end of the session (included in the beginner and moderate levels) also builds up resistance to fatigue in marathon speed.   

Now a couple of caveats & conditions:

  • I’m hungover
  • I need a long run
  • I need to punish myself for excess

With this in mind I deliberately set out with a 20k loop in mind. Knowing that I would be half way round before my brain had caught up and it would be as far to go on as to go back.

I did hydrate, but didn’t bring water with me, knowing that there would be opportunity to get water at a tap in a garage or at one of the old fashioned pump station in one of the villages on the way round.

I tucked a gel and my phone in a Shadowpak and went out the door. There had been a lot of rain overnight so the ground was pretty wet with plenty of puddles to dodge. 

It’s all about keeping steady so a 10min Warm up (Zone 2) is followed by 80mins in Zone 2 and a 5min Cool-down. I was reckoning on adding 6 or 7km on the end of the LSR as ‘punishment’.

We had our club meal in Basilico on Saturday night so after a few Peroni beers, some red wine, a nice meal and great company there was a ‘contract’ passed around encouraging us to sign up to a commitment to do Challenge Barcelona at the end of 2012.

Hence the ‘punishment’ so I would ‘never again!!’

I won’t bore you too much with the detail of the run, it was fine. A couple of showers, a couple of near misses with cars & puddles (I know who you are, Mr. Audi) a few km of efforts and I was back home. 

All in all, 19/20km covered in 2 hours. I need to calibrate my foot pod correctly.

In review, the heart rate is slightly higher than expected but probably due to tiredness, slight dehydration towards the end and some cardiac drift in the readings. I will need to aim for a higher average pace to achieve a targeted marathon finish time but this is all HR training, the speed comes in Tempo and Interval sessions.

Time for a shower, change and off to see Dublin bring Sam home!

Thursday’s Interval Run (15th September)

Thursday morning bright & early, time for an interval session.

Conor was over for this so off we went into Kilcornan to warm up before taking a speed session in through the woods. There is a nice 1000m loop which varies a little underfoot with a few twists and turns and a couple of little ‘rampy’ sections to throw a wobble into tired legs.

The Interval plan was 15mins Warm-up (Zone 2), 4mins ‘On’ (Zone 4/5) followed immediately by 4mins ‘Off’ (Zone 3), repeat this x3 times and then a 5min Cool-Down. 

What do Interval runs do?

Interval runs develop speed, aerobic and anaerobic capacity, and resistance to fatigue at 3-10 km race speeds. Keeping short recovery periods between the sprints allows more training at high speeds. The sprint periods are recommended to be done in zones 4 and 5, and the recovery periods in zone 3. Zone 3 is usually low enough to remove lactate, but note that you should also use the low end of zone 3 during the recovery periods. In particular, if your target is to develop maximal speed for short endurance distances, it can be beneficial to lower your heart rate even to zone 2. 

The main aim behind our use of interval sessions is to help with maintaining speed (hopefully develop some!) and to also keep the body system triggered for burning fat. Both of us could do with trimming some body weight before the marathon and hopefully keep it off over the winter.

The session went well, with us covering 8k during the program. We tacked on a 3km easy pace to the end in order to add some distance to tired legs leaving a total of 11k.

Now time for some recovery & breakfast!

Tempo Tuesday (13th September)

Between jigs, reels and Loughrea Triathlon on Sunday I missed my opportunities at getting out for several runs since last week.

Today was the first planned Tempo run of the program and I knew if I missed starting this week I would not be disciplined enough to pull back the plan.

The day started pear shaped when I missed my chance to get out before breakfast meaning I would be stuck for time getting into the shop for 9.30. I would have to try and stuff a session in some time between closing the shop, getting home, helping with settling the children and darkness.

The tempo run was programmed as a 15min Warm-up (Zone 2), 10min at race pace (Zone 4), 25min recovery running (Zone 3) followed by a 5min Cool-down. 55 minutes total and 9.2km predicted.

What is the benefit of a Tempo run? 

Tempo runs develop aerobic capacity and resistance to fatigue at 10 km marathon race speeds. The tempo parts are recommended to be run in zone 4 in order to build resistance to fatigue at marathon and half marathon speeds and to improve speed in the lactate threshold.

I managed to squeeze my run in during the evening just after one of the kids slipped off to sleep. It meant that I could get the initial phases of warm-up and tempo done on the road before ducking into the woods at Kilcornan for the return leg home.

Siju headlamp available from Amphibian King

I had my little Siju headlamp from Silva with me. I used this on the road in the flash setting to ensure that cars could see me in the twilight. Despite wearing high vizibility wear with 360  reflectibility you can’t take chances on back roads. 

There are different light settings on the Siju – high beam, low beam and flashing. The high beam is great in the woods and it was lovely running in the dark with a hint of ‘spookiness’ to urge you on.

Tempo run done for this week, slightly short on distance and time but hit the nail with the calories burnt and training load. Still on plan.

Tempo Training File

Thursday (8th September)

The leg loosener.

Conor was calling to the house to have a debrief after the 70.3 and at the same time we would knock out a 8km trot to test everything is working fine after the weekend, nothing too serious and to be kept Zone 2 (60-70%). The odd transgression into Zone 3 is allowed to factor in headwind or hills.

My programmed run was to be a 10min Warmup  in Zone 2 followed by 30mins in Zone 3 and a 5min Cooldown, 45mins over all and projected 7.40k

A nice easy morning loop down through the Brothers of Charity in Kilcornan, out onto the main road and back up from Kilcolgan along ‘Millionaires Row’.

In total we did 9k (I need to calibrate the footpod properly) in 47 mins at a really easy pace keeping conversation all the way round.

Training File

What’s next? (6th September)

With Ironman Galway 70.3 done and dusted the body has been struggling to recover from post race blues.

A sore throat and generally feeling like crap has left me tired and low in energy. Lack of proper sleep is absolutely killing me. 

The plan, made a while back, was to aim for the Dublin marathon as a season ender. This was to avoid a big anti-climax after the 70.3 and to keep me away from the pies!

So a couple of days rest after the 70.3 and then it’s time to stretch the legs and build up the distances of the run again. A program of sorts has been planned in conjunction with my Polar RCX5 and I am scheduled to get running again on Thursday so fingers crossed the body is ready for this.

HIM – Day: The Storming of Ladies Beach

Pre-dawn on Sunday 4th September, the alarm toils like the watchman’s bell.

Looking out. A sky that hints of promise, a sky full of threat. What will the day bring? All I know is there’ll be 2000 fellow athletes and peers on the prom in Salthill within the next short while, full of eager anticipation.

At 11:30 last night I woke up thinking I’d wet the bed. I was soaked to the skin. Hopefully this was the breaking of the fever and I’ll be right for the day.

Breakfast was a protein shake first thing whilst waiting for the porridge to cook. A decent bowl of porridge with honey and a pair of mugs of coffee and we were off. 

Arriving in Salthill it was time to place all the planned nutrition with the bikes, check the tyres, bring the pressure up to 120psi. I’ d heard a few tubs had gone ‘Bang!’ in the night due to the cold air and another one went close by. 

Planned pre-race nutrition; energy drink for next hour and nibble on a bar plus x1 Kinetica gel 10 minutes before the swim start.

Planned on the bike nutrition; x3 Kinetica gels (10, 45 & 80k marks), x2 Powerbar Energise bars (nibbled over 20-30k and 60-70k), Kinetica Tricarb drink up front in the profile bottle, bottle of water in the cage. Leaving a spare cage for on route pickups. Shoes and socks I decided to leave in the blue bag.

Planned on the run nutrition; x 2 Kinetica gels (9 & 16k marks). I could pick up water and additional gels / Gatorade if necessary along the run route.

Food left on the bike, it was time to get parked, grab a coffee, relax and gather the nerve for the coming hours.

An announcement was made that the swim was being reduced. A bit of confusion as to whether it was being delayed or reduced. As it turned out both. Due to a rip current in the bay the swim was reduced to 750m (officially measured later as 1000m) and the waves were being broken up into smaller groups. This meant that I was going off at 8:00 as opposed to the planned 7:35.

Changing into the trisuit (new & untested, not the best idea!), on with the calf guards, long sleeved top(HR strap underneath), Bodyglide and wetsuit. Of course just as you have all this on, final toilet stop required! All the warm gear goes into the white bags along with non race shoes and you drop this at a steel container on the prom. 

Shuffling down the ramp into the holding area you feel like a zoo animal with hundred’s of people looking over a railing at you preparing to go. Spotting a few familiar faces, there was plenty of nervous chitter chat going on. Some club mates standing nearby, quick handshake, good lucks all round and then we were set free.

Swim / Drift (750-1500m)

Planned Swim route

After rinsing the goggles, flushing the suit and backing up to the start line. We waited for the gun. (I had received a tip regarding a rip current to watch for. So basically while the swim was 750m you need to pace for 1500m as that was what you would be swimming.)

And off we went some 300 souls in a melee of swinging arms, kicks, ‘friendly’ punches into the bay. Sighting was easy, the buoys were huge and all you had to do was wait for the swell to lift you up 5′ for sighting. The biggest issue was swimming sideways!

Once sighted, line yourself up and go for it. When you next lifted your head the current had pushed you sideways so you were facing away from the buoy by 30 degrees, so it was constant adjustment.

Left turn at the first big buoy, parallel to the shore and we were head into the current and swell. The marshals did a good job of correcting us and keeping us notified of the drifting effect.

I found the swim difficult due to the current but not impossible. Hitting the beach a few people from the next wave started to pass me  but that’s normal for my swim stage. I left the water quite fresh, no pounding heart rate or any of the normal effects. 

This meant that I was comfortable dropping my wetsuit, not gasping for breath and was easily settled into a stride for the long haul to transition.

Transition Swim to Bike (T1)
Leaving the swim the exit from the beach is up a ramp to the prom. Turn right and run 400m to the T1 tent barefoot on the concrete across the car park.

Passing through the tent you pick your blue bag from the numbered rack, out the back to an area with tables and seats. There were volunteer strippers there to help remove wetsuits and a quick change to bike gear (I planned no socks, just shoes with light covers, a short sleeved gillet and glasses) and off you go for the next 700m to the bike exit, collecting your bike along the way. I stayed barefoot until I reached  the bike, put on the shoes (I did the helmet in transition) did up the covers and ran with bike to the exit. 

Jump on at the mount line and off you go.

Bike (90km)

I knew exactly what I had to do on the bike. My plan was to settle quickly into the aero position and pace myself carefully. All the more important in light of my ‘weakened’ state.

I has aimed for a budget time of 3hrs and had lately hoped to get 2:45 or thereabouts depending on the course / conditions.

Nutrition could only be done properly on the bike and this went to plan. I took the first gel at the top of the climb in Dangan before the downhill to the main road.

There was a lot of bike traffic and to the knob who refused to move over on the road, from the solid line, despite letting him know I was ‘behind on the right’ and indicated that I should undertake him, you’re a twat who needs to read the rules of Triathlon before he races again.

Once on the main road, the wind was behind us so I knew it was important to manage this to avoid blowing up on the home leg. I felt good on the bike and got a great lift when I saw Conor flying back mixed among the pros. He did a smashing bike split.

The conditions on the bike were terrible. A lot of surface water spraying up and plenty of rain coming down. There was tremendous support from spectators along the whole route and it was very uplifting to see them under their brollies, shouting and cheering. 

There were a number of quite serious looking accidents, resultign in bodies being littered along the course. It seemed that the conditions were to blame as much as a lack of bike handling skills. Quite a few people were trying to get food on board and we swerving about on the road showing a lack of skill and general awareness of people around them. It only comes with experience and we are all still learning. The ambulance was required for several of the crashes and there were a few fine bikes left lying on the route for the ‘broomwagon’.

I was happy with my pacing and kept the pressure on myself all the way home and ultimately pulled back into Salthill with a bike split of 3:00:13. Not bad planning!

Transition Bike to Run (T2)

Arriving back into transition, dismount at the line and run with the bike to the racking point. Unclip the helmet and run on to the second tent. I lost a shoe cover along the way, its always something off my left foot, it was a shoe in Hell of the West!

Passing through, picking up the red bag, remove the bike jacket, grab the runners & cap, change, drop the gear in the bag and off for the run.

Run (22.1km)

Starting the run I felt fresh on the first full 7km loop. I made use of the water stations, getting fluid on board at the two stations on each loop.

Starting out on the second loop I spotted Edel at the barrier, which brought home the fact that she was pulling out of the event. She had said that she wasn’t happy about the run as she hadn’t been getting out to do many run sessions. Fair enough. It still upset me. I had a notion that we could complete our first race together, not necessarily crossing the line together cos that would mean I’d been ‘chicked’ but that we would complete the race.

Anyway, I got through to about 13k and then the wheels started to come off. I had started out really steady aiming to settle into a 6min/km pace which I did through the second 5k. Once I hit 11km my pace dropped to about 6:30min/km and on the third lap it went completely erratic. I spent quite a bit of time walking.

My nutrition had worked out fine. It was actually fatigue that destroyed me. Having been feverish, broken sleep meant I was simply not rested enough. 

Emotionally I was shot and it took all my effort to actually get back. I knew where people who knew me were standing so I made every effort to look like everything was OK. Every time I passed my old coach, I had this cheery grimace on my face.

Coming back by Grattan beach for the last time I dug deep and pushed on. I kept telling myself another 200m then you can walk. And another 200m until the length of the bike transition was done and I hit the street within the last 1km.

The crowd gave me a huge lift and I finished in my usual style of a nice kick for the line. Its funny how the mind and body work.

Crossing the line was fantastic. Hearing Mike Reilly call out my name was great. Getting my medal, wow! 

I earned that medal!

All in all my run was 2:11 and change. A good 25mins more than where I had hoped to be but that’s the rub of the day thats in it.

All I wanted was my wife to say thanks for the support through the training.

Ironman 70.3  Race data

My official finish time when results were released was 5:54:55