Sock it to me!

All to often the importance of proper running socks is overlooked when choosing footwear for your endurance running.

Pitted Keratolysis – sweat!

Without going into a long and convoluted discourse about the mechanics of the foot during your running stride ie gait, suffice to say that at the point of maximum force generated through the foot, your arch will flatten, your toes stretch forwards and your foot splays out the result being that your foot can be a shoe size longer and a size wider.

At this stage we should all be aware of the importance of correctly fitting a running shoe, but did you realise that the socks are just as important?

Cotton socks are a no, no. The cotton absorbs sweat, retaining it close to the skin, softening the skin (making your feet clammy) and being the primary cause of ‘hot feet’ and blistering.

Don’t run in cotton socks!

My personal favourite

Instead use purpose made sports or running socks with wicking materials to draw moisture away from the skin and which will allow the evaporation of this moisture through the mesh upper of the running shoes. The socks may have additional features such as spandex to wrap the foot or heel pads for additional comfort. You are going to spend time on your feet working hard so they should be as comfortable as possible.

The most important factor about choosing your socks is to get the size right. Most will come back a little in size with washing so be sure to have wiggle room (sorry about the pun!) by going up a size. This will also mean that your toes will not be constrained by the socks, which can also be a contributing factor to runners toenails and subsequent loss of said nails.

My own personal favourite is the Mizuno Biogear range of socks which feature Drylite moisture management and a really comfortable band of support around the arch & plantar areas of the foot. An expensive sock, but not as costly as losing toenails or developing blisters in a marathon.

Race Week -5.5 Catchup & Wrap

With my tail firmly between my legs after the disappointing performance last night it was time to have a look at things and address my training priorities.

I had been tinkering with my diet and training purposes. I was brought to ground very quickly last night on account of these factors and woke to the realisation this morning that I need to focus on the marathon first. I will explain what I’d been up to in another post.

For now, on with the week.



Friday

Was a nice easy run at easy effort (4:55 to 5:30km pace) for 45 minutes. Just about turning over the legs, the interval session had been tough so no need for speed today.

I felt good, the morning was beautiful, and ran out to get closer to an hour.

Friday: 10.71km, 53:14, AHR 144bpm, APace 04:57/km

Saturday

I’ve no idea what synchronicity is going on with the kids, but same as last week, awake at 1, 3 & 6 with a young man who is not being his usual self at the moment. Struggled to get up but did  have a proper breakfast this morning, porridge. Gathered the gear, made up the High 5 4:1 and packed a couple of gels into the pouch to get on the road for 8:30.

While getting the GPS lock on, I decided a hat & gloves were appropriate & nipped back in for them.

45 mins @5:20/km, 50mins @5:00/km and 50mins @4:45/km. Route was planned based on the LPR route from last week with a few extra loops along the way.

I was very happy with the pacing. I was drinking and fueling steadily along the way and despite the brain trying to convince the legs that they were tired and wanting to stop early the angel (or demon) on my shoulder made me run loops near my house just to harden up the mental resolve.

It worked!!

Run done, recovery drink, shower, change, 2XU recovery leggings and into work for the rest of the day. (Busy day in the shop too, thank God!)

Saturday: 30.02km, 02:30:35, AHR 147bpm, APace 5:00/km

Saturday 23/09/12 – Training File

Sunday

Travelling to Sligo after work yesterday meant disguising the car with Mayo flags going from Galway. It also meant a cracking mornings’ run along the coast line from Rosses Point into town and back out again.

Just a nice steady, enjoyable run. Plenty of people out and about too which is great to see.

Sunday: 12.40km, 01:04:11, AHR 138bpm, APace 05:10/km

If you’d told me 4 weeks ago that I would be considering running 100km per week in the build up to my marathon I would have said your head was cracked. Having done 95km last week and 101km this week I feel great. Its a huge milestone for a chap who hated running in school, it bored me to tears.

Now look at me. Loving it!! 😀

Weekly totals:
Duration: 08:25:26 (hh:mm:ss)
Distance: 101.45km
Calories: 8703kcal
Sessions: 6

Race Week -6 – Volume going up!

This is my first full week officially following a training program. I spent a little bit of time transferring the program into my Polar Personal Trainer so that the sessions could be uploaded to the RCX5 ready for me to hit the roads.


Despite a long training week last week, and a busy day on my feet I still felt ready for the sessions that this week was lining up for me.


Monday
Started out right. In from work, small bite to eat, kids to bed, changed and out the door for 8:30. Mistake I made was picking the wrong tool for the job. Normally I use my X-Trail headlamp but for some (still unknown reason) I grabbed my Silva Ninox as I went out the door.

Silva Ninox – 70lumen, not to be sniffed at.

I think what happened was in the planning I had picked a running route that would feature some hilly bits and I also knew it would be better lit than my normal route, having houses along the road, and that I could sacrifice the weight of the X-Trail battery pack for this session.

Wrong!!

I’d no sooner started into the session and had reached the first of the houses than I realised that the amount of light ‘leaking’ from the houses, lit driveways, passing cars meant that I was effectively ‘blinded’ by the passing light. As I had previously used the Ninox in the woods where there was Zero environmental light (or light pollution as I now consider it ) the lamp was perfectly suited. Just not for damp busy roads, where you need to be able to see the surface properly.

Anyway, hit the session which called for a warmup and then x5 hill runs keeping steady pace and recovery back down again. The section I found near the house was reasonably rolling with a kick up of 6m over the last 500m.

I made a hash of the first phase, but got the repeats spot on, so each one started and finished in the same place each time. I put an extra dig into the last ‘work’ effort too.


Monday: 13.13km, 01:05:52, AHR 147bpm, MxHR 174bpm, APace 5:00/km

Monday 17/09/12 – Training File

Tuesday

Silva X-Trail your only man!

Still Tempo Tuesday.

I keep using the same stretch of the road as a feature of my tempo runs and I think it’s going to be the backbone of my winter FTP testing. Roughly 12k total for out and back and easily to add a bit on either end to make up distance.

Didn’t make any mistake this evening and made sure I had the Silva X-Trail with me. The lamp part is not heavy, its just the awkwardness of the battery pack on the waist strap that can annoy me when running with effort.

Plan was 10 mins warmup, 60 mins at 4:45 / km followed by 10 mins at 4:30 / km with 5 mins cooldown. no Zonal training going on hear anymore. Its all about time on feet at pace.

Seemed to pace it close getting an APace of 4:43 /km and 4:33/km for the two work phases again on a windy wet night.

Tuesday: 17.65km, 01:25:22, AHR 152bpm, MxHR 167bpm, APace 4:50/km

Tuesday 18/09/12 – Training File

Similar to last week I didn’t get to run Wednesday, had planned a 9k easy run. Absolutely no consideration of a double day on Thursday as it was going to be tough!

Thursday

Its like Groundhog week here. Again a rubbish night of sleep meant I was getting up knackered, late but knackered.

I’d time for a quick pancake with peanut butter before dropping my daughter off at school. Can’t even remember if I’d a coffee, that’s how bad it was this morning.  Dropped her off, back home for a swift change and out the door for an interval session.

There’s my mistake, its an elementary mistake, but I made it none-the-less. No breakfast of any description before going to do a hard session. Didn’t even bring a gel or anything to drink!

15mins warmup and then x6 (work phases of 9mins at tempo pace with 2 mins recovery) followed by 1km at 3:45 and 5mins cool-down.

Thurday Torture – intervals with a struggle

As you can see I was aiming for 4:30 on the intervals but struggled in vain. The recovery just got slower and slower. Within 5k I was going home. I couldn’t loosen up (no stretching or Griding done this week) and had nothing in the tank to feel lively.

In the end I didn’t make much of the 3:45km or the 5mins cool-down and rambled home for a wee lie-down

Thursday: 17.51km, 01:26:10, AHR 153bpm, APace 4:55/km

Thursday 20th September – Training File

 I’m learning my lessons this week!! Hopefully there’ll be a better second half, starting tomorrow.

Heart Rate Mentoring – getting fitter.

My trusted Polar RCX5 (with GPS)

One of the things I’ve been wondering about is the actual measure of my fitness improvement over the past season.

I know I’m fitter, but how can I measure this or have it quantified? 

There are a couple of ways of looking at this. The most accurate way of measuring fitness is compare results from Functional Threshold Performance tests (FTP- link goes to Training Peaks) completed on a regular basis.

Joe Friel defines FTP as:  

“Functional threshold power or pace (FTP) is the highest mean average power or pace you can maintain for one hour.”

Power being for cyclists, Pace for runners.

There are a number of ways of determining your Functional Threshold Pace as a runner but in general the advice for a simple, repeatable, non-invasive method is:

“Your Functional Threshold Pace will be the average pace from a recent race or very hard training run of 45-60 minutes in duration.” Again, from Training Peaks. So, just measure / record your pace in a hard training session over 1 hour and average it.

Its easy to do, I just haven’t done it!

This winter I will do regular checks on my measurable fitness by using these recommended tests for both the bike (I have the LOOK Kao Polar Power pedals) and my run. I have a nice 12k route on a quiet road which I’m currently using quite regularly so improvements can be measured. I will also be doing FTP tests for my swimming, possibly with the added benefit of a Garmin Swim watch to help track data (at least until Polar do swim technology!)

I had testing done back in 2007 in Trinity College in the Sport Science department. This was the ‘invasive’ type of testing mentioned above. Pin pricks whilst running increasingly faster tempos on a treadmill wearing a face mask meant that blood lactate levels (lactic acid that appears in the blood as a result of anaerobic metabolism when oxygen delivery to the tissues is insufficient to support normal metabolic demands) were constantly monitored until I went redlining in the anaerobic zone. Results were 14km/hr or HR above 174bpm meant I was ‘redlining’ and a VO2Max of 54ml/kg/min (VO2max is the maximum amount of oxygen in millilitres, one can use in one minute per kilogram of body weight. Those who are fit have higher VO2max values and can exercise more intensely than those who are not as well conditioned.)

This test is far too old for me to use as a measure anyway.

Unfortunately, all I can give as a measure of fitness improvement is anecdotal evidence of comparing last years ‘apples’ with this year’s ‘apples’.

This year has been a consistent year of training and as you may know, I’m now in a build phase for targeting Dublin City Marathon in 6 weeks.

What have I done?

Polar Personal Trainer has a built in training program which synchronises with my Polar RCX5 watch. Every session I complete of the plan is measured by the website and based on training load and results I am assessed as:

Green
You are recovered and ready to train more. If you’re continuously in green, increase your cumulative training load. You can either add more training sessions to your weekly plan or make the training sessions more intensive. This will help you improve your performance faster. Intensive training sessions and races should preferably be done when you are “in green”.

Yellow
You are not fully recovered from your previous training sessions. Your cumulative training load is on a high level. You can still train but should avoid high intensity training and/or races.

Red
You have not recovered. Your cumulative training load is on a very high level. If you continue training when “in red”, it may lead to a state of overreaching.

These little flags are shown above each days activity and taking my activity from this time last year you can see based on cumulative from pre 19th Sept by the end of my session on 20th Sept I am ‘red flagged’. I skip the session on 21st and by the weekend I’m recovered and run the LSR (Long Slow Run) on 25th, again end of day I’m ‘red flagged’

This pattern continued through Dublin Marathon 2011 and I suffered some niggling injuries through this period (over training) which threatened my race.

2012 I focused fully on working with the endurance training plans set by Polar Personal Trainer and every now and then the program would increase the intensity of the plan based on the previous set of results. Just once this year, in the middle of racing season, it moved me down a level as I wasn’t hitting the targets. Program reckoned it was pushing me too hard!!

Sticking with the program (in the absence of further scientific proof) I am now comparing  roughly the same period this year with last year.

See the difference?

No ‘red flags’. That’s the first indicator to me.

Now you’re missing the distances from the 15th ‘Long Pr…’ but that is the Long Progression Run from Saturday just gone (link to Blog post). Despite a jump in volume way outside the recommended 10%  per week, my aerobic improvements over the year mean my training load is more evenly balanced & placing less stress on my recovery process.

Just to give comparison I’ve pulled the data on the LSR run from 25th September 2011 and setting the summary lines next to each other the comparative differences are quite apparent:

25th September 2011

15th September 2012

Distance of both runs is roughly the same. To my mind the glaring indication of hugely improved fitness it the efficiency of the running. 

  • My average pace has improved 1:11 mins/km
  • I can sustain a higher HR Average for longer.
  • I now consume less calories in a higher intensity effort (HR) over the same distance.

Happy Days!!




Race Week -7 Wrap up & Review

Sunday (cont’d)

Got a lovely little run in this afternoon. It was short and sweet, down through the woods and back. Nice to run the trail again, its been a while and the change of surface was actually quite a welcome break. The surface is relatively rough (relative to the road) but due to the recent rain quite ‘squishy’ underfoot so glad the old shoes came out.

All I wanted to do was turn over the legs so no main pace or time , goals, just a run to enjoy.

Sunday: 6.11km, 32:59, AHR 138bpm, APace 05:24/km

Sunday 16/09/12 – Training File

All in all, this was a great week of running / training for me. I have never put as much focused effort into my run training and hooking up with a proper training plan has given me a major kick in the backside.

Weekly totals:
Duration: 08:04 (hh:mm)
Distance: 95.1km
Calories: 8414kcal

Race Week -6.5

The second half of the week brought drier weather and a tendency to train more in the morning that at night. It doesn’t matter much to me when I get out and don’t mind running early or late.

Friday

A nice clear morning with a call for an easy recovery run (still working off my Polar plan) of 01:15 run. The new plan was a 45min run, easy, so I was happy enough with the overlap.

Felt really good and relaxed. Struggled a little with holding an easy pace at first, just seem to want to slot into a steadier 5:00/km pace.

Friday: 12.02km, 01:05:51, AHR 133bpm, APace 5:27/km

Friday 14/09/12 – Training File

Saturday

First official “Fran’s Plan” session which was involving the Dublin City Half Marathon today for most of the group. I modified my session by recalling one of the previous weeks long runs.

What I like about this plan is the lack of traditional LSR (Long Slow Runs). I have the aerobic fitness and am working on specific race fitness and pacing. These are Long Progression Runs (LPR) and involve doing a little more work on tired legs.

So this LPR called for 30mins @5:20/km, 40mins @5:00/km and 3 x 15mins @4:45/km with 5mins easy in between. Great plans to be up and on the road by 06:30 but thanks to the Clarinbridge Oyster Festival & kids there was not a whole lot of sleepage, so late start, but I’d cover in work for the morning so not a complete disaster.

To the DJ playing music 3k away after midnight, it’s not dollars you need, it’s the belt of a hurl! Try it again tonight, I dare you.
Hitting the road, I’d plotted a nice route with some drags & exposed to wind too, again I found the easy pace awkward to run steadily to, but it worked out nicely. I wasn’t using gels but did carry 600ml of High 5 4:1 (Carbohydrate : Protein) which I sipped at throughout.
In the review it turned out the pacing was spot on! 30mins @ 5:17, 40mins @4:55 and 3x 15mins each at 4:45, 4:45 & 4:41 all with 5mins recovery at bang on 5:00.

Saturday: 26.51km, 02:12:53, AHR 152bpm, APace 5:00/km

Saturday 15/09/12 – Training File

Sunday

Up early with the kids, Edel going out for her LSR. So doing a bit of active recovery, bobbing around doing housework to the tunz of David Guetta. Kids loving the action and dancing along with their spinning umbrellas.

A bit of stretching to loosen the hamstrings and hip flexors. Other than a little bit of tightness there are (thankfully!) no ill effects of a big week of running. I have a short, easy run to do this afternoon but first we are going swimming with the kids.

Full week review coming up later.

Race Week -7

Starting the week following my Polar program meant runs every day. Its only at the end of this week that I start to integrate Fran’s plan into the greater scheme of things.

Monday
Night run in the lashing rain. I’ve an approximate 8k loop that is mostly off main roads so I decided to tackle this tonight to give me the added mental push of being cool, wet and having to pass the house before starting loop 2.

Loop 1 I bumped into a neighbour, Barry, who normally runs a Functional Fitness group on Monday evenings (I did a lot of Winter / Spring stuff with him earlier in the year). As there was just two of them they decided to run the first section with me & Barry came on and finished the first loop. Dropping him at his door, I’d pushed on, did my second loop, finishing with a km of extra push and home to dry off.

Monday: 16.05km, 01:20:07, AHR 152bpm, APace 5:00/km

Monday 10/09/12 – Training File

Tuesday

Tempo Tuesday has been a regular feature of my run this season. Expecting a 16-17k run in the planned time of 01:29 I reckoned on a few loops of a quiet section of road, to avoid any traffic & disruption to the runs.

Only thing bugging me was I forgot to clear the watch memory so after 15 mins ‘Memory 0%’ flashed up. Bugger!! So the plan stayed visible and I could monitor the sessions but I thought I needed to momorise the phase results. Not so! The clever people in Polar factored in silly people like me and the full workout was available. (Not all the HR data, but the summary and pace average for the whole thing was there)

Plan was 15 mins warmup, x3 of 15 mins (Zone 4) followed by 8 mins (Zone 3) with 5 mins cooldown.

Held 4:30-4:35/km for the intervals and 5:30 for the recovery on a windy wet night, happy days!

Tuesday: 18.01km, 01:29:22, AHR 151bpm, APace 4:57/km

Tuesday 11/09/12 – Training File

Didn’t get to run Wednesday, had planned a light 8-9k easy run so considered a double day Thursday.

Thursday

Sleep would be nice! Early morning run. Set out with 15k intentions (01:15) and a short evening run. Made a complete hash of the turnaround figuring continuing on and taking a left would get me back round. Ended up going in a big circle (see the map) but with so many twists & turns I got befuddled when I hit my regular road again.

Only for a plastic bag in the ditch that I spotted on the way out, I was well & truly going the wrong way. Add a time pressure to get back & daughter to school & you can see why the HR & pace went up!

Anyway a steady / recovery / easy run, legs felt a bit tired but loosened out quickly.

Thursday: 16:39km, 01:23:05, AHR 146bpm, APace 5:05/km

Thursday 13th September – Training File

35,167 Steps – my road to DCM

My training, proper, for DCM ’12 started in earnest this week.

I’m happy with my base aerobic fitness, its been a long busy year of training and racing. I’m happy to start building to my race goals.
I’m going to document the run specific training that I’m doing here in my blog and you can follow by using the tag labels below of ‘DCM 2012‘.


Little bit of background to date, as I say, my base fitness is there, my running has been fairly consistent 35-45km per week (give or take a bit) through the past year with most run sessions being in excess of 1 hour and longest run to date 26km.

My shoes are relatively new Mizuno Inspire 8 with 78km on them, rotating  out my previous pair with 439km and a pair of Mizuno Elixir (lighter tempo, interval & long distance racing shoe) with 98km on them.

I’ve been following the endurance training program set by Polar Personal Trainer in conjunction with my Polar RCX5 (with GPS) and worked through the levels set by this and mixed my own thing in with it.

I’ve just started integrating a purpose specific program from one of the guys on Boards.ie and have set my sights on a 3:30 (technically sub 3:30) marathon PB. Do follow my progression both here and on Twitter @amphkingwest. If you need more specific information on HR training or have questions that may arise in the writing of this please just ask, either in the comments option or by email.

Cheers!

Sean 🙂

Ironman 70.3 Galway – Back in the Blocks

Will it? Won’t it? Could it? Would it?

Go ahead.

Between discussions about the weather, the event, the swim etc the overriding agreement was that 2012 had to be a good year to ensure that the Ironman 70.3 Galway event would get the crowds for 2013.

After the shortened swim of 2011, many were despondent that the course was short, there were complaints about the food, the organisation, the weather, the roads… fine there shouldn’t have been organisational difficulties (sure who gets anything 100% first time? ) but the conditions are what is part of making Ironman 70.3 Galway unique in its own way.

I won’t bore you with details of the training that got me back to the start line of 2012, my blog has been pretty sparse through the summer as life has been busy. Suffice to say I have been more consistent in my training, better at resisting crap in my diet (mostly) and more focused.

I raced a few sprint and Olympic races through the season, mostly in an attempt to qualify for the age group championships in 2013 but also to feature as part of my training regime. In the six weeks run into the 70.3 this year I did a proper build phase with plenty of tempo sessions on the bike & run. I also started running off the bike, properly.

Pay back for the work became evident in my taper week. I was doing easy runs and felt like I had to fight to hold back, the old greyhound busting at the trapdoor syndrome. My last bike before race day was with Paul Hawkins, the UK pro who was staying with us via Homestay. That was great, cycling with a pro athlete & being comfortable with a strong pace (easy for him!).

I spent Thursday, Friday & Saturday with Paul, doing the last few easy sessions. Doing a recce of the bike course and showing our guest around I got to meet some of the pro triathletes that would be racing the 70.3 and after registration, sat in on the Pro race briefing. One of those experiences that’s just nice to be able to do as its highly unlikely that I would ever get to be a Pro triathlete, nice to dream.

Early to bed Saturday with the Devil’s weather outside and up at 4.30 on Sunday morning to perfect conditions. All the weather doubters!! You could not ask for a more perfect day. Breakfast was porridge with brown sugar, a coffee and away we went. Traffic & parking was a doddle at that hour, we got the van right up beside the swim start which proved very handy for me, no gear to lug around.

10mins walk to transition, visualising the swim exit along the way and it was time to check the bikes (left overnight) pump the tyres and set up feed, bottles and spares ready for the off. Popped over to Paul to wish him all the best and then waited in transition fo
r a short while for Damo. I had Powerbar energy bars for him as Mr Preparation himself landed with just x2 Mars bars for his race. Also a bit of banter with Chris Hewings and a side bet that may include a forfeit of his Kask aero helmet.

I also had an opportunity to grab a quick photo with Gavin Noble and Kevin Thornton while we were getting organised.
Time was ticking, so leave the bike head down to the swim start to see the pros heading off in the dawn light. I was not due to start until 7:50 so a bit of time to get organised and changed. The advantage of parking where I did, meant I had somewhere comfortable to get changed. The downside was everyone thought it was the van to drop the white bags at!!

Plenty of pre-race chat with all the boys, everyone wishing each other good luck (as expected) and zipping each other up. Into my wetsuit and down to the water’s edge to watch all the waves going off. We got the 10 minute warning and headed into the pen to be counted into the water and then we were in. Quick warm up, ‘seal’ the wetsuit and ready for the starting hooter.

Swim

The hooter went and away we thrashed. I had placed myself mid pack as I’ve found myself increasingly comfortable and confident with my swim ability. It was all about holding your own position and getting to the first buoy as cleanly as possible. This was approx 200m straight out into the bay. Plenty of barging and pushing going on but you just have to ride out this storm and find your rhythm.

I somehow managed clean water at the buoy and a swift 90 degree turn meant we were now parallel to the shore. Landmark was easy, the sun had just come up on the horizon so all we had to do was swim straight to the bright light in the sky. I settled quickly into a decent rhythm and confidently caught some of the lads that went off like hares. There was plenty of zig zagging going on and i had to hold my position against one or two ‘surgers‘. (Surgers – are my word for those who put the head down, swim like fury, all over the place, stop, look up, correct and go again extremely annoying when they surge across you).
Swimming strongly (for me) with a good rhythm, in a straight line is what I set out to do and I was happy doing it. It seemed to take forever to hit the turning point then it was a 180 degree turn back up parallel to the prom and heading for the exit. I got the distinct feeling that we were now catching a current which probably explains the slower times.

Exiting the water, forget the wetsuit, get up the ramp onto the flat and fiddle with the zip on the run into transition.

Swim exit time 47:17, 104 in AG, 577 overall. APace 2.29/100m

T1 (4:58)

Up the ramp along the green carpet and through the park to the tent. Collect the blue bag. Wetsuit, hat & goggles into bag, helmet out and on. Hand bag to young volunteer: ‘Thanks!’ out the door and around to the bike rack. Collect bike and away to the exit. Smooth & efficient.

Bike

Exiting the park by the side gate and running down the hill in barefeet wasn’t nice. But jumping onto the bike at the mount line, smoothly, and powering off down the road was great!

“I’ve trained for this, so nail it”, my inner voice said.

Looked for and found my groove readily and settled into picking people off steadily. My strategy was simple. Hit the bike steady, don’t surge and keep drinking. I was on High5 4:1. I’ve trained with the carb:protein mix and find it works well for me in the endurance stuff. I’d x4 gels for the bike (GU Mint Choc, nom! nom!) and x3 bottles of the 4:1.

There was a fair bit of drafting going on and it bugs the sh1t out of me. One lad blatantly kept jumping onto my wheel. He’d creep past on the hills, so I’d to sit up and drop back 10m before going at him again and then he’d sit in again! A couple of snot rockets gave him the message.
Anyway, back to the bet. No sign of Mr Hewings coming past me by Oughterard on the way out (I didn’t expect it anyway) by Maum Cross, still no sign and when I steamed through Oughterard on the way back I knew I had turned the betting tables and was €100 up (or in my mind a Kask Aero). He eventually caught me somewhere after Moycullen and rather ruefully rolled on through to the finish.

I came in strong and got ready for the dismount.

Bike time 02:42:29, 37 in AG, 269 Overall. APace 33.23km/h.

T2 (4.43)

Easy. Dismount the bike, run into transition (shoes still on bike), rack the bike & into the tent. Collect red bag. Shoes & socks out of bag, helmet into bag and hand back to volunteer. Socks & shoes on and laced up while the lad next to me is still fiddling with lock laces. (Beauty of tying laces for a living 🙂 ) Out the tent, down the ramp on the prom.

Run

The first thing that hit me was a wave of sound from the spectators along the whole length of the prom. Second was the merging with existing runners on the course, not knowing where people were in respect of loops and so not having someone to pace off.

I was happy enough with the run, I’d dialled the pace into the legs over the previous weeks. I knew I should be capable of running around 5:00 min/km off the bike, I knew I’d prepared for the run properly, fed well on the bike and was ready to go.

Friends and family, Edel & the kids were all spread along the route. There were so many people who I recognised as I ran past, Paul, Val, John, Adrian, Grace, Brian and so many more that I didn’t spot in the crowds (in fairness I didn’t spot Paul, I just heard him!!) but all were shouting for me.

This encouragement drives you on and I was conscious to tap into it but to control it so pace didn’t go out the window.
In the end I did struggle. I went out a little too comfortable, hit the first turn and realised the full force of the wind was going to be in our faces all the way back, so half of each loop with the wind, half against.

My nutrition strategy was simple, water & coke on the run with a gel in the middle. I’d enough on the bike & have been well used to running tempo in fasted state with not food or water.

The wind got stronger with each lap and I can remember Gavin Noble shouting me on on the second lap, reminding me to use the wind when it was with me. Amazing feeling, an Olympian shouting encouragement at little old me!! A memory forever.

Each loop brought me closer to the end and while my pace went out a bit I was very happy to bring it all home and to pass people in the final 300m run in to the line. It’s only a little thing but that fast finish brought me up 6 or 7 places overall.

Run time 01:55:33, 42 in AG, 294 overall. APace 5:28/km

All in all delighted with the result. A full 18 mins off my previous bike time and 16 mins off the 70.3 run from 2011. Swim can’t be considered as it was shorter last year.

Looks like I’ll just have to go again in 2013 🙂

Post 70.3 and onwards to DCM 2012

So the Galway Ironman 70.3 is done and dusted for another year. Now time to settle down to some focussed running in an attempt at running my goal of 3:30 in Dublin City Marathon.

I’ve been fairly consistent with longish runs, tempo and interval sessions over the course of the Spring & Summer, so there’s a solid aerobic base, just need to extend the run durations for the next few weeks.

This week was mainly a recovery week from the exertations of the weekend and I knew I’d be busy making up for time off work, plus I had an off-site analysis and shoe presentation to do in Athlone this week.

Running this week:
Tuesday (4/9) – easy recovery run 4.8k, 27 mins AHR 131bpm APace 5:46min/km
Friday (7/9) – a basic run to stretch legs 13.7k, 01:07 AHR 150bpm APace 4:53min/km
Sunday (9/9) – basic run to work 9.6k, 46mins, AHR 155bpm, APace 4:50min/km

Total for recovery week: Distance 28.1km Duration 2:21:08

Next week will bring the training back in earnest.