Day 12 – Where’s the Rain?

Posted: January 14, 2012 in Uncategorized
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I think this may be the first time I’ve ever gone out for a run in Tramore when it hasn’t been raining. There’s barely even any wind to speak of and, for January at least, it’s a wonderfully mild evening so I’ve been looking forward to my run all evening.Liverpool were playing Man City in the semi-finals of the cup and I was hoping to get to see at least the second half of the match so I had dinner ready for when I got back for my run – grilled salmon with stir fried vegetables and spinach for dinner with water, Lucozade Sport (the isotonic, not fizzy kind) and a fruit smoothie too.

Whether it was the fact that I was just feeling really good or because I was trying to get back to see as much of the match as possible I set off at a decent enough pace, running the same route I ran last week. It’s a gentle uphill for the first couple of kilometres, then steeply downhill for another couple. Most of the races I do are pretty hilly and I think the assumption is, or it was for me at least, that you go really slowly uphill and then you can make up for it by going as fast as you can downhill, but even on the road there’s more technique involved in going downhill quickly and a lot of people expend a lot of energy and put their knees and quads under a lot of strain slowing themselves down when descending. I’m trying to work on keeping my strides smooth and even, controlling my speed, making it as effortless as I can so I can really get my breath back and conserve energy for the uphill slogs. Descending when on trails or mountains is a whole different ball game altogether though so I’m just going to do as many mountain/trail races as I can to help with that.

After the downhill section it’s a nice run along the seafront and another kilometre or so after that where it remains straight before getting to the the first steep hill which signals the start of the long uphill drag. The first time I ran this section I absolutely hated it but if there’s a common theme that runs through all the books I’ve read about amazing endurance athletes it’s that they all learned to love the pain, what it could do for them and how they embraced it fully. There’s absolutely no point in thinking about how miserable it is, you have to tell yourself how good it is for you,  convince yourself that the hill is your friend and this is what’s going to make it possible to get up Croagh Patrick or Spanker’s Hill or over the Gap of Dunloe. Remind youself that it’s barely even a hill and keep smiling and running.

Once the initial steep part is over with I managed to up the speed slightly and keep going at a good steady pace for the next two kilometres or so before the turn around at the top where I could really up the pace. It’s just over a kilometre back to the start of my route from that point so I sped up to about 4 mins/km (which is well above my race pace of about 5mins/km) and held it right to the end. Despite pushing hard my breathing was nice and steady, my form (as much as I could tell) was good and everything felt nice and controlled. You very ocassionally get the feeling when you’re out running that everything is effortless and despite running at pace it just feels like you’re gliding and barely even making contact with the ground. I wasn’t quite there but it reminded me of it, reminded me that it’s possible to feel like that and with more training, more miles, more effort I’m going to get that feeling back, hopefully in one of my races.

I finished my run in fifty minutes dead, two minutes quicker than last week which wasn’t actually a huge amount considering how much better I felt and the fact that I was pushing harder this week. A reminder of just how much effort is needed to knock any significant amounts of time off PB’s for shorter distances. This wasn’t about speed or time or PB’s though, this was just training, and only week two at that, and when I was finished it felt bloody fantastic. I managed to find the Liverpool game on terrestrial tv and even I had a room all to myself to watch it (Sandra banished me to to the front room so she could watch NCIS New Ross in peace). To round off a wonderful evening Liverpool managed to sneak the win away to City and I treated myself to a couple of Ginger Nuts and a cup of tea watching the second half.

It doesn’t get much better than that.

The Beach Boys – Wild Honey


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