TRAINING: A Different Recovery Run

I had a hard time deciding what to do today. Won't get my new training programme for a week, but I knew that my focus is supposed to be on really slow runs, the more the better, to restore my base fitness.

The weather was perfect, so I thought of different scenarios, Marlay Park, perhaps, or going down to Ballinastoe again, or Crone Wood and run around. In the back of my mind, a thought was manifesting: I should run at least 1.5 hours. Then another: I should run around 25k to get this week's total up and around last weeks 55k. Consistency is important when you're just back in training, and with two weeks like this, I'd feel comfortable with a third week in the "fifties" before taking a recovery (periodisation) week, and then moving up to my current "cap": 64km.

The German supermarket franchise seems an unlikely starting point for a running adventure, nevertheless, it's close to Marlay Park, so I thought: I'll shop and then do 4 laps or so.

Starting off and entering the park, covered in glorious sunshine, I changed my mind immediately. "I'll run out the Wicklow Way".

And so it continued, following the little yellow hiker signs, I ran and ran, always slow, and always steady. I wanted to go out beyond the last hill of the Wicklow Way Trail race, but gave this up as I had forgotten to bring food and cover, and the shade in forest made it slightly chilly in my tee and shorts, especially coming up the side of Fairy Castle, where frost littered the ascent.

Wicklow Way

I discovered today for the first time that just following the Wicklow Way, no detours, is a great run, once you're round Two-Rock it leads you for a long shallow descent to the foot of Tibradden, a hill you circumvent to run down the steepest bit of the day, reaching descent grades of more than 27%.

Then you drop out, at this stage you'll have ran about 10k, and face 2.5k of tarmac road through Glencullen before turning down a descent that leads you to the next fire trail, the small gate up to the last descent of the Wicklow Way Trail. At this stage I had been hungry for well over an hour, but still felt fine, so decided to run up a little bit, just to make sure I reached 13k at the turn, and made the run a precise 26k.

The Wicklow Way is perfect for these types of long runs, and I'll make sure to keep using it, adding a few kilometres onto it every time.

Going Home
Going back over the tarmac, this was the only time I felt a bit sluggish, the hunger increasing, and me feeling a bit sugar-low, then I half-ran/half-walked the steep bit back up to the Tibradden trail (ascent grades here reach 31%) and continued back all the way, hence I had come.

Arriving, elated, a little tired, and somewhat cold at my trusty jeep, I devoured insane amounts of juice, electrolyte, yoghurt and orange chocolate bars!

The clock showed 2:44:52, a terrific amount of time to be out on the hills considering this was my first long run since returning. It may have been slow, but I have no doubt it's worth it.

The hill run from Lidl to the Glencullen part of the Wicklow Way and back covered 25.79km and included 800m of ascent and 800m of descent. Of the almost 26k, only 6k can be considered flat.

I thoroughly recommend this route to anyone looking for a nice long easy run!