Well, the day finally arrived, I can no longer hide in the light shadows of the twenties but instead must join the ranks of the 30-somethings. I intend to take a positive perspective and make it a Golden Age, I certainly enter it after a weekend of joyful events.
Denmark – In the Lakes
The weekend was eventful as I travelled home to Denmark to attend my sister’s wedding. I wouldn’t be a proper competitor if I hadn’t surveyed the training options in advance. The area of the wedding, Silkeborg (“Silk Fort”), sports some of the most scenic areas of Denmark with wide lakes, big forests and hilly terrain. The city is fittingly called the “City by the Lakes” and the municipal is one of the fastest growing in Denmark with 88000 inhabitants. One of Denmark’s roughest races (with 5 distances up to the marathon on offer), “Midtjysk Bjergløb” (Mid-Jutland Mountain Race) takes place here every year (it’s one of only two such races, the other being “Aabenraa Bjergmarathon” or Aabenraa Mountain Marathon in late June). The Silkeborg version is on in early June every year and has 785m elevation with an infamous climb of 38% up Høgh’s Bænk (”Høgh’s Bench”, Høgh being a Danish surname).
Running around the Lakes
On Friday night I managed to turn a planned Base run into an Endurance run. Running around Silkeborg Langsø (Silkeborg ”Long Lake”) on delightful trails I found myself with great spring in my step and executed a 13.1k run in 58 minutes (4:25min/km or 7:04min/mile pace). I was surprisingly comfortable and it was a great session from that perspective for both confidence and from taking joy from the consistency of the split execution and the composure of form I could keep up for the full duration of the run despite not having the luxury of a track. I’m confident I can make this my true jogging pace within the foreseeable future as my body is coming to terms with a more efficient running style. Running in my LunarLites always seem to make a big difference too.
This was my second “Lake” bagged after doing a smaller loop last New Year which is well-loved by the local professional soccer players for training sessions due to its many ups and downs.
In the morning I did a 30/30 session along the banks of the “Gudenå”, Denmark’s longest river (176km long although in places it narrows down to a mere stream). The name literally means “the river consecrated to the Gods” The place is well-loved by canoeists and kayakers and was a scenic backdrop for this tough session. I had identified that the 30/30 session may have the power to carry me out of my current slump. If anything this session builds resistance to extreme discomfort and operating at near-max intensity, qualities that are central for a hill runner and that address my tendency to blow up spectacularly before a climb has ended.
On the day after the wedding it was all recuperation before the plane trip home. Driving back to Wicklow from the airport, I stopped in Roundwood to execute a session of 5x1k @ 10k pace around the Vartry Reservoir. While I couldn’t hit my target pace of 3:39min/km (5:51min/mile) instead slumping to running 4:00min/km (6:24min/mile) this was alright given tiredness, the long trip and the up-and-down terrain which won’t give you the speed of a track.
Having trialled the Mixed Interval last week, I came to the conclusion that staying with regular intervals will provide a better additional stimulus as the hill races themselves serve the function of Mixed Intervals (only better and more specific). Tempo could also be brought in to serve a similar purpose but I think they would be too draining in conjunction with races and think the intervals will provide better quality (coming up to Snowdon I will be increasing interval length to 2-3km towards the penultimate week).
Now, I’m just plodding along for two days in the hope of being fresh, and sharper, at Brockagh, than at recent races so I can fully benefit from the longer route. I am looking to finish the Leinster League with a few good performances that will give me some positivity to work with before Snowdon and the cross-country season start in earnest.