DIARY: From Slow to Fast

First three days of my Lydiard experiment are going well, today's 34 minutes fartlek in the Devil's Glen was particularly delightful. Whenever I hit a flat or an easy downhill stretch I burst off at full gallop for until I felt like stopping. Great freshness in my legs and good fun to run around at random like that. 153 days I've now run in a row since my knee got infected and forced me to stop some days after Howth. 2250 km is the total harvest this year and I'll be looking to break 3500k this year.
This leg speed maintenance will hopefully allow me to make a reasonable transition from the steady pace of the half-marathon to the fiercer pace of the Novice Cross-Country in Dublin next weekend. I'm excitedly awaiting news of what team I'll be on for Crusaders. Since this is the first time I'll be representing a team for Crusaders, I'll be happy with any team and hope to contribute to the cause (at the National 10k earlier this year we were only two and couldn't form a team, in 2007 I ran the Intermediates as the only Crusader).
The course is a hilly 6k and my half-marathon performance predicts I should currently run a 5k in 18:20. Given the course conditions and the extra kilometre I will be happy enough to break 23 minutes next weekend as this type of racing won't play particularly well to my purely aerobic conditioning at the moment. In my first and only season in the cross-country I generally ran around 24 minutes, so it'll be an improvement, albeit a small one. Apart from showing my club colours my main purpose for running the cross-country is to observe the tactics, get a hold of the Dublin courses and identify my anaerobic shortcomings so I know where to focus my energy later in the year when time comes for anaerobic conditioning.
I am also contemplating next year and trying to decide when to approach the marathon again. Given how comfortable I was for the first 9 miles, I am reasonably certain that a bit more volume training would allow me to break 3 hours. I ran at 2:49:40 pace, which gives me quite a few minutes to play with. At the pace between 03:50-04:20 every little reduction in my speed seems to hugely reduce the effort and enhance the time I can keep it up. Ideally I'll look at how I progress over next season and make a decision in mid-Summer on whether to start preparing for one. My preferred choice would be one of the Danish marathons (Aarhus and Copenhagen look good) or a small rural one somewhere else. This would mean looking at Spring 2011.

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