TRAINING: 1st Long Run

I am very proud of today's completed long run for several reasons: 1) I was a bit hungover after my farewell party in Fargo, 2) I had a 15 hour trip from the States in my legs and 3) I was jetlagged and underfed.

So arriving in my house I got a bit of simple food in me, and took an hour on the side. I had managed to sleep about 4 hours on the plane courtesy of one dark masks you can buy to block out the light (I find it difficult to sleep in light).

I set out for my scheduled 1 hour 50 run. The original plan called for 55 minutes at normal aerobic intensity and the last 55 minutes at marathon pace (4:10min/km). Given the terrain and my dubious state, I decided to just try and run a hard aerobic pace throughout the course, expecting to slow down on the climbs (today's route featured about 8km of climbing, 600m elevation and a 7.5% ascent grade).

In the end I was still hitting splits below 5:00min/km until the 18th but then the lack of water, food and overall tiredness wore me out a bit on the last 4km which was mainly uphill. Still, I kept an average pace of 5:03min/km and ran 22.1km (13.7 miles) in 1:51. I take great encouragement from this looking towards my next big race, the Wicklow Way Trail, a 22.2km race with 771m of ascent where I am looking to better the 1:49 set in my fifth-placed finish in 2008.

I only have 7 weeks to get fit for it, but with more workouts like today, I would certainly enter the race properly trained and with a confident mind due to the similarity of the effort. Mentally, the last 40 minutes were very tough because I was so tired and worn, yet I stayed on course. Doing this on a consistent effort should make most races feel significantly easier.

53 miles/85.86km this week sets me up well for the 100k next week and the fact that the achilles held out to this sort of mileage must be seen as a positive sign. Tomorrow is my rest day, but I'll sneak in the 23 minutes I lost on Saturday at a leisurely pace. I need every mile I can get with only 7 weeks preparation before the season to go.