DIARY: Goodbye dunes, hello marathon

Our last dune session unsurprisingly drew a small crowd, competing with the Ticknock mountain race was always going to be difficult and with Aoife being slightly ill and Jason away on a stag in the West, it was up to Sean, Tony and I to pull the curtain on this series of Cerutty-inspired workouts. We went for a shorter dune loop today (taking less than a minute) to try and bring in more quality into the uphills and really getting the legs driving upwards.

It was good fun, but I don’t regret taking a break from that now and beginning my “proper” marathon training tomorrow which means “Out and Backs” every Saturday, the famous Lydiard “sub-threshold” run which gives you all the benefits of threshold running without the injury risk, staleness, glycogen depletion and muscle soreness that follows regular threshold running. The first “Out and Back” looks gentle enough with 12.5km in 57 minutes planned. I’m usually a bit faster on these workouts, but will be watching myself so I don’t stray too far across the actual threshold. There will be time enough for that when the Progress Calibration Runs replace the Out and Backs after the aerobic phase is over. So head down and prepare to run high volume until mid-March.

My ankle had been acting up a little this week after the hill session we ran in Munster last week, and because I had a particularly busy week my exercises were always rushed so I could not fully get it “worked out”. After today’s running in the sand, though, followed by the icy dip in the Irish Sea, I had time for a long regiment. I had also seen Hagen for my monthly recurring appointment in his MyoReflex clinic, so by evening time all tension was released and the ankle feels great ahead of tomorrow’s 30km plus stint on St. Kevin’s Way. Even better, Aoife is recovering faster than hoped and will do a hike tomorrow before rewarding us with her home-made cakes when we arrive in Glendalough.

We’re missing the IMRA Social this year as we have been away last weekend and are already committed to the Crusaders Social next weekend. We have not had many quiet weekends the last two months, so we had to opt out of this one sadly. Overall, I took a bit of a step-back week in line with my new “cautious” policy and recorded 75km. I’m hoping this will allow my body to super-compensate after the bigger two weeks. My first marathon training week calls for 103km of running but I expect it’ll be a bit less the injury break has taken some seconds off my base pace and I am expecting it will take 3-4 weeks before I am running consistently at the pace I need again.

To help my quest I have signed up with Romain Denis for a lactate test again at UCD and also have begun using a nutrition diary before meeting the professor of nutrition that works at UCD Sports and Performance. I hope she’ll highlight all my bad habits, check if I take in enough energy at the correct times and hopefully put some pressure on to keep me on the ideal path. I estimate I am about 3 kilos too heavy at the moment, so there is a lot of speed to be gained for the marathon in May if I can shed them in a sensible manner and optimise body composition as I go along.