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it starts (again): back on the road

chilly start – original photo ©

This week is when my plan to get ready for Tralee Marathon in April officially starts. I didn’t have anything too hectic lined up, having been through somewhat of a 4-week off-season. An off-season that saw a 54-mile week at one point! However, overall I feel relatively refreshed and I was itching to hit the road this week.

I planned three things for this week. One longish midweek run, one bit of speed-infused madness, and a 16-miler at the weekend. Anything else was just miles without any prescription. I managed to incorporate each of these runs during the week and also hit the mileage window I planned (40-45 miles).

the madness starts here

On Wednesday evening I decided to drop in my speed test. While I’m not doing any traditional interval/tempo work on these projects of mine, I do still take checkpoints for speed and performance. I found the checkpoints very useful last year. They ranged from 4-mile runs to a full-marathon distance at one stage.

Most people will think I’m mad, lacking proper structure and reckless in my planning. That’s good; that’s exactly what I’m trying to achieve here. Completely outside the norm and far beyond into lack of reason and loss of comfort. This week’s 10km ‘speed check’ consisted of a 2-mile warm-up, drop in a really hot mile, ease off for a mile to recover, then 2 miles progressively faster over very long hills to finish. Apart from not achieving a sub-6-minute mile that I thought was possible (ran 6:06), it was exactly as planned.

not a typical session of any description – just the way I like them!
not a typical session of any description – just the way I like them!

Not exactly the most traditional of starts to a training plan I guess. Then again, would you expect anything less from me at this stage? I called this run “what’s the frequency Kenneth?” – a little nod to an old R.E.M. song because I thought it was ‘Rather’ interesting. The frequency shall be once a month. Between here and Tralee, I will run this 10km session once each month by way of a checkpoint. The aim will not be to run it faster per se (if it happens so be it) but more so to observe how my heart rate performance has changed throughout the plan.

It’s supposed to be a testy stinger. One that pushes me to the edge but surprisingly there was very little Z5 activity for the first outing. I’m a wee bit fitter than I expected perhaps? Also, the data tells me that I really didn’t give enough to the ‘hot mile’ – wimp!

the madness starts but maybe I'm a little fitter than expected?
the madness starts but maybe I’m a little fitter than expected?

the long miles

The long miles were just the long miles, nothing too exciting. The week starts with a 11-miler and finishes with a 16 and a 10. Primary reason is to steer my weekly mileage back into the respectable zone and secondly, to have a 16-mile run completed before hitting the first of the 18s next week.

there was a wee bit of ice around 🥶
there was a wee bit of ice around 🥶

Weather played a bit of a part in the 16-miler this week. It was cold; very cold. Footpaths were icy and heavy frost made many a stretch cause for caution. Some of the early miles could not have been sensibly run any faster than they were. As such the desired 8-8:10 average pace fell a little short but not by much. The important thing is miles covered and as such, job done.

fashion ain't my thing!
fashion ain’t my thing!

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