“I’m the Dude, so that’s what you call me. That or, uh, His Dudeness, or uh, Duder, or El Duderino, if you’re not into the whole brevity thing.”
The Big Lebowski
There is a ten percent ‘rule’ in long distance running training. In simple terms, increase your mileage by no more than 10 percent per week. Otherwise you stress your body and risk injury. It’s a fairly standard rule, and well-known to most folks who ever laced up a pair and took to the roads and trails. Back in May, I managed over 160k of running, dropping to about 130k in June, and about 125k in July. Already, with about a third of August gone, I have over 80k in the bank. If I continue to make lodgements at this rate, not only will I have laughed in the face of the 10 percent rule, I will also run the risk of picking up an injury. And yes, I did use the word run here deliberately.
But I have made a pact, and so run I must. It certainly didn’t help that the programme start date coincided with our week away in Clare. The following week did see some decent runs and consistency, but I wasn’t really following the programme. By the time I knuckled down, it was Week Three, and by the end of Week Four, I was asked to knock out a sub-43 minute 10k. Well, this is all my fault, really. I can’t blame anyone else. For the record, my best 10k time is 43:57. As my watch recorded the whole run, including warm up and warm down, I didn’t think to get a ‘lap’ sorted for just the pace bit, but I can say without fear of contradiction that I wasn’t able to keep to the 4:20 pace I would have needed as a bare minimum to get anywhere near that kind of time. Not a million miles off it, mind you, but 10 to 15 seconds off per kilometre anyway.
That was perhaps the hardest run so far, but overall, I can tell there is quite a lot of pace work built into this programme, which is interesting. Here is the link to the plan, in case anyone wants to lift the hood and have a look at the moving parts…
So, in simple terms, you will probably have reached the same conclusion I did. You, when you read this blog, and me when I tried to smash my 10k PB after several weeks of tiring training. This plan has veered off the path of Ambition and wandered down the dark alley of Foolhardy. And possibly, so, dear reader, possibly so.
But nothing ventured, etc. I suspect 3.30 for a marathon maybe beyond me. That’s hardly the positive mental attitude required when you toe the start line, but even if that pinnacle is indeed beyond me, I am hoping that I can slice a decent chunk off the best time I have managed to date, which is 3:55:56 in Dublin, 2019. Of course, marathon runners know there is a serious risk in going out beyond your pace ability. Do you aim for 3.30, blow up after 20 miles, and limp home in 4 and bits (and in bits!)? Or do you run conservatively but at a pace you can sustain, and get something like 3:45? Questions, questions. And no answers to these either, until we’ve at very least survived the programme without any serious issues, and also tackled Gaelforce West, if that also goes ahead. That’s about a month away, and as I have decided to focus on running, I won’t have much biking in the legs, nor will I get much mileage in a canoe.
But that’s okay; Gaelforce was really a bucket list kind of gig. It’s probably Ireland’s most famous adventure race, so completion is the name of the game. And surviving unscathed! I keep expecting Covid to crap all over it once again as it did last year, but so far, so good.
In other running news, it was two years ago when I tackled the Connemara100, and this weekend coming, another batch of brave souls will take on the challenge. I wish them all, their crews and the support teams and marshals, all the very best.
And now, if you don’t mind, I have to head out for [checks programme]… 8k at 5mins/km pace. Woohoo.
Only yourself to blame, dude. Only yourself to blame…
Or, as the big man would say himself: “Sooner or later you are going to have to face the fact that you’re a moron.”