Category: Robs Training Diary

Robs Blog: The Boston marathon 2017

A race normally warrants a race report but in this instance it doesn’t. When we started training properly for the Boston Marathon I thought that a low 3 hour finish was possible. Especially after my half marathon on New Years eve where I was quite a bit fitter than expected at that stage. In fact Ais commented afterwards that she had no idea where I had pulled that run out of given our lack of training in the preceding month and if Ais was impressed then I was happy that I was starting out in reasonably good shape.

Anyway the training went well for the next couple of months and for the first time in a long time I felt like it was working well, the body was handling and absorbing the increasing load. I was seeing constant steady improvements as the year progressed. At some point along the journey my aim became to go sub 3 which I haven’t done in a number of years. The numbers I was seeing in training indicated that I was close and we reckoned that with a good day I had a really good chance of a finish time starting with a 2.  Read More

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Robs Blog: Week 13 2017

This week is the last weeks training before starting a two week taper for the Boston marathon. The training load is light as work is getting increasingly busy but the sessions I get done go really well. I think this is our fourth week back doing a weekly strength and conditioning session with John Belton and I’m really feeling the benefits of them. I think it’s increasingly important to incorporate S&C work almost all year round. I went and got a very specific S&C plan prescribed by a specialist physio in the Santry sports clinic last year and then worked on that and nothing else with John for half a year. Eamonn in the Sports Clinic identified what had caused my back problems and instead of working on the symptoms he gave me a program of really specific work to fix the cause.
John took the plan and we worked on it gradually increasing the difficulty as I adapted to the load and as a result my back is in the best condition it’s been in in ten years or more. I think this is the best way to incorporate S&C work into a plan. Identify the weak areas that are likely to break down or cause an imbalance or injury and fix them, not just treating the symptoms. This requires working with a really specialist sports specific physio like Cillian Moffat who you can find here as opposed to just going into the gym and lifting weights or doing basic core work. When I went in for back surgery in 2014 I had, for the first time in my life, a somewhat proper six pack and my core was in the best shape of my life. Despite this my back failed and I ended up having surgery and spent two months in bed recovering. If I had identified why my back was going instead of assuming that a strong core would protect it I would probably never have needed surgery.

Anyway lets get on with the weeks training which actually includes TWO swims if you can believe it. I almost feel like a triathlete again… Read More

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Ironman training: Robs Blog: Week 12 2017

We are only three weeks out from Boston marathon at this stage and I’m looking forward to my first attempt to run a quick time in a marathon in probably four or five years. In fact I can’t remember the last time I trained for and ran a hard, stand alone marathon. All of the ones I’ve done in recent years have been run easy as long training days or have come at the back end on an Ironman. Physically I’m feeling good and am confident that I’m in reasonably decent shape but I’m aiming for a time that’s going to be right at the edge of my current fitness.

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Ironman training: Robs Blog: Week 9 2017

It was like someone pulled the plug out of me this week. All motivation and energy were gone and I ended up in a sort of holding pattern. I only managed a couple of short runs during the week and one decent one on Sunday but otherwise the week was a bit of a non event.

Luckily enough it doesn’t happen to me too often but occasionally I just completely lose the desire to train. I used to just stop completely when this happened, sometimes for as much as a couple of weeks, and of course I would end up losing a lot of the progress I’d made. Now though I try to just tick over with very easy, short runs or bikes so that at the very least I hang onto whatever fitness I’ve gained and it also serves as an easy recovery week.

That’s what this week became. Hopefully things will be back to normal next week. Click on through for this weeks fairly short update… Read More

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Ironman training: Robs Blog: Week 8 2017

Some days you’re the hammer. Some days you’re the nail.

Today I was the nail. And the hammer was not really a hammer, more like a 40 ton steam roller….


For the last number of weeks our Sunday run in the Phoenix park has been a gradually building sort of affair. It started off at two hours, all easy. Then we stretched it to three hours and as we became comfortable with the distance we started adding a little pace into the last hour.

The last two weeks saw us build the pace from the half way point and run a strong negative split for the second half.

This week Ais wanted me to run with a faster group from the start and see how I got on. A couple of the lads from that group said they had been averaging 5 minute k’s for their 20k run for the last few weeks.

Grand, I thought. That should be comfortable.

Famous last words.

The pace did start at 5 min/k’s but the speed gradually crept up until by about the 10k point we were running 4:15/k pace. I was working fairly hard but still confident that I could manage another 10k at that pace.

The problem was that while the group I was running with only had 10k left I had another 24k to go. I knew I wouldn’t last that long at this pace so three of us backed off a little.

In the end we finished out the first 20k lap in about 1h30 and after a quick pitstop at the car to grab a gel and some water I headed out for another 12-14k.

Four of the others were extending their run a little so started out with me but cut out after ten minutes.

All except Barry.

I was surprised to see him still running with me so asked him how long he was doing. We had met him near the end of our first lap and he had jumped in with us. He said he was happy to do as much as I was.

Without trying to sound like I was making excuses I told him I wouldn’t be going too quickly. I was already a little fried after the first lap and was just making up time on my feet.

Barry answered that he was happy to run at whatever pace I liked as he was only making a return to training. I was still very dubious that I wouldn’t be slowing him down too much. Barry Minnock is a sub 2:20 marathon runner. In fact I think he also has the Olympic “B” standard qualifying time for the marathon so chugging along with me at 4:40/k must have felt like being out for a brisk walk.

I’m surprised he wasn’t shivering. Anyway he dragged me through another 13k and I finished up doing 33k in just over 2 hours 35.

I’ve seen a couple of minutes improvement over the three hours most weeks since the beginning of the year without too much effort. If I’d started off today with the ambition of lopping off over 20 minutes in one fell swoop I would have told you that was probably a tad ambitious and to be honest I probably wouldn’t have had the confidence to try without firstly the push from Ais, then the group and lastly from Barry. Sometimes you can pleasantly surprise yourself.

Lets get on with the weeks training…


Monday 20 2:00 (1)

Bike 2:00 60k turbo

This was another one of those lactate threshold sets. Very unpleasant while doing it but savagely satisfying afterwards.


Tuesday 21 —

Off


Wednesday 22  2:25 (2)

AM: Run 1:40 16.5k hills.

PM: Run :45 10k


Thursday 23  1:50 (2)

Swim 1:05 2800 Paddles set

Run :45 8k easy run


Friday 24  1:10 (1)

Run 1:10 12k


Saturday 25  2:30 (1)

Bike 2:30 57k


Sunday 26  2:40 (1)

Run 2:40 33k

This is the run I talk about at the start of the post. Enough said.


Total 12:35 (9)

Swim 1:05 2800 (1)

Bike 4:30 117k (2)

Run 7:00 89.5k (6)

S&C —


Accumulated 

Total 46:15 (31)

Swim 3:55 10,300 (4)

Bike 18:30 447k (8)

Run 22:25 260.5k (17)

S&C 1:00 (2)

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Ironman training: Robs Blog: Week 7 2017 

I experience what feels like a moment of transcendence. All external stimulus dims and my internal chatter quiets. All I’m aware of is my fast rhythmic breathing, my quickening heartbeat, my feet hitting the ground. I feel the strength and I’m aware of my fitness. Running faster feels effortless. It’s not like I’m floating, rather I’m feeling strong. I’m hyper aware of everything working together, a part of me knows that this won’t last but as soon as that thought surfaces I switch my focus back to just being here right now and enjoying this moment.

I can hear Fergal’s breathing on my shoulder it’s hard, a little harder than mine but I’m confident he can hang on a while longer. I have a strong urge to turn the screw, make him hurt more and in previous years that’s exactly what I would have done. But that’s not the purpose of this run and this time it’s easy to resist the momentary urge. I return to an awareness of my breathing and my effort and hold the pace.

The numbers don’t matter. My speed or distance or the average pace mean nothing as I hold onto this feeling.

In the end it does last. It lasts longer than during any of my runs this year. I’m reminded of what it felt like to be really fit. I spend the best part of an hour feeling this strong and as I eventually start to fade I try to hang on just a couple of minutes longer but all of a sudden it’s gone and my legs are empty.

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Ironman training: Robs Blog: Week 6. 2017

I’ve been feeling like I’m getting to the limits that I can push before I need to back off for a few easy days. We don’t work off a three week on, one week off model. Instead we keep building up until we decide that I’m at the limit of not just what I can do but more importantly what training I can do and absorb and benefit from.

This is always a bit of a balancing act as we are trying to push the body into adaptations but we don’t want to push so far that I get injured or sick. As it is I’ve been carrying a very mild sinus infection for about five weeks. It’s not getting any worse but it’s also not clearing up. I think it’s tied to the allergies I suffered with for most of last year but I seem to be able to manage it and hold it at bay a little better so far this year.

Another important difference this year to last is that I’m already starting to feel the training adaptations and see improvements in my running and biking as I would expect given the current training load. Anyway let’s get on with the weeks training.

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Ironman Training: Robs Blog: 2017 Week 5

If you’ve never experienced one it’s difficult to describe just how hard the two hour turbo class we do on Monday’s are. We had one of the lads lose his lunch about 30 minutes into the session this week. He had to spend five minutes in the toilet but then he came down, got back on the bike and finished out the session.
I was really impressed.
I’ve only puked off the side of the bike a couple of times in my 18 years cycling. Once was during a mountain bike race and once in a road bike race. It’s very unpleasant and it’s hard to come back from but Joe dug in and kept going.
We have a couple of spaces left in the current block of classes if you fancy joining us drop Grace a call in the shop and she will sort you out the number is 01 6201000. All you need is a bike, towels, water and your kit. You can even rent a turbo if you don’t have your own and we will provide the bucket if you can push hard enough that you need one. Just ask Joe.
Anyway let’s get on with the weeks training.

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Ironman Training: Robs Blog: Week 4 January 2017

I started the year really tired and feeling almost burnt out. It took quite a bit longer to recover from the last few races of 2016 than I’d anticipated but as we get to the end of January I’m finally starting to feel normal again.

I’m also really enjoying the feeling of returning fitness and the unique buzz that comes from just running. Most of my training this month was done on my feet which means that I’ve made reasonably quick initial progress as I mostly just focus on the one sport.

Even with the gains I’ve made though, it’s hard at this stage to see how I’ll hold my target marathon pace for 26 miles. I know I shouldn’t focus or worry about something that is still over two months away but every so often (usually when I’m struggling during some of my faster efforts) I can’t help but wonder how the hell I’ll run this fast for hours…

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