Category: Robs Training Diary

Robs Blog: Bed v’s Turbo

I check my watch, it’s 6:04am. I stretch luxuriously and enjoy the warmth of the bed. Ais turns over beside me and settles up against me. I lie still so as not to disturb her (as opposed to lying still because I’m being a lazy bollox and not wanting to get out of the warm bed)

I’m thinking about coffee. The draw of that first strong black espresso fights against the pull of the bed. I check my watch, it’s 6:16.

I think about getting up again. Read More

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Robs Blog: Training Diary Week Starting 5th November

We are only just over a month from the ultra we’ve entered. I did tell you we’re doing an ultra? No? Oh, ok so. It’s only a short one though, a 50k trail race.

It’s on the Paramount Ranch in LA. Paramount as in the movie studios, it’s where they shoot the westerns and stuff where a desert would be an appropriate backdrop. There’s a decent but not crazy amount of elevation gain over the 50k. It looks like it’s about 1200m total climbing and descent and it’s run on a 10k lap.


The California wildfires have forced a location change which I have a feeling will involve rather a large jump in elevation gain… I’ll confirm when we know more.

Anyway we’ve really only got time for another four long runs before tapering so I can’t really afford to get soft and skip any.

So on to the weeks numbers…
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Robs Blog: Clontarf Half Marathon

We are in the middle of packing to move house so there’s not too much training going on this week. The highlight of the week was running the Clontarf half marathon with Ais, John and Bren on Saturday. 

I was under instructions to run hard. The thinking being there would be plenty of time for the legs and body to recover as I’m not going to be training to much. 

I figured that I was in sub 1hr30 shape. I wasn’t quite sure just how “sub” that would be though. Clontarf is just about the flattest course I’ve ever run but over six kilometres of it is run across the beach on sand which slows you a bit. It probably balances out if I’m honest. A course with some hills would possibly have a similar effect on the overall speed and result. 

Anyway that’s the excuses out of the way. 

If it all goes to shit it’s because of the sand, ok? Good, let’s get on with it so. 

If you’re not into the whole race report thing ad just want the numbers and Strava file click on through and scroll to the bottom of the post.

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Robs Blog: Training Hours Week Starting 29th October

The week after the marathon was going to be a bit of an unknown. I ran quite a bit quicker than I’d expected. I’d thought that I’d get around quite comfortably in about 3h15-3h20. But I have so little running done that I wasn’t sure. It’s always hard to know how the last 10k of a marathon will go but especially so having only a handful of runs done in training for it.

Things could go very pear shaped. And if they do go wrong it could also affect the length of time it will take to recover and delay my return to training. All of which could make running a marathon a bad idea.

As it happened I had a much better run than I expected. I started very conservatively behind the 3h20 pacers and stayed there for the first five kilometres. When I sped up and passed them I felt pretty good so held onto the faster pace.

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Robs Blog: The Fu€k it switch

Hitting the fuck it switch

There’s about twelve things pulling on my time at the moment.

We’re moving house in less than a week so there’s all of the packing to be done.

There’s trips to the bank to sign papers. There’s trips to the solicitor to sign yet more papers.

Just when I think all of the papers have been signed we have to go and sign more.

What the absolute fuck???

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Robs Blog: Training Hours: Week Starting 22nd October

I come out of the pool after a hard 3500m swim. A large portion of it with paddles, pull buoy and band. My shoulders, lats and arms are heavy and tired. And all pumped up like I’ve done a big gym session.

The muscles feel swollen and huge. I’m enjoying the feeling of “bigness”. Flexing the muscles as I walk (strut) off the pool deck.

I get into the changing room and glance at the mirror as I walk past to check out my newly built musculature only to discover that despite feeling like a mini Schwarzenegger I still look like exactly the same skinny little shit I was an hour ago when I went into the pool.

Somewhat deflated I shower, dress and go for a coffee.

And a protein shake…yes a protein shake will sort out the lack of muscle… Read More

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Robs Blog: Training Hours Week Starting 15th October 2018

I hit snooze on the alarm and I’m asleep before I’d put the phone back on the nightstand.

Nine minutes later the alarm drags me back out of what felt like a drugged slumber. I reach across and grope around the bedside locker but can’t find the phone.

The insistently annoying alarm keeps on going but it’s muffled. I realise I‘m lying on it. I manage to tie myself up in knots with the charging cable. What the fuck is going on?

I finally pull it free and escape the cord, hit snooze again and lie back down thinking that I‘m awake properly now, what with all of that messing with the phone cable.


Then the alarm is going again. Christ I’m tired. I look at the time and try to calculate what is the least amount of time that I need to dress, make coffee and drive into the park to meet the lads for the run.

My brain is still asleep but I think I can probably hit snooze once more. Or maybe not. I‘m asleep again before the thought is fully formed.

Then Ais is up and making the bed with me still in it. I take the hint and drag my arse up and out. I guess my alarm has woken one of us.

The coffee brought me to life a little but on the drive into the park I feel like I’ve been driven over by a bus.

Ais says she mightn’t run with the group as her legs are sore, she’s just going to do an easy run on her own instead.

I think that’s a great opportunity for being a lazy shit and immediately suggest that I’ll run easy with her.

I’m relieved at having the option of not having the gang kick the shit out of me for 20k.

There’s still a part of me thinking that maybe I’ll wake up and feel good once we start running but doesn’t happen either.

From the start I’m counting the minutes until we finish and when Ais says that her hip is sore I generously offer to shorten the run, just so she’s not suffering, mind. It’s got nothing to do with the fact that I’m fucked.

Ais answers that it’s not really worth getting up early for an hours run. At least ninety minutes feels like it’s half way decent.

I’m so happy that she wants to keep on going that I can hardly contain my excitement.

I somehow manage to make it through the rest of the run without giving in to the urge to walk, lie down or take a short cut back to the car or just wander into the coffee shop and wait for Ais to finish and come collect me.

Somedays you just do not want to do the work. Thankfully Ais is here to kick my arse when I’m being a lazy shit. We finished with 1 hour 29 minutes. I was tempted to run up and down the car park for the extra minute but thought better of it. I do not need to look like a mental person any more than I already do.

Anyway on to the numbers… Read More

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Robs Blog: Easy like Sunday morning

I’m six feet off the front of the group and I’ve got the most overwhelming itch to stretch my legs. At the same time I’m conscious that I don’t want to annoy the others by constantly dragging the pace up.

We’re twenty five minutes into a ninety minute run and I’ve felt great right from the start. It’s one of those days when you just can’t feel your legs and running is effortless.

“Fuck it” I can’t help myself. I don’t think I even consciously decide. It just happens. I accelerate and it feels really good. The conversation drifts away behind me and I’m enveloped in autumnal sunshine and the silence of the park.

I’m careful to not do anything stupid like drop the pace to sub four minute k’s and blow up in ten minutes later. I’d then have Ais and John cruise back up to me still chatting and I’d look like an over exuberant tool who doesn’t have any self control or pacing awareness.

So I settle into what feels like a fast cruise. A pace I think I can hold onto for probably a couple of hours. Marathon pace or maybe slightly quicker.

My breathing picks up and I use it as a measure of my effort. I want to be working but not fry myself. I’ve got to train again tomorrow (not to mention I’ve got to work this afternoon and falling asleep under a pile of bike boxes in the warehouse won’t go down well with Orla…)

The trails loop through small stands of trees them back out onto open parkland. It’s quiet and all I’m thinking about is the run, my effort, my breathing, not tripping over the branches littering the ground after last weeks storm and how beautiful the Phoenix Park is in the autumn.

I’m sweating now and my breathing has settled into a faster rhythm. My legs are buzzing with the effort. The kilometres tick off quickly. The Garmin beeping again surprises me with another K done.

I cruise through the next forty minutes using runners on the loop as targets to chase. Trying to catch them before they turn off in another direction but without going nuts.

With twenty minutes to go I pick up the pace again. I’m working hard now and the legs are starting to feel sore.

Maybe thinking I’d last a couple hours of hours at this pace was a little ambitious considering I’m only back running three weeks.

I hang on to the pace to the end of the loop and then jog a fifteen minute cool down that bizarrely feels harder than the run itself.

Then there’s the endorphin buzz that comes after a hard or long run. And of course there’s the cooked breakfast in the visitor centre. And the coffees. And the trophy soreness in the legs.

It’s hard to think of a better way to start a Sunday.

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Robs Blog: The Conflict Of Shortcuts

I came across an article recently proclaiming that a new study had found a way of getting the same gains from less training. I normally flick on past these articles because they’re usually a load of boll%x rubbish but this one had been tweeted by former pro Ironman athlete and top ten Kona finisher Paul Huddle.

I’ve worked with Paul at Ironman 70.3 Dublin for a couple of years and I’d heard him being interviewed before on the Legends of Triathlon Podcast. He was quite entertaining and also not someone who struck me as being the type who looked for shortcuts or was afraid of hard work so I clicked in to check it out.

Sure enough the study found that you could get the same gains in strength with less training, it wasn’t just click bait. Still, I found myself mentally arguing against it. Why would I want to train less? I do Ironman in large part because I love the training. Lots of training. All the time. Just ask Asho… Read More

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