August has been a busy month and I have been staring at this screen wondering where and how to start writing about it all. Let’s kick off with the main news – August was a 100 mile month! I went to running club, got out of bed for parkrun, raced a 10 miler and paced a friend around a half marathon to finish the month with a grand total of 106.5 miles (171.4km) tracked on my Garmin. As you can see from my Strava stat, this is an improvement on July. On one hand getting miles in the bank is important but what good are 100 miles if you didn’t enjoy them or didn’t vary the training to help you improve? Read on to find out more of what type of sessions I got up to and how I am now feeling about my upcoming marathon!
Saturday morning speed
I decided last month that parkrun should become more of a speed session. Not intervals or something to make me look completely daft but I told myself to give it a good go and actually treat them as part of my training. I ran at Porterstown parkrun three times this month and was very happy to get back under 24 minutes (just on one week!) and also wear my new shiny 50th parkrun t-shirt. Two of these runs were just “run as fast as you can” sorta runs and today I started slower and finished fast – all great runs at well under my marathon pace. I was also RD again which, I think, went a lot better than my first attempt last month. It was nice to give it another while the welcome briefing was still in my head so I felt like I spoke more confidently in front of all of the runners. If you haven’t volunteered at parkrun yet then you should give it a go, it is great fun and if you are RD you might even get a megaphone and you can shout at all of the runners (encouraging words of course!).
Monday 5th August marked the start of my second 6-week block at the gym. I have been to a personal training group session every Monday and Wednesday this month, which I really love and the combination of gym work and running makes the weeks fly in! I am starting to build up a lot of confidence with the gym but there are still days, like this week, when I just can’t remember what we are supposed to do or which way you are supposed to stand etc! The instructors are super nice and helpful although I am sure they go home wondering if I will ever remember what I have been told to do! These classes are a total body workout with LOTS OF SQUATS and I don’t think I would push myself in the same way if I just went to the gym alone. Definitely a good decision to add this to the training regime and can feel the benefits already, which leads on to me telling you about my races this month!
Dublin Rock n Roll Half Marathon
Standing at the starting line of the Dublin Rock n Roll Half Marathon is a moment I wont forget. Thunderstruck by ACDC was blasting from the speakers as my friend and I moved forwards with the 2:15 pacing group. It was her first half marathon and I was determined we would enjoy it by not setting off too fast. As you can see we started in the south of the city before coming in to what we call home – Phoenix Park. I don’t think of Dublin as being particularly hilly but I have to say this route was slightly undulating but I reminded my friend that we know these hills and if we can run them on a rainy Tuesday evening after a day of work then we can do them again today. We crossed the line in 2:07:53 – we left those 2:15 pacers for dust and I am so proud of my friend for finishing so strong.
This was the first time I had ran a Rock n Roll event and I really enjoyed it but maybe that is because I had company the whole way round. There were bands playing a long the route but I was slightly disappointed by the lack of support, however it did start at 8am so I can understand that most normal people would probably still be in bed at that time on a Saturday morning! The finishing area was fantastic and we met up with others from our running club for Prosecco. There were bands playing and tents to get merchandise and you could even get your medal engraved there and then.
Frank Duffy 10 Mile
The Frank Duffy 10 Mile is one event in the Dublin Race Series, which includes a half marathon next month that I am also doing and then the Dublin marathon in October. I decided for the first time to use the ‘Workout’ function on my Garmin to keep myself to marathon pace for this race, which proved successful as I averaged 5:25min/km on a scorching hot morning. Again, there are some undulations in the park and the last one really tested me but instead of pushing for that sprint finish I told myself to keep to pace as that is enough and I will get to the finish line. After this, many people have told me “start easy and finish fast” which I understand is great advice but this race was all about testing my ability to feel comfortable at a steady pace. Of course the best thing about this race was getting a purple finisher’s t-shirt!
13 weeks to go!
Valencia Marathon takes places on December 1st and part of me feels like that is AGES away but the other part thinks “oh my goodness where is the time going?!” Here are some thoughts on my training / what I have learnt this month:
- Running the Frank Duffy 10 Mile was a great checkpoint but I need to run at that pace (ish) for another 2.5 hours in the marathon – just how?!
- I did do a 20km run with 4km easy / 4km marathon pace repeats one weekend. This was also a good test and I think I will adapt this run for future long runs.
- Despite getting these faster pace sections in to my runs, I am really looking forward to some long slow runs over the next few weeks.
I post a lot about running on social media and I have to say this month has been very good and I have no reason to be negative in my posts. In all honesty I can’t say I have had a “bad run”. I am not saying it is always easy and some days I can’t really be bothered but usually (memory dependent!) I will still share this before going out and getting it done. One thing I have really learnt this month is that everyone will have an opinion of what you are doing (no matter how they try to frame it) but what matters at the end of the day is your goals and how you plan to achieve them. I told someone during the week that I was doing hill sprints that evening and their response was “oh, you really take this seriously don’t you?!“. Of course I do! This is important to me AND it’s really fun!
What I have also learnt is that there are plenty of people who don’t feel the need to question what you do and support you & all of your crazy antics! If you are one of those people (you will know) then thank you. You just have another couple of months to put up with… until I start planning the next challenge of course!
Thank you all for reading this. Here’s what you have to look forward to in next month’s blog post! Chat to you then!
- Grant Thornton 5K Race
- Hole in the Wall 5K Race
- Dublin Half Marathon
- A trip to Bratislava & Vienna!