Run Commute (2nd day in a row)

No warm up, 11k Run Commute to Work, stretching.

Step 1 – drink a glass of water.

Step 2 – DO NOT drink an espresso.

Step 3 – Get out the door.

All above steps were followed, with a big focus on Step 2. Given yesterday’s experience, I needed to avoid the espresso shot, as it nearly made me get sick twice on yesterday’s commute. This was a good call and no such symptoms occurred.

The backpack I ran with yesterday weighed 7kg and it wasn’t too pleasant running with such heavy load. I dug deep last night and found an old cycling commute bag, which I must’ve bought back in 2012. It’s a Wiggle’s own brand dhb Slice 25. Chaniging to a lighter backpack and bringing different shoes resulted in shaving off at least 2kg. Id didn’t however perform as well as the much heavier Osprey Momentum 30. Whilst there was no noticable bounce when running, I felt that the shoulder straps were slightly off (as in 1cm above) the shoulders and moved a side to side a bit. If I didn’t wear a jacket or ran a longer distance, I would’ve ended up with some chafing around the neck.

As we’re moving to a new office in January, we will still have a shower at work and some lockers, which would allow me to store at least work shoes and maybe even a change of clothes. This will significantly reduce the weight of the commute load. Now, I need to do some research and decide what small-ish backpack should I get for run commuting. I’d say probably a 15 to 20 Litres capacity at maximum. The Run Commuter website seems to be a great resource.

Today’s run was more painful than yesterday. Legs were still fatigued and I felt rather tired from the get go. It was one of those rare happy moments once I saw the office builing. I’m here. I’m done.

To my surprise, I ended up with a better time and a pace just under 6 minutes per km.

Run Commute STRAVA Activity

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Run Commute (2nd day in a row)

Run Commute

No warm up, 11k Run Commute to Work, stretching.

As wife and son are still enjoying the Christmas break, I didn’t want to wake them up and ask them to drive me to the train station, I had three choices: walk to train/bus, cycle to work or run to work. Being on the running high and wanting to get as many miles in as possible before the year ends, I decided to run. I have done this before, so I packed the bag before going to bed last night. It seemed rather heavy, as had to bring shoes, jacket towel and shower gel. I consider myself lucky to have a shower at work. I weighed it and came at nearly 7kg! The backpack I used is my cycling commute one (Osprey Momentum 30), and it’s not the lightest.

I got out the door roughly at 6:50am, knowing that the run will take me more than an hour for a couple of reasons: the weight of the fully packed bag and fatigued legs from the Fields of Athenry 10k on Monday.

As it was dark, the headlamp and a rear red blinking light were a necessity. Thankfully it was a dry and not too cold of a morning. I did enjoy the run, but at km 7 I felt like getting sick on the side of the road. This must’ve been the espresso I consumed only two minutes before heading out. I did not stop and it went away after 5min or so, just to feel the same thing at km 10. The waist strap of the backpack did not help in this situation. Being so close to work, decided to keep going hoping this would go away just like the first time. Thankfully it did.

All things considered, I’m rather happy with the average pace of 6:00 per km.

If I feel ok tonight, I might do the same run commute tomorrow (will lay off the espresso, though), and will make Friday a rest day. Planning to finish the year with a parkrun on New Year’s Eve.

Run Commute STRAVA Activity

Run Commute

Christmas Running

Saturday, Christmas Eve: parkrun

Monday, St. Stephen’s Day: Fields of Athenry 10k Road Race

I wasn’t going to commit to any proper training sessions during Christmas, as I wanted to enjoy this precious family time. I did however want to do the usual parkrun on Saturday and I have signed up for my first and last race this year.

Parkrun was great, as it was Christmas Eve, there were a lot of people running in Santa hats and other Christmas themed clothing. In advance of the usual January increase of numbers at parkruns due to New Year’s Resolutions and such, the officials have changed the course. It wasn’t a dramatic change, it was just reversed and the finish line was now the start line, as the open space will accommodate larger numbers of runners.It was a bit cold and quite windy. Having the route reversed, meant that one of the downhills was now the biggest hill to tackle (twice). I took it relatively easy and finished with time of 25:06.

Once parkrun was done, the Christmas festivities could kick-in properly. On Christmas Day however, I had to slam on the breaks a bit to slow down the food, chocolate and beer intake. I was going to run a race the following morning. I even went to bed early to make sure I had enough sleep. I arrived in Athenry well in advance. Went to the registration point to pick up my race number, race programme and the traditional Athenry 10k hat (It’s a different colour/design each year).

Just over an hour to start. #Athenry10k #running

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This race is organized by the well known Athenry AC and is one of the most popular and prestigous 10k races in the country. A very well organized event, indeed.

Ahead of the race start I did a 2k warm up including some short sprint efforts and dynamic stretching. This has helped a lot and I was ready to go from the start line. The race route wasn’t too challenging, with a couple of small hills here and there, but mostly flat countryside roads. Every km was clearly marked. I had a goal of a time below 55minutes, so I did try to pace myself accordingly. I was however hoping to do it in at least 53minutes. There were two aid stations with water, but I only used it once at km 4 (I think).

The last 3k were rather tough and having two ladies running behind me casually talking about the pros and cons of online shopping and eventually passing me and disapearing in the distance ahead, was not very encouraging. With 1k to go and aproaching the town of Athenry, I decided to pick up the pace slightly in the last 500 meters and try to sprint the last 200 meters. This has worked to some extend and I managed to finish at 52:05. I am very happy with this result and I now have a time to improve upon. My best 10k time was back in 2014 with 49:35. I’d like to get back to that form in the near future.

The post race refreshments were really good. The usual bottle of water and a banana was handed straight after the finish line. Then back at the registration point, a choice of tea, coffee, hot chocolate and multiple types of cakes, biscuits and chocolates.

Fantastic event! Highly recommended!

Here’s a short (quite shaky) video from Fields of Athenry 10k Road Race.

 

Oranmore parkrun STRAVA Activity

Fields of Athenry 10k STRAVA Activity

Christmas Running

Week 12 – Day 1

8k run, 5min stretching.

The cold mornings are back in the west of Ireland. Temperature of 3°C and a bit of wind was had on this morning’s run. It was dry however, which is always a huge plus in this part of the world.

I needed a bit of a change, so took it right at the bottom of our estate rather than left which is the usual route to Renville Park. Ran towards Oranmore village and a bit of coast road to the train station and back. On the return leg, there was quite a bit of head and cross wind. Average pace: 5:28/km; HR average; 165 bpm; Max HR: 177 bpm. Not a bad run altogether, felt good and happy to be out running after not doing my Sunday run. I absolutely hate missing these training sessions, even if there’s no way I can do them.

Registered for the 10k Fields of Athenry race on St. Stephen's Day. 😬🏃#running

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Yesterday, I’ve signed up for my first race this year. It’ll take place on December 26th, St. Stephen’s Day in Athenry. Hoping, that this will keep me in check over Christmas and put a bit of a break on the typical overindulgence. It’s a big race with some Irish elite runners participating every year. Fields of Athenry 10K Road Race. I don’t have a specific target for this race, however I’d like to see myself coming as close as possible to the 50min mark.

Week 12 – Day 1 STRAVA Activity 

Week 12 – Day 1

parkrun & no Week 11 – Day 3

Saturday: Oranmore parkrun

Sunday: Curing a work Christmas Party hangover

Saturday was going to be a very fun packed day, with the Connacht Rugby match in the evening and work Christmas Party straight after, I decided to do my local parkrun. Sunday training session was written off from the get go.

It was cold enough on Saturday morning and a bit wet from the rain over night. Had a banana and a coffee about an hour before the run. I don’t run particularly well with a full stomach and always get a side stitch, even if I eat breakfast 2 hours before.

Legs still didn’t feel too good after that 5-a-side football on Tuesday, which was quite worrying. Mainly for that reason, I was not able to push myself. It is the first time, that my watch and the official parkrun time were exactly the same. I’d like to think, that the Garmin fenix 3 is much more accurate than my previous Forerunner 220. parkrun time was 25:08.

An absolute cracker of a rugby match. Connacht scored a converted try in the last minute of the game and secured the win against Wasps 20 – 18. Ecstatic atmosphere.

Sunday was a hangover recovery day and still not feeling great on Monday. Rest day today and the first training session of the week is tomorrow. 5.30 am alarm as usual. Back to running.

parkrun STRAVA Activity

 

parkrun & no Week 11 – Day 3

Week 11 – Day 2

7k run, 5min stretching.

The first training day this week was the early morning 8k run on Tuesday. This was followed by a 5-a-side football game with workmates in the evening. I havent kicked a ball in over 10 years. I don’t think I have to tell you how hard that 45mins of running after a ball was. Even though playing football is much different from just running, this still indicates, I think, lack of fitness.

My legs were rather fatigued on Wednesday, but I was determined to go out for the 2nd training session this week on Thursday morning. Now, this did not happen. Legs were still sore on Thursday.

In other news, my new Garmin watch arrived yesterday…

Thanks for the speedy delivery @wigglecycling! #santacameearly #garminfenix3

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Being a geek, loving new technology and gadgets in general I am over the moon. It took just over a month of research, reading reviews and watching youtube videos before I made my decision.

Great motivation to go out for a run this Friday morning. Wearing the new watch on my wrist and a HR strap for the first time ever.

It was still rather mild with temperature of 6°C, but quite foggy with plenty of puddles. Started off easy enough, hoping that the legs will allow for the hill repeats after 3k warm up run. Unfortunately, my hopes were not fulfilled and decided to turn back. Still feeling some niggles here and there, I didn’t want to go to intense and risk an injury. Rather than that, it was great to be out running. I hate the feeling of missing a training session, I think this is a common problem with runners.

I don’t know much about HR and not sure what all these numbers mean yet as I don’t even know what my resting HR is, but I’d like to be able to train with HR zones, as according to some people you can really make significant improvements when you pay close attention to it. My average HR on today’s run was 167 bpm with max being 181 bpm.

Discovering all the features and data provided by the watch will keep me engaged and motivated, this I know for sure. I am a geek in the end.

Week 11 – Day 2 STRAVA Activity 

Week 11 – Day 2

Week 11 – Day 1

8k run, 5min stretching.

I felt quite well after the Sunday’s long run, but come Monday afternoon I started to feel rather tired and weak. I was hoping that this is just a delayed fatigue after the Sunday training session rather than a sign of a man flu.

Also, I had it in my head for some reason, that the Tuesday session will include hill reps. Boy, was I pleasantly surprised, when I checked the plan hanging on the fridge. It had 8k easy run on it.

Even though I was tired, I could not fall asleep and kept turning in bed for about 45min. The sleep wasn’t great either and I kept waking up every two hours. When the alarm went off at 5.30am, my brain has kicked in fairly quickly playing tricks on me. Get up and go fo a run? Stay in bed and get another hour of sleep? It did take significant effort to get up. I was out the door shortly after that.

Again, I tried to pace myself as best as I could to make it more of a recovery/easy run. Roughly at km 2, I noticed that my headlamp dropped the lumens power and I wasn’t able to see the ground as much as I’d like to. I was delighted with myself, that I bring spare batteries with me on every run in the dark. Changing batteries on the go in close to pitch dark conditions is not the easiest task, but I got it done.

It wasn’t the most enjoyable session, I felt sluggish and tired. Getting it done and ticking off another run off the training plan on the fridge was the most enjoyable part.

Week 11 – Day 1 STRAVA Activity

Week 11 – Day 1