It is the 19th of December and at this stage, as far as racing is concerned it looks like most of 2018 will surround my luck in the draw for CCC on the 11th of January. Fingers and toes crossed. In the mean time it was time to enjoy some training and work hard as winter kicks into gear. I actually really enjoy getting a good run at training at this time of year. I think back to this time last year when I was resting up with hip issues and wondering when my training would start for The Race in March! It turned out to be quite the 2017 event wise. It just comes to show what you can achieve in a year, even if the one before wasn’t the success you had wished for. I hope to do a 2017 summary post over the Christmas and finish the year with a lash at a PB in the 10km in Athenry on the 26th as well as a duathlon on the 28th of December.
Mountain Biking in the Burren.
My weekday training has been high intensity but boring in terms of writing here. Basically working a bit on speed and keeping strong through the winter. It has been a busy year and the legs don’t need crazy distance. The cross trainer is turning out to be a good mate, less impact on dodgy toes and great for full arm and leg workouts. The gym is a great tool all year, particularly in the winter but there is little substitute for the outdoors. I spent two weekends ago in the Burren trashing out some hilly mountain bike trails and then last Sunday I ran up and down Croagh Patrick twice. It is hard to beat the hills. I definately lacked hill training before the Mourne Marathon and paid the price. We all learn from our mistakes and I hope not to make that particular one again. As for training with friends in the hills or wherever your playground is, I couldn’t recommend it highly enough. It will clear the head and you make good friends along the way.
This time of year is busy for everyone and a costly time too. The best advice I can give is keep up some short high intensity type training during the break. This of course is if you plan on keeping fitness over the break or just having a total rest period. It is different for everyone and important to do what the body feels up to. I had a little money saved during 2017 towards races in 2018. In the last few weeks the plans have started to come together and it looks like I have a long list of events already building up. I won’t get into the details but it looks like a start with the Donadea 50km on the 10th of February, followed by a return to multi sport racing with Gaelforce Dublin the following weekend. I plan on entering a few of the duathlon national series races to work on some speed coming into Gaelforce Dublin, depending on free time to enter. This is my motivation for the winter and I would advise getting a race or two on that calender early, if you feel you need to motivate on these dark evenings.
A little trot and a wander across the Galtee Mountain range is in store for next weekend. We might as well make the most of the 8 hours of light we have. I hope I can get a few photos along the way and make up for the grey misty Croagh Patrick last weekend!
Goofy on top of Croagh Patrick on Sunday!
A little breeze on top of the hill!
Finally my 2015 posting will start to ramp up in the next few weeks. Please excuse any spelling mistakes as my cat is either on my lap or on the keyboard as I type!
Due to adverse weather including snow melt and storm force winds the course today was altered. We were now due to run a 10km loop twice taking in a 350metre climb on a boggy hill both times. I have to say of all the races I have taken part in this one was shaping up to be seriously tough. Gael to storm force winds with a driving mist and the ground was so soft and slippy that trail runners seemed more like slippers.
I decided after a strange week, busy at work and a head cold that this was going to be more of a really hard training session than a competitive race for me. I knew I wasn’t going to be at full fitness but that this race would stand to me later in season, It was strangely enough my first ever mountain running race, which wasn’t part of an adventure race. I’m still a greenhorn really !
At 9am we hit the trail after a 2 km warm up. I felt ok and stayed with the lead group for the majority of the first lap. I could tell there were some great runners here today though. After around 2km we hit some really boggy ground with one of the group taking a tumble, and I could swear he disappeared in the mud for a few seconds. I was to find out how this felt a little later . We managed to wade through this section and reach the base of the mountain. It is only 350 ish metres but it is slippy,very very soft in parts and steep, fun and painful. At the summit the gael force winds hit with a bang and as we descended the wind was so strong you had to lean into it to balance even a bit. I had a slip or two on the descent but managed to catch the lead group at the bottom. At the dib station at the bottom my dibber didn’t work and by time it did 5 guys had screeched away in the distance. A hard blow but I settled into my ” training” mode and decided to push myself and not worry about others for a while.
The second lap was similar, surprise there, a bit harder as I tired and I fell about 5 times. The falls were fine as the ground was so soft. A few guys passed me in the last 2km but all in all I felt good on the mountain and felt I lost most time on the road/trail sections. Some work to do here maybe. I haven’t seen the full results yet but I was definately somewhere in top 10. Not bad considering I haven’t really got into mountain training mode yet this year.
I would highly recommend this course, even for a training route and hope to come back fit and ready next year. Nice to have the first of 2015 under the belt. Now for sleep !
Training has been a little different of last with alot of work on the bike. This has mainly been due to my ankle issues but all in all I hope it improves my biking a little. I ran for 20 minutes on monday and for 30 minutes today and felt good so I seem to be on the mend. Many thanks to my physio who has helped out in the last few weeks. My goal now is to be ready to run the Gaelforce sky run on the 7th of March.
Here are a few youtube clips I have used in recent turbo trainer sessions. I think I am starting to feel the benefit of these tough workouts.
I recently got a tip off of a really good podcast, the link can be found here.
The podcast by Andrew Read is well worth a listen. He goes back to humans routes and the reasons we are built the way we are, and the reasons we are built to run.
Due to my annoying ankle I decided to do minimal running the last few days and do some decent work on the bike. I think things are going to plan and I am starting to enjoy the bike a bit again. All tri-athletes and adventure racers tend to have a sport they enjoy more than the others. For me it is running and I have always needed to work more at the bike while maintaining all round fitness to plod my way through the kayaking. My advice when you are struggling with a discipline is to try to change up the training a lot. A good example of this is to go for a long slow cycle, then a short fast one, and the next session hit the gym for a bit of spinning. The worst thing with hard training is monotony therefore variation is key. I have attached the link to my recent training sessions. Unfortunately my garmin seems to be constantly acting up so I am down to manual imput. A lot less exciting if you like your stats!
I have a couple of races lined up over the next few months. mostly sticking to running and mountain races for pre season. Here are a few links to these events.
Annacurra mountain run, Wicklow
Gaelforce Sky Run
Wicklow way trail
As we near the end of the first week of 2015 I thought I should mention a few thoughts on the year gone by. Firstly I hope this year is just as good, and I hope this blog is interesting along the way!
A quick idea of my results for the year can be seen here,
Or by clicking on the results column above.
As you can see I raced in 10 competitive races and had some good finishes. My most rewarding races were those where I beat times from last year. Gaelforce North and Sea to Summit went really well. Connemara Rough Diamond and Dingle Adventure Race were excellent races which I made debuts in this year. The races included summitting Mount Brandon, Mount Errigal, Crough Patrick twice, Diamond Hill and a few smaller hills along the way. I climbed Carraun Touhill, Irelands highest peak, for the first time in 2014 as part of training. I have decided that the mountain running is definately my thing and I will try to do more of it in 2015.
As with any sport there are lots of ups and downs along the way. This year came with a bit of everything. I had falls on Mount Brandon in the Dingle Adventure Race and on Mount Errigal in Gaelforce North. These falls are part of the game and part of making you a better and stronger competitor, I hope ! I experienced some bad conditions, some lovely weather and amazing scenery. I met lots of great athletes and experiencing more and more comradarie along the way. Myself and Shaun Stewart shared a can of coke as we raced for first and second place up in Donegal, while a very helpful guy swapped water for a gel after I lost my bottle on the bike stage in Gaelforce West.
As always the most rewarding time, after months of hard training, is the moment we cross the finish line. It was really amazing this year to cross the line at some of the events and see my family and friends there to welcome me and show great support. They are the people that really understand how much work goes into making that finish line. Thanks dudes 🙂
As I put together my training plan for the next four weeks in the lead up to Gaelforce West I have stumbled on a few good articles. Il stick the links below!
I have been struggling over the last week to fall back into my training regime and along side this I have a hip pain that keeps on niggling. Was it from over doing it before Gaelforce North race or is it something else? The usual questions that flow through your mind during an injury. The good side of things is that I can still use the bike and short runs seem to be ok for now. It may pass in a few days with the right stretching and foam roller also. Alot of this is curtailed with crazy working hours over the last while and very little chance to get any routine. But there is never an excuse to train, just get up and go every chance!
For now I am going to stick a training plan together and complete it as best I can. I always think training plans are a guideline. anyone that can complete one exactly is doing well.
I have started with a brick session on Tuesday, a good gym session yesterday and the plan is for a low intensity run this evening before work. That should get me going and hopefully motivated to really give it a lash.
Any tips from those of you out there for hip exercises would be welcome. It seems to be my hip flexor but a pain that worsens with distance on a run.