Longer, harder, better

The adjectives of the title could refer to the current status of my running as much as to my love making but as this is a running blog I’ll only update you on the running bit.

This morning I squeezed in about 19 miles in the horizontal wind and rain of a January Atlantic low. I’ve spent the last few months hovering around 16 miles for long runs but including hills to compensate for  the lack of distance.

All the same, with just under 3 weeks to the first (and most likely last) back to back marathon weekend of my life I realised that there was no substitute for distance when it comes to training. Reaching mile 18 of any marathon and knowing that you can piss out a 22 miler on a Sunday morning makes the retreat into yourself and the disassociation with the rising pain in your legs much more manageable.

What was good about today’s run was that, while the pace was closer to ultra marathon than marathon the distance passed by easily. By mile 15 I had that gentle running style where you are effortlessly rocking from leg to leg and the miles seem to click past faster than the first hour of running. I only called it a day at mile 19 because in the battle between my bed at the start of the day (over slept by an hour) and family commitments at the other end I hadn’t left enough time to reach 20 miles or more (the target for the day).

Still, on minimal nutrition (a few gels and a bottle of water) I still felt like I could have gone on for another half an hour which bodes well for marathon distances.

That said, I’m very realistic about the back to back marathons and am only looking at them as another blogger recently said as time on my feet and not particularly as a race.

On the kit front I’m now well into my first pair of New Balance 1080V2’s. New Balance are riding the bandwagon of the migration towards minimalism which is not something I’m interested in for ultras as I believe that cushioning is the way to go for distances over 40 miles. That said, they have a lower heel rise than their predecessors (8mm versus 12mm) and I’ve found that this has encouraged a mid-foot gait which seems to working in terms of running style and injury. I have a chronic sore left knee and this is in abeyance with the move to mid-foot running. However I predict a calf or achilles injury as a result of this change.

In terms of my next set of shoes I am thinking of taking the plunge and picking up a set of Hokas but the eye watering price tag (€160), the lack of a retail presence in Ireland and not really knowing which shoe to go for (they seem to have either a 6mm or 4mm heel rise) is putting me off. If I chicken out on this I’ll stick with my current strategy of always buying last year’s model. If you’re plugging through mud and shite in a pair of shoes then paying top dollar for them is foolish.

I also had a revelation on the running jacket front today. If, like me, you open the front door to an icy gale, get goose bumps, erect nipples and a tiny cock all at once then you’ll be familiar with the drill of rooting out the one of about 6 running jackets – none of which are waterproof -, beanie hats and gloves and heading out the door only to be sweating like a glass blower’s arse after about a mile and having to run on with the jacket tied around your waist like a kid on a school tour. And so it was this morning. Only this time I took the wife’s gore-tex performance shell.

A what?

Basically it’s pretty much a running jacket (marketed as being for mountaineers who do the hanging from the ropes bit as opposed to the stout walking boots and a pack lunch brigade). She wears it for coaching kids’ hockey. It’s nothing but a layer of gore-tex, two pockets and a hood so big it’s like a training parachute (I think the hood is supposed to accommodate a helmet for when you’re hanging from the ropes)

Apart from the hood – which I think you can tuck away – it was excellent. I stayed dry and didn’t have to run like someone wrapped in clingfilm. A win.

Now, they’re expensive bits of kit, these jackets, but if you keep an eye on sites like http://www.sportspursuit.com you can pick them up for less than half price on what they cost on the high street in Ireland. I think this will make it’s way into my running kit once I can find a jacket to replace it for my better half. The other benefit of not sweating up in it was that neither it nor I smelt like a pair of tramp’s underpants.

Always a plus.



2 responses to “Longer, harder, better

  1. ThomasBubendorfer

    I wouldn’t have believed your own assessment of your love making anyway, that’s for your wife to judge. Blokes tend to give a somewhat unreliable account on that front.

    More importantly, don’t you get hot and steamy when wrapped in gore-tex? When running, I mean?

  2. Tony Steidler-Dennison

    Excellent comments on the New Balance shoes. I’ve recently switched over to Brooks PureConnects, which are also low drop (4 mm) with cushion. Like you, that allowed me to go more mid-foot without the chunky heels to get in the way. My experience was that I moved to these shoes with no transition from the old style, and without injury. However, you’re right to be conscious of Achilles issues. Mine were sore for a week or so, though not injured. I stretched and ran through the soreness without any problem. It was really more an annoyance than an issue. I can’t see ever running in shoes with a higher drop than that again.

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