Sunday, June 11, 2017

On our marks...

So, the final week before our annual charge.

There’s a time in the film Braveheart where Mel Gibson a.k.a. William Wallace a.k.a. Son of Scotland is holding the line as a wave of English soldiers on horseback bear down on him and his men. He has done the preparation ahead of the battle and is lying in wait with big sharp feck off 10 foot wooden poles that at the very last moment he’ll call his men to pull up and impale the English cavalry. As they get closer and closer at alarming pace he starts to shout ‘Hold!!! Hold!!! Hold!!!’ That’s kind of like this week.

Of course, I am not referring to the impaling of your enemies at the last moment but the ‘holding’ part where in the final few days before race day you take it as easy as you can and do as little running as your nerves allows. Do that and you should be fresh as a daisy come Friday.

‘Hold’ could also refer to the ‘hold’ as the race begins where you don’t take off all guns blazing. 5k for some is a long distance, for others it is as short a competition they will race. For both, nothing makes it longer than taking off too fast in the opening k.

So on that, a few final tips:
·         Try not to be on your feet all day. Easier said than done in some jobs like hair-dressing, shop-keeping, on the beat Garda or tight-rope walking. Still the more you can rest, the better for the legs.
·         Don’t worry about hydrating in the hour or two before. That’s for the days before. You won’t dehydrate in 5 kilometres.
·         Leave the beef casserole till after.
·         When sticking on your race number avoid the sensitive parts. 5k of abrasion will leave for an irritating night’s sleep.
·         Try to be early down so you can get out for a proper warm up. Running down to the start line because you are late is not a warm-up. Trust me.
·         This year we will have a timing mat at the start so your actual time begins when you cross the mat. So, there is no need to bunch up the front at the beginning.
·         And then finally there will come a stage towards the end of the race, before the mind knows the race is almost over and the adrenalin kicks in, where you will think this is getting hard. And for the next few hundred metres it will be. But hang in there. You will be glad you did come the end.

Good luck on Friday.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Getting closer

This week I’ve had a bit of a dose and a leg complaint. I guess that must mean we’re getting closer to race day!

It seems to be always like that. When you train for a particular event in mind then Murphy’s Law ensures that something will come out of the woodwork and almost scupper your best laid plans. However – almost – is the operative word. Have faith. The dose you had will clear up. And that little calf strain will resolve itself. Come race day after a warm up you’ll be good to go.

I am not complaining. I’ve still been able to get out and do a reasonable amount of training. In fact, going by the times I’ve ran these last few months I’m in the best condition of my life! This seems strange. I mean, at 38 it’s not like I jump out of bed like I once did when I was er… much younger and I do enjoy an afternoon nap, when work or home-life allows. And it’s not like, two years off forty, is considered the peak of adult fitness. When I look at Championship weekends on the RTÉ all the footballers and hurlers are the right side of thirty. Still at 38 I’ve had personal bests in several distances in the last few months. Maybe that’s what switching from cornflakes to porridge for breakfast does to you!

Anyway, as we get ready for the final run in, just a few thoughts on what you might need for your run. Before I do that though, remember, if you have yet to enter you can click here and we will still be taking entries the evening before (recommended) and on the day (less recommended but fine nonetheless:),

Running Watches

To wear a running watch or not to wear a running watch, that is the question.

The arguments for good:
·         They can tell you how fast you are running, which is especially great for preventing you from taking off too quick at the start of races.
·         They can tell you how far you have ran, excellent for record-keeping.
·         They are handy in how they store your fastest 1k, 5k, 10k, half-marathon and marathon times.
·         They can tell you your heart-beat, which not only helps you identify if you are technically dead can be exceptionally useful in getting you to train at your most optimal level. This is done by getting you to run in a heart zone, which is important on days when you are tired and days when you could perhaps push yourself a little bit more.
·         Some of them are so advanced they can receive text alerts, which is really good if you’re wife is expecting.

The arguments for evil (okay, maybe evil is a little strong, bad so):
·         They can tell you how fast you are running, which is depressing when you are going backwards with still a couple of kilometres to go.
·         They can tell you how far you have ran, which is not always fun when you just want to go out for the sheer hell of it.
·         They are not fun in how they store the fastest 1k, 5k, 10k, half-marathon and marathon of your older brother or sister who borrowed it because they couldn’t find their own and now owns all your PB’s!
·         They can tell you your heart-beat, but if you have hairy arms and/or sweat gets in the way they can be far from reliable telling you that anything from that you are technically dead to you are working way too hard and this still your warm-up!
·         They can receive text alerts. I mean seriously, why would you want anyone to contact you while you’re out running.


Obvious one really. Everyone needs runners. There’s a plethora of brands runners put there that basically do the same thing – they help you get from Point A (the start) to Point B (the finish). If you are thinking of changing you runners because your current pair:

·         Have holes in them.
·         Have half a sole hanging off them.
·         Are going to clash with your chosen race top.
·         Have utterly lost their bounce because you’ve ran more than a few hundred miles in them.
·         Have been last seen in the mouth of your neighbour’s dog.

...then I’d suggest you buy a pair as soon as possible because if you don’t have them broke in over the next few weeks, you may forget about wearing them come race-day.

Finally, the nice thing about buying runners is that it usually leaves you with a still fairly decent pair that can retire to become your walking around town footwear, your working around the house footwear and your just too lazy to get anything to match footwear.


When it comes to shorts there are really just three choices:

1. A nice pair of light running shorts that in rain, wind or shine will always feel perfect.
2. Thigh hugging running shorts. They are like bicycle shorts stretching down your thighs but tend to be a little bit more solid. Some of these have a little pocket to put a car key or energy gel, although you wouldn’t want to stand there talking to people wearing these for any great length because frankly they look a little weird!
3. O’Neill’s GAA shorts. A real classic and crowd pleaser. Wearing these will make people think you are going to much slower than your expected time. A real throw-back to the time we ran laps as a warm-up in the Junior C. Underwear with these is essential.


Four options here:

1. Running socks that you have trained in, meaning they have gone through at least one wash and can be trusted.
2. Running socks that still have the silky-smooth texture because you have only taken them out of the packet. They feel great on the bus up and the walk down to the line but no guarantee they won’t let your foot slip around for half the race, crushing your toes like a 1980’s back seat of children in a saloon car driving the Ring of Kerry without seatbelts.
3. Ordinary socks because your running socks are in the wash or down the back of the couch.
4. GAA socks because feck it, you love your club! (Although admiral, I’d urge against)


Okay so, for a start, this is primarily aimed at women.

And secondly, I am not a woman. Consequently, treat my remarks in the same vein as if I were commenting on how to speak Swahili.

However, based on the fact that half or close to half of those who are running will be women I thought I should at least proffer the smallest crumbs of advice that have been proffered to me from a female runner.

First, make sure you have a sports bra.

Second, whatever bra you are wearing make sure it isn’t the first time you are wearing it. Like new runners and socks you should have at least brought it out for a few practice runs before you decide to take it along for something much longer. That said you should just about get away with 5k of continuous movement.

And finally, a second bra can work wonders in that it can enable you to put/store/stash everything from keys to gels. That this gives you a more buxom look for those early race photographs is only an added bonus.

Other final female related tips I’ve been told include:
·         Fake tan and sweat don’t generally mix, something especially relevant to those planning on going to a wedding the next day.
·         Shaving legs should take place at least a day before so not to affect a good night’s sleep.
·         When it comes to using the toilet all bets are off – a free toilet is a free toilet no matter what gender is put over the door.


Unless the marathon is up and down the Copacabana you’ll need a top. Four more ideas:

1. A favourite technical top from a previous race, either one that looks cool or from a race you ran well.
2. Your club top, which for me is my personal favourite, so you can pick up support from your fellow club-mates or those who simply recognise the colours.
3. A charity top (as long as it a proper one that you can run with and not a t-shirt three sizes too large and made of a substance that reacts badly with sweat).
4. Go wild and pick the most ridiculously retro or wild shirt you have like a ‘Feile ’91’, ‘Engineers do it better’ or ‘Almost Handsome’ because it might just draw people’s focus away from your face of pure contorted pain come 23 miles.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Reason why we run

I can remember back in Trim to when I was young and used to wait down by the old fire station to go to juvenile G.A.A. matches. You’d show up wondering if you had enough for a team, talk about Summerhill disco the Friday before and wonder where you were playing today, 'far side of Navan’ would come the response.

One particular memory stands out and that was when we would regularly spot a guy across the river in the Porchfields donned in the red and white candy-stripes of Trim running up, down, around and about. I remember wondering was he a little mad. It turned out that he wasn’t, he was just ahead of his time. Looking back twenty years ago we must have been like those yokels in the fields looking at these new mechanised contraptions, called cars, thinking they’ll never catch on. Who knew eh?

Now, half the country has copped on to this running lark and it is no surprise that still three weeks away the Braveheart 5k is already pushing past 350 runners. If you’re not one of them and are still interested, get joining.

It’s easy to understand why running has become so popular today. While there is a myriad of reasons, here are my top 11 -

1.       Endorphins – After just a kilometre of two into your run, the endorphins begin to kick in. To those who are a little unfamiliar endorphins help reduce pain and help trigger a positive feeling in the body similar to that of morphine. I mean, what’s not to like?

2.       Bad thoughts out, good thoughts in – With endorphins in mind there is perhaps no better way to deal with a bit of stress, pressure or wahala than a run. My own suggestion is to spend the outward journey thinking about all the challenges you’re facing and by the time you turn for home you’ll be so full of endorphins you’ll be ready to forget all about them. Bad thoughts out, good thoughts in.
3.       Helps the thinking – A nice slow run solo is also a great way to come up with ideas on everything from how to stop the damp in your sitting room to how to break it to your boss that you’re leaving.

4.       Food tastes better – Ever notice how towards the end of those long runs thoughts of roast chiken dinners, spicy curries or meaty pasta dinners begin to dominate. Nothing better to help build a healthy appetite.

5.       Little treats – And if you do enjoy the odd guilty food pleasure then there are few better ways to make you feel you deserve one than an hour and a half of solid running. I remember one marathon training season I was nearly counting the days down to the snack box and battered sausage I would have after than thee actually race itself.

6.       You don’t come home limping – At least not usually. As much as I loved team sports there were rarely times, especially towards the end of my career I wouldn’t come home at least a little bit bruised, limping or beaten up needing a full day to recover. Nowadays it is only in the immediate aftermath of a marathon I have to walk down the stairs backwards.

7.       Catching up with friends – With so much of training ran at talking pace, there are few sports where you can spend the whole exercise session catching up on the week’s events or looking forward to the weekend. I mean, have you ever tried to talk relationships coming down an Alpine ski-slope?

8.       Get to know new people – Returning home from Australia? Recently released for a crime you didn't commit? Witness protection programme? Whatever reason you're new to the town, what better way than to get into a community than being our and about with runners? A sport annually voted in the top 3 nationwide of non-clicky sporting activities.

9.       Races are not just about position but also time, always something to go after – You don’t have to race but if you do, then rarely does the race become about the position. Instead it is about the time you finished, either compared to previous times this year or on the same course last year.

10.   Comradery with your competitors – Do you really spend several minutes after a football match chatting to your fellow competitors complementing them on their performance and asking how they felt? In running, you do. Because at the end of the day you really are only up against yourself and not the person finishing beside you (not really anyway)!

11.   And finally, there are some great places to race too. And where better than the Braveheart 5k?

Sunday, May 21, 2017

The Braveheart 5k – A Complete Course Run Through - 2018 Version

Ahead of you looms “the Yellow Steeple; away to your left is Trim Castle; while in front of you is the Braveheart 5k.

It’s Friday the 15th of June.

It’s 8.00 pm.

It’s about to begin.

On your marks, get set, go!

During a wave start, where your time begins from the moment you pass the mat on the start line, you begin with a short climb towards the Yellow Steeple, a 14th century abbey that is the tallest building in Trim. On special summer evening’s the ruins blaze yellow and this will be where you will finish. But not just yet.

You quickly turn right and begin a slow long descent around the perimeter of the Porchfields; a wonderful green area that annually plays hosts to a multiple of local festivals. At this stage, you will be full of adrenalin drawn from the crowds shouting you on at the start as well as the hundreds of other fellow runners you are competing with. When you include three or four hundred metres of downhill it will all add up to you probably going too fast. SLOW DOWN!!! I repeat SLOW DOWN!!! 

Every year in the same way Becher’s Brook used to claim countless runners and riders in the English Grand National so too does the first kilometre of the Braveheart. Too many runners take off too fast and don’t slow down till they hit the river. By that stage, it will be too late and you will pay for it in the last kilometre where the 'Three Sisters' await!

Thankfully, though Braveheart is one of the most beautiful short races in Ireland, and globally up there with the er… Machu Pichu 6k, the River Nile 5 mile and the Hanging Gardens of Babylon 10 k, the first kilometre is the least scenic so use this downhill section to SLOW DOWN. Allow others to pass you, knowing full well you will see them again in the second half.

Turning right, you will head in the direction of the river, passing the meeting gate where many of the couch to 5k training sessions have begun and ended with smiles (even if there was a lot of sweat and swearing in between!). Through the gap, you will find yourself walking (running) in the footsteps of Scottish patriot William Wallace when he approached York all those years ago back in er… 1994. For it was here that Mel Gibson marched down towards the city of York, filmed on the outside of the Trim Castle, the largest Anglo-Norman castle in Ireland now clearly visible across the river. (For film buffs the filmed the scenes in London inside the impressive curtain walls).
Unfortunately, you will have to look out for that film clip later when you re-watch the movie. For now, you can only allow yourself to roll down the steep little hill happy that you haven’t overdone it through the 1k mark.

At the river, you will turn a sharp left in under the bridge, by a recent image of William Wallace before passing out (metaphorically we hope) into the Sheepfields.

Swinging up to your left, your second kilometre will begin with a steep incline up away from the river. Take your time and keep the pace steady. It’s still a long way to go. Once over the brow you will be greeting by one of Trim’s finest amenities, the Sheepfields. Though it might seem like something out of a Royal decree from Richard VIII that these lands in the centre of town should henceforth be left to sheep, it was in fact one decision those in power did get in right during the Celtic Tiger by safeguarding this green area and not turning it into housing. On any given day, everyone and their dog will be out here ‘a-walking’. Today it’s your turn.

A kilometre and a half in you hit the ‘Ferry K’, an almost exact kilometre box, which you will complete three sides of, that is a Trim training stomping ground. Along the northern side of it you might notice the undulating wave-like surface below you that recounts the fields history not as a body of water but as one that was farmed, furrowed and ploughed.

When you hit the next turn right you are at 2 kilometres so well done. Next up is the corner where many of the juveniles under the watchful eye of coaches and long-time club stalwart Pat Comey often line up for their training sessions. You’ll know it by the small Lord of the Rings-esque like white-thorn tree seemingly out on its own to your right and then its larger companion you meet when you turn left. Springing through the gap you will then left again.

At this point you will slingshot around to your right. If you are tiring a little draw comfort from the fact that you are perhaps as far away from the end as you can possibly be. It is all back in towards the finish from here. As you straighten out towards the river again, on your left is St. John’s Priory. If you are still feeling good it will look like a medieval hospital with defence tower out front. If you are feeling crap, it will just be another pile of ruins you have to pass between now and the finish.

Passing the Priory/Ruins you will have a short respite as the path dips down back to the river turning right for the long run in. At this point, almost exactly half-way it is good to reflect and think how you are feeling.

  • If you are feeling strong and chasing a time you might like to up the tempo just a bit. Don’t shoot off for home but just turn the volume up a little.
  • If you are not feeling great then reduce it a little. The ‘Three Sisters’ still await and you will be glad that you didn’t blow your gaskets along this river-run and had something in reserve for the final segment.

On the only real part of the course that is tarmacadamed for any great distance you will find yourself running alongside the historic River Boyne leisurely flowing seawards. Hopefully you will not be going as slowly as it seems to be.

Passing through a couple of short sharp dips and a pair of giant bottle-tops just shy of the 3k marker, the castle will start to come into view. Then around a blackthorn bush and up another sudden little rise you will suddenly find yourself returning to the beginnings of the old Medieval town, noticeable by a stone arch that dates back a lot longer than the "No Access" signs that currently surround it.

At this point a kilted man on a stallion waving a 3-foot sword, his face painted blue and white will come alongside you to cheer you on. At least that’s what we hope if we ever have unending resources to put into the race. Until then, draw energy from the fact that as you pass under the bridge for a second time you haven’t far to go, except for those ‘Sisters’.

It would be great to be able to keep on running straight up the river path towards home but for we must turn right, away from the river and up the First Angry Sister. While the height is no different from what you did earlier on the other side of the bridge, the slightly steeper nature of the climb and the fact that we are approaching the final kilometre means for many, this will hurt. If I had a suggestion, it would be to attack. Always attack the hills. 

Once climbed you turn right and then left as you break back out into the larger section of the Porchfields. Running along part of the way you ran out, and into the final kilometre gain comfort form the fact that it is nearly over and the pain will not last for much longer.

Instead of completing the perimeter you will turn left up the Second Sister. She may not be as steep as the first but is longer makes it tough all the same. As you head up you would be forgiven into thinking you are on the homeward straight, with crowds two or three deep and the waft of summer fruits from the finish line blowing down to you.

Unfortunately, you are not yet home. Instead from where the crowds gather and roar words of encouragement you must retreat once again, this time down around a hair-pin away from them and towards the main gate. Don’t lose hope, it took Robert De Bruce seven goes to win Scotland, it will only take you three and the next time you turn to face the Yellow Steeple it will be your last.

Turning another sharp right, keeping the tree-line to your left you will nearly be at the end of your feet but will have just enough left for one last push. Keep it steady and just as you reach the Sheep Gate, the only surviving gate into the Medieval town proper, empty whatever you have left on the final ascent up the Third Sister. Through steep and cruel, remember she is just 30 odd metres of pain before you are in the presence of the Yellow Steeple and finished! Braveheart 2018 ticked.
Congratulations! William Wallace would have been proud.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Steady Runs & Blow Outs

There are two key steps for a successful Braveheart.

The first one is obvious – training.
The best approach to training, immaterial of what type of runner you might be, seems to be a mixture of long and slow with short and speedy.

Long and slow – This is when you run for longer than 5k but at a much slower pace than you might like to on race day. What exact pace you might ask? That’s easy: the pace where you can talk about the job interview you did; where you toddler decided to hide your bank cards; how to cook a perfect curry; or who will start the first Lions tour. If you can hold a conversation on any of these for the duration of your run then you’ve got the pace right. Don’t worry that you are going slow, the whole point of these runs is to just get the body accustomed to running for a reasonable length of time.

Short and speedy – These are the repeated runs (usually called intervals) that are short (often no more than a kilometre or 4 to 5 minutes long) where you run faster than you would hope to do in the Braveheart. These sessions are usually the toughest training sessions you’ll do. You know they are tough because by the end of the first interval any thought of talk has firmly gone out of the window. By the second you are relieved you didn’t have dinner before coming out. By the third you are hanging on while by the fourth you are either almost out the back, or leading up front because it’s your turn, damn! And then the last, well that’s the last thank God!!!

Such types of training are ideal for anyone who may have done 5 kilometres previously but slowed dramatically at the end or did it in a mixture of running, jogging, walking and cursing and/or for those chasing that elusive PB (which is not an unwanted yeast infection but athlete’s talk for a Personal Best).

For the company and the craic in doing sessions like these, if you’re not in a club join one, if you don’t know a club but are near Trim join ours, and if you are only just starting then remember Don and Shane’s running groups which are still open to newcomers. To look for more click here.

The second step for a successful Braveheart is a blowout.

Not to be mixed up with the main cause of single vehicle accidents on motorways, a blowout in running is a really tough, tough training session shortly before a race or better still another race before the main event. It is when you realise that your fitness isn’t quite like it was last year and when the second half of a race seems so much longer than the first. While they can be painful, blowouts are the best way to dust off any cobwebs before the main event.

And if we consider the Braveheart 5k the main event then there are many great opportunities to get out and about in the next few weeks to get your race legs ready. From the ultra-competitive Bob Heffernan 5k in Johnstown Bridge to the traditional Patrick Bell Bohermeen 5k a week before, the Star of the Sea 5k in Stamullan to the multiple of local runs in between.

For me my first two blowouts came in the last fortnight. The first was the Meath Partnership 10k in Kells on the May Bank Holiday when a scorcher of day saw more than one competitor rather than blowout but blowup on the way back in as the speed and heat caught up with them. For me I just about hung on along the slow climb back into town grateful the person chasing me down didn’t realise how much in pain I was. The second blow out came in Bohermeen’s annual team road relays where teams of four tag each other after half-mile, mile, mile and a half and two mile legs. It doesn’t matter what leg you run, you’re shattered by the arrival home.

With a half a litre of my Easter holiday's evening cool beers sweated out in one and a half a lung coughed up in the other, I feel I am now ready for race season and when William Wallace comes a calling on the 16th of June seeking us to rise up in defiance of tyranny, English rule and er… a 5k run, I hopefully will be all set.

Next week, we'll go through the course.

p.s. The shirts for the first 400 entries look great!

Friday, May 5, 2017

That time of the year again! - The Braveheart 5k Friday 16th June

Yes, it’s that time of the year again!

That time of the year when you are free to paint half your face blue, grow your hair as long as you want and put on your worst Scottish accent as you ride your horse up and down in front of hundreds of men and women shouting Alba go bra!!!

Why can you do this? Because it’s the annual Trim Braveheart 5k.

When it comes to 5k races very few can claim to be as historic, picturesque and as enjoyable as the Trim Braveheart 5k. I mean where else do you begin a race by running towards a 14th century abbey known locally as the Yellow Steeple, loop around all the way back to a 13th century Dominican Friary before returning along the riverside path of the fabled River Boyne before finishing up overlooking Trim Castle; Ireland’s largest Norman castle! Indeed, so picturesque is the Braveheart 5k route that it is perhaps the only run in Ireland that you could post a slow time and still feel satisfied, such are the sites on offer!

Of course, you don’t want to post a slow time, you want to beat last year’s one or set a course PB so you can conquer it next year! Just like Mel Gibson did when as William Wallace he walked the course back while filming here for the movie 1995 Academy Award Winning ‘Braveheart’. And it is due to the filming of scenes from the movie that took place throughout the summer of 1994 that the Braveheart 5k came into being. Thankfully unlike poor William Wallace, who after being pelted with cabbage and raw vegetables from half the town of Trim, was carted off to be hung, drawn and quartered, finishers at this year’s Braveheart 5k can look forward to some music and summer fruit at the finish as they reflect on a tough run ran well.

Over the next few weeks in the run up to Braveheart, Marathonoloy will provide a weekly guide to what to expect from the race and what you can be doing to get ready for it.

To begin I would suggest any of one of the following:

1.       Book it and get your summer of short races and sunshine fitness under way.

2.       Book it now as I got a sneak preview of the t-shirts for the first 400 entries and they look great!

3.       If like me you haven’t been out enough over the last few weeks, start getting back into the habit of running so that come race day you won’t be found wanting.

4.       Or for those who have never ran before or who think 5k is a distance far out of reach, come along any Tuesday or Thursday to the Porchfield’s in Trim at 7.00 pm where for €60 you will get club registration with Trim A.C., registration with Athletics Ireland, entry into the Braveheart 5k and most importantly the excellent coaching and encouragement of Trim A.C. members Don Mahon and Sean O’Connor who are organising a ‘Jog Run’ and a ‘Walk Jog’. (For further info call Don, 086- 2650285) 

Because remember, ‘they make take our lives but they will never take our freedom!!!’

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Final touches.

Last week. First up, if you haven’t begun training yet then I’d suggest you give this year’s Trim 10 Mile the skip and do it next February.

If you have managed to get out more times than you didn’t, then well done. Reward yourself with what should be a taper of sorts this week. To those who don’t know, the taper is not a South American jungle mammal often appearing on-screen alongside David Attenborough but the period of time prior to a big race where you allow the body to recover from all the training it’s been doing.

In marathon training, the taper is usually a three-week period. For a ten-mile, a week is plenty. The idea behind the taper is that you are as fresh as you can hope to be, come race-day. And to ensure this, you reduce the distances you’re running, keep a few short quick ones though not as intense to keep the body alert, and concentrate on staying hydrated and rested. Easier said than done.

Last week I only managed to get back on the road Thursday evening for a tempo session where I ran a number of sections at race-pace with a few slow jogs in between. It was tough. And I was hanging on at the end as the last remnants of that seasonal flu left me. Thankfully a light 5-mile with a friend the following evening felt a lot better. And so today I was able to take a spin over the course one last time with three race-pace miles put in at the end. It was tough and something that could only be done in the company of two other racing friends. We’ve set ourselves high targets next Sunday and if one of us gets close we’ll be delighted. To give us a chance ideal conditions like today would be great. With the roads were quiet, the skies clear and the wind absent it was perfect and it made me look forward to next week.

So, what to do these next few days along with the training listed below? A few tips:

Hydration – Hydration should be done throughout the week so carry a bottle around with you at all times. Don’t bother drinking any more water on the morning of the race more than you would usually. If you do, then you will be amongst all many others who will be stopping at country gates from mile 1 to mile 4 taking a leak and cursing themselves for the 30 seconds that it costs them. One thing I can guarantee next week is that it will not be warm so dehydration is not going to be an issue.

Clothes – Get whatever clothes you are going to wear on the day ready. You’ll only be out a couple more times between now and race-day so grab a different pairs of socks, shorts and t-shirts. It will allow your race clothes times to rest as well as ensuring you aren’t searching the wash-basket for your damp pair of lucky running socks next Sunday morning.

Food – Eat sensibly. Decent meals that are not huge. They say eat smaller portions more often if you can. If you have children, finishing off their left-overs before you have yours later works well. On the day before, I’d suggest a nice lunch with a decent snack or sandwich that evening. Don’t start trying home-made quinoa if you haven’t eaten it before or stewed beetroot juice because you read it on a blog.

Relax – After that, just enjoy the week. You’ve done the training so you’ve earned it. Well done. All you now have to do is race.

I’ll give a final word of encouragement Saturday and see you there Sunday. Good luck.

This week’s training:
Slow run: 30 minutes.
Tough run: 30 min steady run with 4-6*50 metre strides.
Long run: Race Day!!!

Monday, January 23, 2017

Nearly there

Two weeks to go. So nearly there!

First the positives – I got out three times this week. Tuesday was a tough but rewarding one. It wasn’t as hard as the previous week but even still 5 x 1.4 kilometres with 3 minutes jogging in between certainly got the muscles moving. Thankfully with company it is always that little bit easier, with a bit of a stress on the ‘little bit’.

On Wednesday I managed to beat the darkness for a short recovery run around the town.

Finally, on Saturday I did a light 8 k with a friend down from the capital. It was a perfect weekend for runs and criss-crossing the fields in the town my mate was struck not only by how lucky Trim is to have two large fields complete with walking and running paths but by the amount of people out and about. And it January 21st! The Trim 10 mile will be my friend’s longest ever race and hopefully a great start to what he hopes will be a Dublin marathon year. I have a feeling he won’t be alone in his hopes come February 5th.

Unfortunately, next up were the negatives – A dose stopped me getting out Sunday. It would seem that along with half the rest of the country I have been struck down with one of the seasonal snuffles. It is one of the perks of being a teacher as schools become a bit of a petri dish at this time of year.

As a result, I had to cancel my expected long run on Sunday that was due to contain some race pace tempo in it and I will probably spend the next few days trying to shift it. While annoying, if you are also experiencing something similar don’t fret. Firstly, it is probably likely that by having a dose now you won’t have one race day. Secondly, your training is pretty much done. The last two weeks of running prior to a 10 mile are not going to make or break you. The quality has already been achieved in the last two months, particularly during last month. At this stage, it is as much about keeping yourself ticking over so missing out on training is not a disaster.

So if like me, you have a nose that is running like a broken tap and a cough that you just can’t get in under forget the tough stuff this week. If it lets up a little don’t be afraid to wrap up well and go out for a short 5 k or so but other than that, allow the body to recuperate. Take comfort with the television and the central-heating.

If however you are lucky to be feeling in tip-top shape then great stuff, well done and keep going. However, before you start this week’s training would you ever do us a favour and fix us a water-bottle on the way out?

This week’s training.

This week’s training:
Slow run: 40 minutes.
Tough run: 10 min warm up - 6*4 mins intervals with 1 min recovery - 10 mins warm down.
Long run: 75 minutes slow.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

The Course

As the weeks tick by the Trim 10 Mile begins to loom large. This week after a tough, tough session on Tuesday where I completed 10 x 4 mins at 10k pace with 1 minute jogging rest in between and a light 5k with a mate along the banks of the Boyne Saturday morning, I decided I’d jog the 10 mile loop for my long run.

So for this week’s entry I’d thought I’d give you a sense of what to expect.

The start of the ten-mile is nestled into the Athboy Road side of Oakstown Business Park just outside Gerry Ellis’ friendly shop. Having warmed up jogging down from wherever in town you might have parked and finished with strides from AB Hire (good for coal) to SmartParts (good for car parts) you will be ready to go.

From the gun, you hit the Athboy Road and take an immediate left. Then after a short rise up you will have a nice slope down towards Lidl before the road turns left and you head off out into the countryside. With the hill and the cheers of local residents encouraging you on it is easy to hare off too fast. Resist the urge. You will regret it later. After a kilometre you pass by what will be the final stretch on the way back. Fifty metres later the road forks and you swing right and away into proper Meath country and the first mile-marker.

The second mile sees you continue to roll on out through Clonbun in what could be considered section one of three. As you approach the first short climb leading you into the wooded area of Carrollstown you should hopefully be starting to settle into the race at a nice pace that has allowed the body to warm right up.

With this section generally well-favoured towards the prevailing wind, as you pass by the Woodbine Cottages on your left and the townland of Cooltrim (what a name!) the third mile should be where you begin to really enjoy the race. For those urban dwellers among you, don’t forget to smell that fresh country air and to take in those first early green shoots of spring. I can promise you, you won’t be doing that at Mile 9!

As you enter mile 4 it is eyes on the road time as you hit a few blind corners. With the road being well-marshalled you won’t have to worry but all the same make sure to stay on the right on your way round. As you reach the end of this mile you will hit the rise that brings you into Dunderry. I once did my gear-box here and ended up having to coast into town parking up at the church. But don’t worry, that says far more about the state of my car than it does about this little incline.

No sooner do you enter the village of Dunderry (Meath Senior Football Champions 1995, y’up yur boyo!)  then you swing a sharp left and head out of it. Dunderry, is a strong-knit community and very welcoming so don’t worry if you catch a glimpse of what looks like a body hung from a lamp-pole, that’ll be a scare-crow with their village colours of black and white. Either that of a Saturday night reveller from Horan’s sleeping it off.

Once out of Dunderry you will now start the second section, effectively the shortest side of what is a three-sided triangle, as opposed to the four-sided triangles found elsewhere in Meath. This section can sometimes be directly into the prevailing wind so finding shelter close the hedge-rows or behind really tall-runners might not be a bad idea if a breeze is up. Sometimes this can be the toughest part, not helped by the first of two light but longish inclines. Just keep persevering. Remember, there is a graveyard just up ahead!

While a graveyard might not be the most inspirational of sights mid-race, this old ‘reilig’ is a welcome landmark, because when you pass this, you have 8 and a half k complete and are now well over half-way done. Use this mental plus to help you up the second incline of this section. If you can get past this one, then soon after you’ll hit a sharp left and aim for home.

Though only a couple hundred metres will see you finished mile 6 don’t take off just yet. The finish line is still a bit away. A few nice stretches followed by another little incline will see you through the townland of Cannistown and then into the outskirts of Kilbride. You will know you have reached the outskirts of Kilbride both due to the 7-mile marker and also by the fact that houses are almost built right beside each other!

Heading through down-town Kilbride (the church and school) if you are feeling good and there is no wind or it is only coming cross from your right you might like to push on, beginning with this nice straight-stretch out of the village. If however, you are starting to feel the burn a little too much then I would hold off a while and wait a few more kilometres before a final up in pace. Instead keep the legs moving as you follow the road round left and then back into the lightly curving country roads.

At mile 8 you are not far from home but there will still be two small inclines waiting for you so watch out. The first is in the middle of mile 9 while the second and slightly more ‘bite-ier’ is near the start of mile 10. Get through this one and you are nearly home and hosed.

Once past mile 9 look to Trim in front and right and the sight of the medieval Yellow Steeple calling you home. Once you see that you are nearly there. As soon as you spot it after one last short stretch you will reach the fork in the road last seen in Mile 1. From here you can start to open up the throttle knowing that you have succeeded. The winter training has paid off. Fifty odd metres and you swing right into the business park once more and the final straight. Increase the speed and as soon as you can read the race clock and the finish line, wipe the face for those end of race photos and empty the tank on the sprint home.

You’ve made it. Well done.

Of course, that’s still a few weeks away! In the mean-time we still have this week to think about:)!

This week’s training:
Slow run: 40 minutes.
Tough run: 10 min warm up - 25 min tempo run - 10 mins warm down.
Long run: 90 minutes slow.