Waterford half marathon – 1st December 2012

Mission accomplished. Shaughs (with shocking socks) and work colleagues.

[Race report by Brian O’Shaughnessy]

Waterford has a reputation of being one of the best half marathons in the country and is timed to fit nicely into winter base training. The 1500 places filled up particularly quickly this year with many in our own club and other clubs in Wexford unfortunately missing the cut-off. The race is known as a flat course and that was certainly true in years past – however due to work being carried out on the Regional Sports Centre track the course was changed.

We had 3 lads from work running and Frank had been drilling them for the last few months so he kindly agreed to drive down (thanks Frank!). Lovely morning with no wind but cold, a lot of people wore long sleeved tops but a vest was actually fine. The socks Frank kindly referenced were in aid of a calf Injury I’d been carrying for a while and in fairness they seem to help (David F will be glad to hear that they were Aldi’s finest!). They lined up the runners in predicted 10 minute splits

and this certainly helped with a smooth start. Eugene Doherty from SBR was alongside me and he was hoping to run 1.24/1.25 – he’s well into his 50s and a seriously hardy boy cut from the Bernard Fortune mould so I decided to try tag along with him. As it happens he went out like a hot snot so I let him on and eventually passed him at mile 6 or so.

The first half of the course was very nice, pretty much flat or gentle rolls and we went through the first 5 miles in 31.40 fairly comfortably, last year I went out too hard and was in trouble at 3km, not a good idea! The fun started after this – the backend of the course was very hilly and for some reason the roads were extremely greasy. I was still holding my own in the group of 5 or 6 and concentrating on not burying myself into the uphill and working hard on the downhill. The last mile was on a good tarmac track around a park, a lot of people were giving out about it after but I thought it was a lovely finish – only complaint was you had to come to a near complete stop to make the turn to get into the park and I lost the group. Came over the line in 1.24.39 in okay shape, PB by over 2 minutes and very happy. Frank’s 3 amigo’s all broke 2 hours with one of the lads going from a PB of 2.11 to 1.51 on the day!

Training had been high volume with not much speed, I never approached 4 minute/km in training since the cross country 6 weeks previous. All training was done on heart rate and time, never pace. The hardest sessions (7 by 2100m at 150bpm plus warm up and down) were never done at a higher heart rate that a medium tempo (that’s ~152 bpm for me), all long runs were done at a very easy pace (~ 5.50min/km, < 130 bpm). Given my heart rate in a race is probably 165-170bpm it’s interesting to see that you don’t always need to approach that in training for longer events. Jackie Carty (2nd lady home) and Niall Shield (6th man home) are using this method as well to great effect under the watch of coach Pavel.

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