I cancelled the recovery run on Monday as my knee was a little tender from the previous weekend's long run, and decided to start afresh on Tuesday. Gerry Duffy offered such advice in a previous edition of FIT Magazine, which helped to reduce my feelings of guilt. It also gave me a chance to attend a couple of club meetings that evening.
First up was a discussion on the next schedule of club training, which will be relevant to me again once the marathon training groups are disbanded for 2013.
I have already set myself some targets for 2014, which will hopefully keep me focused on maintaining my fitness levels through the cold winter months.
It was good to understand some of the thought process that the coaching team of Gerry, Liam and Ciaran put into the formulation of each block of training, and how they think it will help us develop and prepare for the next season of racing.
Then we were graced with the presence of Liam Dolan, Ireland's new Ironman record holder, for a general discussion on nutrition and overall preparation for marathon race day.
Fran organised this meeting following a number of enquiries from the club's marathon groups, and Liam, with his background in food science and fantastic Ironman performances, was the perfect choice to answer our many questions. For the record, Liam set the new Irish Ironman record at 8:45 in Copenhagen in August.
We have our own ironmen in our marathon training group, including Knut Nielsen who set a superb PB of 11:02 in Frankfurt this summer, and Colin Cooney who completed his first event this weekend in Wales. The rest of us mere mortals are using their experiences as motivation to stop whinging and moaning about a few aches and pains from training for a meagre 26.2-mile run!
On Tuesday, I was back on the track for an interval session, which included 5x2k at tempo pace. I have got somewhat lazy in relation to proper warm-downs and stretching after training, so I am working that into my schedules again. Wednesday's recovery was a 9k easy-pace run.
The quality session on Thursday required us to complete 4x1,200m and then 4x800m at interval pace, which is about 7pc faster than tempo pace. The lack of talking in the session was a sign that we were working hard, and Friday's rest day was well-timed.
It suited me to do my long run on Saturday, so I swapped the 14k easy-pace run to Sunday evening. The 30k run at 8am on Saturday morning was again the furthest distance I had ever run, and even though it was all at an easy pace (with no pick-ups), my legs knew this was new territory.
It was just Pat, John and myself this time out as most of the group were going out on Sunday, but we took turns at leading out to keep a consistent pace for the 2:29 run. The new running shoes are well broken in.
I still haven't decided on a drinks plan for the marathon, so for the moment, I am testing carrying a bottle of water mixed with electrolyte, and I took two gels during the run. There's been no negative reaction so far!
The weather has definitely turned for winter now, and it was much cooler with showery rain for the first time since training began back in May.
I noticed on Monday's 8k recovery run that the leaves are starting to decorate the footpaths again, which is nice to look at but can become a slipping hazard if you're not careful.
The current week (16 of 22) is the last quality week of the current block of training, before we taper next week for the Dublin Half-Marathon, the last instalment of the 2013 Race Series. For that reason, we know it's going to be a toughie, and it started with Tuesday's 2x4k tempo-pace session.
Good luck to everyone running in the Phoenix Park this weekend. If you're going there as a supporter, make sure to cheer every runner as they pass – every little bit of encouragement really does help.