FIT SQUAD - Eoin McGinn
The 2013 Dublin Marathon race series kicked off with the Irish Runner 5-Mile race in the Phoenix Park on Saturday morning.
This race was not part of the training plan so I had to jig my schedule around a little (again) to accommodate it.
There are some races that I had committed to in advance of the plan, and I am also enjoying racing injury-free again.
There was a mix of 1,200m at interval pace and 2,000m at threshold pace in the quality sessions on Monday and Wednesday. They weren't easy but I was pleased to finish both strongly.
The first recovery run was planned for the track on Tuesday night, where I went to support Olwyn amongst others competing in this month's club Mile Trial.
While my wife Olwyn knocked 12 seconds off her previous best, I spent too long cheering and chatting on the sidelines before joining the last run of the night to also take a couple of seconds off my previous time.
Our marathon training groups have been disconnected somewhat from the normal groups since the training plan kicked in, so it was nice to get back to the track and catch up with the other club members, and see how well they are progressing.
Thursday was a much-needed rest day, and to get the legs moving again before race day, I joined Frank McCarthy for a short, easy run around town on Friday evening.
I was sceptical about doing the run on the evening before a race, but I think it did help. Conditions were good and the weather was kind for Saturday's race, as were Elvery's Sports with their pre-race boost drinks.
I am working on a race strategy of holding back a little at the start, rather than racing off too quickly, and given the MC's announcement that the second half of the race was hilly and more challenging, I thought this was a perfect day for a trial.
Orla, Brian and myself paced ourselves nicely over the first two miles, but on reaching that point, I think I realised that I'd stayed in cruise control for too long.
I put the foot down and raced through the next two miles at a fast pace, even though this was the hilly section of the course.
The beginning of the fifth mile was tough as the hills finally caught up with me, but I found something in the tank to finish very strongly over the last 500 metres and claim a new five-mile pb of 33.28. That's a massive 51 seconds less than the Raheny 5-mile last January.