Taper time for Callaghan as Rotterdam looms

We have Ciarán Ó Lionáird as top of the pile with the latest podcast that has been making waves but Eoin Callaghan is building towards the Rotterdam marathon and he’s now coming into his tapering phase. 

Taper Time

by Eoin Callaghan

The week just gone was the last week of hard training as the big day in Rotterdam looms ever closer. With less than two weeks to go the hard work is done (I hope!) and it’s now time to ease back off the training and allow the body to absorb the mileage of the last few months.

This week went extremely well, thank God. It did start, however, like pretty much every other week over the last month or so – that is with a painful 10 mile slog. It was made a little easier as I had company but I still didn’t feel great as I set out on Tuesday, for my last long, hard run of this training block. The plan was to run a couple of miles easy before getting into some marathon paced (MP) work – 1 mile at MP, 1 mile easy, 2 at MP, 1 mile easy, 3 at MP etc. until I hit 5 miles at MP before a couple of miles cool-down. I knew the session was going to be tough after the first mile. I was working hard but could just about get under 6 minute a mile pace – a good way off my planned marathon pace of around 5:35 per mile. I did eventually get into it a bit more but to be honest I never felt all that comfortable and I was just glad to get it finished. These sessions are hard at the best of times but after a busy day at work they are that bit more difficult. 

Thankfully I had booked an appointment that evening with David Campbell and after an hour or more on the table my legs were feeling a bit better but I was absolutely shattered and so I hit the hay almost immediately. 

I ran an easy 8 miles on Wednesday evening (after a long afternoon nap!) and another easy 10 miles on Thursday. I was starting to feel a bit better and was nervously looking forward to Friday evening’s session – 2 by 6 miles with 1 mile float recovery. I knew this was going to be a tough session and was going to tell me a lot about where I was at for the marathon. The plan was to run the first 6 miles at 5 seconds per mile faster than marathon pace and the second 6 miles at 5-10 seconds faster than marathon pace so I figured I’d aim for 5:30s for the first set and 5:25s for the second. I had to treat this session seriously so I went down to Third Space Café for the obligatory pre-run coffee and chocolate chip muffin!

I eventually got the session started after 6pm. I felt really good from the start and actually had to pull back during the first set. For the first time in a long time I felt easy running at a decent clip. The second set was similar- I felt really good and controlled and was absolutely delighted when I stopped after 13 miles with 71:37 on the clock. I had planned on having a quiet weekend but I couldn’t resist the urge for a few pints after a session like that! I discovered a new beer- Of Foam and Fury- that I plan on getting to know a bit better after Rotterdam. However at 8.5% volume, and with a few other beers consumed, one was more than enough at this stage of training!

I ran a couple of easy runs on Saturday- 8 miles in the morning and 6 in the evening. I kept both of these runs nice and handy after the session on Friday evening and with the Dunboyne 4 mile road race on the next day.

I wasn’t expecting much in Dunboyne and set myself a target of around 20:30. After a tough week’s training and with not a whole lot of faster workouts completed I felt this was about right. I couldn’t believe it then, when I hit the first mile in 4:48- I purposely didn’t look at the Garmin and although I knew I was running fast I didn’t think I was anywhere near that pace. I managed to run close to 5 minute a mile pace for the remainder of the race to finish in 20:02. I was delighted with the time and this, combined with Friday’s session, has left me feeling a lot more confident that I can at least get close to my target of 2:25 in Rotterdam in two weeks. A five mile cool-down left me with 95 miles for the week.

As I mentioned at the start, the hard work is done and now it’s time to taper off. I still plan on running around 80 miles this week with a long easy run on Tuesday, a session of 3 by 3 miles on Thursday and a 15 mile run on Sunday with the last 5 getting down to marathon pace. Hopefully I can hold things together and keep feeling good for the next two weeks. Roll on April 13th!!


Training Monday 24th to Sunday 30th March

Monday- 10 miles easy

Tuesday- 22 miles at 6.03 pace (2 miles easy then 1,2,3,4,5 miles at marathon pace with 1 mile float recovery and 1 mile cool-down- set 1- 5.55 pace, set 2- 5.43 pace, set 3- 5.30 pace, set 4- 5.38 pace, 5.35 pace)

Wednesday- 8 miles easy

Thursday- 10 miles easy

Friday- Session 2 by 6 miles with 1 mile float recovery (Set 1- 5.26 pace, Set 2- 5.23 pace)

Saturday- AM- 8 miles easy PM- 6 miles easy

Sunday- Dunboyne 4 mile Road Race- 20.02- 10th place

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Callaghan getting ready for the big dance

Feidhlim Kelly

Feidhlim Kelly

Con Houlihan once told me that tomorrow is now. In taking on this venture I’ve started to try and put his words into action.

I worked for Con from 2007 till his passing in 2012 taking down his copy and a whole lot more. I have a Con Houlihan section which will go in to more depth on that.

I’m a long-time contributor to the Irish Runner magazine and am also working for the Irish Examiner.

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