They say to run you need to be a little bit mad. I think to run marathons you need to be totally mad.

My name is Philip Slattery and i have a running addiction. This blog will be my trails and tribulations of all things running.

From my journey to get a constant sub 20 5k (so far I broken it once) to the journey to run all the marathon majors. Major number 2 in Berlin coming in 2018

When not running the roads of North Kildare and West Dublin Dublin training I can be found at Castletown parkrun where I am Event Director. If you don’t know what the fuss about parkrun is get yourself to one you will not be sorry.

The sub heading to the site “the run is only part of the story” is due to an old Muhammad Ali quote “The fight is won or lost far away from witnesses – behind the lines, in the gym, and out there on the road, long before I dance under those lights” 

As a friend once told me a marathon is not 26.2 mile race that just the end of it. Its the early morning and late nights training building up to it that will really define the race.

Have a look around the site and enjoy the visit. I will try post a new blog at least once  a week.

week ending 11/2/18

So the last week before the training starts for Cork Marathon starts. I did something this week i have not done since 2014. I did a training run with a club, even better i did something i have not done since the 90’s. I went back for a second run with that club.
Monday morning started off nice and early with a 5am 5k. Average pace for my easy 5k was 8.16/km with a 123 average heart rate. Its a nice way to get the week started. It also had you very alert for by the time work starts at 9.
Tuesday night was a big step for to join a running club. 2014 was last time i ran with a club and that was ULAC when doing my masters. Did 1 session and went back to training by myself. I decided to jog the 3k to the club as my warm up. When i arrive i was greeted by some familar faces from parkrun. I was told tonight was 5×5 minute blocks. My splits for the 5 block were 4.00, 4.03,4.02,4.02, 4.14. Overall it was an enjoyable first night and im sure that it will help me over time being a member of a club.
Thursday was back to the club again. This time 3×10 minute blocks was the target. My splits this time were 4.24, 4.06, 4.15. I was happy again to see them in the low 4’s. I also think as I get used to running on tracks those times will get a better as well. Similar to tuesday it was a run to and from the club as my warm up/warm down
Saturday was back to parkrun as the journey to 100 continues. At the moment I am trying to take my parkruns easy so I am chatting my way around the 5k. Today i was just over the 30 minute mark which is grand as an easy run. I’m judging that off its easy if you can run and talk at the same time. But parkrun #77 marked off along with volunteer #84
Sunday the week finished off with a 10k LSR i decided to do it as a step back run ahead of the training for Cork. It was a 5 minute warm-up with 10k a 6 minute pace. Should have gone off heart rate but the monitor was not working. Followed by a 5 minute cool down to finish off.
Thats a 45.5k week that leave me just on the average for my 1,600k year.

Fortnight ending 4/2/18

Have to do a two week catch up. Last weekend got away from me. Between work and a small out of the flu running took a back seat. week 1 was not bad but week 2 was a weekend warrior.
Tuesday week 1 starting with a 6k tempo. this was completed in 27:44 with a 174 average heart rate. The tempo runs are getting a little easier now so it may be a sign to pick up the distance.
Wednesday was a recovery run. still not got the aim of getting u early for these so was an after dinner run.
Saturday was back to my easy parkruns. while all other runs are done via heart rate but parkrun i slow down by chatting my way around the course.
Sunday rather than a long run it was doing the Charlie Curran 5k as a race. While the started off well i set off with the 20 minute pacer. At the end of the first km i was on 3:51 but the pacer was a good 10 seconds ahead of me. I pushed as much as i could but the sub 20 was not in me. I crossed the line in 16th place in 20:54. This would be my 4th fastest 5k time. While at the race i treated myself to a new medal race from Display king. Also in the mega draw for the charity entries i won entry into this years DCM.
Thursday week 2 was in for my VO2 ahead of training. My VO2 was up to 158 with my longest test to date. The only downside was my endurance zone end dropped from 166 to 151. Hopefully from training for Cork i will be able to get it back up to the same level.
Saturday was back to parkrun for an easy parkrun. 26.50 was the time for this run. These are a nice way to fit in easy runs especially if i miss them during the week.
Sunday was 16k LSR off the new zones. Compared to the old zone this did feel like a very slow run. the average heart rate was 148 this time compared to 162 last time out so this new zone will take getting use to but it should help in the long run.
This week i also joined Celbridge AC so will be attending my first training session this Tuesday. The hope is that with a club behind me it can help my training move onto the next stage. Due to the last two weeks being a little to light my average has fallen but with the plan for the year as it is i should be able to make distance up again.

weekending 21/1/18

This week started with an easy 5k bright and early on Monday morning at 5am. Heartrate was in Zone 2 for the full run so it is getting more used to running at the slower pace. The average HR was 128 bpm.

Tuesday: was meant to be a 6k tempo but after nearly fall a number of times from the bus stop to my house I figured the snow may have beaten me on this occasion.

Wednesday: was another 5k easy done in a similar time to monday but as an evening run. The average HR was 131 bpm yet again stayed in the right zone for the run.

Thursday was a 6k tempo run. Little faster then the week before off a similar heart rate. will be nicer once the evening get brighter so i’m not doing these runs in the dark. Average heart rate here was 170 for the tempo portion so it will be possible to push a little harder next time to get it up to around 175bpm.

Saturday: Was a working day for me as I was RD in Castletown for the VHI Roadshow and David Gillick so no running done for me but it was a great morning overall.

Sunday the week finished with a 14k LSR. This weeks run was about 5 mins slower then the week before not sure do we blame that on the weather or me being out the night before. Heart rate I was happy with as it came in at 162 for the long run portion 165 being the end of the 3rd Zone. I took my normal route from Celbridge to Leixlip and up to Castletown House.

Next weeks long run will be replaced by a 5k race as I take on the Charlie Curran 5k. But i plan to get two easy runs and two tempo runs in during the week.

107/1600k run for the year see ye all next

20 January 2018; Event Director Philip Slattery during the Castletown parkrun where Vhi hosted a special event to celebrate their partnership with parkrun Ireland. Vhi ambassador and Olympian David Gillick was on hand to lead the warm up for parkrun participants before completing the 5km free event. Parkrunners enjoyed refreshments post event at the Vhi Relaxation Area where a physiotherapist took participants through a post event stretching routine. parkrun in partnership with Vhi support local communities in organising free, weekly, timed 5k runs every Saturday at 9.30am. To register for a parkrun near you visit www.parkrun.ie. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile *** NO REPRODUCTION FEE ***
20 January 2018; Vhi ambassador and Olympian David Gillick with Event Director Philip Slattery after the Castletown parkrun where Vhi hosted a special event to celebrate their partnership with parkrun Ireland. Vhi ambassador and Olympian David Gillick was on hand to lead the warm up for parkrun participants before completing the 5km free event. Parkrunners enjoyed refreshments post event at the Vhi Relaxation Area where a physiotherapist took participants through a post event stretching routine. parkrun in partnership with Vhi support local communities in organising free, weekly, timed 5k runs every Saturday at 9.30am. To register for a parkrun near you visit www.parkrun.ie. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile *** NO REPRODUCTION FEE ***
20 January 2018; Vhi ambassador and Olympian David Gillick with volunteers after the Castletown parkrun where Vhi hosted a special event to celebrate their partnership with parkrun Ireland. Vhi ambassador and Olympian David Gillick was on hand to lead the warm up for parkrun participants before completing the 5km free event. Parkrunners enjoyed refreshments post event at the Vhi Relaxation Area where a physiotherapist took participants through a post event stretching routine. parkrun in partnership with Vhi support local communities in organising free, weekly, timed 5k runs every Saturday at 9.30am. To register for a parkrun near you visit www.parkrun.ie. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile *** NO REPRODUCTION FEE ***

Weekending 14/1/18

2nd week of 2018 done.
Monday started off with the normal 5k easy run. This was an after work run. The heart rate is starting to be a little more consistent on the easy run and not spiking as much as it was.
Tuesday was a 6k tempo run with 900m warm up and cool down. A bit like that last week it took me a little while to get into my grove but once i was in it the pace was very good. I ended with a 4:46 average for the 6k.
Saturday at parkrun was my next session due to fog making running a little to iffy to do. I decided the parkrun would be taken easy but also had no watch so could not measure heart rate. But 26.10 was my time for the parkrun so will consider that an easy run in my books. My plan was to start and the back and chat to a few people along the way. Near the end of the first lap I bumped into Alica Ashmore and stuck with her till the end.
Sunday was the good old reliable long run. This week i was stepping up to 14k. So i decided to try a different route. So i started in Celbridge running to Maynooth. Onto collinstown turning up onto the interchange towards Castletown then onto my normal 5k route. I ended with a 5.23 average for the 14k which is nice for this period of the training.
For Cork i want that near the minute mark and in Berlin to be under it. At this period of the training I am focusing more on heart rate and distance but always nice to see the baseline for time so you know that work that has to be done.
Hopefully the early morning runs will be back on Monday and Wednesday, also next week we have the VHI Roadshow and David Gillick visiting parkrun so will make for something a little different then normal. 
Yearly running total 74.2k
Average weekly milage 37.1k
I need to hit 30.8k weekly average to hit my yearly target.
Till next Sunday enjoy folks. 

Weekending 07/01/2018

Checking in after the first full week of 2018 and a busy week it was in that Monday started off the year with not 1 but 2 parkrun’s
griffeen and porterstown. I took griffeen a little easier knowing i had to do a second one completing the course in 24:37. Then i decided to leave nothing on the course in porterstown giving it my all and completing it in 23:31. As i was running two parkrun’s in one day i was happy with these times as New Years day is never one for PB’s. Just toshow a few castletown runner made porterstown we did take a selfie.

Tuesday between the rain and the wind i decided that staying in my be an idea.

Wednesday was back to tempo running and another 5k tempo run. It seemed to take a while for my heart rate to hit tempo pace but it got there in the end. It was tough than the week before but eating before the run may have been issue here.

Thursday was a nice easy 5k to shake out the cobwebs. The heartrate seems to be settling more now then the first few times. It only broke the zone with 500m or so to go.

Saturday was my second parkrun tourism of the week visiting Fairview parkrun. Very nice 3 lap parkrun. Nice and flat as well very good if looking to set a pace. Here I decided to push it moving up to 5th during the

first lap. During the second lap a made a slight misturn falling back to 7th but
slowly getting back into 5th and holding till end of the lap when i fall back to 7th. i stayed close to the the guy in front of me for most the lap but not being able to hold on a cross the line in 22:27 which is my fastest parkrun since September. After this I went onto Croke Park for an Operations Transformation Community Champions day. Some interesting stats from the day but i will post on them
another time. Before I left Croke Park I did get one photo with some of the experts from the show. Think they were more excited to get a photo with me then the other way around.

Sunday we finished off in the normal way with an LSR. This week it was 12k taking in laps of Castletown house. The pace ranging mostly from 5.30 to 5.50’s. as the time goes on getting below 5.30 would be the aim as i will need to run 4.58’s in a marathon to get my time. But was a nice crisp morning and good to see others out running as well. Moving up to 14k next week i will also be able to leave castletown and try another route.

I also decided this week as my savings plan for 2018 to save 50 cent for every km run and by my self a new suit come 2019 with the money so 41k run this week so €20.50 gone into the savings that may just get me the pocket square 

2018 The plan

Every year people talk about New Year New Me. In 2018 I wont be looking for a new me but my aim is to improve the old me  in the places I can.

What I will be trying to improve in 2018 outside of running

    1. More core work
    2. Better Diet
    3. More work on Mindfullness
    4. Update the blog more


  1. While the above will help running if successful they are more to do with enjoying your own self and they will also give me more energy to improve on my running. Diet wise I want eat as much as possible that I have made myself and with more variety, also cut take away’s from weekly to once a month.

    As for updating the blog more, I have a habit of doing very well for weeks then life pops up and gets in the way. So for 2018 I would aim to blog more. The reason is it helps my spelling and grammar but also writing stuff out can be very good for stress relief.

    What I will be trying to improve in 2018 inside of running

    1. run a sub 20 5k more than once
    2. Break 3.30 for a full Marathon
    3. focus more on enjoying my running


  2. The sub 20 i know is achievable if i can focus on speed work. This is not always possible when also working on distance work. The hope is by working on speed for marathon distance some of it will work its way down to my 5k time.

    Enjoy what you do and you will never work a day in your life. If you don’t enjoy something you are less likely to do it. So one item I want to work on is enjoying my running. One part of this I have started doing is running and not racing parkruns. I can also be seen skipping or jumping on parts of the course for no other reason then having the craic.

    My Marathons for 2018

    1. Berlin
    2. Cork City
    3. Dublin City


  3. The above is the order of importance of the 3 marathons this year. Berlin is my main hope for getting the sub 3:30. Cork will be used to see how the training is going so will aim for around 3.35 in Cork. Dublin is all about doing my home marathon. In order to focus on the above I will not be doing as many races as I normally do.

    My parkrun aims for 2018

    1. Join the 100 Club
    2. Get the Cow Cowl


  4. After my 2 New years day runs I am sitting on 72 runs. 28 in the year should be possible depending on how often I  volunteering and the jobs I do.
    To obtain the Cow Cowl you need to run in 20 different parkrun venues as of January 1st I have 12. The aim is to reach 20 in 2018 and to reach 30 in 2019 and make the parkrun most events list.

    While i know as ED of Castletown parkrun completing the above 2 will be harder so if I hit one by the year end I will be happy.

2017 Round up

2017 can be broken up into 3 parts;

  1. The Warm up
  2. the race
  3. the demise

The Warm up

Early in 2017 I set 3 target for 2017 they were

  1. sub 20 5k
  2. 4 half marathon in 4 day
  3. Raise 3k by doing number 2

As you can guess 2 and 3 went hand in hand. Number 1 would be tricky as normally you can focus on either speed or distance and this year distance would be the important part.

Running 4 halves in 4 days would be tough as it would be my first venture into a multi day race. Also added in i would have to do the above 3 while working full time and studying for my final tax exam.

For January the plan was to keep ticking over. I started off with a parkrun double on New years day first time it was possible in the 26 counties. Was very nice way to start the year. Overall january was a simple start to the year 7 activities and 50k travelled. I was more interested in setting up for the year ahead.

This easy plan continued into Febuary with 7 activities and 44k as my months work. I also entered my first BHAA race in the Garda 4 mile cross country. I also ran my 50th parkrun meeting the head of parkrun and founder Paul Sinton Hewitt. I may have been fangirling a little that day.

In March the gentle start was over with my mileage jumping to 110k in march over 14 activities. Two interesting events came in March i was back to my 5am runs before work and also due to bus strikes I ended up running into work on the 31st. giving me a nice 13.1 mile run before i even got to my desk.

April was a similar level to March with 12 activites and 109k distance covered. While the mileage had increased it was more about the base work still June/July would be the real fun.

May was a month that would really test me as I also had to do my final tax exam along side running. The distance picked up to 129k for the month while interval sessions made their way back into my life. I also ended up as tail runner for once race as i tried to mix and easy run and a race never a good mix.
At this stage the fundraising was going well and my singlet sponsors were all signed up abd I was well on the way to my target.

I always promised June would be an interesting month. Running a half marathon is one thing getting back up and doing it again the next day is a totally different story. So i started June of by being guest Run Director at St Anne’s parkrun but also doing two long runs back to back on the Saturday and Sunday. Also in one of my brighter moments I decided one day to run to waterstown park to do a freedom run with a group from the UK. I slightly judged my time wrong and was about 10 minutes late arriving so had to join everyone in mid run opps. But i covered 144k in 17 activities in June. Things where looking very good for August.

July is where the wheels started falling off. The plan was to complete 3 half marathons in 3 days at the start of the month. This I did manage but i seemed to get very last after that only completing 3 from 16 activities for the rest of the month. My thinking for this may have been personal and a small bit of depression from work not going well. But I did manage to pass my final tax exam. I did make sure in July that my long runs were not missed. But i did take one sunday off from a long run to do the Celbridge 5k.

The Race

August could only mean one thing it was race month. Very little else was done in August bar the race for two reasons. 1) I was tapering 2) I was job hunting. On August 16th I headed up to Donegal to the inishowen peninsula for my race. 2 nice shiny singlets already to go. I went for a leg loosener 5k on the Wednesday. My plan was to run around 2:10’s for the first 3 days and go hell for leather on the last. This was based on the training runs I had completed. 11 O Clock on the Thursday we were all set to go. 780k run since January was all for this moment.

Day 1 was amazing what ever troubles I had were left on the streets of Inishowen. Day 1 ended in a time of 1:59:59. I felt as good at the finish line as I did at the starting line. Home to rest up for day 2

Day 2 was tougher then Day 1 but that was expected as it was alot hillier than day 1. Got some nice help along the way from Inishowen AC who gave me a lot of support of the weekend as a whole. We also passed an area that was used in the star wars film but that fact is wasted on me i would not know Luke Skywalker from R2D2. Day time I finished around 2 hours 3 minutes. But I had been warned Day 3 would separate the walkers from the joggers.

That day 3 did, Monmore Gap was put in place to test us all. Most people did not even try to run it that included me. I walk Monmore Gap saving the energy for the rest of the race. Which played it part as I finished the race about 30 seconds slower then Day 2.

Day 4 a cheering squad arrived for me. My brother in Law and his parents came to join me for the last day. My sister nieces and girlfriend come along to cheer us over the line. After the day before day 4 seems easier as it was pretty much all downhill. My first two kilometres were 4.15 and 4. First 17k on the Sunday was a dream but then it got very tough. I think the pace may have been to fast to that point. Also an issue was the last 10k of the race was pretty much a straight line along the coast so was tough going. But 1:46 after I started I finished in Red Castle car park. Overall it was a sub 8 time for the 4 days and €3600 odd raised for Charity. Which for me was very good going.

The Demise

As you can tell from the end of “The Race” section somewhere in July my mojo left me and I was not running much. weather this was depression from work or simple the long training year taking its toll im not sure.
After the quad i went to France for a week despite the blue skys and sandy beeches I managed one 5k over the week and that saw out my August. 123k run in August may sound like a good month but remember 84k of that was run over 4 days.
In September i did try to keep up my long runs as Dublin was still to be run getting a 18 and a 20 mile run completed. Aside from that i managed 6 5k runs but the feeling and want was not there.
In October I managed 3 5k runs along side 2 8-10 mile long runs aside my Dublin Marathon its self. I was not helped by my ankle acting up during the 10 mile run which was part of the reason for a less training as I hoped by cutting back on the training I would still be able to complete Dublin.
I will do a separate post to talk about Dublin but overall was not a good day but i got around which was the main thing.
In November as i wanted to rest the ankle while i was getting it looked at i only managed one 5k run in the month.

In December I aimed to put a little more distance on the ankle to see how it was after the treatment. So I attempted a tempo session on the 5th while i was felling alot better then earlier session a temporary blockage in Castletown led to an early finish to that run. The following saturday at parkrun i tried again to put speed on again and managed ok over the 5k course finishing in 9th in 22.23. The following Sunday I distance on the ankle and while it was a little iffey it was only for the last 500m but overall the 10k was good.

Christmas week i ran my normal parkrun in Waterstown. It was tough going but that may have been the take away the night before rather then my running ability. On the 27th i then did an easy 5 mile just to keep the legs ticking over. Then on the 28th something strange happened my plan had for me to do 6k tempo run. Two things came out of this run. I did the 6k without stopping which is rare for a tempo run as its pushing at a high pace. The 2nd is that i enjoyed the run and at no part did I think i would not complete the run. So perhaps as we see out 2017 I may have found my mojo again.
I did my final parkrun of the year on December 30th at Castletown as an easy run finishing in 25:40.
I closed out the year then with a 12K long run on new years eve.

So as the finishes i seem to have my mojo back we will see when I add work back into the mixture next week also hopefully my ankle injury stays in 2017 but I will aim to do more prehab in 2018 to ensure this.

DCM 17

The day started well an extra hour in bed thanks to day light savings. Got up to a simple breakfast of wheatabix’s and zero tabs. Meet up with a few from Celbridge AC for the bus into Dublin. As we neared Westmoreland st we could see all the runners heading to the start. In what was a first we arrived before the gate was open so we waited around for a few minutes till we were sent to a different gate to get in. While waiting I bumped in Liz O’Neill so I was talking to her before we went to drop our bag in. After dropping the bag in I chatted to some of the parkrunners who were working the bagdrop. After waiting around for a few minutes and bumping into Neasa Ni Dhoibhilin I went to warm up then was time to get into my starting place.

The plan was to set off with the 3:40 pacers but could not see that at the start so I set off near the 3:30 pacers but planed to go at my own speed. My average time needed was 5:12/km first km was a little slow at 5:24 so i sped up and a bit to much and did the next one in 4:45. At 10k I knew I had not had a big enough breakfast as my stomach was rumbling so I took a gel to fill the gap. For the 1st 18k I was between 4:44 and that 5:24 from the 1st km. My left ankle was a little dicey from 11k I was walk running but more running then walking. At 10k I was 90 seconds up on my expected time. 19-21k went 5:24, 5:45 5:55 meaning at the half way stage while I was on 3:40 pace it would not finish near it.

My 24th km time of 5:57 was the last sub 6 minute km in the race the 25th km to 33rd km floated between 6:10 and 6:41. The 34km was my first to be over 7 minutes. 4 of the next 5 were in this range. At this stage I saw a sign saying 5 miles left by now i was walking more then running. I messaged the girlfriend who was meeting me at the finish to say I had 5 miles left but they would be 5 slow miles. At this stage I was trying to stay positive and try to give a thumbs up to anyone to shouted my name but inside I was struggling I knew that if needed I was walking to that finish. At this point I was only able to run maybe 200/300m before the ankle was flaring up and walking continued. Some people have done lamp posts. I was doing bus stops then again I was also different, Starting to run at one stop and continue to the next. I was starting to see the regular places I knew which helped me alot but I dont think I have ever been smiling come UCD this year was no different 200m was all I could run at this stage and was very much gritting my teeth to continue.

As the numbers went up I was getting a little more positive knowing I would complete the course. Come the RDS I was not well I was maybe able to run 50m in one go. Just after this I meet my sister, brother in law and nieces. My sister admits she nearly cried at this point as I did not look well. As I nearly the 2k remaining mark I was running as much as I could it was a mixture of the crowd support and determination getting me to the finish even as I saw the 400m to go sign I tried to run but even at that only got 100m running so I walked a 100, jogged lightly for 100 and ran the last 100 to cross the line in 4hrs 11 minutes 47 seconds. This was my 4th Dublin and 7th marathon but easily the hardest one since my first in Dublin in 2013. Now rest up and see what the plan is and my journey for a Sub 3:30 will go into 2018. I’ll take the winter now to allow my body to be pieced back together. Thanks to all the support along the route especially Sharon Ashmore, Alicia Ashmore, Joan Ryan and Niamh Adams. right now i say i’m done with Dublin but next year ill be back at that starting line.

Running week ending September 24th 2017

So the countdown to Dublin City Marathon is truly on. This week marked my longest long run. The 20 mile run is now done.
The runs this week improved slightly. I managed to fit in my interval training on tuesday doing 4*400m in standard time 1:26,1.27,1.30 1.31.
But missing the rest of the week played havoc come Sunday. The times for my 20 mile run were up and down. 1st 10k was around the 6 minute/km mark. 2nd 10 were around the sub 5.30 mark but started to snick up in the last 2k. The last 7k 8 of them were the wrong side of 7 minutes as my heartrate kept jumping above 160 bmp so have to resort to walk running to keep it down.
But like most things it came to an end. Next week will start the step back as my final long runs go 18 mile 15 mile 13 mile and 8 miles the week before Dublin.
Hopefully i will get more runs in this week as CT deadline has passed and im settled into my new roles in BDO and Castletown parkrun.
Just to note the fundraising has not gone away. Im now €265 away from the 4k mark and would love to hit this for Dublin. Here is the link if anyone is feeling generous and wants to make a donation no matter how small.