Saturday, 22 November 2008

The Plods

I think I'm recovering from a case of the "Plods" - no it doesn't involve sitting for endless hours on the John, although apparently that is one of the symptoms. According to Tim Noakes (Lore of Running) the label was first used by Ultramarathoner Graeme Lindenberg to describe the heavy leg syndrome assocaited with overtraining - "heavey legged, sluggish feeling, generalized fatigue, malaise: and, not uncommonly diarrhea". Apparently if you continue to race or train it could develop into "Super Plods" - "persistent muscle soreness, loss of interest in training and competition, increase in resting heart rate and changes in sleeping patterns". Certainly over the last few weeks my interest in running has been at a low, my legs felt heavy and fatigued during every run and my resting heart rate was elevated. However I think I am slowly turning the corner. MY RHR this morning was down to 43 from 46 last Sunday and my 2 hour long run was much more enjoyable than last weeks - and I covered more distance also - 14.56 miles (08:15 pace) compared to 14.11 (08:30 pace) last week all at the same 138 HR. I put most of the improvement down to getting more rest, particularly sleep - I can't stress the importance of it. It's a difficult balance though - work rest and play. I still have a long way to go - checking through my log showed that a short time ago (27th September) I covered 24.1 Miles @ 07:34 pace with an average HR of 138 (160Hr at the end though). But I am a patient man and as long as I continue to enjoy running I can wait and enjoy the ride. I am going in the right direction and the heavy clouds are parting to reveal sunny skies ahead - figuratively of course - bring on the cold wet dark mornings of winter that's when you really feel alive (and everyone else thinks you're mad). Which brings me to my last point - Bill advised on my last post that I should drop the Garmin and HR monitor and get back in touch with how my body feels during my runs rather than relying on secondhand information to tell me how it should have felt - he's absolutely right - I should not be looking for a result in every training run that's a receipt for disappointment. My focus over the next few months is to run easy and while I won't lose the Garmin (I'm needy when it comes to numbers) I will be more focused on feeling relaxed and concentrating on form. WED 19th Nov a.m. 8.62 miles in 01:15:57 (08:49 pace @ 133HR) p.m. 2.5 Miles in 20:12 (08:05 pace @ 136 HR) - Treadmill Legs: 7/10 Sleep: 7 hrs 7/10 Thur 20th Nov a.m. 11.49 miles in 01:38:05 (08:32 Pace @ 137 HR) Trying to introduce a mid-week medium long run although the 05:24 start was a little challenging) p.m. 5 miles in 45:13 (09:03 pace @ 133HR) tired after early rise. Legs: 5/10 Sleep: 7 Hrs 7/10 Fri 21st Nov 2.5 miles in 22:00 (08:48 Pace) Treadmill Legs: 6.5/10 Sleep: 8 Hrs 8.5/10 Sat 22nd Nov 14.56 miles in 02:00:00 (08:15 Pace @ 138HR) Legs: 7.5/10 Sleep: 7hrs 7/10 RHR: 46


  1. That's a great header photo! That runner definitely had a case of the plods.

    I could see where Bill was coming from, although like you, I'm keen on seeing the numbers after a run. I think it's possible to do both - enjoy the running, be in touch with the movement, and have the numbers.

    Keep enjoying the ride!

  2. Just like you I refuse to leave the Garmin at home to satisfy my need for numbers. But I find that if I turn off the backlight it is too dark to read the display and I automatically start to run by feel alone.

  3. Just got a 405 in the post so I'm becoming more rather than less supported by technical. That said, I went out in the rain today and my old HR monitor was acting up so I just ran on nice and easy and it was a joy...except for the horizontal icy rain. I read that Dave Scott (of Ironman fame) used to do 8-12 weeks of aerobic training at the start of every season...which clearly paid dividends. He said that it was very tedious though....which is how I feel. I was doing 9min/miles on Friday.....I thought I should have brought my granny.

  4. Love the photo, best of luck with the plods. If in doubt, try slowing down, just for a week.

  5. I really appreciate your feedback. I honestly was a little worried that I might offend you while just trying to help. You, I believe, are a lot like me and are so driven in regard to your running that even a bad training run can get us down. I was really disappointed for you when Amsterdam went poorly. I truly wanted you to get the result you deserved and I guess running doesn't always give us a payoff that is proportional to what we put in.

    I look forward to you having some great future results because of your dedication.

    Best of luck with everything.

  6. I love the new picture. I tend to agree with Bill on just running for fun and letting your body tell you what to do. You are doing the right thing now by just taking it easy and before long the desire to push will come.