The first sign that my calf was on the mend came on Saturday of last week where I managed 13.5 miles on the grass of UCC Farm, with Pat Twomey for company, at just over 8 minute miles.
To give me some focus over the next few months I plan on broadly following Dr Maffetone's approach (as I did 2 years ago) with most of my running under 140 HR. This could get a bit monotonous so i'll have to vary my training to ensure boredom doesn't set (I may even break the rule once in a while but nothing strenuous). Thomas has been doing something similar over the last few months, exercising great restraint and has come out the other end a lean mean running machine. Ewen has just commenced a similar programme to mine so I am in good company. To monitor progress I will do a steady 5 mile run at a target 140 HR every few weeks. My first evaluation was at the track on Thursday which went off reasonably well:-
Mile 1 - 7:18 (141HR)
Mile 2 - 7:22 (141HR)
Mile 3 - 7:30 (140HR)
Mile 4 - 7:30 (140HR)
Mile 5 - 7:36 (141HR)
Total - 37:17
Average - 7:27
Drift from first to last - 18 seconds (+3.97%)
When I did this 2 years ago my average pace for the evaluation (@ 143HR) maxed out at 7:14 before falling back to 7:23, after which I returned to "normal" training. Looking back it was probably a bit premature as 1 poor result does not necessarily make a trend.
I finished my week at the Dungarvan 10 mile road race, travelling down in glorious, if somewhat cold, sunshine with John and Denis from the club. My garmin wasn't charged so I decided to run without any watch. My plan was to aim for between 75 and 80 minutes, which should be well within my aerobic range and shouldn't stress my calf too much. I quickly settled for a 7:30 opening pace (which would get me 75 minutes) as there was a gang going out at that pace. However that appeared to be an overall average pace as opposed to an opening pace as I was on my own for the first 5 miles despite hitting the halfway point in 36:40 (7:20 pace).
By mile 5.5 I was on the shoulder of Denis who was running very comfortably. If my calf held up I intended to push the pace a little over the last mile - shouldn't interfere too much with my aerobic conditioning. Denis and I ran a steady pace for the next 3 miles until we hit the main Cork Road with about a mile and a half to go. With a sniff of the finish line I couldn't resist the urge to open up the throttle a little and chase down a few hares in front of me, so I bid Denis farewell and gradually upped the pace. Given that I had saved my fastest miles till last and most of those around me had given their all in the preceding miles it wasn't difficult to pass them - felt a bit like a cheat really, although it felt good too ;). My natural instinct when I pass someone is to push the pace for fear of a counter attack. In normal races where I push from the start this natural instinct is counteracted by rising fatigue but in this case this muscle sapping fatigue was a long way off so my pace just kept on getting faster so that by the time the finishing chute came I was close to an all out sprint - finishing in 1:12:03 - a bit faster than planned but still waaaay off race pace and nearly 10 minutes off my PB from this time last year.
As usual the race was very well organised by West Waterford AC any everything went off without a hitch. Great event!
Wed 19th Jan - 4 miles @ 8:24 pace + 3.34 miles @ 9:48 pace & 113HR
Thu 20th Jan - 6.97 miles @ 8:34 & 126HR
Sat 22nd Jan - 13.51 miles @ 8:04 pace & 132HR
Mon 24th Jan - 5.27 miles @ 7:44 pace & 135HR
Wed 26th Jan - 7 miles @ 7:53 pace
Thu 27th Jan - 8.17 miles @ 7:49 pace & 131HR w/5miles @ 140HR in 7:18/22/30/30/36
Fri 28th Jan - 5.31 miles @8:06 pace & 132HR
Sun 30th Jan - 10 miles @7:12 pace (no HRM but certainly over 140)
Base Week #1 (Run 35.8 miles, Bike 21.3 miles, Swim 3k)