Sunday, 30 November 2008

All Heart

Three of my runs during the last week have started with my recorded heart rate rising to above 180 during the first quarter of a mile, hovering in the 170s for half a mile, dropping back down to the 130s before the first mile is done and staying pretty much that way for the remainder of the run. I don't know what is causing it and besides mildly pissing me off I am not concerned as I do not feel any physical stress or discomfort. Perhaps other Garmin users have come across this anomaly. Meanwhile my running continues to improve slowly and despite having a lingering twinge in my left hamstring all is well. Mon 24th Nov a.m. 8.66 Miles in 01:13:11 (08:27 pace @ 133 HR) p.m. 2.5 Miles in 20:24 (08:10 pace @ 132 HR) Treadmill Legs: 7/10 Sleep: 7 hrs 8/10 Tue 25th Nov 5.67 Miles in 48:43 (08:36 pace @ 132 HR) Legs: 6/10 Sleep: 4 hrs 3/10 (another story) Wed 26th Nov 8.61 Miles in 01:14:15 (08:37 pace @ 133 HR) Legs: 7/10 Sleep: 8 hrs 8/10 (Recovery) Thur 27th Nov Zero (Swim 1,500m) Fri 28th Nov 11.51 Miles in 01:34:57 (08:15 pace @ 138 HR) Late mid-week medium long run Legs: 7/10 Sleep: 7 hrs (7.5/10) Sat 29th Nov 14.70 Miles in 02:00:00 (08:10 pace @138 HR) Legs: 7/10 Sleep: 7.5 Hrs 7/10 Conditioning week 1 - Run 50.9 Miles (Swim 500m, Bike 20.8 miles) Conditioning week 2 - Run 51.7 Miles (Swim 2,250m, Bike Zero miles - too frosty this morning)

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

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

MAF Test #1 @ 143HR

Mile 1 in xx:xx (xxxHR) - great start pressed the stop instead of the lap button. Mile 2 in 08:14 (142HR) Mile 3 in 08:16 (143HR) Mile 4 in 08:26 (144HR) Mile 5 in 08:22 (142HR) I felt a bit like a fraud at the track this evening running at 8 min plus pace while everyone else was churning out 200s, 400s, 800s - I was the only one doing slow 20 lappers. My warmup mile was the fastest. The only way is up! Covered 7.25 mile in total.

Sunday, 16 November 2008

Learning to run slower

I am taking my time getting back into training after Amsterdam. Four weeks out and while everyone else appears to have a plan of action for their next marathon I am still running as and when I feel like it. Nothing wrong with that I suppose but I'd want to be careful - it's very easy getting used to sleeping that little bit extra in the morning and then not having time during the day to get a run in.
While the legs haven't been turning over as much as I would like, I have been exercising my mind as to what is the best way to proceed with my training.
All the good advice (thanks guys) following my last post points towards the tried and tested Lydiard training model. At the core of this model is aerobic conditioning and plenty of it. Lydiard in this seminar in Osaka in 1990 stated that “The day you start doing anaerobic training and stop your (aerobic) conditioning, your performance level has been set for that season”. While anaerobic training will improve my performance the benefit is finite compared to aerobic conditioning, which continues to improve performance over the years. Tim Noakes best illustrates (for me at least) the relationship/difference between the benefits of aerobic and anaerobic training in “Lore of Running” using the following figure. With performance on the vertical axis and time on the horizontal axis the green line represents aerobic conditioning, which steadily improves performance over time – represented by the line A to G. Once you start anaerobic (speedwork) training however you can get a significant improvement in performance over a relatively short period – represented by the red line B-C-D (8 weeks illustrated here - but will vary depending on the runner) before reaching a plateau (points D to E). This is when you want to run your target race(s). No amount of training after this will improve performance. Staying at peak performance is the tricky bit and invariably performance will begin to suffer if you continue to race, leading to illness, injury and overtraining which necessitates a period of rest and recovery (point F). I tended to reach my peak between 4 and 8 weeks before my last 2 marathons, which was a bit early and resulted in injury/overtraining and a less than satisfactory performance. Therefore this time round I’m going to spend at least 2 to 3 months on nothing but aerobic conditioning to see if I can push my sorry ass a little further along the green line and up the performance ladder before starting on speedwork. This should give a greater improvement in aerobic performance than starting speedwork earlier as illustrated below.
What I don’t know is whether or not you can continue to improve aerobic conditioning as much after introducing speedwork into your training. Dr Mafftone thinks not. He recommends a minimum 3-month programme of aerobic only running to build up a good base, without any anaerobic running or racing. All this aerobic running is to be done at or below the MAF heart rate, which is a conservatively low 143 in my case. Periodic “MAF tests” consisting of running 5 miles (preferably on the track) at MAF HR should show a gradual performance improvement over the 3 months and a reducing gap between the paces of the first and latter miles (effect of HR drift). This test is similar to the evaluation runs that Mike did during the conditioning phase of his build up to his NY marathon PB a few weeks ago – so I’m in good company. So that's the plan for the moment. My recovery from Amsterdam is slow. Most of my runs have been between 08:30 and 08:50 pace as my resting and exercising HR's gradually come down. MY RHR this morning was 46, which is 7 or 8 beats above what it was at peak performance. Today's long run over 2 hrs was at an average pace of 08:30 and 138 HR (14.11 miles). Having previously run 08:00 pace @ 130HR the only way is up. I will set the base by completing my first MAF test next week.

Wednesday, 5 November 2008


.......Where to go from here! This has nothing to do with the reason I have not posted for 2 weeks (that's due to a combination of lack of running and a temporary ongoing home computer malfunction - bloody thing won't come on). I continue running - of course. for marathons - yes. ........................exclusively for marathons - well!. .........After Amsterdam Austin advised that I should concentrate on shorter distances for a while as marathons tend to blunt speed. Although to be quite honest I had no problem with my speedwork coming into the marathon - after all it is my marathon time (PB) that is so out of sync (slower) with my times at the shorter distances. So perhaps it is a few weeks or months of endurance training I need - long slow runs at low(er) HRs - before embarking on a race specific programme involving a shorter (4 to 5 week) period for speedwork. I know Thomas is going back to a high(er) mileage regime for his next marathon commencing with a base period of "aerobic" running under 80% HR. Jamie is following the Pfitz/Scott programme for Advanced Marathoning which also starts with the traditional "endurance phase" before embarking of lactate threshold and race specific speedwork. This programme comes heavily endorsed by those who have reaped the benefits from it. However I have a few concerns with the programme in that (1) the endurance phase still involves fairly challenging lactate threshold runs @ 15k to HM pace and (2) the peaking phase includes 3 x 8-15k tune up races the day before long runs. Recovery where are you? or is this scheduled "back to back hard days"? So if there are any other suggestions out there (for marathon training that is) i'm all ears. While i've heard of Lyiard method and have a fair idea of what it involves perhaps someone could direct me to a definitive text on the subject. Running I did get back to running since Amsterdam and even took in a 4 mile race last Sunday, topping out recovery week No. 2 with about 20 miles. I couldn't have asked for a better course to beat my softish 4 mile PB of 25:19 set at the start of the year. However I could have done with a better body - no niggles as such but just not enough speed, endurance or kick to take me over the threshold. However, despite my reducing splits of 06:07, 06:17, 06:25 & 06:27 I did manage to make the threshold and equal my PB, crossing under the line in 25:19 exactly - so not too bad........or too good for that matter. I wouldn't mind but 2nd and 3rd M40 came in at 24:36 and 24:40 respectively (well within my range on a good day with the wind blowing in the right direction). Cross training (code for tri) While I promised myself a recovery from running by swimming and cycling to renew my enthusiasm for triathlon (i'm certainly going to include more of these in 2009) I failed miserably on the bike (something to do with misplaced shoes) but managed to get in a few decent swims with a 3k pool swim last week in 61:28 (my longest swim ever - the last km actually felt better than the first 2 - perhaps it's a matter of getting over the boredom threshold) and another 1.5k swim this week in 28:43 with 2 x 500 easy, concentrating on form, and 1 x 500 steady (splits of 09:54, 09:54 & 08:55).