Friday, 30 January 2009

Plan to break monotony

Monotony....................certainly a one word description of my running over the last few months. Then again how does one introduce variety into base building "aerobic only" running. I know, I know, introduce some fast running (fartleks, hills etc. Brendan's said it already) - that's exactly what I did this time last year and while March and April were great months, it was injury and downhill after that - still some 8 weeks out from the race I was training for. So this year I thought I'd try something new - it was going to be easy does it, I don't need that much speedwork, 6 to 8 weeks is more than enough. However what I have been missing is a clear target to aim for. I had been half thinking of a spring marathon but have finally decided to wait until Cork on 1st June. However I am not going to wait another 10 weeks to start speedwork so I have settled on slowly introducing speedwork into my routine probably starting on fartleks (Thomas's 30/30 sessions sound like fun) and hills and building from there (short intervals and 10k pace tempo runs leading to longer intervals and HM tempo runs - i.e. increasing the distance and reducing the speed as the Marathon approaches and taking in some races on the way - specificity is the name of the game) The broad plan for the remainder of the year is to take in a few triathlons in July and August (great recovery from marathon training to spread the focus for a few months) and back into training for the Dublin marathon (probably) in October. I agree with the comments on my last post in that I don't think I have necessarily gained all the benefits of my aerobic training yet and that I could have been on an off day (although I felt worse on the day of my best MAF test). On Wednesday morning I got in a medium long run of 12.5 miles which went off without a hitch. However Thursday mornings run over 7.8 miles was a different story. My legs felt very heavy, especially over the first few miles and the entire run was at a slow pace. I though I was coming down with a cold on Thursday night as I was awake half the night with the classic symptoms. However come Friday morning I felt ok but far too tired to rise early enough for a run and as I was in Dublin for the day I did not get an opportunity to get out. Tomorrow's long run may be cut short as I'm contemplating running in the 2nd Munster 10 miler in Dungarvan on Sunday. Wed 28th Jan a.m. 12.47 miles in 01:37:45 (07:50 pace 137 hr) p.m. 2.5 miles @ 07:54 pace (treadmill) Thur 29th Jan 7.83 miles in 01:06:16 (08:28 pace - No Garmin - this is the 2nd time the garmin has refused to start in the morning)

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Time to move on

I knew during the first mile of my 4th MAF test this evening that there was likely to be a reduction in pace since the last test and this was borne out by the results. Firstly I thought that perhaps I need a rest and hence the poor performance but I've come to the conclusion that it's just that there is no further benefit to be gained from pure "aerobic" work and that it is time to move onto the hard stuff. Although I wasn't expecting the signal to be a reduction in form - but there you are Mon 26th Jan 6.83 miles in 55:29 (08:07 pace @ 129HR) Tue 27th Jan 7.62 with 5 miles @ 07:23 pace & 143 HR.

Sunday, 25 January 2009

Another week down

Another week spend skirting around the edges of speedwork. On Tuesday I went to the track and joined in with a group doing 1,000m reps in 4:15. I ran with them in lane 4/5 and covered 3 reps in 04:15, 04:13 and 04:03 - I ran the last rep in lane four so that I could accurately assess my speed afterwards - which I reckon was 06:23 pace. I've started to play around (fartlek) with pushing the inclines on some of my runs just to gradually get the body used to a bit more effort without going all out for intervals, reps etc. I took the barefoot shoes for an outing on friday morning and it felt great. It was like the muscles in my feet were providing the cushioning that is normally provided by my shoes - well that was until about the 6th mile when I began to feel a tenderness/pain behind the ball of my left foot which remained with me until I finished the run 2.5 miles later. I suspected a spot of plantar fasciitis but also hoped it was just a bit of tenderness in the tendon while still adjusting to the barefoot running. I think I'll give the barefoot running a miss until it clears and limit it to short distances.
The tenderness did stay with me but did not stop me from heading out on my long run on Saturday morning. Given the fact that I did not know how my left foot would hold out and that I rose a bit later than usual I decided to cut my planned run from 2.5 to 2 hours. In the end I finished with 17.8 miles in 2:15 on a beautiful sunny morning. While I did feel discomfort in my PF, I rationalised in my head that "discomfort" means I continue ruunning and "pain" means no running. I thought that the discomfort might turn to pain 6 miles from home but instead it eased and disappeared completly.
I had it in the back of my head to run the first BHAA race of the year, a 4 miler in Little Island, today but the rain falling was enough to convinve me that perhaps it was better to rest up and give my feet a break. I didn't even go for the customary bike ride and ended up in the cinema wih the two youngest with my 5 year old alternately feeding me popcorn and choclate buttons in the dark - thankfully I have a strong stomach. Tue 20th Jan 5.08 miles in 45:51 (09:01 pace @ 133 HR) Wed 21st Jan 11.48 miles in 01:32:16 (08:02 pace @ 137HR) - I rose an hour earlier than planned (mix up in reading time while half asleep) and was about to head out the door at 0440 hrs until Abina asked where I was going so early - so I returned to bed for 40 winks) Thur 22nd Jan a.m. 8.63 miles in 01:14:01 (08:34 pace @ 123 HR) - got passed by a runner but resisted the temptation to give chase - eventually passed him out as he stopped at jonctions to cross the road (not a car in sight) p.m. 2.5 miles on the treadmill. Fri 23rd Jan 8.63 miles in 01:07:28 (07:49 pace) barefoot - used stopwatch as Garmin refused to power on. Sat 24th Jan 17.78 miles in 02:15:00 (07:36 @ 144HR) Conditioning Week #10 (Run - 66.7 miles, Bike - NIL, Swim - 3,300m) And now for my first (and probably last) broadcast from Runcast TV - last wekends long run - pictures, no video as the format did not appear compatible. I'll try again some other day

Monday, 19 January 2009

Falling behind

Last week was my first back to work after an extended Christmas holiday and so getting up early enough to get a run in before work (well before 0700hrs ) was quite a challenge.......a challenge that I only rose to twice in the week and so I called it a recovery week. Blogging was even more challenging...but it's the running that's important...isn't it. Monday was a rest day (first day back and I couldn't get up). Tuesday was track day, although the track was frozen so I returned home and did a steady run on the roads instead. On Wednesday and Thursday I finally managed to rise before six and get two decent runs in - still no double digit miles though. Two early mornings in a row was too much for this aging body and so I gave Friday a miss - it had been a while since I mixed work and play and I had to gradually wean myself back onto it. On Saturday I limited my long run to the 2 hour mark (recovery week and all that) and in the tradition of those teckie runners across the pond to the west I took some photos and video that I might just upload if I can get the hang of it and get the time! I can't even remember how much sleep I got or how my legs felt for each run but suffice it to say that I started to let my heart rate climb above the self imposed 143 aerobic limit - chomping at the bit to get a bit of speedwork in - this self restraint is tough - i'm just afraid that I won't like the pain now that it's so long since I embraced 2 x 3.5 miles & HM pace and mile repeats at the speed of light. Maybe i'm not ready for the shock yet. A 10 miler this morning and I am finally getting back into the swing of things. My legs felt fresh after the rest day on Sunday (apart from the scenic hilly bike ride) and the 133Hr for the 07:43 pace felt good. Tue 13th Jan 6.8 Miles in 51:29 (07:34 pace @ 146HR) HR anomaly for 1st mile @ 163HR Wed 14th Jan 8.62 Miles in 01:12:11 (08:22 pace @ 132HR) Thur 15th Jan 8.64 Miles in 01:12:11 (08:25 pace @ 127HR) - good HR if you can get it. Sat 17th Jan 15.88 miles in 02:01:56 (07:41 pace @ 149HR) -170Hr for 1st mile? Conditioning week 9 (Run - 39.9 miles, Bike - 21.5 miles, swim - 1.5k) Mon 19th Jan a.m. 10.09 miles in 01:17:49 (07:43 pace @ 133HR) p.m. 2.5 miles @ 07:56 pace (treadmill)

Sunday, 11 January 2009

On target, but just.

I had set myself a 65:xx minute goal for today's Mallow 10 mile road race, in that I would be happy with such a time given my aerobic only conditioning. Anything below would be a welcome bonus and anything above would be a poor day. So my 65:51 official result was not disappointing, although it felt much more strenuous than last years 65:38. I met up with Brendan and Thomas before the race and as I led them on a warmup I remarked that this would be the only time I would be in front of them today and how right I was. I was also right about my prediction in my comment on Thomas's last post than He and Brendan would lead me out over the first mile While the first mile (06:37) was reasonably comfortable as I kept within sight of Brendan and Thomas I lost sight of them as they got swallowed up in a large group in front of me. That was the last I saw of them. Mile 2 in 06:42 saw us turn left onto the Cork Killarney road where I kept pace with Nollaig Hunter of Leevale as we took advantage of the hill and a tailwind to give me my fastest mile of the day in 06:08. Shortly after the 3 mile mark we turned west along the Kilarney Road where the wind was slightly against us. My pace was fairly steady as I slowly reeled in and passed a few runners. Mile 4 in 06:30. A quick drink of water at the 4.5 mile mark and a steady pace towards the halfway mark. While my pace was reasonably confortable I felt that if I increased it I would suffer sooner rather than later. The clock at the halfway mark showed 32:41 as I passed (Garmin gave me a 06;41 mile 5 for 32:38). "11 seconds off 65 minute pace" I thought. "If I remain comfortable I just might make it". Turning left off the main road along the minor country road towards the 6 mile mark I knew that everything wasn't going to remain comfortable unless......unless............ I slow down ..........well stop really, which was very tempting. Mile 6 in 06:34. 65 minutes slipping away. It will take a concentrated effort to get the sub-66. I was still reeling in one or two runners during mile 6 but that all changed during the undulating mile 7 where I got passed by 3 or 4 in a row. Mile 7 in 06:50 (slowest mile). A guy came up on my shoulder shortly after the 7 mile mark. "It's a well organised race isn't it" he said. "Watering stations and all". All I thought was this guy must be very fresh if he can chat. I exchanged a few words with him just to show that I could also talk. Funnily enough after than he fell back and I never saw him again, which gave me renewed energy as I hit a slight downhill and powered ahead to the Mile 8 mark in 06:34. Two of the guys who passed me out during mile 7 were 10 yards ahead. It took a concentrated effort to maintain pace (no talk of acceleration) as we entered Mallow, under the road flyover and up an incline to the 9 mile mark. Mile 9 in 06:34. This is when things really started to hot up as runners behind began to put in a bit of a kick and I was passed by about 2 or 3. I had no answer as they accelerated past and quickly put distance between me and them. I was unintentionally playing cat and mouse with one guy from mile 8 to the finish - me at my steady pace and he surging every time I passed him. He kept pace behind me as we crossed the bridge with a half mile to go. I was just able to keep a steady strong pace counting down strides to the finish line - no kick at all as I could not respond to the sound of footfalls behind me over the last 100 yards as first I got "chicked" and then saw my cat and mouse partner put in a very strong surge as he sailed past me and the "chick". But while I was momentarily upset I was glad to be finished. Mile 10 in 06:26 (not much of a final surge - It's all in the speedwork - hopefully). Both Brendan and Thomas had a much closer race 3 minutes in front of me but less than 10 seconds apart - well done to both of you - fantastic times. Well done also to Eagles Rhona Lynch who took first female spot in 01:01:16 and Pat Twomey who took the first M55 spot in 01:05:39 after having to stop and tie his shoelace halfway through. If he stopped and tied the other one I may have caught up with him. Sat 10th Jan 5.26 Miles in 43:11 (8:12 pace @ 141 HR) HR in the 170's for the first 1.5 miles and in the 120's teherafter Sleep: 8 hrs 8.5/10 Legs: 8.5/10 Sun 11th Jan 15.4 miles with 10 miles in 01:05:51 (06:34 poace @ 166HR) Sleep: 8 hrs 8.5/10 Legs:7/10 Conditioning week 8 (Run 66.79 miles, Bike NIL, Swim 1.5k)

Thursday, 8 January 2009

MAF Test #3

I didn't feel at all energetic this evening at the track churning out 5 miles at 143 HR. I felt tired and worn out before the warmup was completed and the whole test felt more strenuous than it should have. Although it couldn't have been more demanding - on my heart at least. The weather was colder (hovering around freezing point) than during my previous tests which may account for some or all of the modest, but steady, improvement as there should have been less blood supply needed for cooling. Then again I was wearing more layers than previously so it may have balanced out. Either way it's all going in the right direction and another test in 3 weeks time will hopefully reveal a further move in the right direction. The drift between the pace of the first mile and the average of the last 3 miles, which is an indication of endurance ability, hasn't changed much between tests 2 and 3. I'd like to see this gap close so that I can churn out more miles at the same pace for a given effort (i.e run forever )
Strictly speaking to get the full benefit of base training I should continue on aerobic only training until there is no further improvements to be gained. Then it's time to play with speedwork. The weather has been great for running this week - beautiful sunshine, cold (0C/-2C) and dry (i.e. no slipping) and as I am off work for the week (using up some 2008 holiday time) I get to run in daylight. I used the time off to complete my 2.25 hour long run on Wednesday as I intend to run a 10 miler in Mallow this Sunday. I don't expect a PB due to the lack of speedwork but it will be interesting to see if I have the endurance. Should make for a relatively slow but more comfortable race than normal. Having said that I don't expect to be too far off the mark. This is the first of 4 Spring 10 milers spaced about a month apart so I do expect to see some improvement from month to month. Over the last few runs I have felt the old familiar feeling of tendon rubbing over bone on the outside of my left knee and while not painful it is a sign that my IT band could be about to give trouble again. On Wednesday's long run I felt it during the first mile and it disappeared after that and at the track I felt it again, but this time during my warmdown. I have been strengthening my abductors and adductors since my bout of ITBS last year but I have neglected to continue the stretching exercise. Today (8th Jan) marks the third anniversary of my first run. (2 miles with 100 yards @ 06:00 pace and a lung bursting jog at 12:00 pace thereafter) I take some consolation from the fact that I would have been unable to complete this evenings Maffetone test in January 2006.
Mon 5th Jan 10.0 miles in 01:27:13 (08:43 pace @ 126HR) comfortable recovery type run. Sleep: 8 hrs 7.5/110 Legs: 7.5/10 Tue 6th Jan 9.02 Miles in 01:12:21 (08:02 pace @ 136HR) Sleep: 8 hrs 7.5/10 Legs: 7/10 Wed 7th Jan 16.88 miles in 02:15:00 (8.00 pace @ 139 HR) - compares to 17.09 miles 2 weeks ago over same course Sleep: 6 hrs 5.5/10 Legs:6.5/10 Thur 8th Jan a.m. 2.5 miles in 19:49 (07:54 pace) treadmill. p.m. 7.68 miles in 57:38 (07:30 pace @ 136HR) - track (incl 5 miles @ 143HR) Sleep: 7.5 hrs 7.5/10 Legs 5.5/10

Sunday, 4 January 2009

Stuck in the mud

This weeks running hasn't been the easiest but at least it got better as the week wore on. It felt a bit like todays Maldon Mud Run which I heard about on the radio during this afternoons 12 miler. The 500m race across the Maldon estuary in Essex apparently started, as all good things do, as a wager in a pub. "more difficult than the London marathon" according to the experts.
For a bit of history look here. I cut Tuesday's run in the park short to just over 4 miles as my right calf was still pretty tight after Sunday's race. A 10 mile "barefoot" run in the park on Wednesday left the ball of my left foot quite tender (the gravel/stone paths were the worst - although right foot felt fine so it must be a lingering tenderness from my last barefoot run), some chafing of the unmentionables and a sore right calf. Boy was I glad to finish - why did I not finish sooner? - it's all pain training and i'm a sucker for punishment. I ditched the shoes for wheels on Thursday thinking i'd get in an easy cycle on a 35 mile loop west to Macroom via Coachford and back via the main road. I was fine until I turned into an easterly headwind for the 17 mile return leg and the pace progressively slowed as fatigue set in. This fatigue stayed with me for my 13.5 mile run on Friday morning - legs were leaden. I felt more energised during Saturday morning's 2.25 hour long run over the hilly viaduct loop despite tripping over a cats-eye (caught shuffling) 3 miles into the 16.3 mile run - the pads of my hands came out the worst in the pain stakes but I didn't notice the stream of blood running from my left knee down my leg into my shoe until I had completed the run - no wonder I was getting a few odd stares. While the initial 10 mile hilly section of the run went quite well I was tiring noticeably over the last few miles - residual fatigue.
As this mornings scheduled cycle with Adrian was cancelled I decided to replace it with a run in the park this afternoon to catch up on the lack of mileage early in the week. This was certainly my most comfortable run of the week and the only run at sub-8 minute pace. At last I feel I am coming out of the mud bound week that it was. Conditioning week 7 (Run 56.2 miles, Bike 34.7 miles, Swim 1.875km) Tue 30th Dec 4.23 miles in 37:08 (08:46 @ 125HR) Sleep: 8 hrs 7.5/10 Legs: 5/10 Wed 31st Dec 10 miles in 01:27:42 (08:46 pace no HRM) Sleep: 8 hrs 7.5/10 Legs: 4/10 Fri 2nd Jan 13.56 miles in 01:54:43 (08:28 pace @ 130HR) Sleep: 7 hrs 6.5/10 Legs: 5/10 Sat 3rd Jan 16.30 miles in 02:15:00 (08:17 @ 136HR) hilly Sleep: 6 hrs 6/10 Legs:6.5/10 Sun 4th Jan 12.12 miles in 01:35:26 (07:52 @ 137HR) Sleep: 7.5hrs 7.5/10 Legs: 7.5/10