Thursday, December 22, 2011

Time to dial it down and listen

As I feared, efforts to build up distance have not been viewed favourably by my body. I did a 'long run' on Sunday of 14.2K around Mt Ainslie (shhhh don't tell anyone I ignored those signs ....). It wasn't a flash pace ~6min/K and the last few Ks were a bit of a challenge.  Sleep quality wasn't good on Sunday night, so Monday was a day off. Despite that day off, I knew straight away when I started my run on Tuesday, that it wasn't going to be a good one. I wouldn't describe it as feeling like it did during my time with iron deficiency, but there was definite tiredness and fatigue. Tuesday was a scheduled intervals day, so after a 3K warm up jog I gave some 400m intervals a go. These were slower than recent weeks and I also cut the number short doing 6 instead of 8 as they were really tough going.

Bring on Thursday and it seems that listening to the body pays off. I took Wednesday off and had a great Thurs run. It was the usual Little Black Mountain Loop from work - 9.2 K. Today it was run as a LT/aerobic run and without really trying it was 2.5 mins quicker than the best time I've had for that circuit. Hence, I am optimistic that with some careful 'dialing' progress will continue to be in the forward direction.

Latest training:
Saturday - 300m hill intervals x 5; 200m x 1; 100m x 1 (the last intended 300m interval got divided up!)
Sunday - 14.2K long run at easy pace
Monday - day off
Tuesday - 6 x 400m; 99, 94, 96, 95, 95, 94 (1 -1.5 min passive recovery/rep)- aborted intended session of 8 reps
Wednesday - day off, unable to run @ lunch time and based on Tues thought another day off might be beneficial.
Thursday - 9.2K as a LT/aerobic run around the Little Black Mountain loop 6 min/K pace (15 sec/K quicker than recent efforts)

Here's a link to a video I made of the Runner's Shop 3000m Track Classic for ACT Masters Athletes.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Oh the IRONy .....

It seems that iron supplementation has its good points - no fatigue and increased Hb levels - and its bad points - resumption of ovary action.  It is likely that I got it all the wrong way around! I was initially attributing the fatigue to a response to menopause after everything shut down 8 months ago. However, it could well be that everything shut down in response to iron deficiency. The timing sure seems to suggest this. Now that I've been supplementing my iron intake for a couple of months, my iron levels are probably good enough to promote normal ovary function. At 47,  I can't say that this particularly excites me. However, it does point to the restoration of a more appropriate body iron level. I must get me to the doctor soon just to see where things are at!

I've had some good suggestions from a couple of experienced runners in response to my pondering what to do next on the running front. I think part of my problem is a lack of patience and wanting to be where I was fitnesswise before I fell in that stupid hole in the ground in August 2010. The good news is that I have survived the first half of the track season and can look forward to extending my racing distances in 2012. The most sensible approach will be to focus on 3K and 5K in the short term, while slowly building up training distance. Maybe a half marathon mid year could be a sensible goal and then think about Melbourne marathon IF the body remains happy. Distance is still calling me and there is unfinished marathon business! I'm not sure about track nationals, it's too soon to expect to run a quick 10K, but there's still the 5K and cross country to at least think about. My approach to those kinds of events is more to do with being able to shoot for PBs.  I don't have any delusions of grandeur of being able to make massive improvements and be in the hunt for medals. If I attend it's because I think I am running well and could achieve some PBs. We will see!

I attended the last ACTVAC track event for 2011 on Thursday. Events on my list included the 2K turkey run, the Parlouf relay and anything else that I felt inclined towards. Original plans were to run the 2K as quickly as I could and shoot for a time close to 8:05. However, poor sleep and tired legs from training had my body telling me it wasn't up for a hard session. Instead I chose to run it at what I thought could be my current 5K pace - 4:20min/K. So I ran aiming to come in at 8:40. The start was a tad quick, but after that I settled into a good steady pace and managed to finish in 8:35.17. Not good enough to take the turkey prize, but a pretty well judged pace without a watch. I'm not sure I could have held that pace for a full 5K at the time, but on fresh legs I think it would be quite doable.

The lovely Margaret and Ruth getting into the festive spirit at the last ACTVAC Track and Field meet for 2011

Latest training:
Monday - another day off
Tuesday - 4 x 400m - 96, 93, 92, 93 (2 min recovery/rep); 4 x 200m - 43, 43, 44, 44 (1 min recovery/rep); 2 x 100m 20, 19 (30 sec recovery/rep). Total distance 7K with warm up and cool down
Wednesday - Run that included the Little Black Mountain loop - 9.2K @ 6:15min/K pace, I saw KT, Missie and SB while out on this run. All looking fit and fast!
Thursday - Track 2000m; 100m walk 'sprint'; Parlouf relay - 400m, 300m, 200m, 100m - always a hoot doing that relay!
Friday - easy 7K run, although my legs were seriously sore and tired from all that parlouf 'sprinting', a reminder that I so am not designed to sprint or even to run particularly fast!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Uncertain future running plans .........

I've had a pretty disrupted training plan over the last week or so, with more disruptions ahead due to it being that time of the year. The ACTVAC track and field season takes a short break over Xmas and New Year and I'll be officiating at the first meet for 2012. A bit of a gap before I get to see how things are progressing.

The most pressing issue though is what direction to head now with training. It is great to be feeling so much better after boosting tissue iron levels (although I still need to make a trip to the Doctor to get ferritin and Hb levels assessed), but I am also painfully aware of the complete lack of 'endurance' after so much time lost with fatigue and the calf injury. I am not a natural athlete and I have to work hard to develop endurance and fitness. Hence, I am a bit lost as to where to head. Pre-calf injury I wanted to run a sub 3:30 marathon and a 40 min 10K. The 3:30 was definitely achievable as I was already really close. The 40 min 10K would have been a much greater challenge. However, now that those 18 months have passed, I question if I could even get close to 3:30, let alone the 40 min 10K. I ran 12K on the road over the weekend and it was really tough going. I don't have enough years experience in my legs to be able to fall back on that. I also think that low iron for so long has really screwed with my muscle physiology and it is really like starting from scratch. Yes, I'm not feeling especially positive at this point in time.

With there only being a few months until Track and Field Nationals, it is too soon to expect to be able to run well over 5000 or 10000m? Would it be better to set myself for a half marathon mid year? I need to double my weekly mileage to improve over 5, 10 and 21.1K distances.  At 10% each week, that will take around 7-8 weeks of careful increases just to reach a decent mileage. Can I expect to be able to handle upped distances AND upped intensity to develop speed, together? In the past, it was distance first, speed later. I don't have a lot of previous experience to draw on.

Latest training:
Monday  - day off
Tuesday - 8 x 400m intervals, 1 min passive recoveries, goal was 93 x 5; 91 x 3; actual with HR data were:
102         144av    154max
92           140av    158max
94           147av    161max
92           149av    161max
94           151av    163max
90           151av    165max
91           153av    166max
89           152av    164max
Wednesday - a circuit that included the Little Black Mountain loop - 9.2K, 58 min @ 6:12 min/K pace and HRav 146bpm.
Thursday - 20 minute tempo interval with warm up and cool down, total distance 7.2K
Friday - day off, travel day for friend's 50th in Newrybar near Byron Bay
Saturday - 12K run on the road, undulating and warm and humid. Time 1:07 with 5:40min/K as av pace and HR av 144 bpm.
Sunday - contemplated some hill reps, but hot humid conditions and a yappy persistent dog on the chosen hill combined with tiredness saw me cut this session to just 2 hill reps and total distance of 3K. Another travel day, so PM training session wasn't going to happen.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Fun run :o)

Today was the inaugural Bungendore Fun Run. A low key event put on in the hope of creating an annual event from 2012. There were 40-50 runners in total, a good turn out with very little publicity. The course was a nice little scenic loop taking in some of the Bungendore township along with a small off road section. There were a couple of small hills that succeeded in slowing me down.  There was a good showing of ACTVAC members including Bruce Graham, Jeff Grey, Katie Forestier, Heidi Johnston, Roger Pilkington, Ken White, Jim White, myself and Carol Masters. The course was estimated to be 6K, however, all of us wearing GPS decided it was around 5.5K. We could all claim good 6K times ;o). Most of the ACTVAC gang used the run as a training session. I thought it might be nice to aim for 4:30min/K pace, but the hills put an end to that. I ended up averaging 4:47min/K pace, but with a rather low average HR (~153 bpm), that peaked around 166 bpm right at the finish. I didn't change training this week, so I really couldn't expect a fast time (26:21 for 5.5K).

The Bungendore Fun Run Course 2011
Bruce captured a bit of video at the end. Note the particularly speedy finish by Jim White!

Track on Thursday didn't go quite as planned. We had our Work Branch Xmas lunch and I ate some heavy food that just didn't want to move on by 6pm. In the 3000m I tried to run at 4:10min/K pace and was doing this until about 3 laps to go. With 2 laps to go, that food was rather troubling and I pulled out of the race. Fortunately, things were feeling better by the time we did the 7 lap spiral. I was able to run strongly, finishing first amongst those that qualify (2nd behind a new starter), my time was 12:41. My GPS claims it was 2970m, I suspect it was being 'kind'. Still, I was happy with the run even though I have now been penalised to start back another 3 groups. Who knows, that might still be good as I continue to recover from this iron deficiency anaemia and respond to training.

Latest training:
Wednesday - 7K easy
Thursday - Track 2270m in 9:29; 7 lap spiral (2970m?) in 12:41.
Friday - 'long run' 9.8K that included the Little Black Mountain Loop (apparently I just missed out on an encounter with a large brown snake!)
Saturday - hill reps 10 x 100m with jog recoveries (total ~5.5K with warm up and cool down)
Sunday - Bungendore Fun Run (5.5K) with a cool down to Heidi's house and back (3Kish??), followed by brekkie and coffee at the Woodworks cafe :o).