Saturday, December 22, 2012

A harsh reality

When you run on the track it is hard to hide. Thursday 20 December was the last meet at track and field for 2012. As it was carnival night, it was a good excuse to take part. Ouch the harsh reality of lost fitness, speed, you name it! Running around 5 min/km is dreadfully tough at present, as was evidenced by 10:06 in the 2km turkey run and 14:52 in the 3km, a massive PW over that distance. A couple of long 'intervals', but I doubt I'd have been able to go much faster even if I only did one of those events for the night. And to think I used to be able to run close to 5 min/km for an entire marathon with it feeling easy most of the way! Fitness seems to have gone backwards since the first event in the YCRC Spring series. Oh well, onwards and upwards, maybe 2013 will be a better year running wise, 2012 ended up being quite a fizzer, the dragon was extinguished/slain.

Michael Roden and Sue Bourke, winners of the President's 100m handicap
More of the same this week with gym sessions and running. I skipped Park Run as the legs were tired from track and it would be foolish to overdo it at this point in time. It will probably be back on the menu next week.

Latest training:
Sunday - ~11km E long run
Monday - Gym session - upper body and abs
Tuesday - 6 x 250m hill reps with appropriate warm up and cool down jogs
Wednesday - 30 min E + 6 strides (20 sec)
Thursday - Gym session - upper body and abs; track 2K @5:03/km and 3K @4:57/k (HRav 160 bpm) with warm up jogs
Friday -  Day off
Saturday - 10km E long run; gym session - legs + bench press

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Off to a good start

It's been a good start to the new plan post-Indonesia. Although I have always loved my long runs, I am finding this running short and sharp approach quite pleasant. Best of all, no muscle fatigue when doing the shorter runs, just a glaring lack of fitness and speed! The idea is to give it a few weeks and then see if there is any improvement in pace/fitness. Based on the today's Park Run performance, there is a LOT of work to do.

Antlers are the flavour of the month
There is a nice intermediate running program in the Daniels' Running Formula book that I have adapted. Along with this, there will be the ongoing gym work that will be worked in around the running. The general gist of the running is: hill reps (~250m) or 400m on the flat reps (mixed up with some shorter ones as well); long (1km) intervals with 2 min passive recoveries (or equivalent if running @ track); a long run that doesn't go over 60 mins; a couple of easy 30 min runs that are finished off with 20 second strides. Today's park run was supposed to be one of those 30 mins easy, alas it was anything but easy.

Latest training:
Saturday - serious butt kicking, DOMS causing legs session - ouch!
Sunday - long run ~60mins
Monday - gym session - back, shoulders, abs
Tuesday - 250m hill reps x 5 with appropriate jog warm up and cool down
Wednesday - gym session - arms, chest, abs; 30min E + 6 strides
Thursday - 3 x 1km reps @4:55 min/k pace with appropriate jog warm up and cool down
Friday - Well earned day of rest
Saturday - Park run in antlers @ 25:38, HRav 158bpm; gym session - legs and bench press.

Friday, December 7, 2012

In need of some good health

As predicted, there was no real opportunity to do any training in Indonesia. To add insult to injury I came down with a case of Bali belly during the last couple of days of the trip. That was followed with a head cold that was likely picked up on my last day in Indonesia (I remember being near someone who was coughing and spluttering in a crowded space). As a result of all of that, not much has been happening on the aerobic exercise front. I have been to the gym for some weight sessions, but there hasn't been much running and no cycling.
Baby at the Sumatran rhino sanctuary in Way Kambas, Indonesia
Given what has happened over the last 9 months or so and after a bit of reading, I think I need to reduce the amount of time I spend doing aerobic exercise and instead focus on getting fit doing shorter and sharper stuff. The fatigue/training intolerance seems to mostly relate to time/distance. It is exacerbated if I then try and include some speed work while also trying to keep the time/distance training up. However, if we look back, when the distance and time in training were limited and I was doing mostly short sharp stuff there was little in the way of training fatigue. I had some great training sessions at this time last year, but as soon as I tried to increase my mileage, I went backwards. Doing just low intensity stuff has not helped keep the training fatigue at bay. Sooooooo, for now most running sessions will be short and there will be a mix of short high intensity intervals (up to 60-90 sec) and some hill intervals. 5K will be the longest 'racing' distance, and long runs won't go much past 70 mins. No kms just for the sake of kms.

The calf muscle is fully recovered and Jim has 'cut me loose' so to speak. It has happily handled a couple of 200m hill rep sessions and is ready for more. Park Run will be the focus until the YCRC Summer series starts. Maybe a 5K on the track late in the season and any 5K fun runs that might pop up. I will miss the longer stuff, but for now it's not able to be tolerated and the focus needs to be elsewhere. Time to lean up and build those muscles ;-).

Recent activity:
Sunday  - Gym session - legs and bench press; 11.5km run @ easy pace
Monday - Gym session - back, shoulders and abs
Tuesday - Off work and off exercise
Wednesday - Gym session - arms, chest and abs
Thursday - Off, still battling the lurgi
Friday - 200m hill reps x 5 with easy recover and 1.5 km warm and cool down. No issues with fatigue.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

In need of some hill work

As predicted the Black Mountain Peninsula XC run was a toughie. Just enough inclines to knock the wind out of my sails. Not be be unexpected as most jogging/running has been on relatively flat ground. The time was 40 seconds slower than when I last ran this course in 2010 (with the first indications of training fatigue/intolerance). However, we are talking about minimal jogging/running and no hard training since July this year. It felt like pure and simple lack of fitness/training, lots of cardiorespiratory effort.

The next XC course is a fast one, but I'll be away and won't be able to compete. We are then back at Stromlo, which in theory is an opportunity to look for improvement. However, weather conditions and time away travelling will probably confound those results. With the Spring Series winding up for Xmas with relays on Dec 11, I may have to turn my attention to the Ginninderra Park Run until the YCRC Summer Series starts.

Hills maketh the runner
 Once again it was good to see lots of familiar faces and smiles and the conditions were lovely.

Familiar face results:
Stuart Doyle - 17:38
Dave Osmond - 19:27
Elizabeth Humphries - 20:01
Richard Faulks - 20:59
Louise Sharp - 22:51
Geoff Moore - 23:02
Ewen Thompson - 23:15
David Baussmann - 23:29
Tori Hennig - 26:40 (started the run late)
Jim White - 52:27 (walking in his ankle brace)

Latest actvities:
Sunday - MTB ride 30km; gym session (legs and bench press)
Monday  - gym session (back, shoulders and abs) 
Tuesday - 1.2km jog warm up; 5K XC in 25:55 (4:46; 5:04; 5:21; 5:26; 5:18) HRav 160 bpm
Wednesday - gym session (arms, chest and abs)

Saturday, November 17, 2012

4 days a week

This is the first week in a very long time that I have run 4 times. Nothing too strenuous. The extra run was an easy 5 km lunch time amble. At present all the runs feel hard and I look forward to the day when one feels easy. Warmer conditions and lack of fitness are the cause of the lack of ease while running. The 4:1 approach does seem to be helping in that it helps me get through the runs. At present all runs over 30 mins are 4:1. That will get boosted to 45 mins once the last work trip is out of the way. It is nice to be able to run at a comfortable pace biomechanically, which the 4:1 approach is helping with.

There was another XC run during the week where I scraped in just under 25 mins. It's a bit of a challenging course. Conditions on the day were good as the cool change came through at the time of the run. I've gone slower on the course when fitter, but that was on a particularly hot day. The next event is my least favourite course and 25 mins will probably be beyond me at this stage. The goal will be a steady tempo without overdoing it. Last time I ran on this course it became apparent that something wasn't right with the body - the start of the training fatigue. It will be an interesting comparison this time around.
The picturesque but challenging Black Mountain Peninsula
Latest Activities:
Monday - gym session - back, shoulders and abs
Tuesday - 1.5km jog warm up; XC run 5km splits 4:51; 5:03; 5:06; 5:07; 4:44 - 24:51(HRav 161bpm)
Wednesday - gym session - arms, chest and abs
Thursday - 7km 10min jog warm up then 4:1 run/walk
Friday - 5km jog
Saturday - 13 km long trail run - 4:1. Lots of wildlife on display including some growling male kangaroos. 

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Biomechanically sound

I had a quick running form assessment with Jim on Saturday. It seems Lex has taught me well and most of those lessons have stuck. My right arm was the main focus and relatively easily tweaked with one cue provided by Jim. Alas, that means nothing can be done to stop the annoying muscle aches around the hips that I get post run at present. It seems that is common to those of us with 2 X chromosomes over the age of 40. We did decide to move me back into regular training shoes, rather than the innov8s for most of my runs. That makes the calves a lot happier. Speaking of which, the right calf is looking and feeling pretty good these days and seems to have healed well.

The Sunday MTB adventure

Maybe I can add in another run each week to get to 4 per week and see how the body handles it. Nothing ventured, nothing gained :-).

Latest activity:
Friday - day off
Saturday - 12 km run using the 4 min run/1 min walk approach @ 6:15 min/K average. Finding it hard once I get to 8 km.
Sunday - Mountain bike ride 28.4 km.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

A bit of cross country

It's been ages since I took part in any sort of running event. Injury and travelling have kept me away. The YCRC Spring Series started on Tuesday out at Stromlo Forest Park a perfect opportunity to catch up with some running acquaintances. There were lots of familiar faces and a good turn out for the first event of the Spring Series. I had intended to jog the 5 km, but it's tough trying to ignore the numbers, so the compromise was more of a tempo run to go sub 25 mins for the 5km. I'll be honest and say it wasn't an easy run. However, the conditions were good and the grass was inviting. A nice way to spend a Tuesday evening. Here's hoping the weather is kind for the other Spring series events.

Stromlo Cross Country Circuit
Performances by some familiar faces:
Stuart Doyle - 17:23
Vince Craig - 17:36
Craig Davis - 20:25
Katie Forestier - 20:47
Elizabeth Humphries - 22:13
Trevor Jacobs - 22:14
Louise Sharp - 22:21
Bob Harlow - 22:36
Ewen Thompson - 22:43
Geoff Moore - 22:53
Mick Horan - 24:08
Brian Wenn - 24:36
Tori Hennig - 24:40
Ken White - 26:02
Leah Wells - 27:49

Latest training activities
Sunday - 33km road bike ride
Monday - Gym session (back, shoulders, abs)
Tuesday - YCRC 5km 4:57, 4:59, 5:09, 4:34, 4:56 - 24:33
Wednesday - Gym session (arms, chest, abs)
Thursday - 7km (10 min jog warm up then 1:4 walk/run).

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Starting from scratch .......

At present it feels like I am someone that has just taken up running with no previous running history. All those years of training have slipped away. And so, with that in mind, it's back to the very basics for the next few months. Long runs will be in a run:walk 4:1 mins ratio. This will allow me to run at a pace that isn't painfully slow, but provide enough recovery to limit the damage. Running too slowly leads to poor biomechanics and I get hip and calf (soleus) pain as a result of the inefficient gait. Running too quickly sets off the fatigue. It will be a matter of striking the right balance with a goal of building distance and trying to build a brand new base. Work has more overseas travel set for later this month, which will see me in hot/humid Indonesia. So there is no point trying to stick to a plan until that trip is done. I doubt I'll get much opportunity to run in Indonesia as my trip to the US only saw me make it onto the treadmill 3 times. I will have less spare time in Indonesia.
A little cutie I spent some time with while in the US
The injury seems to be healed okay. There will remain niggly nerve compression issues due to the massive wad of scar tissue that is my medial gastrocnemius muscle. This means ongoing nerve stretch exercises as well as ensuring the right calf continues to build its strength through targeted calf exercises. I'm also going to do some sessions with Jim to try and improve my running biomechanics. The first session is November 10th.

Otherwise, the short term plan is to continue with a mixed training bag that will include sessions at the gym, a bit of cycling and a few jogs each week, with the aim to build up the long run each weekend. At present, even 10 km is challenging. With the time off running due to the injury, my cardiovascular fitness has markedly declined (despite the bike time) as evidenced by a much higher heart rate when jogging. I'd like to think that this is rock bottom and the only way now is up.

Recent training endeavours:
Monday - gym session - weights (legs, bench press, abs)
Tuesday - jog 6 km ~ 6min/K
Wednesday - forgot workout gear, missed gym. Home late, missed bike ride. Day off
Thursday - jog 7.5 km (a mixture of jog/walk) ~ 6min/K
Friday - gym session - weights (catch up session - shoulders, back, arms, abs)
Saturday - 10 km 4:1 jog ~ 6min/K; gym session (legs and bench press).

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Chucking a wobbly ......

There's been a reasonable amount of complaining coming from the locomotor muscles. An indication of the ever present training intolerance that just doesn't seem to want to go away. The windy bike ride seems to have set it all off again as runs and rides since then have felt like hard going. However, on the plus side, the calf muscle is coming along nicely, even if there has been some serious hypertrophy of the lateral head of the gastrocnemius. Yes, there is nothing symmetrical about those calf muscles now! Good proof that big isn't always better, as despite the hypertrophy, the right is still a lot weaker than the left. However, the right is substantially stronger now than it was a few weeks ago. It's just a matter of continuing with the strength exercises. A bit challenging over the next 10 days as I set off an another OS sojourn. This time to the US of A to the place of bluegrass and hopefully some gorgeous Autumn foliage. It will likely be a week of occasional jogs on the treadmill or working with whatever exercise equipment is available in the hotel gyms. 

Hopefully an indication of the scenery awaiting me in Bluegrass country
Latest activity:
Monday - 5km jog (1.5/3); gym session (bench press, upright row, shoulder press, bent over row, seated row, assisted pull up; abs)
Tuesday - OFF
Wednesday - 5km jog (1.5/3)
Thursday - gym session (squats, biceps curls, assisted dips, tri pushdowns, pec dec); WT ride 42mins
Friday - OFF - Frocktober frolics
Saturday - 6km jog (1.5/3); gym session (deadlifts, squats, stranding calf raises, leg extension, bench press)
Sunday - 39km roadbike ride
Monday - gym session (machine shoulder press, bar bell front raises, lateral pulldowns, seated row, abs)
Tuesday -  6.3km jog (1.5/3).

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Steady as she goes ....

It's been a positive start back to jogging. Positive in that my calf muscle hasn't spat the dummy as yet. It still feels a little bit tender after I run, but no issues while running. Each run has been as flat and as unpaved as I can manage given the location of each run. The pace has been very gentle. The plan is to continue doddling until I get back from my next OS trip and then start to slowly build distance. Cross training on the bikes will also continue.  I have recently purchased a smaller crank set for the road bike, so that should keep me going a bit longer on the bike to justify the purchase. Could be good for introducing some hill reps if the training intolerance doesn't flare up again.
New 50/34 crankset for the road bike

Latest activity
Tuesday - WT 34 mins @ 118bpm.
Wednesday - gym session (squats, pec dec, assisted dips, tri push downs, biceps curls, abs). WT 51 mins @ 123 bpm.
Thursday - 5km lunchtime jog @ 141bpm
Friday - OFF
Saturday - gym session (deadlifts, squats, calf raises, leg extensions) 5km jog @ 129bpm
Sunday - time confused MTB ride. I got up 2 hours early for the ride??!! Oh well at least I wasn't late ;-). 35km in Mulligans Flat @ 120bpm. Followed by a lovely brunch with the 2.0 litre runners at Tusmo Cafe in Forde.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Blowing in the wind

When the wind is at your back on a bike ride, it's awesome. When the wind is buffeting you from the side and you have those cross head winds, it's just hard unrelenting work. The challenge with cycling is staying comfortable in that unusual riding position. When it's windy, the comfort factor fades rapidly and the arms, shoulders, back etc. all complain and get tired. It's more about upper body fatigue wearing you down on windy rides rather than tired legs. Sunday the sun was shining but the wind was blowing, pretty common for Spring in Canberra. The goal was to do a ride around the 40km range and I ended up doing 44 km. The upper body was complaining bitterly around the 32 km mark and the last 12 km were a hard slog. As far as cycling goes, my home location isn't ideal as it means I often end up with a headwind on the homewards stretch and Sunday was no exception!

I was wishing for my own echelon for shelter from the wind

Canberra turned on a stunning Spring day for Labor Day Monday, only light winds :-). Alas, the body was stiff and sore from the windy bike ride. With that in mind, I thought I'd take advantage of a glorious morning and head out to Stromlo. Even though they have punched holes in the XC track surface, it's much better than my local oval, no gumby-like running as I jogged the 1km circuit 5 times. My glutes and hammies were very tight and sore from Sunday's bike ride; however, no complaints from the calf muscles :-). Alas, I did not feel strong from the ride the day before, unlike CJ.

Latest activity:
Sunday - 44 km on the roadbike, HRav 130bpm
Monday - 5 km @ 5:50min/K pace, HRav 140bpm, rate 1.5/3. Gym session (DB shoulder press, upright rows, bent over rows, seated rows, assisted pull ups, abs)

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Running in circles .....

After a week of riding the windtrainer while the weather outside has been beautiful and Spring-like, finally with the opportunity to get outside, the weekend has returned to wintery conditions. The strong winds meant either a MTB ride, the WT or a jog. It seemed like a good time to test out Jim's advice and see how the calf would hold up. I took the sensible approach and headed down to the local oval for a series of laps. A soft surface was preferable for a recuperating calf and soft it was. Actually pretty soggy after lots of rain in the last 24 hours. The surface on the oval is pretty uneven and I felt like a gumby as I jogged around the outside. The jog was easy and barely raised a sweat and the good news is my calf did not hurt at all. Indeed I felt like I could have easily managed 10km, but I didn't want to push my luck :-). I will take a conservative approach to returning to running and will continue with some cycling. However, it will be nice to be able to do some outdoor jogs to break up the boredom of WT rides. Cycling helps my running, but I don't think running helps my cycling (except maybe hill running).

Running in circles .....

Latest activity:
Tuesday - gym session (machine shoulder press, barbell front raises, bent over rows, seated rows, assisted pull ups and abs). 40 min WT session, HRav 125bpm.
Wednesday - 40 min WT session, HRav 125bpm
Thursday - gym session (squats, peck dec, triceps dips, triceps push downs, biceps curls, abs). 47 min WT session , HRav 122bpm)
Friday - Off, couldn't face the WT today.
Saturday - gym session (deadlifts, squats, weighted calf raises, bench press). 5K jog around the local oval. HRav 130bpm.

Monday, September 24, 2012

My calf the actor

Interestingly, the physical findings for my calf all point to substantial improvement i.e. the pain and weakness do not indicate an exacerbation of the tear. Structurally it seems to be heading in the right direction. Could it be my calf muscle has been taking acting classes? Is it seeking more TLC? Joking aside, this is good news and another attempt at jogging will be attempted (and is recommended) next weekend. In the meantime maybe a bit more work on building up the calves?

This kind of symmetry I'll never achieve
For the time being, standing calf raises remain the focus, trying to build strength in my right leg, which remains extremely weak. Calf stretches and nerve stretches also need to be continued. Eventually we will try and introduce some plyometrics (gradually) to help with function.

Spring has finally sprung in Canberra and it was a great weekend for cycling! So much so that I'm starting to enjoy cycling again. Being consistent means the muscles are adapting and the bike riding position doesn't feel so alien or uncomfortable. I will try and build some more distance into the rides on weekends. Only a few more weeks and we start daylight savings. That means some afternoon bike rides will also be possible, a pleasant respite from the windtrainer. We will see how long the enthusiasm for cycling sticks around :-).

Latest activity:
Saturday - 36km roadbike ride.
Sunday - 34km roadbike ride, with a social coffee stop in the middle :-); gym session - deadlifts, squats, bench press and abs.
Monday - day off and Clinic 88 visit.

Friday, September 21, 2012

15 minutes

All of my various exercise activities have been disrupted by work sending me to Ireland to review some horse PEQ facilities. Before I left I was investigating what exercise facilities were available at the places I was staying in the hope I'd squeeze in a few exercise sessions. Hotel no. 1 (Killashee House) has a massive leisure centre. Alas, I was so knackered from the flights, I didn't have any energy when we arrived and with a 5:40 am start the next morning, there would be no morning training session. Next stop was Baileys Hotel Cashel that also has a great leisure centre, although it is rarely used. It wasn't until the following morning that I had enough energy to wander down and hop on an exercise bike. I had the whole place to myself and it was good to get things moving again after all the travel! I was also able to get in a quick session on my final day. What was particularly exciting was that after about 20 mins on the bike I decided to hop onto a treadmill and see just how the calf muscle was feeling. Usually, like windtrainers I hate treadmills; however, this was bliss. I did a gentle 15 min jogging session with a couple of walk breaks. The calf felt okay, but it's still far from 100%. Jim did suggest I could start some very light jogging. I figured a treadmill was a good safe place to start.

Oh the bliss, a jog on the treadmill

Now that I am back from my trip to Ireland, I will start a slow rehabilitation process. The muscles are still quite weak, so the calf raises will continue. Next visit with Jim is next Monday. In the meantime, just a couple of short jogs if the leg is up to it (there is some muscle soreness [DOMS?], but not at the site of the tear).  No monthly handicap this month. It's bike rides, short gentle jogs and weights sessions for the time being.

Not much to report on the latest weekly activity update due to the trip to Ireland. Just lots of time sitting on a plane or in airports. At least with business class there is the option to get horizontal.

Recent blood tests show my ferritin levels aren't especially high (50 ug/L) despite the aggressive iron supplementation I went through recently (although I haven't been taking much iron of late given I haven't been running any distance). I wonder where all that iron is going? This means more iron supplementation will be required when I'm back running.

Addendum: After a short jog today the calf is sore and very weak. It seems more time off will be needed :-(. 

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

I have a thing for deadlifts

I did say that this blog wouldn't contain much about running while I am injured and relegated to riding the wind trainer or riding the bikes out doors on the weekend. I have continued to regularly attend the gym and have started to really enjoy the deadlifts! Not common behaviour for a distance runner. I am far from achieving the weights used in this video, but Terri has now inspired me! Bring it on :-).

Deadlifts do work plenty of muscles involved in running (and cycling!), so they are well worth including in a runner's weights training programme if you are so inclined. There is something deeply satisfying about a performing a set of deadlifts.

Runner's muscles!

Latest activity:
Thursday - 33 mins on WT @ 122bpm
Friday - 31 mins on WT @ 126bpm
Saturday - MTB ride 21.7 km @ 115bpm; weights session at gym
Sunday - Road bike ride 31 km @ 121bpm
Total for week - 4 hrs 45 min + gym time.

Monday - weights at gym; 30 mins on WT @ 118bpm
Tuesday - 36 mins on WT @ 120bpm
Wednesday  - 32 mins on WT @ 125bpm

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Experience matters

I had my second visit to Clinic 88 post calf tear. This time I saw Jim Barker. Jim is a talented runner in his own right and has lots of experience dealing with runners' injuries, with a special interest in calf and foot injuries. He was quick to set me straight on what we are dealing with. It is a reasonable length transverse tear at the scar/muscle junction. Something that will take a little time to heal. With any injury, there is always a weak point where the scar tissue joins with the normal tissue. The other issue is that scar tissue has minimal elasticity, so there is increased strain placed on those tissues around it. The supporting tissues need to be strengthened if I am to minimise the risk of repeated re-tearing. My exercise regimen for the next week will include:
Concentric and eccentric calf raises/drops - 3 x 15 once daily (concentric raises quite challenging at present!)
Lots of calf stretches (bent and straight leg) holding 15-30 sec, 10 sets per day
Nerve mobility stretches for both the sural nerve and the tibial nerve - 3 x 10 daily for each nerve.
Continue with the bridges and other drills once daily.
No running for at least another 14 days.

I have surprised myself this week by sticking to the wind trainer. I am adapting to the position and have noticed my muscles are starting to get the hang of it. Yes, it is still incredibly boring, but by being less uncomfortable I am able to tolerate it a little better.

NOT my wind trainer
On Wednesday I went and the saw the movie Town of Runners that was put on by the local Park Run group of Canberra. It was a great little movie and was introduced by our local running legend, Robert  de Castella. Deek has been the driving force behind the Indigenous Marathon Project. This is a cause well worth getting involved in in some way.

Activity update:
Wednesday - 31 minutes on the wind trainer (HRav 122bpm) and a weights session @ the gym
Thursday - 33 minutes on the wind trainer (HRav 121bpm)
Friday - 30 minutes on the wind trainer (HRav 127bpm)
Saturday - Windy 22.8km MTB ride (HRav 115 bpm) [I'm really missing jogging :-/]; weights session the gym

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

When time stands still

This blog will not be about running/jogging for the next few weeks. I've been riding a bike(s) to wile away the hours. Doable when riding on the road or out on a trail. However, time really does stand still when you use a windtrainer. It's been a rude shock to the body switching to cycling. The position feels all wrong and there are muscles that have had to be awoken from the dead! Oh yeah and then there's the tush. Two words - bike seat! Before I moved back to Australia at the end of 2006 I was very much a cycling addict. This means I have all the gear (and no idea - ha ha). Yes, I have 3 and a half bikes in my garage (one doesn't have a set of wheels). Over the last few days I have dusted off the cobwebs, pumped up the tyres and oiled some chains. Three of those bikes have been brought back to life. The road bike did some kms on Saturday, the MTB did some kms on Sunday and on Monday the old road bike was set up on the wind trainer with a book holder.

The bikes!
I'm struggling to understand why I was just so crazy about cycling previously. It was to do with the quiet country roads, great scenery and that joy of just heading out on the bike for a couple of hours. Australian roads just don't have the same appeal, especially if around any of the main centres. Even around Canberra it is limited. Whereas where I lived in New Zealand, Washington and Ontario there were lots of quiet loops to choose from.  Hence, back in Australia I made the switch to running. I'm not a strong runner, but I am an even weaker cyclist. My muscles do prefer to run it seems!

Still the timing for this sojourn back into cycling is actually pretty good. I can't train hard until/if I recover from my training intolerance. This means I can limit my rides to being short by cycling standards and to being at an easy intensity. Not that I have much choice there at present. It's a tough switch for the muscles.

Daylight hours are still limited at this time of the year, so I'm limited to outside rides on the weekends. Arghhhh that means the windtrainer during the week. Man oh man, I hate the windtrainer. Even at an easy intensity with a book to distract me, the time just drags. And to think I had managed to do 2 hours on a windtrainer during my cycling mad days. 30 minutes was all I could manage for my first effort and the time watching was excruciating! I should look at the big plus - no magpies when on a windtrainer! Yes I was bombed by two on Saturday and also had one make a half hearted attack on Sunday. Outside the breeding season they are such sweet birds!!

Activity update:
Saturday - road bike 26km, HRav 122 bpm; weights session @ gym
Sunday - MTB ride 19.4km, HRav 108 bpm.
Monday - weights session @ gym; 30 min windtrainer ride, HRav 114 bpm
Tuesday - tush needed a break!

Friday, August 31, 2012

Be careful what you wish for

In the "Take 2" post, I mentioned that it would be better to be dealing with an injury than my mystery training intolerance. Alas I obviously spoke too loudly. That tweak I felt in the calf on Tuesday reappeared when I attempted a jog on Thursday. I did check before going jogging with a few hops and basement run jog throughs. The calf was a little tight, but not sore. However, once I went outside and set off on a proper jog, it started to hurt and after some umming and ahhhhing I turned back and cut the jog short. Next step - a trip to Clinic 88.

My 'taped' calf
At my visit to Clinic 88, we were in agreement that I have a grade 1 tear. Likely precipitated by running in minimalist shoes and doing some box jumps on a weak calf muscle. It is pitifully weak (after all most of the medial gastrocnemius is solid scar tissue). I stopped doing the various exercises that were prescribed after the first injury once I was back running. Let's face it, all those little exercises that they send you away to do, rarely happen. I think they give you too many and they are fiddly. Hence, compliance just isn't a happening thing.

Case in hand. Let's look at what I've been told to do this time around.
Eccentric heel drops - 3 x 15 reps TWICE a day (both straight leg and bent knees)
Bridges 3 x 15 - daily (to strengthen the glutes)
Standing bicycle exercise - to fatigue TWICE a day (to better use the glutes and hammies)
Hip flexor stretches - TWICE a day 30 sec to 1 min holds
Tennis ball pressure points through the hip region - 1 x day.

I go in with a torn calf, I come out with so many exercises I'm dizzy! Will I do them all every day consistently, would you?!

How long can I not run? Probably 2-3 weeks at least in my books. I worry that as I mentioned the Canberra Times Fun Run Bo said they could review things next Friday and consider a running option. That worries me because if I was fit and healthy, I'd latch on to that. Thing is, I've torn a calf before (admittedly substantially more severely), there is no way it will be completely healed in such a short time frame. A good thing I don't have any urgent training to get back to :-). I guess we will see what the mind set is next Friday at my next visit with the awesome Jim at Clinic 88.

For the time being, it will be bike rides either on the indoor trainer or with those lovely magpies.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Jogging versus running

Google this and you get lots of 'hits'. What is the difference between jogging and running? There are two main theories. The first bases it on pace. In old units they say slower than 10 min/mile = jogging. The second theory is more about your approach/attitude to jogging/running. You're a jogger if you do it just to keep fit, don't look at numbers (pace, HR, etc) and use your jogging to stay healthy. Given the number of masters 'runners' these days, we are doing them a disservice if we call them 'joggers'. Many masters can no longer keep a good pace. However, they are passionate about their running and are an inspiration! Hence, I think the second theory makes much more sense. So in reality, I can't really call myself a jogger. I still time my runs, use a HR monitor, worry about pace (although I shouldn't!) and analyse the numbers. I can't help myself, I just love data and all that they have to offer!
'Jogging' the August ACTVAC handicap :-)
Sunday was the monthly ACTVAC handicap. I went along to catch up with friends and to enjoy a 'jog' in what turned out to be lovely winter conditions. The plan was to run at a comfortable pace. I managed to do just that. I finished 32nd out of 77 and managed to not get caught by Mr Two Fruits Apples. Quicker than the last 2 years (2010 - injured and should NOT have run, 2011- fatigue was very bad), but a few minutes off my 2009 time. Time didn't matter, other than knowing it was better than 2011, which physiologically is a good thing :-).

Today I went for a lunchtime run and decided to use my inov8 shoes as I'm not covering much distance and it's an opportunity to train my feet and legs to get used to jogging/running in minimalist shoes. It was all good until the last overpass when I felt a tweak in my right calf (the one that is one big wad of scar tissue) and had to walk the last 300m. It is still sore tonight, so I may well have a small tear. Oh well, a good thing I'm not in 'training' for anything ;-). If it is torn, I'll have to be brave and go out on one of the bikes and face my magpie fears! No rush, tomorrow is a weights session at the gym +/- a short jog after work. I can always skip the jog if the calf turns out to be still sore.

Activity update:
Sunday - ACTVAC handicap 7K - tempo-ish pace (HRav 154bpm)
Monday - weights session at the gym @ lunchtime. Also a few plyometric box jump sets using my new toy (adjustable plyo box) after work.
Tuesday - 7K jog (HRav 130bpm).

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Take 2

It seems when you delete a blog, you actually don't delete it. It just goes offline. Since 'running' in City2Surf, there's been another decline in training tolerance. I have finally accepted that I have a set of muscles that cannot cope with exercise training. They've had enough. And so, I will return to the days when I used to jog to keep healthy and to keep the weight under control. That seems to be all that can be tolerated. That will be the approach for the next few months - put on the heart rate monitor and jog. The exceptions will be the Canberra Times Fun Run 10K (if work hasn't sent me to Ireland) and the monthly ACTVAC handicaps. Those will be run with HR beeper turned off - as I'd go barmy trying to keep the HR in zone for those courses! 

The cause of the training intolerance is a bit of a mystery. There is not a history of prolonged years of hard training (I've only run 3 marathons). There was a period of overtraining, personal stress and illness plus iron anaemia that may have set this all off. Is it possible that I will recover if given long enough? If one follows the guidelines suggested for people with severe overtraining, then that is to jog slowly for short periods, building up gradually over 3-6 months. No speed work, no excess mileage. Jog for pleasure, forget about racing, doing the miles or pushing hard, just jog. I think dealing with an injury would be easier. A set amount of time off, then back onto a training programme. Oh well, short jogs it will be. MTB rides may be a nice change, although magpies will likely deter me.

Beware the magpie swooping season is upon us

Weekly activity
Jogs on Tues, Thurs, Fri and Sat.
Weights sessions (Strong is the new skinny ;-) SINS) on Mon, Wed and Saturday (there will be bad DOMS after Sat's session!)

Monday, August 6, 2012

Hangin' with the mountain runners

Another light week for me running by heart rate. It took me most of the week to feel like I was getting back to normal. Interestingly, the run on Friday felt pretty bad, but the HR stayed low, so I was able to pick up the pace slightly. The next day was one of those great 3/3 runs. Sunday I headed out to Corin Forest to celebrate Lou's 30th birthday (she's a veteran now!). I did part of a run with some accomplished mountain runners that was lead by the ultimate endurance man - Martin Fryer. Lou and Vanessa will both be representing Australia at the World Mountain Running championships. Fortunately for me they were doing a slow run and were happy to wait as I lagged far, far behind. I was kept company by Gramps who wowed us all with his MTB skills!  Martin took us up to Square Rock where we were greeted with gale force winds! I did an out and back run, whereas the rest of the group went a bit further. We then enjoyed a great picnic, although it was a tad cold!

My out and back run to Square Rock
Latest Training:
Monday - OFF
Tuesday - 11.2K loop around central basin of LBG + Telopea school @ 6:12min/K, HRav 133bpm. Rate 2/3
Wednesday - Gym session, 5K @ 6:18min/K, HRav 128bpm. Rate 1.5/3 (calves not happy!)
Thursday - 9.2K central basin LBG + Lennox Gardens @ 6:11 min/K, HRav 132 bpm. Rate 2/3
Friday - 7.5K central basin @5:50min/K, HRav 128 bpm. Rate 1.5/3
Saturday - 8.2K Yerrabi pond loop @ 6:04min/K, HRav 130bpm. Rate 3/3 :-)
Sunday - 10.2K run to Square Rock and back, HR monitor went spastic for first couple of kms. 7:31min/K, HRav 140bpm?. Rate 1.5/3.
Total for week 51K
Monday - Gym session, no run.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Back from Flusville

Monday morning I was greeted with early signs of another lurgi. Tuesday I thought it was possibly the flu. Wednesday - there was no doubt it was the flu. I took the sensible approach and stayed at home and did absolutely nothing from Tues - Thurs. That approach paid off and I was back at work by Friday feeling mostly back to normal. Hence, it was a quiet week on the running front. I've been understandably sluggish for my last few runs. I ran the ACTVAC handicap at Blewitts today. It has a nice downhill start and so I flew out of the blocks only to fade from the 3K point onwards (about the time it started its way back up hill :-) ). Splits were 3:56, 4:31, 4:57, 5:24, 5:19, 5:22, 6:40!! (ugghh) and a bit more to the finish. Last year when I had more severe fatigue issues, I walked part of the hill at the end. At least I didn't do that today :-). Hence, I ran 1:30 quicker this year. It's one of the KOM/QOM courses, so a bit tough.

A mountain goat I was NOT today :-)
Latest Training:
Mon - Thurs - OFF with the flu
Fri - 7.5K easy run around central basin of LBG. 5:46 min/K, HRav 133 bpm. Calves sore (still!) from S2S. Rate 2/3
Sat - 10.5K undulating. 6:18 min/K, HRav 128bpm. Rate 1.5/3.
Sun - 1K warm up, 7.2K Handicap. 5:20/K, HRav 153bpm. Rate 1/3.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Fun run #4 Sutherland2Surf

Heids and I ventured into the 'Shire' to participate in the Sutherland2Surf. For me it was all about having some 'fun' in a 'fun run'. Particularly given my ongoing muscle training intolerance issues. The easy week of low HR running allowed me to recover reasonably well (except for a horrid run on Saturday) and I felt okay doing this run despite the rain. Yep we got soaked to the skin! The course was much more undulating than the website course profile lead you to believe. The first 5K made for great 5K times if you weren't caught up in the crowd.

Heids ran really well (42ish for the 10K) but developed a leg problem and slowed right down for the last 1K. Me, I just wanted those last little rises in the course to go away! :-) My K splits were: 5:17 (people traffic!), 4:37, 4:29, 4:23, 4:47, 4:38, 4:43, 4:51, 4:55, 4:48, 5:07. This is good lead in event for City2Surf. I hope I am well recovered by August 12th!

Course profile, my HR data and pace

Latest Training:
Tuesday - Gym session, evening 5K jog @ 6:24min/K HRav 130bpm Rate 2.5/3
Wednesday - 11.2K @ 6:09min/K HRav 132bpm Rate 2.5/3
Thursday - gym session
Friday - DOMS from lunges, 9.3K @ 6min/K HRav 132bpm. Rate 3/3 - a glorious day for a run :-)
Saturday - 7K HRav 132bpm, Rate 1/3.
Sunday - 4K uphill jog warm up to the start (we were further from the start than we thought!). 11.2K 53:20 HRav 155bpm, 4:47min/K average pace. Rate 2/3
Total for week: 60K

Monday, July 16, 2012

What aerobic base?

Wow, what a shock today. I went out with my HR monitor alarm set to go off whenever my HR got out of the predominantly 'aerobic zone'. I chose a relatively flat loop as I knew there would be no way I could keep my HR around 130bpm on the hills around Black Mountain. Alas any incline at all resulted in a HR out of the zone. I suspect this is a carry over from overdoing it the week before last, but wow the numbers today were seriously depressing! Average pace was 6:36 min/K, average HR was 128bpm. It is extremely hard and terrible for running form trying to stick with that pace! However, persist I must to see if I can recover and develop some sort of aerobic base before attempting any hard sessions (except for Sutherland2Surf this weekend). A good thing Sutherland2Surf has a course profile like this:

A downhill run to the beach :-)
Latest Training:
Friday - gym session, no running
Saturday - Slow 11.2K run at Bruce Ridge, ~6:20min/K, HRav 135bpm. Rate 1.5/3 
Sunday - gym session, no running
Total for the week - 32K
Monday - 11.3K Central basin/Telopea School circuit, 6:36min/K, HRav 128 bpm. Rate 2/3 

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Oops I did it again .....

No, I am not referring to a cheesy pop song. I have managed to over do it again and the muscles are rebelling. The warning signs were there on Sunday when during my 'long' run I was struggling to keep the HR and RPE down for the latter half of the run, despite going at a pretty slow pace. Following the run I was seriously tired and felt some fatigue carry through to Monday. Sensibly I did not run at all on Monday and only did a light weights session. Alas an attempt at an 11K run on Tuesday saw me fall into a heap about half the way into the run. It was darn cold, and that was the only reason I didn't stop and walk! It was a really, really awful run :-(. Then even with taking Wednesday off, the Thursday run wasn't much better than Tuesday :-/. Last week included 1 hard session, 1 moderate session and more mileage than I have done for a while (a mere 58K).

My feelings precisely ........
The trick now is to figure out what the right balance is. I think some super easy running with the odd hard session will be the way to go. Right now, I need to reduce the number of days I run and steer clear of any hard sessions until the muscles settle down again ....... sigh so frustrating.

I think I will take the approach described by Richard Stiller, except allow myself to try and push it in the various fun runs I have planned on the horizon.

Low HR running

Latest Training:
Monday - gentle gym session, no running
Tuesday - 11.2K LBG central basin/Telopea School circuit. 5:50min/K, HRav 142bpm. Cold drizzly conditions and a rating of 0.5/3.
Wednesday - day off, did zippo!
Thursday - a lap around Little Black Mountain - 9.2K. Rate 1/3.

Sunday, July 8, 2012


32:23 must be someone's awesome 10K PB. For me it is my number for City2Surf, arriving in the mail on Thursday. A great number with the whole palindrome thing going on :-).

I'm sure it will be a great weekend where a number of us will combine running C2S as well as celebrating Minnie's birthday. Maybe someone will manage a 64:46? That won't be me, I'll be there enjoying running in an event I've never run in before. 14K may have been an easy distance to race pre-fatigue. However, now I'll be happy if I can get to the finish without falling into a fatigue-heap.

The lovely nurse Minnie
Running has been mostly quite pleasant as I continue in 'take it as it comes' mode. The muscles are happier and oddly I really look forward to the short jogs I've been doing on gym days. They are short enough and slow enough to not hurt, that's really good for my head space.

Latest Training:
Wednesday - gym session, 5K jog @6:10 min/K, HRav 123bpm. Rate 2/3
Thursday - lap around Black Mountain 11.7K @6min/K, HRav 138bpm. Rate 2/3
Friday - OFF
Saturday - 5K warm up then 4 x 5 min hilly reps (run slowly HRav 142, 156, 153, 155) + 2K cool down for total of 11.2K. Rate 1.5/3
Sunday - long run with Heidi, Maria and Tori. 15.5K hilly @6min/K, HRav 152bpm, feeling very knackered post run, like I've run 30K :-/.  Rate 1.5/3
Total for week 58K

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Chilly intervals

Taking it as it comes is going well at present. Essentially that means mostly slow easy runs and an attempt to focus on some long intervals at the track once a week. No pressure though, show up at track, do a warm up jog and IF that feels okay start the session and IF that feels okay finish the session. Bruce (enjoying some rather nice French sunshine at present) suggested I back off the pace a bit and that worked a treat tonight. I set the watch to beep at me every 200m. For the 2000m that was @4:30 min/K pace, the 1600m @4:25 min/K pace and the 1200m @4:20 min/K pace. I ran a little quick at the start of each interval, but then settled into the right pace and nailed each one AND felt good throughout. The HR data are good, I was at about the right intensity for this kind of session. I also enjoyed doing this session in my Inov-8 230s. Good strong runs by Heidi, Maria and Julia, who were all there a little earlier than me. We also had our Olympian training buddy showing us how it's really done running 6 x 1km intervals with Tim Rowe (all sub 3min/K pace and progressively quicker). It definitely was not shorts and singlet weather at the track!

Awesome Speedy Olympian!

Latest Training:
Saturday - hilly run, not much energy. 9.5K @6:15min/K, HRav 138bpm. Rate 1.5/3
Sunday - 13.2K run, felt okay first 5K and then had to really slow down. 6:20min/K. HRav 133bpm.
Total for week 51K
Monday - lunchtime gym session, evening jog 5K @6:10 min/K, HRav 122bpm. Rate 2/3
Tuesday - 2.3K warm up, 4 x 100m strides, Long intervals 2000m @8:54, HRav 154bpm; 1600m @7:03, HRav 154 bpm; 1200m @5:09, HRav 157 bpm. 2.2K cool down. Rate 3/3 :-)

Friday, June 29, 2012


That's my estimate of where I am sitting post-injury/fatigue. The body is firing around 75% of its former self and it's been sitting there for a while. This could be a good thing as it isn't really going backwards. The lurgi did knock me around more than I anticipated and even now there is a persistent cough. However, I did manage a good long interval session at the track last Tuesday inspired by several speedy thoroughbreds training like Black Caviar. Although BC is more of a 'sprinter' while those at the track were much more 'stayers'. Including one of our local Olympians - Marty Dent.

All gimmick and proved very effective advertising!
The session included 2000m, 1600m then 1200m. I set my watch to beep me through each 200m @ 4:20 min/K pace. The 2000m felt easy and I stayed on pace, the 1600m was a bit tougher, but I mostly maintained the pace, during the 1200m I was hit with a high stitch (just under the diaphragm) and had to break it into a couple of shorter intervals. A good session all things considered!

Otherwise training has been a mix of short jogettes, gym sessions and the odd hard or longish session. The jogettes are mostly enjoyable as they are all about going super slow and easy. It looks like I may be able to handle a single hard session each week and will see how that goes - so much for Plan C!!

Latest Training:
Monday - gym session and 4.2K jog @6:30 min/K, HRav 125bpm - Rate 2/3
Tuesday - 2K jog warm up, 4 x 100m strides, long intervals: 2000m - 8:39, HRav 158bpm; 1600m - 6:57, HRav 163bpm, 400m x 2 @ 4:20 pace (interrupted by stitch); 1.8K jog cool down - Rate 2.5/3
Wednesday - gym session and 4.3K jog @6:30 min/K, HRav 126bpm - Rate 2/3
Thursday - lap around Black Mountain 11.7K @6 min/K, HRav 138bpm - Rate 1.5/3
Friday - OFF  

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Just cruisin'

Yep, with the recent lurgi and unhappy muscles, it's been a time of going on cruisey no goal runs. At present it makes sense to get out and run by feel and not worry about all the various training plans, since in reality it's not like I've gained any momentum with my training over the last few months. I did think about a track session on Tuesday, but after a 'warm up' jog I decided it was probably more sensible to just jog around the local streets and leave the thoroughbreds to do their work on the track. I'm more like a retired thoroughbred who is now used as a show hack. The desire to race never disappears.........but the body isn't so able.

The monthly handicap was around Mt Ainslie, a tough course with that big climb not too far from the finish. I ran the first 7K quite well, but conveniently died just as I got close to the final climb. Taking it easy of late obviously helped as I was able to run with the HR right up there, it spent some time hovering around the 170bpm mark. My best placing on this course - 23rd, a shame I couldn't keep the momentum going for the full distance. Also happy to finally get my AST over 70% (72) again. Great run by Roger to take the silver. Also great to see Gary take the bronze in the Frylink series.

Brett Morrison (Silver), Jill Pearson (Gold) and Gary Bowen (Bronze)

Roger briefly had the Thomas Series PRIZE! Count back - he was actually 2nd.

Latest 'Training':
Tuesday -  8.6K in total @ 6min/K HRav 127bpm. Rate 2/3
Wednesday - Lunchtime weights session @ gym; evening jog 4K @ 6:09min/K HRav 123bpm Rate 2/3.
Thursday - The little black mountain loop 9.2K @ 6:10min/K HRav 127bpm. Rate 2/3
Friday - Weights session @ gym.
Saturday - Short 4.2 K loop @ 6:20min/K HRav 130 bpm. Rate 1.5/3
Sunday - ACTVAC handicap - 9.3K @5:10min/K HRav 163bpm. Rate 2.5/3. 1K warm up and cool down. Late PM 'recovery jog' 3K - rate 2.5/3. Total for week 40K.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

A couple of good ones

As the good days are infrequent, when I get them they are bliss. I'm talking about just being able to run slowly and for it to feel GOOD. It's also great to knock out a tough training session, but it's those easy runs that are truly easy that make running such a wonder. Post-lurgi and with unhappy muscles it was a pleasant surprise to have two consecutive good days. One was just a short little jog to get outside, the other a 'long' run on a cold, windy day.

A fabulous place to run
Saturday was cross country champs and as always, there were many inspiring performances. For me, just jogging 50 metres from the start to the registration desk hurt! A good thing I wasn't competing. However, when I got home I needed a jog. Yay, the hurting had stopped and a gentle 4km loop was just what the doctor ordered, it felt great. Sunday was a play it by ear run, no pressure, no expectations. Mulligans flat is my local trail running location, although it isn't really flat. I ended up managing a slow 13km along the perimeter fence. I did cheat pre-run and take a dose of P.

Latest 'training':
Saturday - 4km loop @5:50min/K HRav 127bpm, rate 3/3, followed by weights session at the gym
Sunday - 13km loop @6:24min/K HRav 125bpm, rate 3/3
Total for week - 43km.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Eighteen months

Yes, it's been 18 months since my training intolerance became apparent! In those 18 months I have improved slightly (probably due to restoration of iron levels), but the intolerance just won't go away. With that amount of time and a good 6 months of normal iron levels it's come to the time to accept that this is as good as it's going to get. I have no idea what has caused it, but there must be some modification of my muscle physiology/function. There will be good days and there will be bad days, and there won't be any more marathons or even half marathons, I can't tolerate the training :-(. Running will simply become a means of keeping somewhat fit, getting outside and keeping the body weight in check. There will be fun runs for the sake of going somewhere different, but no matter how strong that desire is to chase PBs, the body is just no longer able. Pretty tough when you live in a runner's paradise. Bummed to my core.

Skeletal muscle pathology from athletes with ATI
Skeletal muscle pathology in endurance athletes with acquired training intolerance

Latest 'Training':
Sunday - 11.4K, lurgi still lingering 6min/K HRav 147 bpm. Rate 1/3 although happy to be running again after 5 days off
Monday - 3.1K easy jog 6:30min/K, HRav 130bpm
Tuesday - OFF, lingering lurgi
Wednesday - Easy circuit of central basin + Telopea Park 11.1K 5:50min/K HRav 130bpm Rate 2/3
Thursday - weights session at the gym
Friday - Black Mountain circuit 11.8K, 6min/K HRav 130bpm, Rate 1.5/3

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Taken out by the lurgi

I understand just where Mimi is coming from!

It's been 5 days since my last run. I was hit by the dreaded lurgi that has been circulating around Canberra. It's a sneaky little sucker. I was off work for 2 days and thought that was the worst of it, wrong! Fortunately it is mostly upper respiratory and by sensibly not running it will hopefully fade into the background, just as long as it gives me back my voice! Hence, it's blown a BIG hole in my training plan. I have had a couple of gentle gym sessions, but otherwise it's been a big fat ZERO since last Tuesday. I plan to venture out for a run tomorrow - Sunday to see how the body feels.

Latest Training:
Thursday - Longish run of 13K at a bit below LT pace - Rate 2/3
Friday - Gym weights session
Saturday - long hilly intervals 4 x 5 mins, total 11K - Rate 1.5/3, feeling flat
Sunday - Gym weights session
Monday - Long intervals - 4 x 6 min, total of 11K with warm up and cool down - Rate 2/3 for intervals, 1/3 for the cool down.
Tuesday -  OFF greeted by lurgi upon awakening
Wednesday - gentle gym session with weights
Thursday - OFF, lurgi well and truly in charge, the perfect birthday pressie ..... not!
Friday - OFF not feeling particularly good
Saturday - gentle gym session with weights, feeling much better except for the loss of voice.

Upcoming running plans were to include the cross country championships Saturday June 16th.  I have not been able to run in these for the last couple of years and thought I could finally participate. Alas I am so undercooked that I may again be cheering from the sidelines. I'll see how my Tuesday session goes and decide then!

Other events approaching include City2Surf in August - first time for a bit of fun.  Heids is thinking of running Sutherland2Surf in July and would like some company. I'm all for it if I can bounce back from Mr Lurgi.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Plan C - run q 48 hours

Perseverance is my middle name, so I refuse to let this annoying fatigue thing stop me running. I will accept that I must change the way I train and take a more recovery-based approach, hence Plan C (actually a modification of Plan A way back when :-)). There are a number of training plans out there that use a 2 week cycle over the more traditional 1 week cycle. If I take a similar approach, that makes it easier for me to get some quality sessions, but at the same time make every other day a recovery day, i.e. run q 48 hours :-).

The plan I have come up with is something along these lines, recognising that I will need to juggle for some preferred events and also if there are any other problems. I will take advantage of some of the OFF days and do a bit of weight training (plus it's nice to get outside at lunch time).

Week 1
Mon - OFF
Tues - Long intervals session @track
Wed - OFF
Thurs - Longish easy run
Fri - OFF
Sat -  Group training session - long hill reps.
Sun - OFF +/- bike ride
Week 2
Mon - Long intervals of some sort
Tues - OFF
Wed - Easy moderate length run
Thurs - OFF
Fri - Short hill reps.
Sat - OFF +/- bike ride.
Sun  - Long run 

It will be interesting to see how it goes and what the level of fatigue is like with more enforced rest days. So far for the first week of q 48  hours, Monday I took off and Tuesday I did a 1K rep session. I think the day off helped and the session went reasonably well considering how flat I felt over the weekend. After the warm up I donned the inov8 shoes that caused me grief a couple of weeks ago and the calves were fine :-).

Latest Training:
Monday - OFF
Tuesday - Warm up, 4 x 100m strides, 3 x 1K repetition with 90 sec recovery. 4:10 HRav 157bpm, 4:15 HRav 160bpm, 4:15 HRav 160bpm and a jog cool down. Got rather cold and that made me keep the session at 3 reps rather than 4.
Wednesday - OFF, tried out Club Lime in Civic for a short lunch time weights session, the hammies won't be happy on Thursday :-(!

Sunday, May 27, 2012


A favourite acronym of mine. Today it refers to the fact that I'm still dealing with episodes of unexplained running-induced fatigue. One expects to feel pain when pushing hard, but when out doing those 'easy' runs with a low HR, why does it hurt? My response is FIIK! Something at the muscular level isn't quite right. The up side is it could be a lot worse and running could just grind to a halt. However, if this is now the 'norm' for me, then marathon training is not going to happen. The thought of doing a 2-3 hour training run fighting fatigue the whole time holds ZERO appeal.

It was the monthly ACTVAC handicap today on a glorious late autumn morning, the sun was shining and the breeze was mild. I've not run this course before and it's a bit of a tough one, easy on the way out, NOT easy on the way back. I wasn't expecting a great run today based on the last week and yes, nothing to write home about. That said, it was a wonderful morning to be out there amongst it. Plenty of good runs to be had by those that train consistently :-).

Masters Athletics in the ACT are currently in a bit of strife. ACTVAC is without a President or Secretary and the club could fold if those positions aren't filled. I worked on the executive committee a couple of years ago and it has got to be one of the most frustrating committees to be on. Personally I find the approach the club takes very antiquated, it is a bureaucratic nightmare. Seriously, if they want younger people in the club to step up, then there will need to be some BIG changes. It is easier working on a subcommittee and that is where I will stay. Interesting times lie ahead, we may have NO committees/sub-committees in 4 weeks time!

Latest Training:
Mon - 9.2K loop around Little Black Mountain - calves nearly fully recovered. Rate 2/3 HRav - 132bpm
Tues - Tempo run as 1K rep session not on. Total distance 8.1K HRav 143bpm. Rate 2/3.
Wed - Late run today. Not feeling particularly good. 11.3K. Rate 1.5/3, HRav 135bpm
Thurs - Long intervals today. 2K warm up then 4 x 6min hardish with 1min recoveries. All in the 4:40 to 4:50min/K range and HR in the mid 150bpm range. Jog back to start was tough. Session rates 1/3. None of the recovery jogs felt good in this session.
Fri - A gentle 5K trundle to get outside. HRav 123bpm. Rate 1/3
Sat - Had planned a flat trail run locally, but local trails closed for Roo cull :-(. Went to Mt Ainslie and did a slow and uncomfortable lap - 14.3K, HRav 132bpm with screaming fatigue most of the way. Rate 0.5/3
Sun  - 1.5K warm up, then 7.5K handicap in 39:27 with HRav 151bpm. Like yesterday just couldn't push much at all. Rate 1/3. Followed by yummy brunch with good company :-). Also did a gym session, fatigue is not an issue with weights work.  Total for week 69K.

Friday, May 18, 2012


I made an error of judgement this week and it's triggered a rather severe episode of DOMS. Yes, that evil 'Delayed Onset of Muscle Soreness'. It is so severe that even after 72+ hours I cannot run and walking down stairs is painful. I've always had severe DOMS responses after what I would consider fairly mild changes in exercise. Going back to the gym after a bit of time off can end up leaving the muscles VERY angry. Alas this week, I went too far with my running! I purchased a new pair of shoes last weekend. Minimalist shoes by Inov8. It's always a struggle getting shoes to fit on account of my feet being very long and skinny. Most shoes end up being too wide and that predisposes to blisters. I tried these shoes on in the shop and they fitted like a glove! Such a pleasant change. Hence I was so keen to test them out. Rather than being sensible, I headed out for a loop around Black Mountain figuring if the shoes were going to be a problem I'd know sooner rather than later ..... wrong! It wasn't until I was beyond half way that I realised my calves were working a bit harder than they would in my other shoes. It was too late to turn around as either way I was set for a ~12K run. The calves were a bit tight at the end of the run. By the next day they were ANGRY and have remained that way ever since. I have attempted a couple of jogs only to be met with STRONG calf opposition. Some say a bit of light exercise can loosen things up, but not in this case!

My new snug fitting DOMS causing shoes
There's been a fair bit written about DOMS and the reality is there is no guaranteed successful treatment. It is a clever protective mechanism in the muscles and the degree of pain is highly variable amongst individuals. Indeed individuals with stiffer muscles get more severe DOMS and there is evidence that some people are predisposed to a greater inflammatory and pain response. I suspect I am one of those individuals! It is better to avoid in the first place. Alas I just didn't think my calves would react this adversely to running in these shoes!

Here's an interesting review article on DOMS for those that are interested:

Cool DOMS review article

It is pointless reporting on my latest training as all I have is the 12K run on Tuesday and 2 aborted attempts since then. It feels like at least another couple of days will be needed before the calves will be willing again. Lesson learned! That said, I love the feel of the shoes, I just need to ease into using them a bit more slowly to avoid a repeat episode i.e. follow the "repeated-bout effect approach".

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Fun run #3 Mother's Day Classic

I revised my plans and chose to do the Mother's Day Classic 10K rather than the YCRC half marathon. The level of fatigue continues to be unpredictable making the idea of 21.1K around LBG rather daunting. It will be more sensible to build up to that kind of distance gradually (seriously though, this is indeed a  S L O W gradual process trying to get back to where I was pre injury/fatigue :-/). Instead the plan was to try for sub 47 for the 10K. On a good day, quite possible, on a bad day ........ As it turns out the conditions were quite tough with a strong north west wind, making the little climb onto Commonwealth Bridge just a bit more challenging. During my warm up I could tell my legs weren't 100% committed. When not being blasted by the wind I was easily on pace, but couldn't  hold it in the wind. First 5K were 23:25, so quite a bit of time lost in the 2nd 5K - finishing in 47:30. Considering the conditions and the 15K yesterday, a pretty good result.

In memory of my beautiful mother - 1944-2010
Latest Training:
Wednesday - 11.2K gentle run around central basin LBG + Telopea school @ 5:38 min/K, HRav 134bpm. Felt 2/3 at the start, then some fatigue crept in 1.5/3 from half way.
Thursday - Headed into the smoke only to be diverted by little fires around Black Mountain. 12.3K @ 5:55min/K and HRav 139bpm. Rate 1.5/3.
Friday - Just a short lap around central basin LBG. 7.3 @ 5:54min/K HRav 129. Rate 1.5/3, tired legs
Saturday - Pleasantly surprised by legs once they warmed up. Lovely 15.3K loop around Black Mountain with Heidi, Minnie and Bella. Took it easy in anticipation of planned hard 10K on Sunday. 5:50min/K, HRav 132bpm. Rate 2/3.
Sunday - 2.8K warm up then 10K in 47:30, HRav 154, cool down 1K. Rate 2/3.
Total for the week- 70K

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Night and day

I had a horrific run on Sunday. It was a fatigue day with my muscles telling my brain to stop, yet the heart rate was low and the pace slow, slow, slow. I'm still unsure just how to handle these days. Should I stop and go home, or just stick with it as best I can? So far I have mostly stuck with it, but followed up with a rest day of some sort. I decided to use Tuesday as a test day and was pleasantly surprised! Everything felt quite good and I managed to cruise through the 1K reps on just under goal pace. Yep, Sunday and Tuesday were night and day! 

Latest Training:
Friday - Easy 6K (forgot watch, no other data available), legs a bit weary still. 1.5/3
Saturday - 5K warm up, 4 x 5:20min hilly reps and jog back cool down. Legs weary. 2/3
Sunday - 17K @ 6:09 min/K, HRav 122 bpm, 0.5/3 - crappola run! Total for week 67K
Monday - Off
Tuesday - 5.4K warm up with strides, 3 x 1K reps 4:11 (157bpm), 4:14 (161 bpm), 4:13 (162 bpm); 1K cool down. 3/3 - a good session. Total for session 9.8K.

Thursday, May 3, 2012


It is fair to say that I have a bit of an obsession about exercise science. Probably not surprising as I spent several years working on a PhD that focused on equine exercise physiology. Not much of a useful skill in the big picture, but pretty fascinating. I have a 'small' collection of books with my most recent purchases looking at the running literature. So many books and so many ideas. The fundamentals remain the same, but it just highlights how each athlete (human or equine!) has their own quirks and individual responses to training. There is the tendency to copy what the latest and greatest athlete does. It's pretty clear in the literature that a lot of the same things are simply recycled. Often just jazzed up with new terminology. The key is to find what works for you and build on that, seeking a bit of guidance along the way. I love trawling all these books soaking up information.

Some of the running books in my exercise science library
Latest Training:
Monday -  Off
Tuesday - Interval session supposed to be 4 x 1K. Actual session 2 x 1K (4:01 and 4:16) 1 x 400 (98), 1 x 300 (71) and 1 x 400 (94). Went out too hard on the first 1K interval and blew up for the rest of the session. Based on my recent 5K and 10K performances, these 1K intervals should probably be around 4:15 pace. Total distance with warm up, strides, cool down - 10K. Despite blowing up I rate this session as 2/3 (no P)
Wednesday - 9.3K easy run @5:40K/min HRav 132 bpm, start of run 2/3, end of run 1/3 - tired and sore from the Tues session, really dragged my arse home over the last 3K (no P).
Thursday - 11.8K @ 5:45K/min HRav 133 bpm around my fav Black Mountain loop. I bumped into Miranda and Andrew walking part of the loop after reading about it in a previous post on this blog. Miranda agrees it's a pretty special trail :-). DOMS (from Tues) and still a bit tired. It took a while into the run before it felt okay (possibly the P kicking in). Started at 1.5/3 and then ended up around 2/3.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Two left feet

I had a good laugh at work on Thursday when I went to gather my shoes for my lunch time run. Alas I obviously wasn't paying too much attention when I bagged them at home.

Two left shoes for a runner that often runs like she has two left feet!

It must have been a subliminal message. I had some old shoes at work that I could use, but even so I ran like I had 2 left feet as I managed to trip over at one point during my run around Black Mountain. As it turns out I was also thinking about falls when running. Message to self, "Don't think about falling while running, while running!" That said, there was no damage done, no blood, unlike poor Cathy today at the handicap, she did yet another CJ.

It was a stunning day for the monthly handicap at Majura Nature Park. Lots of good runs by friends on a tough course!

Latest Training:
Monday -  Off
Tuesday - after a ~2K warm up and 4 x 100m strides,  did 3 x 1km intervals with approx 1 min recovery in between. Intervals were 4:14, 4:15 and 4:12, just a bit harder than tempo. Conditions were windy and cold. HR sat around 160bpm for each interval. Felt like a fish out of water at this sess :-/.
Wednesday - Off. It was one of those days with an ice cold wind that went straight through you and wouldn't let up. I stayed curled up at home with a good book. I'm struggling with motivation at present.
Thursday - the day of 2 left feet! A lap around Black Mountain. 11.8K @ 5:30min/K and HRav 143bpm, a good LT run. Rating 3/3
Friday - A circuit around central basin and past Telopea school. 11K @ 5:35min/K and HRav 136bpm. Lagging a bit. Rating 2/3
Saturday -  Chose to do a long run today as the monthly handicap is on Sunday this week. 17.2K @ 6min/K and HRav 130bpm. Started run with a 1.5/3 rating and a side stitch for first few kms. Then gradually things improved to a rating of 2/3.
Sunday - 2K warm up jog then the ACTVAC handicap 10K @ 5:14 min/K and HRav of 152bpm.  Legs were tired (as shown in the HR data) from the long run and wheels came off at the 3K to go marker.  Not a great time, but a course PB by 3.5 mins (not hard to do based on the previous 2 performances!).  Rating 1.5/3.
Total mileage for the week 58K. A bit low due to 2 days off. Cruising speed is starting to slowly get a bit quicker.