Thursday, March 29, 2012

Motivation meltdown

The fatigue thing isn't fully resolved, motivation is lacking.
Latest Training:
Sunday - 18.2K @ 5:47 min/K pace, HRav 131bpm. Drug (NSAID) assisted run
Monday - 7.2K around the central basin @ 5:48 min/K HRav 129 bpm, fatigued, a struggle to run the full distance
Tuesday - Day off due to level of fatigue on Monday
Wednesday - Completely demotivated, did a new running loop to distract me from the fatigue. A loop around Black Mountain. Low grade fatigue was ever present. 13K @ 6:06 min/K HRav 132 bpm
Thursday -  Did a similar loop to Wed in the reverse direction, low grade fatigue niggled the whole way. 12K @ 5:50 min/K, HRav 133bpm. Watched some great performances at Track, some great times in the 5000m, an outstanding PB by a very happy Maria.

Marvelous Maria and her great running coach - Bruce
I have been wondering about the potential effects of NSAIDS on blocking my perception of 'fatigue' as all the 'good' runs last week were after I had taken some NSAIDS (mostly paracetamol). The bad runs have all been drug free. I did a test run today after taking some paracetamol and the run was fatigue free. I located this research paper today which helps explain the phenomenon.

Influence of acetaminophen on performance during time trial cycling 

It seems that I may have to do more training sessions with a little paracetamol on board and see how things progress.

Alas, paracetamol doesn't prevent klutziness

Saturday, March 24, 2012

RPE stop messing with me

Thursday's experiment was to see how well the body felt and what type of RPE was going to dominate after a few days of forcing my brain to reset its RPE level. Running conditions at Thurs lunch time were puurrrfect. Cloudy, cool, very little wind. Heat was never going to be a factor. As it turned out, neither was RPE1 (the niggly, muscular one). It was all about RPE2, which felt pretty easy, working just a little. The running stats reflect it as well. 11.2K @ 5:27min/K pace, HRav = 135 bpm. I'll be happy when I can do that same loop with a 5:00 min/K pace for HRav 135. Friday seemed like a good day for a rest day (no more running streaks for a while),
The brain has the final say with perception of fatigue
Role on Saturday and it turned to custard again :-/. The body was not happy running and RPE1 dominated. I did a 4 x 6min hard, 1 min interval session with a 2K warm up and a 4K cool down. Each interval felt horrid and the 4K cool down felt horrid. HR data do not reflect the discomfort, hence RPE1 was dominant for this session. Rather disheartening after a couple of good runs and a well placed rest day. Next on the cards for the week will be a long run. That's going to be quite interesting after today's effort!

Latest Training:
Thursday - 11.2K easy run, 5:27min/K pace, HRav 135 bpm
Friday - Rest day
Saturday - 2K warm up, 4 x 6 min hard, 1 min easy interval session. Average pace for each interval: 1 - 4:40min/K, HRav = 147 bpm; 2 - 4:30 min/K HRav 151 bpm; 3 - 4:40 min/K HRav 151 bpm: 4 - 4:45 min/K, HRav 150 bpm. 4K unpleasant jog home. ~11.2K total

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Mt Stromlo Forest Park

It was the last event in the Summer series on Tuesday evening, with perfect running conditions. As is the usual, the 5K event is 2 laps of the course. Oddly the YCRC reports the distance as 4.92K for this event, which started and finished in the usual location. I'm a bit confused about this downgrade in distance. My Polar recorded 5K exactly. I ran the event like I did the previous one on this course, 6min hard, 1 min easy recovery to the finish. Previous time 23:35, this time 23:21. I was happy to see a slight improvement in time for the same course. However, now I don't know how to interpret the result with the distance modification. If anyone else recorded the distance, let me know as it seems we did start where we always start and finish.
The beautiful grass running track at Mt Stromlo
There were some good performances for the final of the series. My friend and work colleague, Louise Sharp ran a PB of 19:09 and Katie Forestier was very pleased to break 20 min, finishing in 19:52. Interestingly Ewen was again just ahead of me, although by a bigger margin than last time!

Today I continued the brain/pace retraining when I headed out for my lunch time run. I pushed a bit harder and managed to take 4 minutes off my previous best time on this particular course, also going under 6 min/K pace (5:51) for a hilly course. HRav was 144bpm over the 11.7K course. Of interest is that I believe I have two 'types' of RPE. The main one that holds me back is muscular/brain related. The more standard one and the one I experienced mostly today is cardiorespiratory. Today I knew I was working up the hills based on breathing while also glancing at HR. This kind of exertion makes more sense than the other niggly one that has been holding me back. During the Stromlo run, it started out as mostly muscular/brain RPE and felt hard, but then I'd say it was 50/50 brain/muscular and cardiorespiratory. I will need to do an easy run tomorrow and it will be interesting to see what RPE dominates!

Latest Training:
Tuesday - 2K warm up; 5K XC run 6 min hard, 1 min easy intervals (23:21 total time), 2K cool down with speedy Lou.
Wednesday - 11.7K Black Mountain loop, 5:51 pace, HRav 144bpm.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Pace retraining

It's great having old data to look at, I do love all the technology available for runners these days. My choice is the Polar RS800CX system. I did originally have a foot pod Polar system, but switched to the GPS and haven't looked back. Unlike a lot of my Garmin wearing friends, I don't have that strange need to get 'exact' kms each week. If my run is 19.6K, no I don't need to run another 400m to get to 20K. It's not an exact science anyway!

Yes, I do have all the accessories for the bike as well ..... I'm a techno geek after all.
Back to the topic at hand. I thought it time to go and review some old running data to see how I currently compare to the 'good old days'. To some extent it was a pleasant surprise. Current pace and HR data don't look hugely different to when I was in training for the 2009 Melbourne marathon. What is different, is my current RPE. Relative to the HR data, RPE feels harder than it should, hence I continue to 'choose' to run at a slow pace. Sure when fatigue is a factor this would be expected, but fatigue mostly isn't an issue. What gives? I believe that while I had iron deficiency and continued to run, I unintentionally reset my RPE. The fatigue and muscle discomfort that went with the iron deficiency saw me retrain my body to run really slow. It was the only way I could do some form of running while battling undiagnosed fatigue. I did that for close to 12 months! Plenty of time to rewire the brain. I am now more sensitive to trying to run at slightly quicker paces. Runs with HR in the 140-150 bpm range 'feel' more like 150-160 bpm. The brain keeps saying "stay in the 130-140 range". Hence, the time has come to reset my RPE and to do more runs with a slightly higher HR. Genuine recovery runs will remain at ~130bpm. At some point it should start to feel less taxing (I hope!).

The good old days - Melbourne marathon 2009
 Latest Training:
Saturday - Oops, I didn't get around to running.
Sunday - A nice group tempo run 13.2K @ 5:48km/min, hilly, HRav 143bpm, Total for the week, a tad over 50km (low due to missing Saturday and Thursday)
Monday - Brain retraining run! 6K @ 5:30 km/min pace, HRav 137 bpm. I was a bit tired due to a poor quality sleep overnight and the RPE was not nice.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

A week in Aotearoa - the land of the long white cloud

I'm just back from a wonderful week in NZ. It was just what I needed. The weather was mostly kind to me and the added bonus was that my good friend Angela was able to take a couple of days off work so we could head down to Wanaka/Queenstown. Understandably given my recent drop in motivation and the big distraction of being in NZ, running was a low priority. It's hard to maintain motivation when it's a constant grind with little to show for it.

Atop mountains compliments of Aspiring Helicopters
Once the 50 day running streak came to an end, the wheels well and truly came off. I did not run at track on Thursday (the weather was dodgy and I wasn't feeling super good); Friday, I did a quick circuit around the burbs (cancelled fight meant delayed travel plans); I was unable to run on Saturday due to a  LONG  day travelling (well except for sprinting to make my plane due to tight connection); and on Sunday the weather turned nasty with horizontal rain and no sheltered place to run. Bring on Monday and the weather cleared to a gorgeous day, so I was able to do a 17K out and back run towards the Ben Ohau range (the last couple of kms were tough). Tuesday I was in Queenstown and wasn't given great directions for a run, I ended up doing an out and back up and down a steep hill (good power training!). Wednesday I did a tempo loop around Twizel and Thursday I didn't run, for no particular reason other than lack of motivation. Friday was another day of travel, so before heading off, I did a 4 x 6min session with 2K warm up and similar cool down.  Those runs in NZ were not particularly quick and as I feel like I'm not getting anywhere with training, the plan to run the 5000m champs on March 29th is cancelled. There are a couple of on road fun runs (in April) that I will do instead and training will continue with base building while slowly working on speed. I've had it with track for the time being :-p, it just emphasises my limitations.

The long white cloud

Latest Training:
Thursday - Off
Friday - 7K circuit around my local suburb
Saturday - Off
Sunday - Off - Very low total for the week, around 18K (only 3 runs).
Monday -  17.2K @ 6min/K pace, HRav 137 bpm.
Tuesday - ~6K @ 6:30 min/K pace on steep hill
Wednesday - 7.4K tempo run @5:24min/K pace HRav 136 bpm
Thursday - Off
Friday - 2K warm up; 6min x 4 with 1 min rec @ 4:55min/K, 4:45 min/K, 4:40 min/K, 4:35 min/K (slight uphill for first 2 intervals, slight downhill for last 2) 7.1K total for intervals and including cool down. HRav for the full session - 151bpm.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

No more streaking

After a running streak of #50 days straight, I decided to take a much needed day off. The streak is over! I have a cold and the insomnia has me feeling quite weary. Running pace continues to be at a snail's pace, maybe because of insufficient rest. There are also lots of distractions to contend with now for the next few weeks, so something had to give. Congratulations to Cathy and Ewen who continue to streak ahead! Cathy should hit run #100 tomorrow. Will they continue with the plan to streak around Calwell Oval after completion of run #100?! Time will tell :o).

As for me, another time perhaps ..... ;-)

I'm off to NZ on Friday, there are a few trail runs planned, but all in all, no serious training, just time to chill and have fun.

Latest Training:
Sunday - 15.6K in the rain, traversing puddles and streams. About 6:30min/K pace, HRav 125 bpm. Total for the week 75.7K
Monday - A gentle amble around the central basin of LBG for run #50. Cold starting to settle in, body tired. 7.2K, HRav 132 bpm
Tuesday - DAY OFF!
Wednesday - A circuit around Black Mountain, traversing streams, puddles and fallen trees, quite the obstacle course! 11.8K @ 6:20min/K pace, HRav 132 bpm.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Fluffy week

It's been a week of essentially easy/fluffy runs. I feel like I've been running on 3 cylinders instead of 4. Probably due to sleep issues and a slow recovery from last weekend's effort. The one good thing about the week is that the average HR for the runs has dropped. The bad thing is, despite the lower HR the legs haven't been keen/able to 'work it'. Could be a sign of overdoing it or an impending virus, time will tell.

The running streak continues with me now at day #48. Tomorrow I achieve my goal of being 50% of Cathy's ( running streak. I only need 10K tomorrow to reach my 70K/week goal. It's taken a while to get there, I hope I can keep slowly building that base. Alas, based on how the body is feeling this week, I believe a day off will soon be required. With a trip to NZ coming up at the end of next week, Friday (travel day) will likely be the chosen day off. The running streak has been great, but the novelty is wearing off and I'm weary.

Latest Training:
Tuesday - 6.6K, skipped the XC with the course location and rain not ideal. Very tired, slow run, HRav 125bpm ~ 6:15min/K
Wednesday - 11.8K around Black Mountain, I thought I felt good and ran at what I thought was a tempo pace, alas that was not the case. HRav 129 bpm ~ 6:05/min pace
Thursday - 6.6K around the 'burbs' in the dark. HRav 130bpm ~ 6:04min/K pace
Friday - 11.2K around the burbs, HRav 124 bpm ~ 6:15min/K pace
Saturday - Warm up 3.7K; 4.8K 6 to 1 session - too tired to do a good session, but did manage to get quicker over the last few intervals; Cool down 4.2K. Week to date - 60K