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.