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.