Sunday, April 28, 2013

Not quite 33 seconds

I thought I was all set for another blog post involving the number 3. I decided to participate in the 1st birthday parkrun event, #53 and my 6th. When I crossed the line and looked at my watch, I saw 22:37, 33 seconds faster than my last parkrun performance. However, when the results were posted it was actually 22:38, and 32 seconds just doesn't have quite the same ring to it ;-). Nonetheless, a pleasing result, particularly as I wasn't feeling especially good during the warm up and didn't feel quite right during the run. It was a well paced run, km splits were: 4:30; 4:31: 4:28; 4:43 (the uphill part of the course that always slows me down); 4:26. Conditions were also perfect for PBs, cool and windless. There was amazing support for the event with 189 runners participating breaking the attendance record by lots!

Friends' parkrun results:

8          Stuart DOYLE                        17:02  VM45-49        83.86 %
28       Louise SHARP                        20:08  SW30-34        73.51 %
39       Trevor JACOBS                       20:38  VM60-64        78.43 %
50       Kate VANDENBERG              21:51  SW30-34        68.04 %
57       Janene KINGSTON                22:38  VW45-49       72.31 %
59       Kelley FLOOD                         22:45  VW50-54       75.53 %
69       Thea ZIMPEL                          24:08  SW30-34        61.33 %
97       Yelena PEARSON                   26:58  SW30-34        54.94 %
139     Margaret MCSPADDEN       30:16  VW65-69       69.05 %
142     Kikka HAPPONEN                30:33  VW40-44       50.08 %

Lovely autumn colours at Lake Ginninderra
  Today was the ACTVAC handicap and at 10km it is the longest one for the year. Too long to consider racing, so the plan was to do it as a 'long run', but as is often the case, plans aren't always followed. It ended up being more of a long tempo run. The first 5km felt pretty good, but the 2nd half wasn't quite as pleasant. The original plan had been 6min pace, but it ended up being 5:27min pace - 54:34. It was an amazingly warm morning for this time of the year, with a good turn out for the event. Nice to finish off the morning with coffee at Wilburs with Gramps, Cheesy and Fluoro (aka Lou and Stu).
Addendum: Ha, I just realised that the 3 theme continues! My first parkrun time was 25:38, so that's a 3 minute improvement since Dec 15 2012.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Things in 3s

When we last left off it was 3 seconds. Since those 3 seconds, there have been a series of runs that would rate as 3/3. Last week was a great week on the fatigue front. No fatigue and the body felt completely 'normal' while running, even on the 'long runs'. The last 2 long runs have been good enough to end up as progression runs (run easy and then increase to tempo effort for the last km). Wow, it's been a long time since running felt that good! However, the advantage of keeping a running log means I am well aware that this has happened before during the last 2 years of ATI. My current volume is much lower than it has been in the past (most weeks sit in the low 30kms range) and I've been running just 4 days a week for quite some time. Now that the days are cooler, it may be good to add in an extra lunch time jaunt to get back to 5 days per week. I have also added in a group session on Thursday evenings in place of my usual solo effort. There is the eternal debate of self versus group. My feet fall mostly in the self category. I'm an introvert and I love time alone plus running alone makes it easier to train at the most appropriate pace (and volume). However, there are so many good running friendships to be had, that having some group runs are good for 'life balance' ;-).
Things in threes
It's been 18 weeks of consistent training, but with very little change in total volume. The main change has been in training intensity/pace (based on 5km performances) and types of training sessions. This has resulted in a slow forward progression and gradual decline in 5km times. I suspect a plateau isn't too far away if more volume can't be tolerated. Only time will tell.

The training pattern in recent weeks has been:
Monday - off, gym session
Tuesday - hard intervals, the last 2 weeks were 6 x 3min with 2 min walk/jog recovery
Wed - off (to become a lunch time jaunt), gym (which will move to Thurs lunch time)
Thurs - tempo pace based long intervals
Fri - off
Saturday - long or 5km timetrial at parkrun or like
Sunday - easy or long depending on Sat - plus a gym session either Sat or Sun
Naturally this is flexible and will be adapted to fit in with the level of fatigue and other life events. It's all one big experiment :-).

Saturday, April 13, 2013

3 seconds

Yes, 3 seconds are all it was. The goal for the Australian Running Festival was to run a post-fatigue 5km PB. My quickest 5km since the dreaded acquired training intolerance was 22:55 at the Women and Girls Fun Run last year and that same time at Stromlo just recently. Today I managed to get in just ahead of that time at 22:52 (passed again by ET [22:46] in that final km). It was not a well executed 5km! I arrived late, so had a very poor warm up, and then ran the first km a tad quick (4:15min). The first 3 km went well and then it was a hard 2 km slog to the finish! Conditions were a bit too warm for my liking, but otherwise it was a great little run. The slight rises keep you honest (and miserable!) and the slight declines are bliss. As my Polar recorded the distance at 5.09 km, split info isn't helpful, or the last split looks simply horrible. It seems I'm back to where I was at about this time last year, before it all fell apart again in the lead up to City to Surf. The big question is, will there be more gains, or will I reach the tipping point again? While the long runs are mostly slogs, so far there has been no bad muscle pain or tiredness. Thing is, it does feel like I'm sitting right on the edge. However, it also feels like I could go quicker if I can get the training balance right! Of course, who knows what that actual balance is? It's not like there are training guidelines for ATI.
It may as well be a breath taking edge :-)
It's all about letting the body decide what it will or will not do and to not get too caught up in trying to follow too specific a plan. As the OCD type of runner I am, that's rather challenging (tic, tic)! That said, what works for one person does not work for another and there are some amazing runners that do little in the way of kms. I may miss those wonderful long trail runs that are the bread and butter of the distance runner. However, it is almost just as satisfying to go out and do some targeted intervals and see some improvement in performance in response. More patience is probably required and gains will slow down. The next goal is sub 22:30, but it may be another 6 weeks or so before I can get close to that.
To all my running friends doing the full marathon or the half marathon in Canberra tomorrow, I wish you all the very best!!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Magical Mulligans

The choices this morning were a beautiful autumn morning run in Mulligans Flat or a painful 5km loop alongside Lake Ginninderra. For me, the choice was obvious! Particularly since another painful 5km loop awaits me next Saturday at the Australian Running Festival. I've had a couple of weeks of tough training (by my standards, not by most other Canberra runner standards!). Two tough sessions each week of 5 x 3 min hard intervals (Tues) and 2 x 12 minute tempo intervals (Thurs). This week I was a bit more on pace for the 3 min intervals and so didn't fade like I did last week. 4:30 min/k @ 154 bpm; 4:26 min/k @ 154 bpm; 4:22 min/k @ 158 bpm; 4:29 min/k @ 159 bpm; 4:26 min/k @ 160 bpm. The tempo intervals are actually really tough to do mentally. Last week there was a tail wind going out and head wind back in - so yep, the 2nd interval was not good, when it's windy like that, pace should be all on RPE and not on actual numbers. This week it was a head wind out and a tail wind in. So that meant it was easier to hold on for the second interval. Legs were tired from the Tues session and some evil weighted lunges at gym on Wed. Tempo intervals this week were 5:05 min/k @ 151bpm; 5:00 min/k @ 155 bpm. In theory tempo pace should be about 4:50 pace for me, but based on RPE and level of fatigue from Tues, the 5s pace was all I could manage.
My Magical Mulligans Flat loop
My loop around Mulligans Flat this morning was 11.9km and there wasn't too much complaining from my legs. It was a slow doddle as there are a few hills and some rough rocky sections, but overall slightly better than long runs of recent times. The conditions were outstanding. Crisp, no wind with the sun shining. What's not to love about Autumn in Canberra?!

Next week will be an easy week with the lead in to the Australian Running Festival. It would be good to run the 5km on fresh legs. Here's hoping insomnia doesn't come knocking too often during the week.