Sunday, January 27, 2013

An easy week with 3000m and a handicap

After 6 weeks of consistent training, the body was tired at the end of last week. The short easy run on Sunday wasn't that easy! New plan - have an easy week! Less runs and less distance. Tuesday was changed to easy instead of hills and even then, the run was tough going. Wednesday became another day off.  Thursday was meant to be long intervals day, so I chose to head along to a track and field meet and do those long intervals on the track. If there was any concern with fatigue, those plans would be aborted. Alas, for the 6pm 3000m it was mighty warm on the track, still sitting at 30C with a hot wind greeting us along the home straight. I set my watch to beep me through at 4:30 pace. Probably a bit ambitious based on current running form and given the warm conditions. As it turns out, it was a reasonable target. I went out a bit fast due to an insufficient warm up and suffered as a result. Km splits were 4:25, 4:40 and 4:35 to finish in 13:40. A pleasing 1:12 quicker than the last 3000m on the track. 4:33 average and HRav was 163bpm, not bad in those conditions! There was a 5 lap spiral at the end of the night, so that was interval no. 2, run comfortably hard. Average pace for the 2km was 4:45 min/K and it felt pretty cruisy compared to the 3000m! Good results considering how bad things were feeling earlier this week.

Beautiful Aranda bushland
 The next run was supposed to be Saturday, but with a late wake up after a late night, I missed the morning window of reasonable temps. The afternoon was filled with thunderstorms and so another rest day it was! Sunday was the first ACTVAC handicap for 2013, an opportunity to run it on fresh legs! That must have helped as it was 4 seconds quicker than last year, and at this time last year I was running quicker and was fitter. It was lovely to catch up with people I have not seen for a while. Steve was as charming as ever ;-), and it was nice to see Cathy and Ruth. Alas no sign of Ewen, I think he was at Stromlo for a training session. Numbers were down at the handicap, no doubt holidays were keeping people away.

There are lots of runs to choose from as the YCRC summer series starts on Tuesday. This means we have YCRC Tuesday, Track Thursday, Parkrun Saturday and monthly handicaps. That doesn't even factor in the mountain runs about the place. Canberra is a runner's paradise. I'm thinking I may do some long intervals during the YCRC Tuesdays and move hills to Thursdays. Maybe one or two more runs on the track, but not if running YCRC Tuesdays. I will also be processing results at track for our Age Grade Champion events, so running opportunities there will be scarce. I also need to factor in the odd Parkrun to see if the improvement is still on target. Phew it's exhausting just trying to plan it ;-).

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Close to target

It seemed like a good time to check in on how well the body is responding to training in this 2013 Case Study. Thursday was a great interval session of 5 x 1 km, where it all felt good. Indeed as I approach the end of the 5th week of this training programme, the muscles and body overall are feeling great. None of those fatigue/training intolerance symptoms have reared their ugly head. Even a 'long' run (~13km) last weekend was pleasant. It's been 2 weeks since the last Parkrun, a good time to test the legs. Conditions were okay, a bit warmer than the run 2 weeks ago. Splits and HR for each km were 4:48, 145bpm; 4:45, 157bpm; 4:44, 161bpm; 5:05, 163bpm; 4:58, 163bpm - total time 24:23, HRav 158bpm. The legs and lungs faded in those last 2 km and with the warm conditions, I no doubt went out a little too quickly. However, that is an 11 second improvement on the time 2 weeks ago. Pretty close to the predicted gain of ~15sec/2 weeks. On a cooler morning that time would have been much closer to 24min. 
Running on target
Friends results at Parkrun
8 Trevor Jacobs - 20:01 (should have sprinted for the finish to get under 20 :-) )
39 Janene Kingston - 24:23
45 Roger Abbott - 25:50 (took it easy after some hamstring twinges during the week)
47 Graham Burke - 26:09 (has been out to pasture with an injury for the last 2 months)
73 Kikka Happonen - 36:09 (on the comeback trail!)

Thursday, January 3, 2013

The 2013 experiment (case study)

And just like that it's 2013! What happened to 2012, it feels like it's still March? Oh well, that's what happens as you get older, time just passes you by! Why not start this year off with a little experiment I ask myself? What kind of experiment and will it meet the requirements of the human ethics committee you may ask? It won't have good statistical power when there is only an n = 1 sample size. Fortunately, one can always resort to a case study. I'm going to study myself and see if my response to training tracks that described in the sports literature. I've been injured and out of it for a while, so I have an opportunity to track rate of progress from close to rock bottom. Indeed my recent improvement at Parkrun (65 sec faster than my first run 2 weeks earlier) does show some textbook behaviour.  One may expect to see a response to training 8-10 days after a suitable stimulus.  While it would be awesome to be able to knock 65 seconds off your 5 km time every 2 weeks, a more likely rate of progression would be ~30 seconds every 4 weeks based on data presented in "Daniel's running formula". At some point a plateau will be reached and a stronger training stimulus will be required. Hence the 2013 case study, let's see how long it takes me to hit a plateau and what, if anything can be done to shift the plateau. Of course, this is all contingent on keeping my training intolerance at bay. That said, so far the intermediate training programme is going well (into its 4th week) and the muscles appear to be happy and responsive.

Happy New Year - 2013!
Training programme summary (weeks 1 - 8):
Run 5 days per week (most in the 40-50 min range):
1 x long E run
1 x long intervals (threshold pace - comfortably hard)
1x hills or shortish intervals (a tad harder then threshold pace or effort)
2 x (30 min E + 6 x 20 sec strides) or x 1 + tempo/test run such as Parkrun or track event (no more frequent than every 2 weeks).
Running paces based on VDOT from test runs.
3 gym sessions per week.