Monday, September 28, 2009

Planned run 50 minutes

Date: Sun, Sep 27, 2009 6:27 PM
Avg Pace: 04:49 min/km
Distance: 10.17 km

Knee is giving me more problems. I did a lot of work on Sunday, and hurt it a few times climbing ladders etc. In the run is took ages to warm up, and hurt quite a bit. Once warmed up I was quite ok.

The next day my knee is the worst it has ever been. Definately something going on. I did some more detailed research and realise what it could be - popliteal ligament strain.

So I have decided, 7 days off !! I cannot afford to be continually irritating it I want to got over it. I will try to do some bike riding to get some exercise in the meantime.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Planned run 40 minutes

Date: Fri, Sep 25, 2009 6:37 PM
Avg Pace: 04:44 min/km
Distance: 8.45 km

Good run considering 5 days off after the HM and avoiding running due to bad left knee. Went out slow for the first 2 km, stopped to do thorough stretching, and then took off faster for the rest of the run. Ended up going quite quick for the last 6km or so, which is good considering the last 5 days no running.

I have visited a sports injury specialist to work out what is going on with my left knee. He was quite thorough, but found nothing specific wrong, speculated about soft tissue or ligament problems.

Offered advice to strengthen knees with weights machines, so I will follow up with that. I have to do the following:

- first two weeks, mild training, stretching, and at least one day rest between runs
- Third week may begin again with harder training again if all is well

If the problem does not clear itself up after three weeks or so, do a hard distance run to bring the problem on and arrange an MRI scan to have a good look at what is really happening.

I took 5 days off after the HM in Mooloolaba on Saturday just to give my knee some time to get better. I went to the dentist Thursday to get a small filling done - My first dentist visit in 16 years happened just three weeks ago, and that was all I needed doing, one small filling. Pretty good outcome there!!

Then with my left upper jaw and lips/face still numb, I went to the sport injury clinic, and after that I went to the gym to do some of the strengthening work the guy suggested I do.

SO here I am, after this run, which followed yesterday's gym work. This is something of a revelation, but I sort of felt it was so anyway - I need to improve my strength. A couple of things have lead me to this conclusion.

First of all, apparently when you run in your forties, you need to do extra work to increase muscle mass. Your body is losing muscle due to ageing. To get fast you need to build and maintain the muscle mass.

This recent experience with knee injury is almost certainly something to do with lacking strength, because the problem only ever effects my running at the end of a _long_ run. With weakened muscles, I fall into a gate that causes the problem.

Finally, there is this thing called the Vo2 max. One big factor that influences Vo2Max is muscle mass - and a factor that determines speed in distance running is Vo2Max.

I conclude that to help me get faster, and help avoid injury, strength training specifically on knees, and glutes will help a great deal. I need to increase muscle mass and strength by weight training, allow my knee to recover and then hit training a little harder when the knee is fully recovered.

Oh yeh and I have been thinking about the full marathon I was planning to do in July 2010. According to a lot of articles I have read, you should do at least 2 to three years of steady training before the full marathon should be attempted. This allows the body to adapt and the physiological changes to happen. This helps reduce the possibility of injury. So I am thinking I will do another HM in July 2010 and perhaps do the full marathon later in the year or even in 2011.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Half Marathon Race Mooloolaba

Half Marathon Race Moolooaba
Date: Sat, Sep 19, 2009 6:05 PM
Avg Pace: 04:55 min/km
Distance: 20.93 km

I was sort of kidding myself leading up to this run. I have had terrible disruptions to my preparation leading up to this race. First with a flu that had me off training for 11 consecutive days, then a problem knee.

The week leading up to the race, I had a good long run Sunday, a 50 minute run Monday and a speed run 10x30 seconds Tuesday. I had hoped that three days rest would allow the knee to get better, but it did not. This problem with my left knee is so odd. During running it does not trouble me at all, but a couple of days later is does, simply walking around is a problem. In the days leading up to the race the knee was a problem and was worst the night before the race !!

As for the details - Christine and I left Brisbane at about 8PM after grabbing dinner at a Bistro in Ascot. We got to Mooloolaba at about 9:15PM, late check in at the hotel. We did a quick survey to get our bearings, and found where the event shuttle bus was leaving from.. Got to bed at about 10:30pm . My race was starting at 6AM, Christine's at 7AM. I had to be at the race start area at 5:15AM to register. SO I woke at about 4:30AM.

Everything went to plan, found the shuttle bus, registered. The race started 5 minutes late. It was a much more casual affair compared to the Gold Coast event I ran on July 5 2009. A smaller event, and a bit more social and fun. The GC Marathon is just madness. The Mooloolaba half is definitely a good event.

I did not feel at all good on the morning of the race, had a headache, stomach ache, and generally felt crap. Knee was not good and I was not at all well rested. In the race, I did the first 8km or so too fast, managed 36 min 47 seconds. Had to go to the toilet at around 10km mark, and lost at least 2 minutes there. The rest of the race was a blowout in general. The hills slowed me down badly, as I was not well prepared for them.

Overall, I finished 11th in my age group, my age group being 40-49 years. There were 198 competitors. That _sounds ok.. But then the fellow that won the race overall was in my age group and finished more than 30 minutes ahead of me. I did 1 hour 43, the winner did 1 hour 12 .

So, I have a lot more work to do to get myself in good form I think. I have a sub 45 minute 10km in me for sure. From here on, I do 10km race training for speed and not so much endurance. Shall see if I can get my knee sorted too, and see a Doctor.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Planned run 50 minutes

Date: Mon, Sep 14, 2009 6:20 PM
Avg Pace: 04:43 min/km
Distance: 4:43 min/km

This is a good run considering it follows a 1 hour 20 minute run the day before. It is only slightly slower than my best ever 50 minute run I had done in training previously. I started out deliberately trying to hold the pace slower, but naturally feel like going fast. I really need to go slower at beginning and fast at the end... Heart rate is slightly elevated in comparison to the previous run. The previous best 50 minute run is :

The elevated heart rate indicates my body is slightly stressed from the recent work load. I have a speed run - 30s speed with 30 jog X10 tonight, and then three days rest. SO I should be totally recovered and ready to go by 19 September.

My left knee is still _not good_. It seems to be no problem while I am running. It takes maybe 5 minute to warm up and from then on there is rarely any twinge at all during the run. Only after a longer run where my legs get heavily fatigued _and_ I hit a hill does the knee let me know of the problem..

After a run, the next day it is a problem - Also when I am sleeping it gives me trouble. It tightens ups behind the knee on the inside half of the knee joint. So I cannot sleep on my back with the leg straight. Walking is also slightly stiff too. It is a confusing sort of problem. It starts in a very specific place on the knee, and it feels like soft tissue or maybe ligaments or tendons that are the problem. But after a while it seems to spread so that the whole knee feels puffed and restricted movement. Ice, elevation, Ibuprofen and Voltarin and no running seems to allow it to recover quite well. So I am confident it will be ok for the race after three days rest.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Still trying to get faster

I am still wanting to get faster but I have experienced a few setbacks in the last month or so. I got a bad flue a few weeks ago that caused me to miss 11 days of training. It came on just at a point were I thought the speed training was really benefiting me. I also had four days off after a problem with my left knee.

I have realised that I have stacked on too big a work load in the last few weeks. What I did was modify my basic schedule training for a 10km event, and added longer runs on the Sunday. I did this to try and prepare for the HM coming up.

This has resulted in too high a distance and not enough rest. I am thinking about how to revise the schedule to allow good rest and get faster. Some ideas:

- Drop one medium distance run a week ( the 40 or 50 minute run) and do a cross train day instead

- Do more cross training days in general

- In addition, in a medium distance run each week try to run out at survival pace (5:00 min/km pace) for 60% of the run and then for the remainder try to hit 4:20 pace. The next week increase the percentage on the remainder ie out at survival pace for 50% and return at 4:20 pace for the remaining 50% etc..

- Concentrate much more on the speed runs, and do them carefully. Try to achieve a pace and hold it for the number of reps I am doing.

- Stretch properly after a 10-15 minute warmup run before EVERY run I do.

The cross training I have in mind is bike/RPM sessions at the gym as well as the weights/core strength things I have been doing.

It will be good to get the HM on Sep 19 out of the way and do the '10km training plan' properly - Without having to worry about the distance/endurance needs of an HM.

Planned run 1 hour 20 minutes

Date: Sun, Sep 13, 2009 8:38 AM
Avg Pace: 5:02 min/km
Distance: 16.12 km

I forced myself to take four days off running to allow my left knee to recover. I treated it with cold pack, Ibuprofen and Voltarin Emulgel. In bed I elevated both legs for as long as I could.

I did not notice _any_ improvement for 3 days, and was getting a little concerned. But it did come good eventually. It still feels funny after this run so it remains to be seen if I am completely recovered.

I discovered a leg/knee stretch that seems to target the exact area where the pain originate from and have been doing that stretch quite often.

I am reasonably pleased with the pace. I did the first 8km in 37:45 which is quite good. I died in the ass for the rest of the run, with the 10km split at 55 minutes - I stopped for water and to go to the toilet. Even after a very slow pace in the second half of the run I still managed a 5:02 min/km overall. The last half of this run also included several hills, so all considered I am satisfied with the pace.

This is the last long run before the HM race in Mooloolaba I am doing on Sep 19. I have a 50 minute run on Tuesday and a 10x30sec speed with 30sec jog recovery scheduled for Wednesdya, then rest Thursday and Friday. Hopefully that will sharpen me up for the race, as I really need it.

I have reconsidered my goals for the HM :

Ultimate goal - 1 hour 33 or better
Challenging goal - 1 hour 35 or better
Satisfactory goal - 1 hour 37 or better

I do think that IF this week goes well and my knee is ok these goals are realistic. The only question is what the course for the race is like - They say there is one 300 metre medium incline hill that is climbed twice - The race is 2 laps of about 10km's for the HM. If the hill is a big one it may mean my goal pace is a bit too fast. I think I am in better shape aerobically than I was for the Gold Coast HM, just need my legs to get in shape. It does seem that I run faster in races, hence the faster goal times in general.

Planned run 8 x 500m, 1 min SR

Date: Tue, Sep 8, 2009 6:34 AM
Avg Pace: meh
Distance: 4.44 km

Speed run in which I am supposed to practice setting a pace - started at 3:50 pace and got gradually slower till I reached a pace of 4:50 .

I did not use any discipline at all, I need to be more thoughtfull, clarify in my mind the goal pace and actually do it properly.

I had a sore knee for this run and a couple leading up to it, so I did try to run slower to avoid hurting it.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Planned run 1 hour 40 minutes

Date: Sun, Sep 6, 2009 5:33 PM
Avg Pace: 04:59 min/km
Distance: 20.06 km

This is the last BIG run before the Half Marathon race in Mooloolaba on 19th September - I am tapering off with a 1 hour 20 next week.

When I was preparing for the Gold Coast HM, the lead up long runs were not that good for me. I never really managed to do a 100 minute run and this distance - 20.2km. So it looks good and I am in better condition now.

The left knee seems to have responded well to simple rest - I skipped one 40 minute run on Friday and had a scheduled rest day on Saturday.

Looking at the schedule I have stuffed up a bit. I should have begun the tapper TODAY with a 1 hour 30 run. Oh well, is this an exact science ?? I think at my level it is not.

I have adjusted my schedule slightly. I feel that my preparation for the GC HF was almost perfect as far as the work load in the last week was concerned. I have two weeks to go so I think I will change it so that it matches pretty closely what I did leading up to the GC HM. Here is what I did in June/July:

Sunday 21 June 100 min Run
Monday 22 June REST
Tuesday 23 June SPEED
Wednesday 24 June 60 min run
Thursday 25 June REST
Friday 26 June SPEED Run
Saturday 27 June REST

Sunday 28 June 90 minute Run
Monday 29 June 6x1minute with 30 sec jog recovery, and 4 x 30 sec speed with 30 second jog recovery.
Tuesday 30 June REST
Wednesday 1 July 50 minute Run
Thursday 2 July 30 min speed with 30 sec jog recovery
Friday 3 July REST
Saturday 4 July REST
Sunday 5 July RACE

I will model the last two weeks to be similar:

Sunday 6 Sep 100 min Run
Monday 7 Sep REST
Tuesday 8 Sep 8 x 500m, 1 min SR
Wednesday 9 Sep 60 min Run
Thursday 10 Sep REST
Friday 11 Sep 50 min Run
Saturday 12 Sep REST

Sunday 13 Sep 80 min Run
Monday 14 Sep REST
Tuesday 15 50 min Run
Wednesday 16 Sep 10x30 30sec jog rec
Thursday 17 Sep REST
Friday 18 Sep REST
Saturday 19 Sep RACE

Friday, September 4, 2009

Planned run 30sec speed with 30 jog recovery

Date: Thu, Sep 3, 2009 5:35 PM
Avg Pace: 04:21 min/km
Distance: 2.2 km

I did the speed laps too slow, but managed to do the recovery laps at a reasonable pace. The result here is that I did a slightly better average speed over the 10 minutes compared to my last interval session on Aug 6.

I am definitely feeling the pinch from a big running workload. I decided yesterday that finding a good medium pace and maintaining pace on the jog recovery was better than finding ultimate speed. Because I am fatigued right now.

I have a sore left knee too, it began after the hard Fri,Sat,Sunday runs I did recently. So I am contemplating giving myself a rest tonight (Friday 4 September). In fact I have almost convinced myself of it, since I am preparing for another Half Marathon. I think the distance run on Sunday ( 1hr 40 minutes) is more important than the 40 min run I have scheduled tonight - as is the rest that I need to allow my knee to sort itself out.

Ok I am convinced, rest day today and Saturday.

The injury is probably soft tissue and over use related - It is a familiar pain that usually just goes away after a rest, so I hope it does so this time.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Planned run 50 minutes

Date: Wed, Sep 2, 2009 6:44 PM
Avg Pace: 04:39 min/km
Distance: 10.85 km

This is the fastest ever 50 minute training run I have done. I did the first 3km's pretty quick:


I bit too fast but I did not feel that bad doing it. I made a concious effort to slow when I realised how fast I was going, and did the next 1km at 4:40 pace. Did pretty much between 4:40 and 4:35 from then on except for a couple of blowout 1km distances.

The first blowout was in the 8th km. I was concentrating on getting the watch to display what I wanted to see - It seems to react to sweat running onto the touch sensitive bezel that is used to control it. So it sometimes sets itself to some display mode that is a bit useless to me. I was trying to get it to display the info I want, and slowed down. It happened in an area of the route I took where it is quite a bit darker, and is having some pathways worked on, so it was a difficult area to run through safely. I need to be careful in a race that I don't let the watch distract me. I did that well in the Gold Coast HM race I did in July..

The next blowout was in the usual last 2 km's or so hill climbs in this route I take. Usually the hills slow me to a pace of about 5km/min or worse but this run I managed to remain at 4:54 which is quite good.

I managed 4:39 average, and did the biggest distance for a 50min training run of 10.8km's. In the last HM race I managed to do another 10km at that same pace which to me now seems quite amazing. I never managed to achieve that pace in training leading up to that race, so this run looks like a good sign. Given a slight taper in training, the fact I have about three weeks of no alcohol, and the opportunity of a few days rest leading up to my next HM race on 19 September, I think I will be in good condition for a faster run.

Here I have my 8 and 10km splits for this run in first column, the splits for the Gold Coast HM race I did in July, and my previous 8 and 10km races in third column:

8km 36:43 37:46 38:38
10km 46:21 47:08 48:02

This illustrates a decent amount of progress over about a 6 month period. I am convinced that I have at least a sub 45 minute 10km race in me right now. The 8km race would be be sub 36 minutes too, possibly even faster if I get the pace right. As far as the half marathon pace, I feel I have the ability to go faster than my last race now. I did 1 hour 38 minutes, 58 seconds then.

Based on this 50 minute run, and assuming I can hold the same pace for the full HM distance it will be 2 minutes quicker. It is the right time now to set goals so here they are:

Ultimate goal - 1 hour 33 or better
Challenging goal - 1 hour 35 or better
Satisfactory goal - 1 hour 37 or better

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Planned run 3km TT

Date: Tue, Sep 1, 2009 7:11 PM
Avg Pace: meh
Distance: meh

After failing to record the first 1km or so the next 2km :

Run back to the car, increased pace gradually:

I failed to start the timer when I took off for this 3km TT. So I missed about the first 1km or so. I certainly went fast and probably did around 3:40 pace.

As a result of going too fast too early, I did not do a quick pace for the last 2km. I am also a little sore from hard weekend running and not sleeping properly. I expect I would do a better 3km TT if I was fresher and ran it in a more thoughtful manner....

I ran back to the car ( 1.8km or so) and gradually increased pace - the last 800m or so was at 4:20 pace. It felt much better than the first timed 2km I did a few minutes earlier. I also realised again that I can carry a 4:20 pace using a different running style, and much more economical too - I was using more thigh muscles and running 'higher' in the first 2km. The run back to the car I ran lower aand simply used more glutes, and increased leg speed rather than springing. It was something I had realised before I got sick a few weeks ago and I was more thoughtfully doing the speed sessions - and made good improvements. SO I re-learned.

An economic running style and a good pace is possible, I should start out slower and gradually ease in to the pace I am aiming for. Duh.