Monday, September 30, 2013

Time to get serious now I think

I have been in no mans land for the last few years it seems to me. I have not made any real progress in personal best times for 2 years. I have good reasons for this of course, my heel injury has been a massive hindrance.

I have pretty much proven to myself that I possess some decent speed and so long as the distance is short I can use it. I know male runners of my age that are regular sub 90 minute half marathon runners that cannot run at 3 min/km pace. I can run 2min40 pace, and I frequently do 3min/km in some short fast reps. 3min/km pace certainly is nowhere near my max effort  - I actually don't know my outright fastest pace the Garmin watch can measure, but I would not be surprised if I could reach 2:35min/km or maybe faster.  Yet my best HM race is still 1hr35, 6 to 7 MINUTES slower than a bloke I know that cannot go anywhere near as fast I over shorter distances. He does 18:45 or so for 5kms too, way faster than me..

This is not about comparing myself to others in absolute terms of performance, its a matter of my personal desire to reach my own potential, understanding what that potential might be, and devising a method to train effectively. Its not that I want to beat other people, I want to to explore how fast I am able to go over the marathon distance. I want the opportunity to have real hard go at it, at least once.

So, looking at things and applying some logic, the possible reasons for my lack of performance over the longer distances:

- I am perhaps built for sprints rather than distance
- I have not trained effectively to reach my optimum as far as aerobic capacity is concerned
- I am genetically predisposed to not improve much aerobically given a proper training work load and base buildup.

I think its true that I am built for speed, and its fairly natural ability. Its nothing truly remarkable though, in high school for example I was always second or third over 100 and 200's rather than winning all the time !! Give me something longer than 200m and I would be really fast though, and over 400's I was pretty quick. I never actually trained then, so of course put a real athlete on the track and I'd be beaten.

As far as being genetically limited in my ability to gain benefit from training, I have done a decent training cycle back in 2010 when I did my first marathon, and my fitness improved markedly. So I think I have a predisposition to train and improve, what I put is translated to real improvement. The limits of the training and the rate of improvements I have not found. Injuries have got in the way.

After all the experimentation and the outcome of my various training approaches - frequent shorter distances, faster running etc, I am now convinced of these facts - I have yet to reach my true potential, and have never trained to an optimal level of aerobic condition - I possess a lot of natural speed (although not in any way is it remarkable or earth shattering)  - I do tend to improve given volume training over several months.

I need to do this proper tireless running phase I have read about to get myself up to the performance level I want.

Its now time to get serious about this, no more buggerising about. My injuries are the best condition for YEARS. I managed to get to equal best 5km fitness and not be injured byt the training. And that was done with little to no traditional base fitness. So I have decided to begin a true, traditional high volume 'base aerobic fitness training' phase.

For me the training is going to be a radical change compared to what I am used to. Its going to be extremely tough, running 7 days a week, with several days doing a short recovery run in the AM followed by a volume steady state run in the PM. I will take days off when I feel I need it, but I will have a schedule to follow that has me running every day. I want to do this for 3 months, over the full summer season, so that at the beginning of January 2014 I am in hopefully the best aerobic condition I have ever been in.

The actual schedule I will devise soon enough.  One other factor needs to be addressed too.  I am going dry again, no alcohol at all for 3 months. And when I hit the ground again in Jan 2014, I hopefully will have another plan to follow, with the target race of Gold Coast Marathon 2014, July, and be dry for another 6 months. Like I said, no more buggerising about. 

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

10km easy in midday heat 30 degrees celsius

I did an easy 10km today, quite hot conditions. I stopped regularly for water. At the beginning I felt really tired, proper running volume tired. Kept the pace easy. Did the last 2kms slightly quicker at about 4:40 pace and finished with 5:01min/km average.

This run I felt MUCH better over the whole distance than last weeks run. I felt really tired initially but my body seems to have reacted and fired up, and I felt quite good toward the end. I felt as if I could have done another 2km at 4:40 with ease.

It feels a little like I might be reaching a peak now - rather than where I wanted to  last week leading up to the race I did. I have been doing this running and training thing for a while now, and I think I know the signs when things are coming good. Particularly signs like being hammered yet still cruising nicely at easy pace. Its a definite change I can feel in aerobic fitness.

So, my 5km race Saturday was a pretty decent training run :) I am recovering this week, I want to do a super easy 6kms tomorrow, and another 10km easy Thursday. Then a full day off running Friday, and a ParkRun Saturday.  I should be able to do a decent one there if all goes well and the signs I am feeling have been correctly interpreted :) Just need to recover adequately and find the motivation to really haammer myself again over 5kms.

I also will do a long run Sunday again, hopefully 17kms, building on the 15kms I did last week.

Yet again, I state that I want to go under 20mins for 5kms repeatedly. It should become a mundane, and consistent thing.  Seriously this goal should be done and dusted ages ago, for want of aerobic fitness, and consistent training that has held me back. So incredibly frustrating. Bloody injuries, I would not wish it on anyone.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Statistics summary - since I have reached 'best 5km paace'

I have reached my equal best fitness level for 5km races as of Saturday, 21 September 2013. Last year I hit about the same fitness level on 8 September 2012.

Last year, to get to that peak fitness level and do a 20:00 5km race, I did a total of 973.70 kms, and average pace for those was 10.6km/hr. Not that the pace is completely meaningful.

This year, I did 779kms to get to a fitness level to do 20:17 for the Twilight Bay 5km race. BUT Garmin watch says I did 5.08km's whereas the ParkRun last year was 4.97km's. The average pace is much higher this year too.

Effectively the race on Saturday was average 4:00min/km exactly, and that is marginally better than last years parkRun, and is the best average pace for a 5km race I have done since I beegan recording the races.

This years monthly tally :

Sep 2013              134.54 12.2
Aug 2013              172.04 12.4
Jul 2013              183.50 12.3
Jun 2013              129.35 11.5
May 2013      80.02 11.5
Apr 2013              69.02 11.6
Mar 2013              26.44 11.9

Last year:

Sep 2012              48.04 12.6
Aug 2012             124.15 12.5
Jul 2012             211.95 11.9
Jun 2012            197.44 11.7
May 2012    199.23 10.9
Apr 2012            136.79 10.7
Mar 2012            11.65 10.7
Feb 2012            7.63 4.6
Jan 2012            36.82 4.0

So, I have done about 200km less mileage than last year, but August and September this year have been better than last year.

Last years totals illustrate what I think I know about base fitness quite well. I managed three decent months of mileage 180kms+ in May, June and July. I backed off in August and September because I was hurting again, heels,  and in September after the Bridge to Brisbane I had hurt my right hip.  BUT the base fitness seems to have remained for the rest of August and September, good enough for me to have done the 20:00 ParkRun on September 8. Base fitness is something that - if built on consistent monthly mileage, takes  while to lose

This year I should end up having strung together three months in a row, not quite all 180km/month but close. And it means I should theoretically have my peak due AFTER the end of September.

I should have some faster 5km races ahead if my theory of 'three months consistency means a aerobic capacity improvement'  hold true. It seems to be right in past years so it is something to look forward to for the rest of the year.

1hr20 easy Sunday, 22 September 2013

Ran super easy, kept pace down and breathing was good. Legs were _sore_  though, as was chest, diaphragm, and my back muscles !!

I certainly tested myself on the 5km race, the evidence was clear on this 15km run. I remember in the 3rd and 4th km in the race on Saturday, I was beginning to feel it, just gassing out. I seem to have no problem on fresh legs to smash out a faster pace, my legs would carry me easily beyond 5km distance at 3:40 pace. The issue is ALWAYS getting enough air into me to carry that pace more than a couple of km's.

I recall in the 3rd and 4th km of the 5km race, being confronted with the fact that my lungs could not get enough air. It was a case of backing off a bit and and surviving. I was trying to make every breath count, really breathing deeply, and I think it was a help to do that.  That really deep forceful breathing left me with sore muscles in the chest.

Anything that is slightly sore means the body should adapt a little and be able to handle it better next time. ie I should be faster as a result ;)

So the run yesterday, I started off really slow, and as I warmed up picked the pace up slightly. Ended up 15kms, at 5:20 pace, and 1hr 20 minutes total. I am sore and tired today. But its a good sore and a good tired, the sort of thing I recover from, and improve fitness!!!

Plan is for steady mileage week in week out for the rest of the year with a speed session or two every two weeks. The ParkRuns will be good enough for speed work generally.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Twilight Bay 5km race 21 September 2013

This appears to be the best 5kms race I have done so far. Finished 20.17 across the line. My Garmin watch reads 5:08km's and I did exactly 5kms in 19:59. There is that damned number again!!!

My previous best 5km was exactly 20:00 the ParkRun just over one year ago. But it reads a bit shorter than today's race. Based on average pace today's race is the first time I managed exactly 4:00min/km .

The 1km splits for today:


The last 80 metres ( according to my Garmin watch  as extra over the 5km distance ) I did exactly 3:30 pace.
Anyhow, I reckon this is proof enough that I am officially at my equal best fitness for 5km races. My goal now is to build on this fitness level, improve my base fitness for the rest of the year, and and hit the road to begin marathon training again next year at a decent fitness level.

I know that I have a faster 5km time in me, its a matter of building on the base fitness I have now.

Friday, September 20, 2013

SUper easy 5km with gym running

Did a super easy 5kms this morning, just turning the legs over a little. Felt quite good.I need to learn to do this pace for my longer runs.

5km race tomorrow, about 34 hours to recover. I will be pretty good I think. Don't know if I can go fast. We shall see :)

Thursday, September 19, 2013

5km easy followed by 10x30 fast 19 September 2013

Did what I said I'd do, 5km easy. ended up 4:39 pace average, pretty good. Last 1km done in 4:26.

Did the 10x30 speed session too, standing rest 30 seconds between. It was much tougher to do that usual, I guess because of the heat. I felt it. Also not quite feeling up health wise, a lingering cough and just lethargic.

Still I did them fairly fast. Again this sort of run really seems to invigorate me, I feel great after, pleasantly tired, and hungry. Ate a good big salad and some rice rolls, lots of water too.

I expect to be quite full of beans Saturday as a result of this run.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Differences between faster running and easy running

So, I have been doing a slightly different sort of training pretty much all this year, since end of March. I have been doing an easy 5-6km, following that with a 10x30sec fast. Doing it twice a week, and one longer easy run on Sunday. The long run I built to 20kms ONCE, and usually about 13-19kms. Fairly regular ParkRun 5km on Saturdays.  Slowly building endurance by the time on feet week in week out. Mileage per week varied from 45 to 25kms depending on if I had a race as well.

I did something ever so slightly different last year, higher mileage from regular 10km weekly runs, still a short 'long'  run on Sundays no more than 17kms. I ran more frequently, sometimes 7 days a week. I also did quite regular 400m reps. Weekly mileage was usually about 35-45km but I peaked beyond 70kms once..

This year I am behind as far as fitness goes compared to last year. I started a month later so thats part of it. I managed a PB 42min in the Bridge to Brisbane last year - this year I blew out going too fast in the first 3km and tanked the rest of the race. I am also only at 20:44 for my best 5km this year. Last year in September I managed a PB 5km of 20 flat. I am pretty much at a peak now for this year and expect to do a decent 5km race this weekend. Not sure it will be a PB, but we shall see.

The point is that regardless of whether I do regular fast running or long easy running, it tends to take me at least 3 months of consistent running to get to a point where I am fit enough to go near 20min for 5kms. Since I started a month later this year, my peak is arriving a month later.

This week I did a 17km long run Sunday, rested Monday, and then did a 10km 'easy'  again Tuesday. And it felt HARD especially in the last 2kms . I had been doing similar long runs these last few weeks, and been hammering myself a bit with weights and plyometric exercises too on Mondays, with the Tuesday run being a 6km easy plus speed session. Speed is SUPPOSED to be 'hard' on you but I feel the exact opposite.  It invigorates and loosens me up. I would do 6km easy and the speed session would add up to near enough 2km's. 8km's total.  My expectation was that after 6km easy plus the 2km of speed work would be almost equivalent to the effort overall for a 10km run.

I don't think that has quite worked out. In the 10km run yesterday, that last 2km was tough. Sure I was fatigued overall. But its as if the overall distance - regardless of how I do it - that counts. That last 2kms in the 10km run, done on tired legs may well be whats missing as far as my overall condition this year. Its interesting to me at least.  And it helps to clarify to me what is most effective as far as training is concerned.

A lot of training schedules and method advocate long easy mileage in a weekly block for _recovery_  after a hard week. But I feel I recover better doing a week of daily '6km easy plus a 2km speed session after' .

Anyway I think it might be good to mix things up a bit. No matter what sort of running I do, its the weekly and monthly  mileage consistency  - at least three months of it -  that is what leads to a peak in fitness. Speed work has an effect, I can run strongly at easy paces as a result, but it does not lead to a fast 5km. Its that aerobic base that is built on consistent mileage that matters.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Easy 10kms - not as planned

I was sore and quite tired still from the 17km run I did Sunday. Also, strategically it makes sense to do a simple 'recovery run'  rather than any speed work this week.

So I did an 'easy'  10km run along the river instead of the planned 6or7km plus speed work.. We had a storm last night, and so plenty of moisture in the air. This is just early spring, so if this is any forewarning of the summer to come it is going to be wet, and hot and stormy!! I took off feeling tired, but for some reason fell into a 4:30min/km pace straight up. I was trying to slow down as I think 4:50's are more like where I should be. Heels felt MUCH better than on Sunday, I ran comfortably all the way, feeling quite good on my feet.

I held back for the first 1km, 4:44, but then did 4:29 and 4:35 in the next  2kms. The heat and fatigue caught up as well as my conscious effort in slowing down, and I dropped back to somewhere around 4:50 for the rest. I got to 9kms in  and was ready to stop, hot and thirsty, but kept going till 10km and grabbed water. The Koorilpa Bridge in Brisbane has cooled water now, I had never noticed. I wonder if they have turned it on for summer

Averaged 4:47 for 10km's a pretty good effort considering fatigue and heat. It was not a completely easy run, but the pace was comfortable as far as rhythm is concerned. Legs fatigue was the only issue, aerobically I felt pretty good.

I really am going to do an easy 5km and 12x30 sec on Thursday as that is a good stimulator for the body. Most likely rest Friday but I might turn up on the morning of the gym 'running club'  just to touch base with them all. It has been fun joining in with them. Then 5km race Saturday at 4PM. Pretty much the last race of the year for me, I think.

Things are going quite well heels wise, and generally injury wise. So I think it is now time to consider a traditional volume based training regimen for the rest of the year. I am thinking about switching to something like:

Sunday long, 1:30 to 2 hours
Monday off, gym
Tuesday   50min easy
Wednesday gym
Thursday 50 min easy
Friday gym
Saturday ParkRun

This will be about 42-45km a week if I keep doing the paces I have been lately, a little more maybe. I will probably throw in the 12x30's every second week or something. If I do the 50min runs easy enough and I develop a little more fitness wise, they won't be too bad. Its the reutine I want to get going, so I can have decent volume and base to build on for beginning of next year and my marathon training. I won't stop trying to improve my 5km times at ParkRun. Logically they should keep creaping done as I get the mileage under my belt, but speed won't be a focus at all.

Monday, September 16, 2013

No run Friday or Saturday.. Decent 17kms Sunday, 15 September 2013

This last 7 days have completely flattened me.   We have been home, cleaning house and repairing bits and pieces preparing for a party. The party was a success but now my personal aftermath is utter exhaustion !!

I did a really hard 1min fast/ 3:30 easy x 9  run Thursday, 12 September, a day after a hard gym session.  This sort of run is really hard on me I have noticed. That night I had really bad stomach cramps, and was off next day.. I was shagged Friday, and Saturday, missed the ParkRun I was planning to do.

I did a 17km run at easy pace yesterday, Sunday 15 Sep.. It was not easy overall even though I paced conservatively. My heels have been really sore these last few days too, but I am convinced it was not running that did it, its been time on my feet and up/down ladders, heavy carrying etc that has done it.

I am hoping that a few days with less walking will allow it all to return to the recently 'normal'  state my heels had been in. Overall I have been feeling quite sick these last few days, really wrung out.

This week, Tuesday 17 will be an easy 6or 7km, followed by 12x30 sec fast. No gym this week at all. Thrusday, an easy 6 and a 12x30 fast again. I might do the gym 'running club'  run Friday morning. Then pretty much my last target race of the year, Saturday 21st, a 5km race at the Twilight Bay Half Marathon. 10 minutes down the road for me so I can jog down there ;)

I suspect that the warmer weather has affected me recently, so I need to adjust for that too.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

9x1min fast with 3min30 jogging recovery

Quite hot and humid this afternoon, made this run really hard. This is the weather we can expect at the Twilight Half Marathon event in a weeks time.

I am not anywhere near capable of sustaining 3:50 pace - that is where I want to be. I need to maintain consistent mileage to get there.. It is coming along slowly!!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Nice speed session 2km easy, 5x500 , 2km easy and 5x500

I split the 500 metre sessions up, 2km easy jog to warm up, then 5x500 with standing rest 1min. Then 2km easy followed by another set of 5x500.

I did the first set slightly easier than the second. Hopefully this session will be the one that gives me the fitness to sustain sub 4min/km for 5km in 2 weeks time.I was sore from the 15km in hilly terrain on Sunday, plus all the work we have been doing on the house today. Lots of time on my feet, something I am not used to.

Given a proper rest I may well be good enough. I plan to hit the gym tomorrow morning, hard this time.

Monday, September 9, 2013

15km near ST Lucia University of Queensland

Did 15km in hilly terrain, also fairly hot. The hills worked me harder than I usually do in a longer run. Ran from Queensland Uni out along the river, past the the St Lucia Golf Links and the Indooroopilly Golf Club, to Sit John Chandler Park. Grabbed water and returned.

I have done 45km total for the week, exactly the total I want to manage regularly for the rest of the year. No niggles to complain about, but I am slightly flat from the work load.

For tomorrow, I plan to do 2km easy, 5x500m fast, then 2km easy, and 5x500 again. The rests will be 1min standing. I want to practice 3:55min/km pace, I want to nail that quite precisely in the first set, and try to pick up the pace slightly for each one in the second set. Gym Wednesday, 8km easy Thursday plus 12x30 fast. An easy gym run Friday and ParkRun Saturday.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Wynnum ParkRun 7 September 2013

Did Wynnum ParkRun this morning - following a fastish 5km TT yesterday. According to my watch I ended up with an identical time, 20:44 for 5km distance yesterday and today. Its good to followup and do the same pace again the next day.

I feel I have maybe a little bit more pace in me right now, but having run three days in  row now, plus gym I am a little tired. It is looking good for something better in two weeks time at the Wynnum Twilight Half Marathon event, I am entered in the 5km race.

This weeks training I plan on a longer run tomorrow, hopefully about 1hr40, gym Monday, 5km easy and 10x500 fast on Tuesday. Gym Wednesday, 8km Thursday plus 12x 30 fast, Gym run Friday .. The week after, gym Monday, 8km easy plus 12x30 fast, gym Wednesday, Thursday 8km easy plus 10x30 fast, no run Friday, and race on Saturday afternoon.

My goal is well under 20min. The question is can I do it ?  I feel like I paced well this morning, but was not at all fresh. I did not go all out, but did bounce around near my pace limit, and backed off ever so slightly:

1km 4:05
2km 4:02
3km 4:10
4km 4:12
5km 4:11

I am _real_ close, and I think 4min/km pace is almost exactly my limit right now :)

Oh yeh, I have clocked up 701 km on my Hoka's now. They are holding up just ..

Friday, September 6, 2013

Decent 5km TT at gym running club Friday 6 Sep 2013

Ran a decent 5kms this morning as a time trial with the gym running club. By my watch, 5kms was done at 20:40, fastest for the year for me. 21:07 according to the girl and her stopwatch ;)  and about that from my watch on time alone. The distance was measured 100m long by my watch.

The last 5km TT over the same course was 26 July, over a month ago. I did 21:50 or so then, so its about 50 seconds better. I am carrying a little fatigue from all the training this week, so given a little bit of rst I could do a 20:20 I think. The course is not particularly easy either, with a longish hill at 4th km. After traveling close to my limit for 4km's the hill really hits hard.

Heels are GREAT, tender but in a good way. When I took off for the run this morning, I gave heels no thought at all. Felt normal all the way.

I intend to do ParkRun tomorrow. Not sure if I will feel like going fast, but I want to do the full 5km this time.

My Hoka OneOne Stinson Tarmac shoes now have 695kms on them. They are holding up quite well , wearing on the treads is ok, I don't think they will be too good after another 100kms.. TIme for another pair I think.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Easy 45 minutes 5 Sep 2013

I did an easy 45 minutes today. Felt oddly tired at the start, and after the first 2.5kms so stopped for water. It was quite hot too. Ran out to the foot of the Storey Bridge, and back to the office, averaged 4:50 pace with the last half faster than the first. I loosened up after 5kms.

I was ever so slightly sore and stiff from the gym work yesterday too. Again at the beginning of this run, my heels tickled, tingled and sort of itched until I warmed up a bit. Not at all painful. Heels are certainly better right now, far better than in the last 3 years.

Feel snoozy and sleepy today, maybe I need a sleep !!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Not so hard gym this morning 4 Sep 2013

Finally got back to the gym !! Been slack after getting sick and a few disruptions to any sort of routine I might have developed..

Good thing is that I was as strong as I was a couple of weeks ago, I went straight to the same weight I was doing when I last went to the gym. I did not do the same number of sets, just 2 sets of 4 reps, whereas I had been doing 4 sets of 4 reps. I wanted to avoid getting too sore this week as I want to do a decent 5km run Friday, as well as ParkRun Saturday.

I also did 5 mins on stationary bike FAST. Relatively low resistance, just wanted to get warmed up a little and sweat a bit. Heart rate only got to about 100.

Heels still really good. Interesting that, maybe I am on my way to complete recovery. Wouldn't that be amazing. To be able to end the whole year with consistent running and actually begin marathon training again with confidence.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

A very bad Bridge to Brisbane, and a nice 50 minute run

DId the Bridge to Brisbane run again on Sunday 1st September 2013. I have a lot of negative feeling toward this race:

- Horrifically crowded
- need to line up at least 45 minutes before the start to have a chance of a decent position
- great hoards of people that don't normally run, have zero experience running and make things more dangerous than it really should be. eg Walking don the bridge. Stopping, turning around, obstructing..
- I have entered three years in a row, been a sub 50 minute 10km runner for years, yet every time I enter they send a 'Green' racing bib - meaning I have to start in the 60min plus area rather than Red Zone. The organisers have my race times in their database, I tick the 'Red Zone' choice when I enter. But I still get a Green bib every time. Gave up this year, jut turned up and went in to the Red Zone..

Anyhow, this year I got a really good start, took off and did the uphill 1km in 4:34, the next 2kms in 3:40 and 3:50.. And then had to pee in the 4th km. Pretty much blew the race in the first 3kms, went far too fast for my current level of fitness. No matter, I ran the rest of the race with very burning legs !!

We won't be doing this run again.

One great thing after the race was that my heels were not too bad. The next day heels were completely normal, no pain at all, even in the morning when I first woke up. Pretty sure that has not happened in quite a while.

Today I did  50min easy run. Ended up 4:44 pace average. Felt oddly awkward at the beginning, probably a little stiff from the race. Heels were noticeable at the beginning - not hurting so much, but a strange feeling, almost itchy or tingly, ticklish even. Rather weird that. I felt pretty crap overall in the first 5kms or so, but felt much better and loose in the last 5km's .

I do wonder what is happening with my heels, they don't hurt now, just feel different. I wonder if scar tissue is clearing up or something.

So from this week on I am going to try to do a 50min easy each week, and a 6km easy + 12x30 speed session.  I might push the 6kms to 8km plus the speed session. Just to sneak the mileage up a bit.