Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Anaerobically Overtrained?

It doesn’t come as a big surprise, but life can be challenging with a little baby in the house. After taking her time sleeping through the night, she has now started to wake far too often. And for some unknown reason, we seem to have settled on a parental pattern – during the day she’s Niamh’s baby, during the night she’s mine. A 4:29 am wake-up call on Monday was the low point so far, because even though Maia managed to fall back asleep afterwards, I did not. Last night was almost a relief in comparison, a 1 am nappy change was enough to send her (and myself) back to sleep until 6:13, and since my alarm had been set to 6:15, this didn’t cause any problem for once, especially since she fell back asleep after a bottle.

The original schedule for Monday had called for 11 miles, but with my recent rant about not recovering enough I cut that down to 9. I felt very good, actually, and the miles passed by very quickly. I t was probably a tad fast for an easy run, but the heart rate was pretty low, and I felt good, so why not take it.

Today was a different matter. It started badly and got worse, basically. After dealing with the aforementioned Maia problem, I got the shock of the day when my Garmin refused to come to life. And that on the day of mixed intervals, the one workout where I definitely need the damn thing! Dead as a dodo it seemed, but I remembered reading about other people having the same problem and booted up the computer. I found the solution, pressing the Mode and Lap/Reset keys together for a few seconds brought the device back to life. This is even mentioned in the manual, but for some reason only known to the technical writer it's not in the troubleshooting section but on page 6 where the function of each key is explained. Strangely enough the battery was half-empty despite being fully charged last night, but it had enough juice to last my workout.

Eventually, and of course a good bit later than planned, I made it out of the house, functioning Garmin on the wrist. Unfortunately the weather has turned again and it was really windy (the weather page lists wind speeds of 20-25mph, with gusts of up to 40 mph). I could have gone to Ard-na-Sidhe, but that road was so dark that I thought I’d probably run into a tree there and I opted for the road towards Killorglin instead. Initially the weather didn’t seem too bad, and 2 miles of HMP were no problem. As soon as the first recovery interval started I thought that this had not felt like HMP effort, and when I turned around and felt the full force of the wind against my face I knew why. To make things worse, the next 2 fast segments were not only against the wind but slightly uphill as well. The 2k at supposed 10k pace were as slow as 6:49, and then I completely lost focus during the mile at 5k pace, caught myself jogging along at 7:20 pace after my mind had started drifting, and did no better than a totally embarrassing 6:59! I even hesitate to put down those numbers because they are so bad. Half a mile at 3k pace (which should have been sub 6:00 pace, wind or no wind, especially since it was slightly downhill) brought a slight improvement but still only 6:17 pace.

I’ve had plenty of less than satisfying workouts during this build-up, and I have done plenty of moaning about it, but this one was by far the worst. I don’t feel the need to go on about it any further. I didn’t feel good today, but I also worked a lot less hard than I should have, no excuses. With less than 4 weeks to go I’m wondering if there is a point in trying to push myself faster than HMP pace if my subconscious self is seemingly unwilling to do so. Well, there’s one last race coming up on Sunday, and I’ll see how that goes. Somehow I’m always able to find a few extra seconds out of nothing if there is a bib on my shirt.

One more source of slight frustration is provided by my weight. I’m about 145 pounds at the moment, pretty much the same I was for my last marathon but 3 pounds heavier than a few weeks ago, and despite attempts to lose a few, the weight curve is actually pointing upwards. I’m definitely blaming Niamh for this. Imagine the scenario. You have eaten a healthy breakfast, a healthy lunch and a nice, decent dinner. Maybe you’re a tiny bit peckish, but nothing you can’t handle. Then this appears in front of you:

And the next day it’s tiramisu, followed by rice-cream the next day, and maybe some blackberry ice cream the day after. All of it homemade and all of it absolutely delicious. You could not resist either, don’t pretend otherwise. I’m definitely up against it here.

29 Sep
9 miles, 1:10:37, 7:51 pace, HR 140
30 Sep
8.5 miles, 1:03:48, 7:30 pace, HR 153
2m @ 6:41 (157/170), 2k @ 6:49 (167/175), 1m @ 6:59 (170/176), 0.5m @ 6:17 (169/174)

Monthly Mileage: 327


  1. I really want to comment on your night-time arrangement, but I've been blogging long enough (and I've been married long enough) to know when to keep my mouth shut.

    Thomas, I'm sending my comment to you directly using telepathy. Begin transmission now...

  2. maybe it's because you get to go to work and rest all day, and Niamh has to manage 4 kids all day? (I'm being quite serious!)

    Btw, HOW does a mum of four manage homemade deserts?!! I just don't get it.

  3. A pyramid session is hard enough at the best of times not to mention when fatigue, technology and meterological elements are all against you. Well done for making it through.

  4. What a dessert! Save some for the marathon. Just think of the carbo loading boost. Just an off day, tired legs, tired mind, lousy weather etc.

  5. I wouldn't worry about the poor intervals or your weight for that matter. The training is already done.

  6. Running at a set race pace, say 5k-10k is all well and good in the ideal world of flat roads,no wind AND FRESH LEGS! But in the real world its a different matter. Sometimes I think what Matt Fitzgerald calls 'OLD SCHOOL' IS A FAR BETTER WAY, Arthur Lydiard would have told you to run on feel, not to get to wrapped on worrying about exact times and pace.
    i think using your Garmin too often can lead to putting to much pressure upon ones self.
    Set yourself free, at least sometimes do your fast runs without that garmin and enjoy running without limits!

  7. With all the deserts, you are one lucky dude :).

    Sorry to hear about the hard time on the runs.

    Uphill PLUS wind is not fun business. Especially not w/ fresh legs.

  8. That looks delicious Niamh! Keep feeding him up - the heavier he gets, the safer my bet on Grellan to have the fastest marathon is looking ;)

  9. you've got a good women there Thomas, to put up with your running and moaning and still feed you awesome desserts! wow!

  10. Niamh is fiendishly evil! Or a magician. Or both! She plies you with homemade goodies AND gets you to do night duty! she's my idol. :)