Thursday, February 13, 2014

Hurricane and Tornado

As all runners know only too well, we are quite susceptible to injury. Every runner has plenty of stories to tell. I have been lucky enough to avoid any injury that would require one or more off days for several years now. But marathon or ultra training is always a fine line, you're trying to train hard enough to be at your best but stay on the right side of recovery and hopefully injury won't strike.

I might be teetering right at the brink. About 3 weeks ago I started getting some slight pain at the top of my right hip. It started out very lightly but gradually got a little bit more noticeable. It's still very much manageable, about 3 out of 10, and certainly won't stop me as long as it doesn't get any worse, but it's a bit of a worry.

I got another twinge on Monday. I had followed up Sunday's long hilly run with a set of hill drills on Monday. I came home feeling tired but fine, but as the day wore on I started to notice some twinge in my right hamstring. Two days later this is still with me. Again, it's not too bad at the moment and as long as it doesn't get any worse it's perfectly manageable but like the hip pain, it's a bit of a worry.

I did a second set of hill drills on Tuesday, though I did the thigh drive in a more measured way to protect my hamstring. It might have worked in as much as it didn't get any worse.

Wednesday was an interesting one. I had followed the weather forecast with some interest and figured I could squeeze in my run before the storm was about to strike, so I did 10 miles in heavy wind and rain, but I certainly felt the conditions were just about okay. Niamh seems to have disagreed, her only comment on my return was “are you nuts?”, and we left it at that. The most noteworthy thing from my point of view was the low HR – 10 beats lower than the same pace would have yielded only a few weeks ago. The effect of just over one week of hill work are absolutely flabbergasting!

Running sure would not have been possible three hours later later when the storm hit Kerry with up-to-then unheard-of ferocity. Our road was blocked by several fallen trees and worse, our neighbour's house was hit by a fallen tree with some serious amount of damage. There is debris everywhere and the power in Caragh Lake was out for almost 8 hours – it only just came back close to bedtime. We still don’t have internet or telly. And we’re one of the lucky ones - there is no damage to our house, Killorglin was still without power in the morning and some people in the country will be without power for several days!

It was almost eerily calm on Thursday morning. The trees had been moved off the road but there was an almost Christmassy smell of fresh wood in the air. I had to find a new hill for my repeats as the road in the Coillte land was completely blocked by several fallen trees (I wasn't surprised), and the road was slippery from hail/sleet/ground frost. I managed just fine but didn't go all-out as I'm supposed to have a race on Saturday.

The weather forecast for Saturday is not too bad, though the race director made same dark, cryptic comments about hoping we're able to swim. The course is in a forest park that is susceptible to mud; let's wait and see how that will go. I don't feel anywhere near race ready, but since this is only a training run I should be okay.

10 Feb
10+ miles, 1:40:53, HR 137
   Hill Drills: strides, thigh drive, high knees, ankle drive
11 Feb
10+ miles, 1:39:19, HR 137
   Hill Drills: strides, thigh drive, downhill strides, high knees
12 Feb
10 miles, 1:14:40, 7:28 pace, HR 138
13 Feb
10 miles, 1:33:40, HR 141
   Hill Drills: strides, thigh drive, high knees, downhill strides


  1. Jeez Thomas, we got some hammering in Clare too yesterday. I went out for a run yesterday and really struggled to get home. Could hardly see with the rain (it was 6am)

  2. We have been lucky up here in Scotland, the worst of the storms have all passed south of us. The storms brought some snow so have had couple of runs in the snow which is fun. There are still plenty of local trails still cut off by fallen trees that came down in December in January. It's been a crazy winter all round.

    Interesting response in your HR thanks to a short period of hill drills. I'm currently still in aerobic base building phase and building up my weekly mileage but haven't yet seen improvements in my resting HR and HR when running that I would normally expect with the mileage I'm doing. I've had cold which has clung on for a fortnight which seems to be interfering, but my recovery from each run has been great so I'm a bit perplexed by the lack of progress with HR. It kinda parallels what seems to have happens to you prior introducing hill drills - putting the training in but seeing no strong signs that progress was being made.

    Perhaps my HR will suddenly drop just be continuing adding volume, or perhaps I just need to add some high intensity training to give my immune system a stronger nudge that it's time to adapt. However, I'm rather cautious as I have a history of getting injured.

    With your own niggles increasing I'd would have thought it safer to scale each workout back, or cut the number of hill drill days to allow your body time to adapt fully to the load you've already thrown at it. You have plenty of time left till your 24hr race so I don't see a big need to get into peak condition right away.

  3. A couple of weeks ago I was back home in Donegal and people thought I was mad to go out running in one of the storms. But it was so nice to run in shorts and refreshing to have the wind and rain in my face. Meanwhile back here in Quebec the winter has been colder and snowier than normal. I had to stop yesterday for a minute as my eyelashes froze together (-26C) and I couldn't see where I was running ! Tonight we are getting another 15cm of snow, so it will be another fun morning run. Good luck at the weekend - Jojo

  4. Good news re the improvement in HR following the hill sessions. Hope the injury is no more than a bad niggle.
    We've had some bad weather the last couple of days (rain) - more rain (38mm) than we've had in the 13 previous weeks ;)