Sunday, August 17, 2014

Silva Es Magico

City started the season as they finished the last one, with a win. As for United - I'm pretty confident the trophies Rory McIlroy displayed yesterday will remain the only silverware on view at the swamp this season once more. Looks like this season could be as funny as the previous one.

Oh sorry, wrong topic. This one is about the running side of my life.

I'm starting to get worried about my legs. I haven't forgotten last year when I ran myself into a hole after doing too much too soon when returning back to running following the Connemara 100 and I'd prefer not to repeat the same mistakes. The legs are somewhat unpredictable, sometimes feeling okay, sometimes feeling stiff and tired without an obvious explanation.

I checked the logs from last year and tried to gain some information. The one thing that's obvious is the 7-minute or faster paced tempo runs I started doing almost immediately. Okay, so I'm not doing that, but that's still no guarantee that I'm doing better right now. I do keep a number of spreadsheets that track various variables, mostly HR and pace related, and the numbers look okay to me. It's that achy feeling in the legs that never seems to go away completely that has me worried.

The typical training run right now is 10 miles along Caragh Lake. I've done that no less than 5 times this week. Luckily I don't get bored easily, at least not at 6:30 in the morning. The other 2 runs were on Wednesday when I ran up to Windy Gap and today, Sunday, when I did a loop with the first half on the road along Caragh Lake and the return trip on the Kerry Way trail, which includes a rather tough climb as you go from the lake halfway up the mountain. My original plan had been to run around the lake but I was worried how my legs would handle 15 miles. Mind, the 12+ miles I did with such a wicked climb probably weren't any easier. The views from up there are rather spectacular, though.

My HRM has been acting up badly the last couple of days, which rather sucks if you're trying to use those figures for some meaningful bio-feedback. I'm used to HR straps not picking up the signal properly for the first 1 or 2 miles before starting to work properly, but this one seemed to work the other way round, the numbers are fine for the first 5 miles and then the HR just goes stratospheric. I had initially bought my present Wahoo HR strap with the idea of just using the ANT+ transmitter and attaching it to my Polar HR strap, but the buttons that clip the strap and transmitter together turned out to be incompatible. This morning, after getting seriously annoyed once too often, I took a knife to the Wahoo transmitter and started cutting off bits and pieces. Normally me and knifes, and DIY in general, are a dangerous combination (there's a good reason why I'm a computer programmer, not a carpenter) but for once I seem to have come through and the job is done. Mind, my adaptation still has to pass the field test tomorrow, but at least I didn't injure myself in the process.
15 Aug
10 miles, 1:17:09, 7:42 pace, HR 145
16 Aug
10 miles, 1:18:04, 7:48 pace, HR ~145
17 Aug
12.2 miles, 1:36:04, 7:52 pace, HR ~145
   very hilly
Weekly Mileage: 73


  1. I feel for you! Nothing worse than finding you run not recorded properly, hope it all works out!

  2. My HR monitor has been playing up quite often in the first mile of runs in the last month, silly to get annoyed at such things, but like you use my HR monitor to monitor progress so when it plays up the reading for that run become suspect, making reading trends into the data collected more awkward.

    Through the winter and spring I found my readings me reliable right away so wonder if there is an issue with the more static on clothes or moisture on the contacts evaporating quicker when it's warmer. I look forward to the day when the technology becomes more reliable and less intrusive.

    Can't believer your weekly mileage is already up in the 70's. My currently mileage is back up in the 40's and am pretty happy not to push it higher right now as I don't have any really long races lined up in the near term, adding faster workouts being more important than high mileage for my current racing goals.

    I can't help feel that you'd recover quicker if you kept the mileage and intensity down for just a few more weeks. I know you feel that 8min/mile is slow for you, but it really isn't for a recovery pace - it's an easy pace, not a recovery pace. The danger is you'll be delaying recovery by pushing on too fast too often too soon.

    By sticking to short very slow recovery runs after the WHW I was able to get back into proper training after a month, with no lingering stiffness or elevated HR was this month was up. The month that has followed I've been doing serious training, plenty of miles sub 7min/mile, with a several of miles well below 6 min/mile pace, but with plenty more miles at recovery pace of 9 to 10min/mile in between each of the fast sessions.

    1. That's exactly the kind of training that had be blow up last year and I won't be doing that again, Robert. It's great if it works for you, but I will stay well clear.

    2. After another hard run yesterday (9mile, 1200ft hill run at average of 7:23 pace, average HR 167) I have to admit being a little bit close to over reach for comfort... A 4 mile recovery run today at 10 min/mile pace has at a average HR of 132 settled things, will stick to further short/slow recovery runs for this week before this weekends race to make sure I'm fully recovered.

      I think proper recovery runs is crucial to being able to doing tough workouts, and is an area I suspect you could improve upon. Having followed your training for a couple of years it seems to me that in between tough workouts you still do lots of 8 to 10 mile runs at easy pace (8min/mile) rather than modest length (4 to 6 mile) runs at a proper recovery pace (9 to 10min/mile pace.)

      The added bonus of recovery runs at this 9 to 10 min/mile is that it'll be at your 24hr race pace.