I just checked through my running log for the year and the last time I had done an interval workout was back in March! Obviously that's not ideal but I required a very long recovery period after the championships and then I got injured - in fact, the very workouts that caused my injury, the hill drills, were supposed to get the leg muscles ready for some fast work. MC sent me an email with the suggestion of doing some longer intervals with the aim of increasing my efficiency. There is no doubt that my efficiency is in dire need of improvement, right now I am running a minute slower than before my injury, at the same effort level and HR! Still, I was a bit apprehensive of running 2 minutes faster than normal, not because the pace would have scared me but because I did not know how my hip would react.
The prescribed pace was certainly nothing to write home about - 2 years ago that had been my marathon race pace! Straining to run the same pace for half mile repeats drove home the message how much I have regressed, but then again I get that same message on every single run at the moment, and I very much expect decent gains to come quickly (that's the advantage of being at the bottom!). 4 x 800 is not much of a workout, especially as I kept the recovery long as well (another half mile), but that kind of work need to be introduced gently. The plan was to run 6:30-6:40 pace. I struggled with pace judgement early on, but that improved quickly. As for the actual paces I ran, there's some confusion. The Suunto website, where the data got uploaded initially, mentions lap paces of 6:31, 6:36, 6:35, 6:32, but the same data in strava gets reported as 6:31, 6:30, 6:27, 6:23. I did not keep a close eye on the numbers when I was doing the workout but from what I saw the numbers on the watch were matching the strava figures; why Suunto's watch would report quite different numbers than their website I don't know. Obviously it doesn't matter much - it's the training effect that counts but my geeky maths OCD self is a bit thrown by those contradictory numbers.
Derek had suggested running on no more than 3 consecutive days, so I was already pushing my luck with 5 straight days as it was! However, since the hip is getting better by the day, even after sitting in the office chair for too many hours, I think I can get away with a little bit more. However, having to drive to Killarney early Friday morning provided a decent excuse to take a rest day (I still cycled).
After that rest day I did once again push my luck over the weekend. I headed up towards the Kerry way on Saturday morning, intending to get a few climbs into my legs for the first time in ages to start building some much-needed leg strength but had all the best intentions of taking it easy. Well, the effort was easy, I can still attest to that, but the longer I ran the better I felt so when I reached the trail junction towards Windy Gap I indeed started heading upwards, curious to see how long I would last. Well. I lasted until the very top and even then I wasn't particularly tired. The hip never bothered me in the slightest, which was a major plus. I took it even easier on the descent to protect my hip and ran home. I did the homewards leg mostly on autopilot, which meant I can't have been very tired.
The hip was perfectly fine initially but I started feeling it about 6 hours after that run. Not bad, but noticeable. As a result I ditched any fancy notions of running around the lake on Sunday and did 2 loops through Killorglin instead, which gave me the option of going home early if my hip was acting up. Turns out the hip was fine but the quads were a bit achy right from the start, obviously a result from yesterday's sojourn, and never got better. By mile 10 I was rather tired, by mile 12 I started feeling the hip, once again not bad but noticeable, but by then I was on my way home anyway. The last few miles dragged a bit, but that was part of the plan anyway. A little bit of suffering is good.
This was a decent enough week, but compared to what I would have done without the injury it was still minimal. My hip feels fine, it's the loss of fitness that is my biggest problem. I still have a few weeks to make some gains - not enough to catch up but I'll see what can be done.
- 20 Aug
- 7.5 miles, incl 4 x 800 @ 6:31, 6:30, 6:27, 6:23 pace
- 22 Aug
- 11+ miles, 1:45:48, 9:26 pace, HR 148
- Windy Gap
- 23 Aug
- 15+ miles, 2:11:24, 8:45 pace, HR 141