Thursday, September 10, 2015

Recovery? What Recovery?

Recovery from Dingle was swift - in fact I barely noticed that I had a marathon in those legs. Sunday was still a bit stiff, alright, but by Tuesday I could no longer feel any trace of that race.

Two weeks from now I will be in sunny Greece. Usually I would state at this point that the training is done and the hay in the barn but with all the time I missed during the summer it really does not feel that way. I sure don't feel I particularly need a taper because I have not done any training that would require me to rest from. Obviously, cramming in long miles and tough workouts at this point is not an option either. Instead, I'm trying to get some last minute adaptations going that will hopefully assist me in my Spartan quest.

Heat adaptation is often neglected but will certainly be a requirement for someone used to training in about 10 degrees in Ireland when preparing for a race in Greece where the temperatures are presently at 31C/88F! On Tuesday I wrapped myself in 3 layers (long sleeved shirt, fleece jacket and running jacket) and a hat (lesson learned from the previous run!) and set off. I actually felt ok, was a little but warm but not exactly hot and the HR wasn't particularly high either: from the number alone (138) I would not have been able to tell if the very slightly elevated figure was caused by the marathon or the extra layers. It was only in the last mile when I increased the effort a little bit that I actually started to feel warmer than usual.

I wondered if that run had actually brought on any adaptations so I set the bar higher for Wednesday. I wore 4 layers (long sleeved shirt, cotton t-shirt, fleece jacket and running jacket), added gloves, ran for longer and at a higher intensity. Truth to be told, I might have overdone it a bit (now where have I said that before!). I was getting hot and steamy straight away, started to feel the effort by half way and was actually having to work damn hard just to get home. That's when I realised that I had been pushing my luck: I got light headed when I bent down to take off my shoes, I started feeling cold even when still wrapped in 4 layers and I generally got a bit confused (forgot to take off the HRM chest strap, mislaid the watch, put the shower on cold). I also kept sweating buckets for half an hour after finishing the run; my core temperature must have been seriously high. I guess I got away with it and afterwards figured as far as heat adaptation was concerned it was probably a very successful workout but this could be dangerous and a bit more caution would definitely be a good idea.

The legs had not been taxed by that run but I sure had put my body under a certain amount of stress so I wondered if it was a good idea to do a workout the next day. Then again, if in doubt I tend to go ahead and run, and that's what I ended up doing once more. I ran a set of half mile repeats, something that worked very well a few weeks ago and really seemed to bring me on, so I was keen to keep them going, despite my recent ultra/marathon combo. I reckoned I could always run a bit slower, maybe 7-minute pace, but started running the first repeat entirely by feel and only checked the pace halfway through: 6:19! Ok, relax a bit for the second half. The next one went similarly: I would start by feel, eventually checked the watch to find I was running a bit fast and then relaxed and concentrated on form and breathing for the reminder. The last 2 were at a slightly higher effort but still very much in control. I also cut down the rest interval to about 0.2 miles, about half of what I had given myself last time, but that did not seem to make any difference, I felt well recovered at the start of each faster segment. As ever, strava and movescount are reporting markedly different paces for the same workout; at least one of them is doing an appalling job! This time, however, the numbers I remember from the watch during the workout are closer to the movescount rather than the strava ones. I have no idea what pace I actually ran, only that it felt just right!

Wowzers, that went well! One lesson from Mystery Coach had been that when you get into form "the mind is winding up to ignore fatigue", which is great for racing but not so great for training as it can easily lead to burnout and overtraining if you're not careful. With 2 weeks to go, however, that's a great state to get into! I might be getting into shape just in time, lost summer or not.
7 Sep
5 miles, 43:58, 8:48 pace, HR 134
8 Sep
5 miles, 42:50, 8:34 pace, HR 138
   heat adaptation
9 Sep
8 miles, 1:07:13, 8:24 pace, HR 153
   heat adaptation
10 Sep
7.5 miles, 59:13, 7:54 pace, HR 151
   incl 6 x 800 @ 6:27, 6:18, 6:14, 6:20, 6:03, 6:07 pace

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