Monday, January 14, 2019

Mixed Signals

The training has been ramping up recently and I’m seeing finally seeing some results, though it’s not all rosy skies.

It’s not that I had been too lazy to train properly in recent months, it was always a question of my recovery abilities being significantly compromised ever since the 24 hours race in June, and it basically took half a year to get over most of that hump.

So, the training had been fairly low-key, at least by my usual standards, and as a result the numbers I kept churning out were rather unimpressive and I wasn’t very happy about it.

In retrospect it’s fairly clear that I didn’t help myself by agreeing to run a number of 5k races with work colleagues when running at race effort was the last thing I should have done, and it definitely had a bad impact on me. I THINK that I’ve learned that lesson but that doesn’t mean I’m over doing stupid things – more of that later.

Anyway, last week I finally saw some numbers that looked much better and it looks like I’m finally making the kind of progress I have been waiting for for months. The heart rate is lower for the same effort. The pace is faster for the same effort. In fact, I finally posted an easy run at sub-8 minutes pace, which was kind of a watershed moment because that hasn’t happened for a very long time.

However, not everything is great. I started an evaluation workout on Friday, at lunchtime. I didn’t have much time so warm up was only just over a mile, and then I got into the effort. The evaluation has always been a rather moderate workout; you certainly feel the effort but it’s never too hard and I never had any problems finishing it. This time, however, after 2.5 miles, I pulled the plug. I felt like toast and running further would have meant my form was completely falling apart and the pace/effort ratio was tanking, so pulling the plug was definitely the right call.

That’s a bit worrying, because I really should not have a problem finishing an evaluation. It clearly shows that my recovery is still not back to normal and I have to be really, really careful. That lesson was reinforced on Sunday. I really thought I was being sensible and cut the long run back from last week’s 20 miles to maybe 16 or 18, but it was over a hilly section over to Greystones and back via the Cliff Walk trail, but by the time I started on the Cliff Walk I was already pretty much toast and just tried to survive the homewards journey. I opted for the short way home but the last few miles particularly were really tough, uphill and against a fairly strong headwind and I was struggling to keep going.

I was utterly baffled when I uploaded said run into Strava and saw an entire string of new segment PRs. I’ve only run that course about 4 or 5 times, and never when even remotely on form, so my segment times are very soft but still, I was really tired and trying to take it easy and just survive, so apart from Strava messing up the data I’m not sure how to explain that.

As for the stupid stuff mentioned earlier? Months ago I signed up for the annual pilgrimage to Donadea for the 50k in February . I'm still planning to run that, though I have promised myself to take it really easy, and run at least 20 15 minutes slower than my previous slowest time, in order to keep the recovery requirements to a minimum. It will require a serious amount of willpower to keep the ego in check and I have a tendency of losing it whenever I pin a number onto my chest, but for once I really need to be sensible (as sensible as you can be while running a 50k, that is).
7 Jan
10.25 miles, 1:22:37, 8:03 pace, HR 139
8 Jan
10.18 miles, 1:27:25, 8:35 pace, HR 139
9 Jan
10.26 miles, 1:25:50, 8:21 pace, HR 139
10 Jan
10.26 miles, 1:25:14, 8:18 pace, HR 141
11 Jan
4.96 miles, 36:53, 7:26 pace, HR 151
   2.5 miles @ 6:49, HR 161
12 Jan
7.24 miles, 57:43, 7:58 pace, HR 143
13 Jan
14.54 miles, 2:03:26, 8:29 pace, HR 148

Sunday, January 06, 2019

Happy New Year

Can you believe it, the first week of 2019 is already behind us. At that  rate it will be 2020 if you blink - then again, that's probably more a reflection of my own increasingly advanced age, time didn't pass as quickly when I was younger.

Anyway, I had a decent enough week. Tuesday was the first day for many months when the pace was close to 8-minute miles on an easy run, which was nice to see, even if it still wasn't quite there yet - it probably would have been on a flatter course.

Then the watch crapped out on me on Wednesday when it refused to turn the GPS on, claiming "only" 23% of battery power, which would easily have been enough for the run, but it just would not cooperate. Maybe it's time for a new one - the charging cable is rather worn by now, after over 4 years of constant use, and I'd definitely prefer one that connects wirelessly. I'll think about it some more, unless I see a really good deal in the sales. One of my show-stopper requirements is a battery time of close to 24 hours, which immediately rules out the vast majority of watches, though.

Anyway, I also had one bad run, which wasn't a complete surprise as I tend to feel tired if I run in the morning following an evening run. 12 hours is just not enough for the legs to recover fully at the present rate, and that's what happens when I run home from work one evening and back into work the next morning.

My long run on Sunday went pretty well for most of it, until the long final climb home started, which is the last 2 miles. Until then the legs had worked very well over the hilly course via Kilternan, but then I seemed to hit a limit and the last 2 miles were a bit of a slog. Never mind, all in all still a very good week, and I can finally see some progress being made.
31 Dec
6.72 miles, 56:12, 8:21 pace, HR 143
1 Jan
10 miles, 1:20:59, 8:04 pace, HR 145
2 Jan
10.2 miles, 1:24:00, 8:14 pace, no watch
3 Jan
10.25 miles, 1:24:33, 8:14 pace, HR 141
4 Jan
10.25 miles, 1:29:54, 8:46 pace, HR 143
5 Jan
6.72 miles, 55:22, 8:14 pace, HR 142
6 Jan
20 miles, 2:47:59, 8:23 pace, HR 141