Friday, February 20, 2009

Acid Party

That heading should bring some interesting visitors via Google. They'll leave disappointed, though. The acid coursing through my legs this morning wasn't illegal, and probably a lot less fun.

After whining a lot about my sore legs on Wednesday I was pleasantly surprised on Thursday morning about the lack of pain. However, within 5 minutes this was replaced by a sense of impending doom, emanating from the inner depths of my digestive system. I'll spare you the details, but I bet you can imagine them anyway. This had two effects. First, I took longer than normal to get ready, and second, I was wondering if I would be able to return home "in time". I decided to check my Garmin after 4.5 miles. If I was running at or under 8-minute pace, I'd carry on to my usual 5-mile turnaround point, otherwise I'd cut the run short. When I got there, the average pace came up as 8:13, which meant an instant turnaround, and showed me that the hill sprints had obviously left a mark on my legs. However, the gut, which had never fully settled, started acting up at that time and I was left wondering how I would make it home. I experienced a few rather unpleasant stomach cramps, but the last mile was decidedly faster than the rest of the run, as I was getting a bit concerned that an otherwise unremarkable easy run would end up becoming very memorable for all the wrong reasons. Thankfully I made it home. I'll spare you the details again, but again I'm sure you get the picture anyway.

A few of you have voiced concern in the comments that I might be pushing too hard. While I can't rule out that possibility, I'm the only one who can feel the effects on my body, and I'm reasonably sure that in the longer term I'm recovering enough between the workouts, even if that wasn't true for the first half of this week. Running two hill session in one week doesn't seem excessive to me. Lydiard's schedules usually have three of them, and in the early days he had six! In comparison, my one week with two hill sessions is rather meek. Anyway, I set off today on a carbon copy of Wednesday's effort. I had hoped that the tempo part would be improved, but the 6:52 pace was only marginally better. I think it might have something to do with the early hours. Sometimes the legs just don't feel very responsive at faster paces at 6:30 in the morning, especially on a cold day like today. At least that's my excuse.

After the tempo run I did the same 8 hill sprints of 60 seconds each. After the second one I had serious doubts about my ability to finish the other 6, but somehow managed to go through the entire session. The legs were howling in pain at the top of each repeat, drenched in lactic acid as they were (or whatever physiological explanation goes these days). However, on the 2-mile run home I felt that the legs were less sore than on Wednesday. Maybe they're getting used to being abused.
19 Feb
9 miles, 1:13:04, 8:07 pace, HR 142
stomach cramps aren't fun
20 Feb
10.5 miles, 1:26:03, 8:12 pace, HR 152
2.75 miles @ 6:52 (HR 161) and 8x60 hill sprints
lactic acid isn't fun either


  1. I am pleased to hear that you have been recovering better in the second half of the week. As you say, you know better than anyone else how your body is coping. Continue to be guided by how well you are recovering. However, comparison of your schedule with Lydiard's recommendations only gives you some general guidance as to what might be a reasonable schedule, but does not allow for the probability that that individuals differ in the amount of training that produces the best results for them. Also, don't underestimate the need to allow your body to recover from your recent respiratory tract infection. If you are in doubt about whether or not you have recovered adequately, I would suggest that you probably have more to lose at this stage by overdoing things than by deciding to have a recovery day (or few days). It is worthwhile to develop the self-confidence to accept that you have in fact built a sufficently solid base such that a few days of easier training will not be a catastrophe. But ultimately you have to make a judgement based on how you feel; good luck.

  2. Hi Thomas, I think you might confuse the reader if you compare your flat out hill sprints to Arthur Lydiard's hill training, Lydiard infact recommended his athletes run slowly up the hill with a springing, bounding or high knee action.......[ video's can be seen on the Lydiard foundation website]
    Not that I'm saying there is anything wrong with what you are doing, there are great benefits to be had from hill sprinting!

  3. Regardless, I think it's clear that you're kicking arse!

  4. I'd say the early morning run is definetly one of the factors in the pace your achieving during tempo runs. Isn't it a fact that the best time to run is midday? I've noticed that my morning runs are always slower than my lunchtime runs for similar effort!!

  5. I agree with Bricey about the difficulty of hitting paces during early morning runs. The human body just wasn't meant to run that fast at that hour of the day. You don't see elite runners doing hard sessions at 4-6am in the morning. It's similar to why shift work is unnatural - nights are meant for sleeping and days for working.

    I know because of work/family commitments you have to run early, but it's worth making allowances with the paces. At least Boston is a midday start so you'll be jumping out of your skin at that hour of the day!

  6. hey dudes! i work the night shift but still the best time for putting the hammer down is the early evening, hell thats just human nature!

  7. elite athletes do there easy run in the morning and their hard efforts later in the day ! you have to be wide awake to push your self to the max!