Thursday, June 11, 2009

Bed Time

I still haven't mastered the art of going to bed when I ought to, and if you're running as many miles as I do this is a serious problem. I have felt rather tired over the last few days. The fact that I'm still fighting off some infection (which is getting better) doesn't help, but less than 7 hours of sleep per night is just not adequate. It caught up with me last night when I could not keep my eyes open during the telly news. Eventually I relented and was off to bed just after 9:30. I managed about 8 hours of sleep, regrettably with a few interruptions, but I'm still on a deficit. It's something I have to address. Sleep is a vital part of training.

Running over the last two days was a bit of a struggle. It's a dance of one step forward, one step back at the moment. Tuesday's workout was very good but yesterday and today I paid the price. Wednesday was what is basically an easy day in my schedule, 15 miles around Caragh Lake. I kept telling myself that getting up at 5:30 was a lie-in compared to Monday's 5 o'clock start, and I almost believed it. The first few miles were very slow. I felt a twinge in my left hamstring at first, which had me a bit worried. Luckily that subsided after a while, and I just had to fight the general fatigue in the legs. The last 5 miles were a tad faster again, as is becoming customary, and went by at 7:35 pace without pushing the effort. At least that went well. But I could definitely feel the fatigue building up in my legs during the last 2 miles. I think 13 miles is a bit of a threshold at the moment, I always seem to have a low at that stage. Still, it's progress. Last month this used to happen at mile 8.

Any hopes of feeling better today were dashed immediately. The legs were even stiffer than yesterday, and I struggled through some strides at the warm-up. I already knew that the tempo part of today's workout wouldn't go particularly well, and was proven right. 7:00 pace was all I could do, and I even had to strain over the last mile to achieve this, or it would have been even slower. It's a bit of a setback compared to last week, not that I'm racing my previous times. But a nice progression would be preferable, obviously.

The second part of the workout consisted of hill repeats. I had no idea how many I would do as I started on my first one. Last week I had done 8, but I was happy to go along with however I felt. The second repeat was rather unusual because a car appeared behind me, and since there was no way to overtake me on that narrow road (and I wasn't going to stop in the middle of a hill sprint) I felt like being chased up a mountain, which apparently made me squeeze a few extra ounces of effort out of somewhere. The bad news was that I felt totally shattered after that one, rather early. I kept plugging away, but after the sixth repeat decided that I'd had enough. I somehow found some bravado on the way down the hill though, and went up again for a seventh time. And since there was only one remaining to match last week's number I did that one, too.

Theoretically those hill repeats are supposed to be run at maximum effort, but as the one with the car clearly demonstrated, in practice I don't manage to do that. I guess that's a drawback of training on my own all the time. Shared misery would help to push harder at times like that. Anyone willing to get up at 6 am and repeatedly run up the first 200-or-so meters of a mountain with me? Hmm. Not all at once, please.

To say the legs were sore for the rest of the days would be an understatement. I really struggled on my cycling commute. I keep telling myself that I'm bound to feel better once I get used to the training load. Sore legs are part of marathon training.
10 Jun
15 miles, 1:59:27, 7:58 pace, HR 146
last 5 @ 7:35
11 Jun
10.5 miles, 1:27:03, 8:17 pace, HR 146
incl. 2.75 miles @ 7:00, 8x45 secs hill sprints


  1. I was interested to read about your hill sprints, is this really part of Arthurs base training and who says to run them flat out!

  2. going by what I've learned about Lydiard training is not to mix anaerobic training into base training and to run only short sprints up to 10 sec which don't build latic acid up!

  3. Your legs are sore? That's a good sign really. When you do a workout and feel nothing it means you're not working hard enough doesn't it? Keep at it.

  4. I would love to do those hill repeats with you and waking up at 5am isn't a problem. But that commute to your place would be brutal...

  5. Oh I get It now your training like DEEK right!

  6. I'm a little confused by 'maximal effort' too. That would be for the whole set, or each one? If it was for each, you'd be in anaerobic territory. Taking up Rick's point, Deek's hill repeats were fast, but not at maximal effort.

    Anyway, "Sleep is a vital part of training" is a quote I'll remember. You'd think it's the easiest part of training to control, but for many it's not. Imagine how well we'd do if we got the 10-12 hours/day of Paula Radcliffe, or the 14-16 hours/day of Gabriella Szabo!