Friday, July 19, 2013

Back To Life, Back To Reality

It did occur to me that for one week in Sixmilebridge I was basically living the life of a professional runner – all I did was either run or prepare for my next run. I think I could have gotten used to that. Sadly, this week it has been back to reality and back to office life, and it did take me a few days to readjust.

My weight has come down a little bit over the last few days and has basically returned to the level I had before the 10in10. I can therefore conclude that running 10 marathons in a row is not a fool proof way of losing weight, something that comes as a bit of a surprise to me, to be honest. Thankfully I did not run for weight loss.

The Killarney marathon will take place tomorrow, Saturday, and I have decided that I will definitely give it a miss. There is nothing to be gained from it. Sure, I could wobble my way to yet another 3:45-ish time, at the cost of setting my recover back significantly, and probably torpedoing my chances of a decent race in Connemara for good (if those chances are still alive, that is).

Every morning since returning home I have run the same 5 mile course. I have gotten a little bit faster every single day so far, but I still feel like an arthritic slug on Prozac (yes, I’m aware that slugs don’t get arthritis. They generally don’t take Prozac either), and running feels awkward, my gait just does not feel right. I can’t quite remember how I felt after the 24 hours race last year once I started running again, but I do remember that it took a few weeks and I’ll try and hang on. It’s starting to get frustrating, though.

For some reason my Achilles, which hasn't been bothering me at all once I stopped running daily marathons, has all of a sudden started hurting again this morning, just a bit of discomfort when I was running but it became really sore an hour later, only for the pain to mostly go away again after another hour or two. I'm not sure what’s going on there, but I do not like it. I have had troubles with that area before and a chronic inflammation is just about the last thing I’d like to take away from Sixmilebridge. On the plus side, the last time this area hurt like that it did eventually go away for a couple of years, so I won’t make plans for a forced retirement just yet.

The Kerry's Eye had a nice article about me and Jim, the other Kerry finisher of the 10in10. They even had a decent looking photo of me (a very rare thing, believe you me) and Niamh was particularly chuffed that she got a mention.
17 Jul
5 miles, 41:24, 8:16 pace
18 Jul
5 miles, 40:11, 8:02 pace, HR 131
19 Jul
5 miles, 39:41, 7:56 pace, HR 134


  1. Rick Vecoe's times in the 10x10 are amazing in both the times and their consistency. Your own record is impressive as well, 10 consecutive sub 4 hours marathons is no easy feat, especially considering the heat.

    Those running 5hrs+ each day though need a special medal though, that's a long time to be on your feet and under the sun each day.

    As for recovery, why not just take a day off or go for a walk, cycle or swim - right now your focus has to be on nurturing recovering rather training. The recovery process will be the bodies way of repairing the damage build up and making itself stronger. Get the recovery right and you'll be even better adapted to handle running 100 miles.

    I would suggest that your aerobic fitness now more than good enough to ably handle running 100 miles, little things like pace and HR on your runs are just a distraction - the fitness is their it's just masked by the recovery process. Rather I think it'll be soft tissue robustness that will be the limiting factor. Making your muscles, tendons, ligaments and fascia all as robust as you can has to be the focus for the next four weeks.

    You've provided the training stimulus with the 10x10 so now it's time lavish time on gentle recovery, mixing things up to not stress the body but keep range of motion good and the blood flowing and repairing.

  2. Great story in the local rag - you're famous! Gee Rik was consistent. Anyway, once you've recovered, the big question is when do you start training to make the Irish team for the next World 24hr Championships?

  3. I am not sure if you are going to end up with multiple copies of my messages. They appear not to transmit, despite me entering the requested letters and numbers. Maybe they are circling slowly in cyberspace and will eventually descend. If so, sorry for the clutter.

    Well done in the 10 in 10. That was great running.

    With regard to the HR in the days immediately after the 10 in 10, almost certainly your parasympathetic nervous system (the rest and digest system) was in over-drive trying to discourage you from undue exertion. Although the HR has been rising towards more normal values in the past couple of days, you still need to take things easily. It is unlikely that your body will benefit from training until you are more fully recovered, but there is a risk that you might harm yourself.

    1. Canute, interesting suggestion about lower HR being the result of parasympathetic nervous system after a big bout of exercise - I have regularly seen this after marathon+ runs.

      While I can see a lower resting HR and lower max HR being something that could discourage over exertion, I don't yet understand why we should see a lower HR for a given pace when running. From my understanding the amount of power required is relatively constant for a given pace, and this in turn will require a similar level of oxygen consumption/removal of carbon dioxide from the blood. Given similar load on the circulation system I would have expected similar HR for a given pace and relatively small short term sensitivity to stress/recovery of the body. Given large bouts of running will incur muscle damage and glycogen exhaustion I would normally expect lower efficiency and higher HR for given pace.

      Despite this what we see is lower HR which is still perplexing how this is the body trying to slow us down, as when I've done recovery runs in this conditions it's stiff muscles and a sensible head keeping me slow, not being out of breath or out of energy. While I'm sure trying to run at fast pace would be harder due to the lower max HR, on these recovery runs I've never been close and really haven't felt stressed save for the fatigued legs and ligaments.

      Normally for a lower HR for a given pace I'd expect greater blood volume and ability to carry oxygen/remove carbon dioxide and greater running economy. Since running economy is almost certainly compromised this leaves me wonder just how the heart is able to handle the load at such a lower HR. Is it simply that the blood volume increased during this recovery period?