Sunday, January 19, 2014

Weighty Matters

There were two birthday parties, two swimming lessons, one stage school and one Tae-Kwon-Do workshop; obviously that is on top of the usual workload. It was a tough weekend, is it any wonder that the parents are exhausted! I managed to combine real life demands with running by doing Sunday's long run in Killarney National Park while CIan was doing his workshop, otherwise I would have had to get up before 6 am, and on Sunday I do prefer to catch up on sleep.

I had felt surprisingly good on Thursday after the previous day's hill repeats, but actually I felt fine. For some reason the HR really dropped for that run; assuming the HRM is working correctly, my heart beat about 5 bpm slower than expected. I don't know enough about physiology to explain such a big drop, especially as my training had been unspectacular, but the effect did not quite last, the HR was higher again on Friday. Then again, that could be explained by the mostly sleepless night (Full Moon once again!). It just goes to show just how many different variables there are, you never manage to get all of them under control.

I did my usual faster run on Saturday and was quite delighted with the outcome. Once more I might have worked just a tad too hard, but there is definitely some progress to be seen. If this keeps going I'll be more than happy.

Saturday's weather was much better than forecast; unfortunately the Weather Gods made up for it on Sunday by going completely the other way. Instead of a few showers we had relentless rain, and very heavy at times too. I guess you can argue that the forecasters had gotten it right on average. It meant a wet run in the National Park, which added to the blocked paths due to fallen trees and flooded roads but I got it done all the same. Ideally I would have run a little bit further and with significantly higher hills, but I was happy to get any sort of a long run done at all with all the other things that went on this weekend.

There is progress happening on another front; I started getting my diet in order again about a week ago, once I had managed to eat my way through the Christmas chocolates. It's not a diet as such, I'm just cutting out simple sugars as much as I can. For the first time in several months the weighing scales have dipped below 150 lbs. Good stuff but there is still a lot to be done.

16 Jan
10 miles, 1:18:25, 7:50 pace, HR 136
17 Jan
10 miles, 1:17:57, 7:48 pace, HR 140
18 Jan
10 miles, 1:11:14, 7:07 pace, HR 154
   incl 8 miles @ 6:54 pace (HR 158)
19 Jan
18.1 miles, 2:14:00, 7:24 pace
Weekly Mileage: 75+


  1. Hi Thomas

    I just don't understand how you can possibly have any kind of a weight issue when you're burning off the guts of a thousand calories every single day with your running.

    I'm carrying an extra 5 pounds or so (as usual) but I only run around 30 miles a week. I'll be beginning marathon training in a couple of weeks (will go up to c. 50+/week for a while) and I was thinking I'll have to increase my calorie intake before too long as I'll burn that 5 pounds in no time.

    So what is going on with you? Doesn't your usual routine ensure you're never overweight? And if not, what does this mean for me?! Will I have to ditch my plan of increasing my calorie intake (darn, I was looking forward to that! lol...)

    I'm enjoying your log very much, keep up the good work.

    Many thanks

    1. Roisin, it's all relative. Even at my heaviest my BMI is well under 22, so I'm never overweight as such, but I find my racing performances are better when I'm 145 pounds or less and my body fat below 10%. I never try to lose weight because of body image or health reasons, I'm merely trying to run faster.

      I generally know I'm at race weight when I get loads of comments to eat more because I'm fading away.

      I always put on weight after goal races - I find it's much easier to be disciplined for months on end if you can promise yourself some rewards once the race is over.

  2. I've got lots of weight to get rid of but luckily know my training will help a lot. It just becomes more difficult as we get older. I have to train a lot more now to drop weight.

  3. Thomas, one area you haven't discussed much on your blog is the overall make up of your diet. Beyond dropping refined sugar when getting serious about training, what is the overall make up of your diet? Have you tried out other diets?

    Also, what percentage of your runs do you run fasted? How far are you happy to run in fasted state?

    1. My wife is a vegetarian, which almost makes me a vegetarian. I usually eat a salad for lunch and fruit at some point, so I do get a lot of fruit and veg. I've never tried dieting as such - all I ever do is clean up my existing diet by cutting out junk food.

      I almost always run first thing in the morning without breakfast, so virtually all my runs are in a fasted state. I'm perfectly happy with that.

    2. My wife was a vegetarian too, but now eats fish a couple of times a week, so often mealtime is vegetarian too. I do eat meat a few times a week as well as the fish. I have steadily replaced the junk food over the last year, eating less carbs in general as well. I have also started running fasted too and haven't had any problems yet.

      Have you considered going lower carb to help with fat burning? I believe it's helped me over the last year. I suspect it's something that will mainly help really long runs (i.e. over four hours) rather than shorter runs, so in normal training you probably won't see much of difference. The danger may be that one might end up with chronically high levels of cortisol.

      I am still working on the maths for a follow up on my blog post about Aerobic Resilience, basically I'm trying to come up with a better mathematical model of how we slow as we race longer. My original model wasn't as accurate as I'd like, so I'm refining it. To test the models I've used your own race data, as well as looking at a couple of Scottish ultra runners for comparison. They both are able to sustain pace over distance better than you, both have transitioned to paleo diets with success. There are also training differences as well as genetic differences that can account for the difference too. Having looked at the data I believe there is scope for improvement in your own performances in 100km and beyond.

    3. I have no doubt that there is room for improvement in my performances! The one thing that mostly stops me from adapting a low-carb diet is that I do not wish to impose my diet on the rest of the family, especially the children. And I would not expect my wife to prepare 2 different dinners either.

  4. Clipping along nicely on that Sunday run of yours. The last time I saw 150 pounds on the scales I was in short pants ;-)

  5. That's a good change. Sugar is evil. And it's more addictive than nicotine.