Sunday, May 24, 2015

Ups And Downs

I started doing evaluations a bit over 4 years ago, when MC successfully coached me for the 2011 Vienna marathon. There is nothing particularly magic about those evaluations; in fact there are a number of similar testing protocols (Hadd, Maffetone, Coconi, ...) that all pretty much serve the same purpose, to see where you are training wise. Of course, doing the evaluations is one thing, to draw the right conclusions and react accordingly is another. That's why I am very grateful that 4 years after successfully guiding me to my first sub-3 marathon MC still chimes in from time to time, usually when I've done something too stupid to ignore but occasionally just to help me along.

Wednesday's evaluation shows that there is some lingering fatigue at a deep level, possibly mitochondrial. The recommendation is to stick with easy running. Luckily, that's pretty much what I've been doing anywhere since Turin, though I never expected that the legs would still be feeling so tired 6 weeks after that race - previous 24 hours or 100 mile races did not require anything like such a long recovery time.

My strategy in the last 2 weeks has been to do a very mellow workout and then to 3 easy days for recovery. That's a much lighter load than what I would do normally, though there is still the possibility that I'm doing too much. However, I find sprinkling the occasional different kind of run into the mix pretty much essential for the mind - I might be a creature of habit but running the same easy run day in day out fills me with dread.

The evaluation is always a rather easy workout so I was a bit surprised that the legs felt rather heavy on Thursday. The numbers were still okay and I did not think too much of it but to my dismay the legs felt a lot worse on Friday. DOMS after just 4 miles of 7-minute pace - you've got to be kidding me! Thankfully things felt a lot better on Saturday and I enjoyed running on nicely behaved legs for a change. I still had my HR monitor on me to stop me from running too fast, or so I thought. I did have it beeping at me on some of the climbs but didn't think I was pushing the effort. Well, I maybe I was wrong. On Sunday morning even the first step did not feel good and it did not improve after a mile or two either.

Over the years I've had some bad runs on tired legs, sometimes 20 miles or more where every single step was a struggle, so this particular run was not the worst I've ever had, not by a long stretch. But it wasn't all that much fun either. The original plan was to do 16 or 17 miles, to get the legs used to being out there for over 2 hours, after all Cork is just one single week away. In the end I cut it short and went home after just a little over 15 miles, though I did run a bit faster over the last 1 or 2 miles - I think I just wanted to go home and get this over with. Interestingly, running 7:30 pace did not feel any harder than 8:15. I guess that's good , considering that I have to do 26 of them 8 days from now.

Week on week there is still some progress, I can see it in the numbers . However, we are talking about baby steps. I certainly had hoped to be in much better shape right now. There is no panic, the Spartathlon is still 4 months away and the worst thing I could do is rush and force things at this stage.
21 May
10 miles, 1:21:44, 8:10 pace, HR 142
22 May
10 miles, 1:24:06, 8:24 pace, HR 141
23 May
10 miles, 1:20:53, 8:05 pace, HR 143
24 May
15+ miles, 2:05:26, 8:10 pace, HR 142

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