Sunday, July 31, 2016

Ch Ch Ch Ch Changes

Well, so I had a chat with my coach and we decided to make a change to the plan and see how it goes. For the first time in well over 10 years I am introducing a full rest day into my program in an effort to boost my recovery. It may well be that after all those thousands of training miles in my legs I don't need the high mileage any more but let's not jump ahead. We're introducing a change and we will assess how it goes and if it's not working then we will make another change.

There was a second workout on the program this week; after the fun session of Tuesday it was hill sprints again on Thursday, and just like on previous occasions I found the sprints themselves perfectly manageable but the heart burn after each sprint far more bothersome. It got gradually worse with each repeat, the first 5 were slightly uncomfortable but manageable but the last 2 or 3 especially were seriously bad. I've tried taking Gaviscon before the session but that seems to have rather limited effect. There aren't any hill sprints on the program next week but I might want to try something else for when they return,

Friday was a full rest day! Gasp!

The legs felt ok, actually, it wasn't a response to some immediate need but something I had decided beforehand, after consulting the coach. I wasn't completely idle, I still did my dynamic stretching and strengthening exercises but running was off the menu.

It was barely back on the menu on Saturday with only 3 miles, and those at mere recovery effort.

Sunday was an entirely different matter. The coach has ramped up the long run mileage very quickly, from 10 to 14 to 18 miles in successive weeks. It was always going to be a bit of a challenge, I knew that already. The first half went okay, though the legs were a little bit heavy, but the second half started dragging with each passing mile. However, running on tired legs is something I am very much used to so I got home still in reasonable shape, if rather tired. The biggest shock of the day came when I looked at the HR data afterwards - I really thought I had kept the effort very easy, and the pedestrian pace does bear that out, but an average HR of 150 doesn't sound like an easy effort to me, so there is a clear disparity between the subjective feeling and the objective data.

My fitness levels aren't anywhere near where I would want them to be. There clearly is still plenty of work to be done.
28 Jul
7.1 miles, 1:10:37, avg HR 140
1 mile w/u, 2 miles progression, 10 x 20 seconds hill sprints with walking / full rest recovery, c/d
29 Jul
30 Jul
3.1 miles, 29:07, 9:23 pace, HR 132
31 Jul
18 miles, 2:33:58, 8:33 pace, HR 150


  1. I think there's something to the theory of being able to reduce base mileage after a "lifetime" of base. Not sure what the length of "lifetime" is though! I know when Steve Moneghetti retired from elite marathoning he dropped from 200+ ks per week to 100 and was still running sub-30 for 10k.
    I was talking to Martin F on the weekend and he's put in a big block of 130 k weeks (with lots of vertical) in preparation for Spartathlon. 130 doesn't seem a lot to me for an elite ultra runner but Martin too has a huge base of lifetime miles.

  2. Full rest day sounds like a good idea, let us know how it goes!

  3. Taking Gavison and similar remedies for heart burn can be counter productive. It lowers your stomach PH so your digestion breaks food down less effectively and kills off bacteria less effectively. Remedies like these just treats a symptom and then causes a whole heap of problems down the line as your digestion is compromised.

    If your getting heart burn it could be that your digestion is already compromised by not having a low enough stomach PH. As we age our ability to generate a low stomach PH diminishes so digestion issues can become more prevalent. Consuming something that helps lower stomach PH like lemon juice or apple cider vinegar at the start of meal can help digestion and avoid indigestion.

    Improved digestion will also help with recovery as you'll be getting more of the nutrients your body needs to recover.

    On the need for a recovery day. Right now it might be just what you need. I would however ask why after all these years it's become necessary. I suspect this is a symptom of less effectively recovery of late, which in turn presents the question why aren't your recovering like you used to?

    I feel this is an important question to ask, the training might need adjusting, but perhaps other things outside training need to be considered and adjusted. Classic ones for compromised recovery are increased stress, poor sleep, poor nutrition.

    Best of luck.