Thursday, August 25, 2016

Reboot Once More

This is without a shadow of a doubt the most frustrating training cycle for a long time. When I started out running I used to get injured a lot but once my body got used to the load things have usually gone very smoothly, leading to a steady improvement up to a level that I would not even have dared to dream about 10 years ago. However, I felt I had reached a plateau and needed to change things. Change carries risk (I know that only too well, working in an IT department), and with me not being dialled into things as much as I am used to, things keep going wrong.

I have managed to avoid injury but something is clearly not working as it should. I know that it takes me several months to recover from a 24 hours race but I am not used to the legs still feeling so off 2 months later, and every time I think finally there is some real progress happening, something goes wrong again.

When I came home from my holidays I genuinely thought I was very much recovered after some thoroughly relaxing days. The first 2 runs back home seemed to confirm that, only for my illusions to be smashed once more with a nightmare run on Saturday.

We have now pulled the emergency cord once more. Two weeks of low mileage and almost entirely at slow pace are ahead of me. 5 days into that program I can still sense some heaviness in the legs, though that might just be in my head. So, basically every morning I head out keeping the HR below 136, something I would not even remotely have contemplated when I was making up the training schedule by myself.

There is a tiny bit of variety - I did some fast strides at the end on Monday and today (Thursday) was a test. 1 mile warm up, 5 miles at HR 135 (as close as possible), 1 mile at 90% effort, 1 mile cool down. Keeping the HR at 135 worked surprisingly well, I guess I'm tuned into that kind of effort by now. I then ran the fast mile entirely by feel, though I wasn't entirely sure how much effort 90% effort actually is. I'm sure I would have run faster had I checked the watch - 6:43 pace used to be my marathon pace, and that doesn't feel like 90 % effort.

There is more easy running to come. I know I'm an ultra runner, therefore running slowly should be second nature to me. Maybe I'll get used to it. That's bound to be a good thing when race day approaches!

On a side note, my left knee started hurting. A few years ago that would have set off all alarm bells but by now I've been through this a few times. It hurts when running downhills and, strangely, when I go to bed. Running on the flat or uphill is fine. It's a minor nuisance but nothing to lose sleep over.

22 Aug
7 miles, 1:05:17, 9:20 pace, HR 133
   with some fast strides at the end
23 Aug
6+ miles, 56:25, 9:20 pace, HR 131
24 Aug
4 miles, 37:54, 9:28 pace, HR 131
25 Aug
8+ miles, 1:10:17, 8:44 pace, HR 138
   8:46 / 9:01 / 8:54 / 9:11 / 8:57, then 1 mile @ 6:43 (HR 163)


  1. The up and down cycle is rather uncharacteristic. Did you deep significantly deeper than usual when pulling through your 24hr race? Any chance that you did more damage than usual?

    1. I've been asking myself the same question for a good while now. I don't think I dug any deeper than usual in Belfast - 24 hour races are all bloody hard!! Maybe the concrete surface did some extra damage, maybe I'm getting old, maybe I've over-raced.

  2. Hi, Thomas. Is that possible that you changed your stride for quad dominant? Becouse new shoes or too much slow running? You said you are doing some straight training. Sometimes hamstrings are not getting enough attention. Check your glutus midius, not strong enough might effect your knee. Let me know what you think. All the best and good luck