Monday, November 7, 2011

Overtraining part II

Looking for answers (is this normal? have I blown something?) I went to see Carmel Goodman at her rooms at Challenge. I got the best answer I could have expected, yes it is normal, and no you haven't.  My bloodwork results were very good. This is straight overtraining. I will get back to where I was, I just have to be patient and be very conservative in what I'm doing.

I need to write this down, so when, in 6 months time I'm tempted to take on a whole season of racing HM's and 10k's, someone can say "go read that, and don't be so bloody stupid".

Right now, running is something I dread. Went out this morning, attempting to keep the effort as low as possible. HR 148. Pace 4:47. Felt really hard and at times like I was barely even moving forward. I feel like a novice. I can no longer run with the guys I used to run with. I used to run my easy Wednesdays with someone who was doing their tempo run. Don't think I could keep up now. 4 months ago I raced Gold Coast HM in 1:14:03. Now I can barely run 10k at any pace. This is worse than post-NY.

Yes I'm feeling sorry for myself. Break out the violins. What was my passion and joy is now strangling me. Wow, the turnaround is staggering...

On the plus side, I'm starting to really enjoy my cycling. There's no pressure, I don't really have any benchmarks as I have never cycled competitively, so I can go out and enjoy the freedom that gives me. Maybe I need to apply this to my running. No watch, no measurement, no pressure. I will still be struggling, but I don't have the stats slapping me in the face for the rest of the day.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Overtraining - a cautionary tale.

It's been a while since my last post, although the Strands site contains training diary these days.

It's been an interesting winter season with some big highs and a few lows. Highs were the win at the Elleker HM and the 1:14:03 Half Marathon at Gold Coast a few days after my 47th birthday.

The lows have come in the last few weeks, where my attempts to recapture that GC form have resulted in the biggest phase of overtraining sydnrome I have experienced in my relatively short running life. In retrospect, racing 4 HMs, and key 10k and 12k races in 4 months have been a bit much for me to handle.

The signs were there, I just didn't recognise them. The big clue was the 3x3km workout I did at McGillivray on September 6. If I look at the HR plot it's plain to see. In that session, the second and particularly the 3rd felt like hell on earth, but according to the HR (above), I was barely doing tempo effort. Compare this to the plot below for the 3x3 I did on 14 June (9:58/9:57/9:55) the difference is plain to see.
I'd done a lot of fast k's in training in the leadup to that session and had, quite simply, fallen over the edge. Sore legs, lack of desire, etc. all the classic symptoms. The result at the Sydney HM on Sept 18 was an abysmal run where the last 5km felt like I was finishing a marathon. In my regular training I could roll out a 1:19 HM on a weekly basis without feeling it at all. I had a bacterial infection in my finger which didn't help, but the root cause is the overtraining. Since Sydney I've barely felt like running, and am just starting to get the urge back.

Deep down I knew this was happening, I didn't have the self discipline to pull back. I will listen to my body next time....

Sunday, April 10, 2011

ASICS Bridges 8th in 34:12

This was a big weekend - helped out all Saturday with loading the truck at the club, setup of the start/finish area, and filling all the water bins for delivery to the course on Sunday morning. I was a little worried Saturday because my legs felt really trashed when I got home. We also had to get to the start at 5:45 because Kim was the RD. Fortunately I felt OK in the warmup once I'd been going a little bit.

I warmed up early using advice from Simon Coates ; about 4.4km with some longish run-thru’s to hit that 10km intensity to get the body ready and then rest for the 20 minutes before the race. It really seemed to work. Usually I only start to warm up 20 minutes before, and much shorter. This gave me time to change into the flats, take a gel and relax a bit before the gun.

Felt really comfortable for the first couple of k’s running with the lead group. The wind really kicked up close the causeway, but that was just for a bit and then it was over and then a tailwind for the next 5 k or so. The lead group then picked it up, but I just kept my pace. Mr Stockwell overtook after about 4 km, but we were still doing 3:20’s, so he must have surged. I wasn’t going to just let him go, so picked up the effort to keep him in range ; I’ve raced him enough times to know that if I let him go it was all over.

Sure enough I started to reel him in and overtook again at about the 7.5k mark. I knew the bit from the narrows to the finish was going to be tough, and it was; my legs paid the price for Saturday’s setup when going up they just died. I knew Stephen was behind to really tried to suck it up, but could still only manage a 3:40 for that k. Martin Feichtinger was starting to struggle up ahead so I focussed on him, took a bit of shelter going through the last tunnel into the wall of wind and just went for it, managing to hang on for 8th place.

Splits 3:19 / 13:29 / 16:50 / 20:09 / 23:32 / 27:00 / 30:40 / 34:11

Ran with the Saucony Grid A4’s which were fantastic. Really stoked, last week’s relay leg really helped me tough this out mentally. Congrats to Biscuitman, on a huge PB, as well as PBs for Liam F, Mark L, David P, Jon P and BK ( big PB after 40 miler last week!)

4km PB, 5km PB (by 1 second) and 8k PB along the way.

Attached HR plot is one I’ll be proud of for a while. A triumph of mind over body! 

Monday, April 4, 2011

Mt Helena 40 Miler Relay

Although very secondary to the main event, the relay at the Mount Helena 40 miler is always fun. I managed to assemble a 'dream team' of pretty strong runners with the goal of breaking the 4 hour barrier for the 40 mile course. It was going to be a tough ask because conditions were not favourable for this fairly hilly course.

We were led off by Mark Lee who ran a cracking 50:33 for 13.9km and blistering 18.3km second leg run by Liam in 1:07:50.  I took the soggy sweatband baton (eeeuuuw!) and headed of down the hill. I knew coming back up was going to be tough so I tried to put a bit of time in the bank. It was really starting to warm up (high 20's in the shade)  by 9:30 on the dry dusty and exposed trail, and the easterly was starting to bear it’s teeth.  Hit the turnaround in 23:28 (3:27 pace) and then headed back up the hill. My quads started protesting quite early in the piece – it’s a real slog back up the hill into the wind and I really had to suck it up for the team, average HR 182 for the second half. Fortunately I had some solo runners to pick off to provide me with some distraction. Handed off to Scott at 49:16, who then ran a great final leg  in merciless conditions (low 30's) to stop the clock in what I believe is a course record…

A special mention has to be made of Chris O'Neill who won the solo run in a remarkable 4:36 odd, smashing the course record by over 10 minutes. Averaging 4:17 pace for that course in those conditions over 40 miles is an astonishing run. Geoff Reynolds also pulled one out of the bag to complete the course in under 5 hours, another remarkable effort. Eulalia van Blommestein was the first woman home. The conditions took it's toll on the field and there was some attrition, the greatest courage on the day shown by Jane Elton who had been battling a virus all week gutsed it out for over 7 hours to claim her finishers medal.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Denmark Long Run

The weather down here's been great and I've felt so good in my running that it's been hard to hold back.  Last week I did a bunch of runs out and back on the inlet trail, all leading to the 29km long run on the weekend which is one of the most enjoyable and epic runs I've ever done. 

The route went from town up Mt Shadforth - a 200m hill in the first 20 minutes - then followed a rollercoaster along the spine of Mt Shadforth. The weather was glorious - 15 degrees and sunny. To my left I could see Wilson's inlet and the Southern ocean past the misty valleys around Mt Hallowell and to my right were the farmlands, vineyards and forests out to Mt Lindsay in the distance.

After a while there came a sharp descent to Mcleod Rd, the western segment of one of Denmark's 'tourist drives'. From there, a sharp 140m climb over 2 km to Osborne Rd where I had a water bottle. I had cycled this before, and it's a tough climb. After some water and a Gu I headed east again back to town on the farm roads ; saw a few farmers out tending their lands, but no traffic at all. It was starting to warm up but I was still feeling good through the peaks and troughs of the road, and soon enough I came to the last sharp ascent (70m over 800m) back up to Mt Shadforth before the descent, Darlington HM style, back into town. My legs definitely knew they'd been for a run - over 600m of ascent - but it was fantastic.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

WAMC Neil Hawkins 10k ; 3rd in 34:39; 100km week

Great run. Didn't feel overly good in the warmup, and was going to tempo it today, but found I was keeping with Liam and Dean Menzies so went with it to see how it went. Mark Lee had scooted off at the start. 17:13 for 5km and 3:27's for the next two, I though a sub-35 might be on here. The last 3 has significant hill in it, and the next was 3:37, so I knuckled down and managed a 3:24 and then a 3:27 to finish. Those last two were tough through the bushland. Liam put in a bit of a gap at the start of the hill, but I then managed to hold it, and he finished maybe 8 seconds ahead; not surprisingly though he said he had been feeling a bit flat. Thrilled with this after a hilly 27km yesterday, but I felt pretty good yesterday too ; this has without doubt been one of my best weeks in a very long time. I also did 4:33 for the 1500 at the masters on Wednesday, a nice VO2Max hitout!

They had my time as 34:33 which would be a PB, but I got 39 on my watch, so I don't think I can claim it. It does throw up a moral dilemma though.  I often get 'charged' extra seconds in races, does this make up for those ? I don't think so.

 Consensus amongst Garmin users seemed to be that the course was 120m long, but it always seems to be - the consensus that is...

Bumped into Simon Elliot beforehand - hope he had a good one, the first race for quite a while, one to set the baseline; sort of where I was a few weeks ago.

Edit: Just realised that last week was the first 100km week since mid October....