Reward offered.

Time to get out of this funk.

It’s been one little thing after another. 

First the knee injury, OK, in fairness, not such a little thing, but it’s really being stretched as far as excuses go. I’ve a couple of nice easy runs done and built to a point where I managed to run into the shop the other day (9.5k). 

But now my watch & HR strap need new batteries. In fact I got annoyed the other day because the battery on the GPS sensor ran out so not all of my run was tracked. (Rolleyes time!)

Then the issue with the Power Pedals, well more of a non-issue, because I was well able to train without them for years so why not now? That too is a well abused excuse at this stage.

I’ve been swimming ok (ish) but that’s become a bit of a drag. Miss one session and all of a sudden its 2 weeks since you’ve been to the pool. Of course holiday opening hours don’t help and become an excuse, ‘I really wanted to be done with the session at 9am, not getting into the pool at that time!!’

Time to get the lead out. No more excuses, I’m going for a run tomorrow morning come hell or high water. 

Though if it’s raining….

Tipping the scales

The difference a couple of stones make

Being injured is no excuse for being lazy.

After  the Predator Triathlon Club night on Saturday night / early Sunday morning, it’s safe to say, doing a morning weigh in after the night before, is probably not one of my brighter ideas. But I did and suffice to say, being tired and having a sore head are the least of my problems.

Time to get off my ass, work around any current limitations and step away from the biscuit tin. This year it has taken me 6 months to drop 4kg and only 4 weeks to put them right back where they were.

Time for them to go again, for good. 

Back to structured eating, sleeping and training from today. 

First, maybe just one more Chocolate Kimberley….

Just cos it says Elite

Therapy !?

I think I’ve done myself a mischief! I’ve done a right job on myself.

After a full season training without so much as a niggle I really went for it when I hit the Aillwee trails.In fairness being injury free was a much down to regular visits to Greg Maclean as it was being careful and not over doing anything in training. Greg is a Neuromuscular Rehabilitation Therapist (NMRT for short) and what he does is magic!

With a bit of a chat to discuss any problems he will identify any potential issues with a few well placed thumbs (which I’m convinced he sharpens with a parer cos he hits the sensitive spots bang on) he will outline the course of action he’s going to follow. It can be anything from a straight forward sports massage, to deep tissue massage, dry needling or his latest card trick, which I discovered today, electro-stimulus of needles.

Now, don’t get me wrong, he’s not new to the game, its just a new ‘card trick’ for me.

When he says “I’m gonna suggest something, and you won’t like it” I know it involves needles.

I thought fine, go ahead, you’ve done it before. Then he starts rooting at a cart with wires hanging off it and I swear there was a hint of a maniacal smile playing on his face as he said, “I’m going to pass a pulse through the needles”.

Hooked up to Dr Frankenstein’s machine

Not going into a blow by blow account of what he did to me today. Essentially he inserted fine needles into a couple of trigger points around the injured area and passed an oscillating current through the needle to stimulate blood flow in the injured tissue.

The reasons, he outlined, are because the area around the knee cap (patella) is mostly supportive tendons and ligaments linking the upper and lower leg and providing attachment points for the leg muscles. Tendon & ligament are unlike muscle tissues in that they have a limited circulatory system service which means they don’t heal as quickly or easily as other soft tissue.

So the way I’m hooked up the two mini-jumpleads with the yellow cabling are passing a current into the area below my knee cap. Its like there’s two little Leprechauns with mini lump hammers tapping away at the area really furiously, not pleasant but not uncomfortable.

The blue leads are into the attachment area of the tendons supporting the side of the knee cap and where the quad muscles are wrapping around onto the lower leg. Same sensation as above and all of a sudden my knee feels like its the face of a Leprechaun quarry.

The grey cables are for the craic. They are stimulating the quad muscles. Basically because I’m not using the left quad the body is atrophying the muscle and it is decidedly noticeable, at this stage 5cm circumference difference left to right quad. By passing a current into this leg he is activating the muscles and hopefully giving them a workout while I sit on my ass.

How does this work? Just look at the video below to see the muscle at work.

After 30 minutes of this I felt like I’d done a proper workout on just my left leg.

Greg also recommended that I start taking Serrapeptase to help prevent the development of scar tissue within the knee and to help reduce the bursitis bubble.

If you need any information on Greg or on any of the treatments he offers in his rooms in Kilcolgan, just check out his website http://www.neuromuscularrehabilitationtherapy.com/ for more information.

Quick update on the past month.

The last time I posted here I was flying high on a solid performance in the morning session of The Caveman down in Aillwee Caves.

The afternoon timetrial was a 4k run back out the reverse of the morning’s route for 2km and then back up the final 2k of climbs. Tough, tough route. Not the easiest thing in the world given the morning session is a tough hill run but, hey, we were all in the same boat.

https://mail-attachment.googleusercontent.com/attachment/u/0/?ui=2&ik=2bc78b8360&view=att&th=13ae617069f6ce4a&attid=0.1&disp=inline&safe=1&zw&saduie=AG9B_P-sqWeJm2I0aoI2E0MQ36Hc&sadet=1352480110955&sads=yZ-ukuBEjQC6Zr97_J9BMylz1ns&sadssc=1
Bursting outta Aillwee Caves

I tired a bit towards the end of the run and finished up dropping one place to end up 10th overall across the two events for the day. Not bad for an auld lad!

All eager at the start.

Day 2 featured a 24k mountain bike circuit which was two laps in reverse of yesterday morning’s run route (still with me?) to be followed in the afternoon by a 12k timetrial being one lap in reverse of this bike route.

Either way there was a lot of climbing involved.

Starting at the bottom of the hill, climbing up to the Cave entrance and then dropping down through the woods before scooting across the field and up through the mud and a looonnng drag up the back of the hills before dropping off the edge of a cliff.

The views were spectacular and looking at some of Chris Deakin’s photos from the day you get to appreciate some of the views that I missed on the day:

He has tons more over on the Caveman Facebook page well worth checking out.

One of my ‘favourite’ shots of the day was this one which he took shortly after my race was over:

I’d done all the hard work, controlled the tricky descents and passed Chris on a bend and came off the bike. Nothing fancy, nothing stupid, just came off on a corner.

Hockeyed my left leg out of it. Realised during the clean up in the ambulance, elbow, forearm, hip, thigh, shin and most of all my knee took all of the impact. Inspecting the bike, it took a passting too, with the front derraileur attempting to relocate to the back of the bike. No damage to my Kask helmet though! 🙂

Race over, limped back on a bruised bike with a slowly seizing knee. Brave face to wife & kids who couldn’t understand what had happened me as I’d passed them earlier in the top 6 or 8 of the field going out on the lap. They thought I had gone though when they weren’t looking and reckoned I was just finishing the race, well I was, just not how they expected.

Race over, home, rest, icepacks, elevation and compression or something like that.

Roll forward two weeks of Zero exercise, Zero running and two weeks of progressively less hobbling and I’m standing on the start line of Dublin Marathon with the 3:30 pacers. I only came clean to my coach Fran the day before (he was wondering why my blog had gone quiet) so I was quite sheepish about an ambitious starting spot.

Anyway, I was going out the way I’d planned, if it goes pear shaped I was happy to stop and I’d always race another day.

Well it did.

Go pear shaped, that is.

I was sore from the start. I ran to plan though, even had time to pee in the park, the world’s biggest public urinal once a year, and stayed with the pace plan.

Around the 10 mile mark the pain was solid, I could run, but I knew it was now going to be a case of just getting there. Around me Chris, George & Adrian were all aiming for the same sub 3:30 goal and we traded places a couple of times, shared the water bottle etc. No chatting, just running in the moments.

At halfway I was out. Hit the halfway mat bang on the mark for the target but I was going no further. I rounded the Kestrel corner, had to stop to pick up a water bottle and next step with weight on my left knee I was done. A wall stopped me from falling over in agony.

Nee, naw to the finish line (I won’t joke about asking to be wheeled across the line in light of the idiots who did cheat) into the mediacl tent and a couple of painkillers later, a foil blanket, couple of twists and pokes of my leg and the Doc advised that I’d inflamed cartilage in my leg. Rest, ice, compression and elevation or something like that.

He did like my “I hope not!!” answer when he asked me “if it was a recurring injury?”

Almost 2 weeks later of progressively less hobbling and I’m considering my next move. The knee is getting one more week of rest and then its time to build everything back up slowly again.

Watch this space, cos there’s going to be changes around here!!

Paleo Racing – Becoming a Caveman

A beautiful crisp, frosty, Autumn morning saw me up early and off to Aillwee Caves just outside Ballyvaughan in Co. Clare for what is my first outing as a trail / hill runner in a race.

The drive up to the car park and registration does absolutely nothing to dispell the mounting concerns / disbelief about the race profile for the morning.

Look at the profile.

We will climb in excess of 250m over the ecourse of 4k with the majority of the climbing being about 225m over 2k. Of course we get to descend too! Which should be fun.

There was a total of 48 willing souls ready at the start line, all eyeing each other anxiously as previous winning times were announced. Not so much eyeing up competition as to identify was the culprit in our midst and not to be standing in his / her way at the start.

Count down from 5, 4, 3, 2..1 and off we went. Down the avenue from the cave entrance to the front gate,  having ‘large bones’ helps with the descending as gravity assists and while watching the footing on the wet tarmac in notorious slippy trail shoes (great off road, not so great on road) made it safely down and settled into a nice rhythm as we ran along the base of the hill steadily ascending towards the bottom of the climb.

Now, like hitting a wall, the bodies in front of me seemed to stop and everyone started walking. The brave and silly might try continue running but with heart bursting out of your chest and lungs gasping for air you don’t have a chosice. Hands on knees and just stride steadily up, up, up and up again. There were a couple of respites where you could walk upright and stretch your legs for a couple of strides. By the time I got to the top I had christened these respites as Landings on the ‘Devils Staircase’.

Top of the ‘Devils Staircase’ – Picture by Chris Deakin

Towards the top one or two lads passed me, trotting along while I remained walking. Sure enough there was no major gain and by staying steady I was ready at the top of the hill to run again.

Race your own race, as the experienced heads would tell you.

The view from the top was spectacular. I didn’t hang around long to take the view in but it is amazing. The descent was a steady decline across the ridge line of the hills through fields with plenty of cow pats to dodge along the way.

I caught the two guys that passed me and knew I was sitting top 10 in the field at that stage. Looking over the shoulder at the turnaround I could  see bodies strung out along the whole ridge line. There was one new outline that had passed the lads so I felt the pressure coming on. Around the 10k mark we started to drop outta the sky again. This time it was muddy! Cattle had cut up the trail on Friday evening and it was a mudbath. There was no clean line to follow and it was tricky to find decent footing. With the mud and grass creating an extra hazard by hiding nice sized rocks you could easily put a foot astray or trip over and end up faceplanted in the muck.

At the bottom we crossed an open paddock and the first thought in my head is “If there’s a bull in this field you’re done for!” I was wearing a bright orange Saucony top.

Across the field and back onto the avenue, up the hill. It should only be 1k from here to the finish but it was a tough kilometer. We wound our way up, down and around a very technical trail through the woods and gardens. Passing the craft village the temptation to stop in wonder was strong. Time to look back later.

Bursting out of the woods at the top it was only a short jaunt to the finish area. With nothing left in the tank it was a very subdued uphill, crossing of the line.

Conor asked me what I thought of that, with a big smile on my face I told him it was the toughest run I’d ever done and that I couldn’t wait to go again, in the afternoon, that is.

Finished 9th in a time of 1:05. Happy days!!

Roll on the timetrial in the afternoon with a run from the caves, Caveman style.

Stop playing with your food!

I’m being deliberately facetious with the Food Pyramid image.

I’m not a dietitian or nutritionist but I do love my food and the odd pint.

While I’m training to try and produce a decent account of myself at events, I am also exercising to get my body weight and composition to a place where I am happy with it.

While I’ve always been active and previously had a very physical working environment, my diet would have been quite ‘convenient’. Eating on the go, quick snacks & coffee through the day and a meal at night. All added up to giving me a decent ‘jiggle factor’. At one stage touching 98.2kg which for a 6′ man is disguisable but not comfortable. I didn’t like the ‘overcoat’ I was wearing.

5/6 years later and a systematic format of run, bike & swim training as well as a healthier diet has made changes, and I’m now more comfortable in my ‘jacket’ but still looking for more subtle changes.

This season I made a change in my overall eating plan. Using body weight and mirror image as a guiding hand, I had a way of establishing an approximate metric on my progress. I was deliberately more structured in my training and when I got to a point where I found there was no change in my metric, I changed my diet.

I read alot and one of the books that has been on my bedside locker is ‘Racing Weight: How to Get Lean for Peak Performance’ by Matt Fitzgerald.

Simple concept, you need fuel in the engine to make the engine go. But you need to be cute about how you fuel the engine to make the most out of the fuel and to stop your body stockpilling fat as a stress reaction to the training and demands on the fuel sources.

Matt gives a lot of background information, explains nutrition hows and whys and how to help it work in your body.

One of the stand out ideas was by fuelling with sugars while training you would replenise glycogen stores with post-session feeding in preference to replenishing diminished fat stores. Your body would be ‘tricked’ into overlooking the fat depletion as there would be less metabolic stress by glusose fuelling.

All of this has been in the back of my mind while training this year.

Around June / July I changed my diet to primarily protein and vegetables. All breads, rice, pasta etc went out the window. The only carbs I allowed myself was porridge as breakfast and that was only after my morning training session which was always fasted and usually about an hour long.

Nutrition goes hand in hand with training and as I was principally training long and mid-effort I found I didn’t need gels or energy drinks, I could just chug away at a nice steady pace.

This notion came to light from reading Barry Murray’s articles and blog based on his own on-going experiments with his body. In essence Barry advocates fat adaptation over a period of time and shows how the body is capable of being trained to burn fat in preference to glycogen thus allowing must more sustainable performance in long endurance events.

With these two, I think opposing concepts in mind, I set out to find out which suited me, my training and my events best of all. Would it be one or the other or a combination of the two?

More to follow….

Race Week -4

Its so much easier to create excuses in hindsight.

20/20 vision looking backwards means all the excuses will be well founded, beyond challenge and appropriate to the lack of action involved.

Last week was a fertile breeding ground for creative excuses but a running disaster.

I’m tired / weary / listless due to lack of sleep / sick children / hard work. (Strike out as appropriate)

Coming off the back of a ‘recovery’ week I found everything got in the way of what was planned as Peak Phase Week 1. While I did the Monday session (Hilly Run 01:10) every other target for the week became something that was either moveable or badly timed.

It had nothing to do with me missing a bit of Va-Va-Voom or not allowing enough time for the sessions to be properly completed. The sessions were badly timed.

I copped out on Wednesday and organised one of the evening trail runs (Return of the Mud) as a replacement for the scheduled easy run. These are great craic and I do like running in the woods. I find the change of foot cadence, stride length and varying ground re-invigourates me and normally helps with my road running mojo.

Thursdays interval session started out well and I’m going to insert the Phases to show how well it was going (pat on the back for me!). I started the session late and knew I would be cramped for time getting in to open up the shop, so packed in as much as I could.

Thursday interval session

The pyramid session needed completion there was a further 3-2-1 to be done with rest intervals, I just didnt allow enough time for sucessful completion. Foolishy I then thought it would be a good idea to stick the balance of the intervals onto the end of Friday’s run.

What a plank!?

In theory it may have worked. I ran the planned recovery run as expected and then stuck the balance intervals on the end so that I was on tired legs. Completely forgot about the potential for carnage during the long run on Saturday.

Like Deja Vu, the Long run was diabolical. I was lethargic (Yes, I was eating & drinking so no issue there) and running the loop back past the house, while normally mentally inspiring, it just inspired me to stop. Sure didnt I have to go into work!

The week that was in it, I banked Sunday as a family day and while considering a 10k a couple of times, I knew it would be just junk to bring my overall week distance up and make me feel better so skip that.

Next week, I promise to be good! Peak Phase 2 and an important week before heading into the taper fortnight. It’ll come good.

Weekly Totals
Duration: 05:54
Distance: 68.5km
Calories: 5226kcal
Sessions: 6

Race week -5 Recovery week

Not a good sign when I start a recovery week with a sore throat.

This was something that always seemed to happen when I started a taper or just took the foot off the gas, the body breaks down a little.

Home from work and started into some Lemsips to try and avoid the inevitable.

Monday

Planned day off from running. Day off training full stop!!

Tuesday

Tempo Run – 15mins easy, 30mins @ 4.45km pace, 10mins easy.
I took my usual route, out and back, felt a bit lethargic, probably down to being generally tired and a bit run down of late. Have been eating well, just broken sleep and busy in work.

Tuesday: 12.03km, 00:59:30, AHR 153bpm, MxHR 168bpm, APace 04:57/km

Wednesday

Recovery run easy – didn’t happen. Kids totally unsettled at night and just not getting rest. Kids seem to have an uncanny knack of falling asleep just at the point when they are aware that daddy is fully awake and precisely at the time when they know he won’t get back to sleep.

Thursday

Interval Session – Run as 10mins easy effort, throw in 5x5mins at 4.20km pace with 3mins jog recovery in between and 10mins easy

This week seems to be getting to be just a ‘ticking the boxes’ kind of week. Did the session. Put in the work and did it but without the exhuberance of previous sessions.

Managed to pace it nicely too, keeping all the intervals around or under 04:20/km, so one positive to take from the week so far.

Thursday: 11.91km, 00:58:48, AHR 157bpm, MxHR 175bpm, APace 04:55/km

Friday

45min – run at easy effort.

Emmm, nope, didn’t.

Saturday

2 hours – Just run easy and do not worry about pace.

Didn’t happen either another exhausting night and a busy day expected in work. Hope to switch tomorrows easy run to this evening and do the long run tomorrow. That didn’t happen either so just long run tomorrow.

Sunday

Moved yesterday’s long easy run to this morning and just got up and out for it. Had a decent breakfast and went off with a waterbottle with HIgh 5 4:1 and a single gel for company. Well that and a good shuffle of Ozzy on the iPod. I felt that Ozzy would put a fullstop at the end of this week for me.

Sunday: 24.03km, 01:59:22, AHR 151bom, MxHR 189bpm, APace 04:57/km

Weekly totals:
Duration: 03:57:41 (hh:mm:ss)
Distance: 48km
Calories: 4365kcal
Sessions: 3

Race Week -6 – Volume going up!

This is my first full week officially following a training program. I spent a little bit of time transferring the program into my Polar Personal Trainer so that the sessions could be uploaded to the RCX5 ready for me to hit the roads.


Despite a long training week last week, and a busy day on my feet I still felt ready for the sessions that this week was lining up for me.


Monday
Started out right. In from work, small bite to eat, kids to bed, changed and out the door for 8:30. Mistake I made was picking the wrong tool for the job. Normally I use my X-Trail headlamp but for some (still unknown reason) I grabbed my Silva Ninox as I went out the door.

Silva Ninox – 70lumen, not to be sniffed at.

I think what happened was in the planning I had picked a running route that would feature some hilly bits and I also knew it would be better lit than my normal route, having houses along the road, and that I could sacrifice the weight of the X-Trail battery pack for this session.

Wrong!!

I’d no sooner started into the session and had reached the first of the houses than I realised that the amount of light ‘leaking’ from the houses, lit driveways, passing cars meant that I was effectively ‘blinded’ by the passing light. As I had previously used the Ninox in the woods where there was Zero environmental light (or light pollution as I now consider it ) the lamp was perfectly suited. Just not for damp busy roads, where you need to be able to see the surface properly.

Anyway, hit the session which called for a warmup and then x5 hill runs keeping steady pace and recovery back down again. The section I found near the house was reasonably rolling with a kick up of 6m over the last 500m.

I made a hash of the first phase, but got the repeats spot on, so each one started and finished in the same place each time. I put an extra dig into the last ‘work’ effort too.


Monday: 13.13km, 01:05:52, AHR 147bpm, MxHR 174bpm, APace 5:00/km

Monday 17/09/12 – Training File

Tuesday

Silva X-Trail your only man!

Still Tempo Tuesday.

I keep using the same stretch of the road as a feature of my tempo runs and I think it’s going to be the backbone of my winter FTP testing. Roughly 12k total for out and back and easily to add a bit on either end to make up distance.

Didn’t make any mistake this evening and made sure I had the Silva X-Trail with me. The lamp part is not heavy, its just the awkwardness of the battery pack on the waist strap that can annoy me when running with effort.

Plan was 10 mins warmup, 60 mins at 4:45 / km followed by 10 mins at 4:30 / km with 5 mins cooldown. no Zonal training going on hear anymore. Its all about time on feet at pace.

Seemed to pace it close getting an APace of 4:43 /km and 4:33/km for the two work phases again on a windy wet night.

Tuesday: 17.65km, 01:25:22, AHR 152bpm, MxHR 167bpm, APace 4:50/km

Tuesday 18/09/12 – Training File

Similar to last week I didn’t get to run Wednesday, had planned a 9k easy run. Absolutely no consideration of a double day on Thursday as it was going to be tough!

Thursday

Its like Groundhog week here. Again a rubbish night of sleep meant I was getting up knackered, late but knackered.

I’d time for a quick pancake with peanut butter before dropping my daughter off at school. Can’t even remember if I’d a coffee, that’s how bad it was this morning.  Dropped her off, back home for a swift change and out the door for an interval session.

There’s my mistake, its an elementary mistake, but I made it none-the-less. No breakfast of any description before going to do a hard session. Didn’t even bring a gel or anything to drink!

15mins warmup and then x6 (work phases of 9mins at tempo pace with 2 mins recovery) followed by 1km at 3:45 and 5mins cool-down.

Thurday Torture – intervals with a struggle

As you can see I was aiming for 4:30 on the intervals but struggled in vain. The recovery just got slower and slower. Within 5k I was going home. I couldn’t loosen up (no stretching or Griding done this week) and had nothing in the tank to feel lively.

In the end I didn’t make much of the 3:45km or the 5mins cool-down and rambled home for a wee lie-down

Thursday: 17.51km, 01:26:10, AHR 153bpm, APace 4:55/km

Thursday 20th September – Training File

 I’m learning my lessons this week!! Hopefully there’ll be a better second half, starting tomorrow.

Heart Rate Mentoring – getting fitter.

My trusted Polar RCX5 (with GPS)

One of the things I’ve been wondering about is the actual measure of my fitness improvement over the past season.

I know I’m fitter, but how can I measure this or have it quantified? 

There are a couple of ways of looking at this. The most accurate way of measuring fitness is compare results from Functional Threshold Performance tests (FTP- link goes to Training Peaks) completed on a regular basis.

Joe Friel defines FTP as:  

“Functional threshold power or pace (FTP) is the highest mean average power or pace you can maintain for one hour.”

Power being for cyclists, Pace for runners.

There are a number of ways of determining your Functional Threshold Pace as a runner but in general the advice for a simple, repeatable, non-invasive method is:

“Your Functional Threshold Pace will be the average pace from a recent race or very hard training run of 45-60 minutes in duration.” Again, from Training Peaks. So, just measure / record your pace in a hard training session over 1 hour and average it.

Its easy to do, I just haven’t done it!

This winter I will do regular checks on my measurable fitness by using these recommended tests for both the bike (I have the LOOK Kao Polar Power pedals) and my run. I have a nice 12k route on a quiet road which I’m currently using quite regularly so improvements can be measured. I will also be doing FTP tests for my swimming, possibly with the added benefit of a Garmin Swim watch to help track data (at least until Polar do swim technology!)

I had testing done back in 2007 in Trinity College in the Sport Science department. This was the ‘invasive’ type of testing mentioned above. Pin pricks whilst running increasingly faster tempos on a treadmill wearing a face mask meant that blood lactate levels (lactic acid that appears in the blood as a result of anaerobic metabolism when oxygen delivery to the tissues is insufficient to support normal metabolic demands) were constantly monitored until I went redlining in the anaerobic zone. Results were 14km/hr or HR above 174bpm meant I was ‘redlining’ and a VO2Max of 54ml/kg/min (VO2max is the maximum amount of oxygen in millilitres, one can use in one minute per kilogram of body weight. Those who are fit have higher VO2max values and can exercise more intensely than those who are not as well conditioned.)

This test is far too old for me to use as a measure anyway.

Unfortunately, all I can give as a measure of fitness improvement is anecdotal evidence of comparing last years ‘apples’ with this year’s ‘apples’.

This year has been a consistent year of training and as you may know, I’m now in a build phase for targeting Dublin City Marathon in 6 weeks.

What have I done?

Polar Personal Trainer has a built in training program which synchronises with my Polar RCX5 watch. Every session I complete of the plan is measured by the website and based on training load and results I am assessed as:

Green
You are recovered and ready to train more. If you’re continuously in green, increase your cumulative training load. You can either add more training sessions to your weekly plan or make the training sessions more intensive. This will help you improve your performance faster. Intensive training sessions and races should preferably be done when you are “in green”.

Yellow
You are not fully recovered from your previous training sessions. Your cumulative training load is on a high level. You can still train but should avoid high intensity training and/or races.

Red
You have not recovered. Your cumulative training load is on a very high level. If you continue training when “in red”, it may lead to a state of overreaching.

These little flags are shown above each days activity and taking my activity from this time last year you can see based on cumulative from pre 19th Sept by the end of my session on 20th Sept I am ‘red flagged’. I skip the session on 21st and by the weekend I’m recovered and run the LSR (Long Slow Run) on 25th, again end of day I’m ‘red flagged’

This pattern continued through Dublin Marathon 2011 and I suffered some niggling injuries through this period (over training) which threatened my race.

2012 I focused fully on working with the endurance training plans set by Polar Personal Trainer and every now and then the program would increase the intensity of the plan based on the previous set of results. Just once this year, in the middle of racing season, it moved me down a level as I wasn’t hitting the targets. Program reckoned it was pushing me too hard!!

Sticking with the program (in the absence of further scientific proof) I am now comparing  roughly the same period this year with last year.

See the difference?

No ‘red flags’. That’s the first indicator to me.

Now you’re missing the distances from the 15th ‘Long Pr…’ but that is the Long Progression Run from Saturday just gone (link to Blog post). Despite a jump in volume way outside the recommended 10%  per week, my aerobic improvements over the year mean my training load is more evenly balanced & placing less stress on my recovery process.

Just to give comparison I’ve pulled the data on the LSR run from 25th September 2011 and setting the summary lines next to each other the comparative differences are quite apparent:

25th September 2011

15th September 2012

Distance of both runs is roughly the same. To my mind the glaring indication of hugely improved fitness it the efficiency of the running. 

  • My average pace has improved 1:11 mins/km
  • I can sustain a higher HR Average for longer.
  • I now consume less calories in a higher intensity effort (HR) over the same distance.

Happy Days!!