Thursday, February 18, 2010

Tan Time Trial #3

Today was time for the tan time trial #3 for the year. I felt pretty ordinary as I went on my warmup run. I am now of the belief that this feeling after a few days of not running is due to carrying extra muscle glycogen and feeling a bit heavier. I remember the same feeling at the start of several races I went in last year, and those were always after a bit of carb loading and a few days rest from running. I guess it's a good thing to be loaded up with energy, but the heavy feeling takes some getting used to. Being familiar with it is probably a big benefit, as at least now I know why it happens and that it's a good thing.

By the 1/2km mark into the actual time trial I felt like a weight was lifted and started running much more freely. I didn't feel particularly fast, but my end result said otherwise, coming in around 23 seconds faster than last time at 14:38. I don't think I went out as hard either, as I didn't get that "I wanna throw up, why on earth do I do this to myself" feeling anywhere near as much, and felt like I could have sprinted home a little faster. The only thing that stopped me was I felt like I couldn't move the legs any quicker, even though I had the lung capacity. This might be the surface - it's hard to get a grip on the sand when you want to accelerate, but I suspect I was just more stuffed than I realised.

Afterwards I am feeling good. Love that runner's high.

Run Summary
Distance : 3.83km
Time : 14:38
Average : 3:51/km

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Day 47. Oops!

Thanks to monsieur valentine, I completely forgot to run on Sunday. And then again yesterday. Not sure I can blame him but I will anyway. So my goal of running everyday is now shot to hell. Bah.

Will I continue anyway? Well I most definitely will continue running most days, but now that the bubble has burst I doubt I'll keep up the blog. Maybe just when something interesting happens.

I'll definitely be sticking to at least 2 big runs a week though, possibly 3.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Day 44. Brilliant!

Went for my long distance run today, up in the dandenongs starting at one tree hill. It was a bit of a random affair, just trying to find different tracks, and in the process I found some magic trails. There was a bit of everything, steep hills, magnificent scenery, the oldest hardwood trees in the world, overgrown ferns, fallen trees, waterfalls...and a wallaby! He crossed the track a few metres in front of me and we stood there checking each other out for a good minute or so. I think he was camera shy though, because he was happy enough to stick around until the exact moment I opened the camera app on the phone. Doh.

And was it peaceful. Apart from the occasional walkers, it felt like I was out there alone. That's the main thing I miss when running in the burbs, a bit of quiet. My focus was just to enjoy it and not worry about my speed, take breaks when I felt like it, and it was a lot fun. At times it just felt like I was gliding through the trails, a really cool feeling.

I expected to feel pretty tight after the car trip back home, but to my pleasant surprise I felt fine. Muddy, but not sore at all. The storms a few nights back left a few areas pretty mushy, which was good fun to run through. I found a few dead ends here and there too, but it was all part of finding some good trails that I want to return to.

Run Summary
Distance : 16.37km
Time : 1:36:15
Elevation : +555.7 / -548.6

Friday, February 12, 2010

Day 43. Is it even worth mentioning?

Another short run. I think I'll stop blogging these short runs unless I have a few thoughts to go with it. It takes longer to get the blog post up than the run itself...

They have put another layer of sandy gravel down on our local track which is good, as there were a few rough patches with sharp stones ready and willing to cause bruising.

Run Summary
Distance : 1.19km
Time : 5:33
Elevation : + / - 3m

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Day 42. Scaling back

I am scaling the running back. Not because I don't enjoy it, or because I am feeling injured or tired, but I am concerned that it may be causing me to lose too much weight. I am slim enough as it is and although I feel quite healthy now, I'm happy to drop the excess body fat, but I'm wary of overdoing it and dropping too much lean body mass along the way.

So I am going to drop to 1 long endurance run per week, and 1 speed / intervals session per week, along with twice weekly gym sessions. On the "non-running" days I will run no more than 2km at most, and do it barefoot to continue the adaptation. This may not be a permanent thing, but I will do it until I am comfortable that I'm able to meet all my body's nutritional needs first. Some reading probably required.

So tonight was a 1.25km run, 3 circuits around the aths track. I found it incredibly difficult to stop at this point! These short runs will be merely to maintain the discipline of daily running.

It was absolutely belting down tonight in melbourne, and it was a pleasure running in the rain. Heading out in the massive storm that hit earlier this afternoon would have been brilliant, but alas I had to satisfy myself with watching it from the office. Sigh.

Run Summary
Distance : 1.25km
Time : 5:51
Elevation : + / - 0

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Day 41. Wine > Intervals > I'm with Stupid

A glass of vino with steak is not ideal preparation for interval training.

Run Summary
Distance : 4.17km
Time : 19:39
Elevation : +20.4 / -27.1

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Day 40. Summer Cruisin'

Another cruisy run tonight, keeping it (mostly) under the aerobic threshold. I need to start running in the mornings again. It's so hot at the moment. Some more random barefooting on paths and grass, and I'm getting the hang of the adjustment to the running style. It's a skill just like any other sport.

Run Summary
Distance : 4.03km
Time : 19:06
Elevation : +4.6 / -14.8

Monday, February 8, 2010

Day 39. I want to get high...

On grass...

It occurred to me that I have been almost exclusively running on hard surfaces, so today I hit the grass as much as possible. There are a few parks around so I took advantage of them. It is definitely a nice feeling, and no chance of blistering up :)

3 easy runs in a row...I think it's time for a bit of speed work tomorrow. I enjoy the chilled out pace but I also love to get out there and thrash it until I feel like I can't go any more. That reminds me of a passage from Born to Run - most people do their slow runs too fast, and their fast runs too slow. It makes sense. You need to either be below your aerobic threshold and burning fat (and teaching your body to become better at that), or pushing it so hard you force a response from your body to become faster, through rebuilding bigger and better and more efficient, so that you have a higher top speed, and a higher cruising speed.

Anywhere in between and you're just burning sugar. That's fine for racing (if that's your thing), but it won't get you a hell of a lot fitter.

Forgot the heart rate monitor today - bad boy.

Run Summary
Distance : 3.69km
Time : 17:49
Elevation : +9.1 / -7.7

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Day 38. Baby I was born to run...

Read the book Born to Run for the second time this weekend. It's easily one of the best books I've ever read, and definitely the most inspiring for runners. I did read Once a Runner too recently which was a great read, but I definitely prefer Born to Run.

Every time I have doubts about my sanity for running barefoot, I just think back to this book and realise that it's insanity to put bit thick padding on our feet. I mean, if you started putting thick padded gloves on your kids any time they tried to use their hands and went around telling people, "it's ok, it's better for them because it's safer and corrects their poor hand usage technique", people would think you're crazy. And if a company started manufacturing such a product and told us we needed it, we'd think THEY were crazy. Yet that's exactly what the running shoe companies have conned us into doing with our feet. Ah, nothing like the sound of sheep bah-ing. The marvels of modern marketing.

But I digress. Two easy going runs in a row now, and I feel fighting fit again. I certainly could have kept going today, but it was a good distance to build up a light sweat and have me feeling good, and aching to get out there and ramp up some faster runs again. I trialled what I learned a few days ago with the barefooting to avoid causing friction on the mid foot, and it seems to be a winner. On occasions where my concentration went walkabout I definitely noticed a bit more friction, so it's something that I still need more practice at.

Basically for me I need to focus on a very slight "toe-poke" as I'm lifting my feet as if a ball were just in front of me and I want to lightly touch or kick it. It takes a bit of practice to do this while still keeping the legs relaxed, but I feel like I'm getting better at it. The pace feels the same, the amount of energy expended feels the same, but without the blister inducing lifting of my feet. It's only a very subtle change, but worth persisting with.

Run Summary
Distance : 5.19km
Time : 26:44
Elevation : +6.1 / -4.1

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Day 37. Some discipline of a different kind

Today was a deliberately sloooooooow run. It took discipline of a different kind to make sure I didn't break out into a faster pace, and that I kept the run to a minimum distance. I felt perfectly fine, but after feeling so fatigued at times this week I know my body needs some rest. Something I'm not necessarily good at.

So there ya have it. I can restrain myself after all. It sounds bizarre I know, but it was actually difficult to do.

Run Summary
Distance : 2.25km
Time : 12:39
Elevation : -

Friday, February 5, 2010

Day 36. Double commute. Double stuffed.

Today it took me just over an hour to run in to work. It took Rahul 55 minutes to drive. He lives just over 2km closer to work than I do, so on the numbers it turns out that running was faster than driving today. That's one small win for the runners :) Going home would be a different story but I'm still gonna soak this one up...

It was drizzling this morning and a touch chilly compared to the last few days. Perfect running weather. I love getting out there in the rain, it feels brilliant for some reason that I can't or don't want to try to explain.

Today there was no knee pain (I think the barefooting is reducing the impact enough to keep my bad knee totally pain free), the adductors are starting to feel a bit freer, but I was still damn tired. So I took it easy to start and by about the 35 minute mark I finally felt free of the tiredness and soreness.

I have noticed that on these long "tempo" runs I tend to hover around the 140-155bpm heart rate, and there is a slight feeling of lethargy. At the 10km mark there is a fairly steep hill I need to climb, and going up this gets the heart going, and immediately afterwards it feels like I've shaken off the cobwebs. My speed seems to improve at the same heart rate, and although I do start to feel a little tired towards the end, that's hardly unexpected after being out on the road for quite a while.

I reckon I might try a strategy of kicking it up a notch at about the 2 or 3km mark into a long run to see if it achieves the same effect. It's discovering the little things like this that I love about running every day. It gives me the freedom to experiment and pay attention to the details.

The next commute run should break the 1 hour mark, although I did stop the watch at every red light, which I seemed to get every single one of this morning, and that would have added a minute or two overall.

Run Summary
Distance : 13.41km
Time : 1:00:38
Elevation : +57.4 / -85.9

I then went and ran home after work. Jeez I was knackered at the end :) There was just nothing left in the legs. I wouldn't have blown out a candle but I also wouldn't have outrun a 3 toed sloth. Still, it was worth it to see what it feels like to run when you're operating on low muscle / liver glycogen levels and getting your energy almost exclusively from fat. Although you feel like you're running through mud, it's not as slow as it feels even though your speed does drop off.

Nice easy run tomorrow :)

Run Summary
Distance : 11.12km*
Time : 52:24
Elevation : +90.7 / -68.9

* I had a five minute break and then ran a further 1.75km but that's not listed here.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Day 35. DOMS and the Machine

Have a good case of DOMS today from Touch Rugby on Tuesday night. The adductors were screaming all day, although they seemed to ease up when I got on the treadmill at the gym for my warmup. The run tonight was in place of running to work, which will be tomorrow morning assuming I don't sleep in.

Absolutely buggered today. 2 nights of little sleep in the heat, plus touch rugby, plus the concert last night (Florence and the Machine absolutely rock live, go you good things) and not getting home till late all adds up.

But the run tonight as usual has me feeling chipper. I dunno how it works, I just know it works. I wasn't feeling too keen on the commute tomorrow but now it's all systems go. I also found that making a small change in focus when my feet land and lift off seemed to reduce the friction on the balls of my feet. A bit of playing around with it and by the end of the run I think I might have solved the blisters problem. Time will tell but it felt right.

Run Summary
Distance : 5.67km
Time : 27:12
Elevation : +5.9 / -8.6

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Day 34. Sore!

I was feeling pretty sore and sorry for myself this morning after touch rugby last night. We always turn up intending to take it easy but we never do. We still sucked so badly we didn't win a game the whole season and got thrashed most games, but at least we finished it and scored at least one try every game :)

An easy barefoot conditioning run today. I am sticking with a plan of one hard day followed by a barefoot run for the next few weeks to see how everything feels. It was good to be able to knock out a few km's at a decent pace when feeling that bruised and tight, and a good stretch after was just what the doctor ordered.

Run Summary
Distance : 4.18km
Time : 18:39
Elevation : -8 / +2

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Day 33. On the verge

I went out for some intervals today, intending to do about 5 or 6. The hammies got very tight towards the end of the second interval though, so I called it a day early. Possibly a bit wussy, but I don't fancy getting an injury.

Run Summary
Distance : 6.66km
Time : 30:56
Elevation : +32 / -32

Monday, February 1, 2010

Day 32. A new month

An easy barefoot conditioning run today. 4km around the aths track at a very slow pace. I can feel a bruise or something similar on the ball of my left foot's small toe. I am pretty sure it's nothing serious having broken enough bones before to know what that feels like. It was tender to start but seemed to ease up by the end of the run. Ironically I remember stepping on something while walking around at home which is the most likely cause of this.

Otherwise I just concentrated on light footfalls, trying not to make any sound landing, and it felt good. I suspect my heart rate monitor wasn't reading correctly at the end, since I stepped up the pace but it didn't seem to make any difference to my heart rate. Have to monitor the monitor...

Run Summary
Distance : 4.19km
Time : 21:19
Elevation : +0 / -0