Wednesday, October 31, 2007

And the winner is ...

I think (B) was probably the closest, but I wouldn't say that "much of it was at 10 race pace".

I was a bit sneaky though, you see. I got out for a shade under seven easy kilometers in the morning. Then I did an easy 6 km warm up tonight. Then a 10 km tempo run on the track (and we were just about there weren't we?) and then another couple of easy kilometers to cool down, just to make sure. So a lot of it was really at easy pace, and I think that was my crowning glory of common sense. And it was all directed around making sure I could do justice to the schedule 10 km tempo run. But end result, ta daaaa .. 503.0 ... 100 meters less than last month! Shit, what's the time? Where are my shoes?

And boy, wasn't that tempo run a weird thing. From my HRmax, I judge my lactic threshold to be up around heart rate 160 to 165. And based on current fitness and recent heart rates etc, I figured I could target 3:55/km to 4:00/km as being about right to get me to that heart rate after a few kilometers; It wasn't. I had Joachim for company (him fresh off a 78 minute half last weekend!) and we really got into a good rhythm. As good as you can on a track as crowded as Oda Field on a Wednesday night. By 5k we had averaged 3:58/k and my average heart rate had only got up to 153. Then we turned the screw to low 3:50s and my heart rate was up to 156/157. The last two km were a 3:50 and a 3:43 to come in at 38:59 (rounding errors in the log splits made it 39:01 ... phooey). It was only in the 9th km that I really felt my breathing go up that extra notch. So it seems I probably need to be under 3:55, close to 3:50, to really reach into my lactic threshold. That's a really good thing. Now if only my legs and back and everything else would just cooperate!!

Oh, and the Tarthers were beautiful! I think they'll be OK in the marathon despite how light they are.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Decisions decisions

Oh dear. One day to go. Don't go chasing numbers, I said to someone the other day. The log is on 478 km. Tomorrow is the last day of October. I feel pretty good. Recovered even. Tomorrow is Wednesday. Just 22 km. What will I do? Ewen will shoot me. Or maybe just laugh at me. Oh dear...

Monday, October 29, 2007

Last Week in Review

I should have written this up last night. I am already 10 km into this week.

So, it was a strange old week of mixed fortunes, some of which I mentioned in the last post. But leading with the positives:
  • The two niggle/injuries in my right leg have cleared right up
  • Despite a cold, the funeral, and a typhoon on Friday/Saturday, I managed to log 118 km
  • I had one very good quality speed workout, and another OK one (on a treadmill)
  • Logged a reasonable long run yesterday
  • In a pique of optimism yesterday afternoon bought some racing shoes (Tarther Duel LT)
  • Having cut out grog, coffee (mostly) and sweets and chips (mostly), my weight has dipped below 70 kg, actually it was 68 yesterday after the long run and 69 this morning before brekkie.
  • I somehow feel I am on the verge of peaking and being in pretty good shape for a good marathon. If only all the news was good.
The one bad thing is that I have this on-going pain in my lower right back and lower abdomen just above the pubis. It comes and goes and usually doesn't present much of a problem to my running, but both bugged me a fair bit yesterday during the long run and are still twinging away today. If they would only go away and let me put in a few more decent tempo and long interval workouts, then a restful taper, I would have cause to feel optimistic that I will be strong and ready and rearing to go on race day. But if they don't clear...God only knows how ugly it might get out there.

Mon: 8 km easy
Tue: 16 km lower aerobic @ 4:40/km
Wed: 17 km easy + 4 x 1600 m (6:06, 6:07, 5:54, 6:04) with 400 m recovery
Thur: 12 km following hill program on treadmill. Bloody tough! HRav=146!
Fri: 15 km three laps of the palace: easy, easy/lower, lower/upper
Sat: 12 km on treadmill (typhoon day), attempted tempo run, but treadmill max pace 16 km/h (3:45 min/km) did not get my heart rate up to threshold values. Highest it got was low 150s...puh!
Sun: 37 km seven laps of the Palace + 2km easy jog before and after. First four laps easy, around 5:00/km or a bit slower, then three at increased pace, around 4:40. These hurt a bit.
Week: 118 km
MTD: 453 km
(now 463 ... can he make 500 for October?)

Friday, October 26, 2007

Mid-week report: the good and the bad

The good is that things are going much better this week despite the fact I caught a cold on Monday. It slowed me down a little and threw the schedule around because while I planned to wake up and train every morning, it was impossible to face getting up at 5:15 for an interval session with the dullness that comes with a cold. But it is clearing now on the back of mega-doses of vitamin C. I managed a good set of mile repeats on Wednesday night and a hard hour on a treadmill (hill program at a fairly high setting) last night.

The bad was that a work colleague who joined my team at our company's ekiden in May this year, and who I would occasionally have contact with through my job, died during a trail running race, the 71 km Hasegawa Cup in far western Tokyo. That's him at far right in the photo of our ekiden team. The race goes through some pretty rugged terrain and there are a few places where if you fall off the trail you are a goner. Sadly he was the only person in the 15 years of the race to fall off one of those sections. It was terrible. Only 40 years old and as nice a guy as you'd want to meet. We were not really more than acquaintances, but it still hit pretty hard when attending his otsuya (like a wake the day before the funeral) especially the way it happened. Rest in peace Kazuhiro Tanaka. I hope I can finish the race for you next year.

On a slightly happier note, "my" beer is being consumed in the more discerning bars of Tokyo.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Another training week gets smacked down

Wish it really were that much of a testosterone-fueled triumph. But truth be told I limped and struggled my way through yet another week of niggle-restrained running. There were a couple of sessions that I felt glad to get under the belt, but by and large I felt like I wasn't doing anything more than barely maintaining the same fitness level. I want to be keeping up the miles while doing at least a couple of speed/stamina sessions. I did attempt a couple of faster stints, the best of which was some intervals on Friday evening. But always the right calf felt knotty and sore, threatening to split in half if I ran too hard for too long. On top of that I have kind of tenderness in the groin/pubis that comes and goes, and then, since yesterday, a sharp little shooting pain on the top of my right foot, though it has not troubled me during running, only when walking around the house. I know, I know, don't walk around the house.

Mon PM: 1.5 km swim (recovering from the race pace run on Sunday)
Tue AM: 12 km easy @ 4:52 HR 131 (definitely not yet recovered)
Wed AM: 12 km easy @ 4:42 HR129 (felt more recovered)
Wed PM: 13 km at a mix of paces including one sub 4:00 burst of about 1200 m
Thur PM: 10 km on treadmill, 5:00/km with 4% gradient ... HRav 143, so pretty good aerobic w/out
Fri AM: 11 km easy 5:17/km, HR122
Fri PM: 7 km easy and 6 km of 5 x 800 m intervals @3:40-50/k
Sat noon: 13 km @ 5:07 (no HR data)
Sun AM: 31 km @ progressive pace from 5:10/k, finishing 4:40/k. Average HR 127, pace 5:03/k
Week: 116 km
Month to date: 335 km

Aerobically I know I am pretty fit at the moment and could probably go out and run close to a PB at any short distance. The problem is my legs and whether I have the kind of endurance I need to keep up the speed over the last 15 km of a marathon. I can't really think of much in the way of strategies for getting over this except to keep up the load, but switching over to a "easy days easier, harder days harder" regime for the next two to three weeks, with gradual mileage taper, then a pretty hard taper over the last one week and five days. A few stamina (threshold) runs are going to be very important as is getting recovery happening in my legs, whilst not letting the aerobic base slip. Quite a juggling act.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

News items

A few things I have been meaning to mention:
  • Got news last week that I got selected in the lottery for the Tokyo Marathon in February. Guess I'll have to run the bastard now.
  • The family & I will be in Australia, mainly Sydney, Newcastle and Coffs Harbour from Dec 28 to Jan 13.
  • If I haven't already mentioned it, Tatsuya has decided he'll come back to live in Japan next year. He's had his ups and downs, but basically decided that he'll be more comfortable living with his own family and completing school in the Japanese system. He has got a lot out of his time there and definitely picked up some Aussie ways, like the impulsive crew cut at the brandishing of a set of clippers when on holidays at the rellies.

Another week down...

Another up and down week over (only six more of them to go!). Frustrations not being able to quite crank out the mileage or some of the more intense sessions that I would like, but despite the niggles and the nags, I am still in the game.
  • Mon 8th: Public holiday. Easy 10 km at 5:20/km
  • Tue AM: 16k @ 4:40 HRav 136 ... not feeling fully recovered from Sunday
  • Wed PM: 20k with a whole mix of paces. Some slowish warm up, some lower aerobic, and three mile cruise intervals at about 3:50/km (aggravated hamstring & Achilles a bit)
  • Thur PM: Work sprung a drinking party on me, so I snuck out to the gym at 5:30 and did 30 min "hills" on the elliptical and 5k on the treadmill with progressive pace: 4:40 for 1k, 4:17 for 2k and 4:00 for 2k.
  • Fri PM: 16 km around the Imperial Palace. First and third laps at around 4:40/km. Second lap was a fartlek of a 400 m, a 600m, a 700 m and another 400 m which was an aborted 1000 m because the right hamstrings started squawking. Would have done a fair bit more of this if the legs were more sound. Really ended up with quite a few sore bits after this one.
  • Sat AM: Recovery. 13 k @ 5:20/km, average HR of 122! Also took some Ibuprofens at lunch and dinner to help the legs settle for Sunday's pace run.
  • Sun AM: Set up and joined the marathon girls on a race pace run at the Palace. Legs feeling as good as could be expected. We did a lap (5k) to warm up, then five laps at our planned race paces (or thereabouts). Basically I was able to do all mine at between 4:15/km and 4:18/km and my heart rate never got into uncomfortable territory (details here). I was definitely starting to go off the boil by the fifth lap though and developed a new sore spot, in my right calf (sigh!). It was quite a good workout, but once again after I attempt a run with a bit of intensity and quality, I find myself asking at what cost? I recovered pretty well in the afternoon, but have little sore spots in various places in my legs. I think I'll just try and swim tomorrow.
Weekly mileage: 110 km

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Limping along

I had a couple of good runs amongst a week in which my main goals were 1) to not lose fitness while 2) try to nurse the right hamstring back to a healthy state.

  • I rested Monday, did two sessions on an elliptical trainer, one Wed morning followed by an easy/steady paced Wednesday night run of 18 km with marathon babes, Mary & Satohi.
  • The other elliptical was on Thursday night (with the only running that day being 3 km on the treadmill waiting for an elliptical to become available).
  • Backed up Friday morning for a run that was to really just be lower aerobic, but became upper aerobic. I think all the muscle fatigue is gone and all fibers are firing again. A couple of laps were comfortably down under 4:10/km, but then some heart rate drift crept in and the pace had to shift down a bit. It was still a satisfying run to come through with the injury feeling not too bad.
  • Saturday I clocked up an easy 14.
  • Then today, we did a bit of a funky trip from Yoyogi Park, our regular haunt, down to the Imperial Palace (6 km). I ended up running five laps (4.95 km each) of the Palace and back to Yoyogi a different way (7 km) for a total of a shade under 38 km in 3:10:56. I had no idea of the pace early on, but I have just checked my log and realized that it was low 5:00/km. From around 20 km (lap 3) I picked up the pace to 4:40/min for two laps, but by the end of the second I was a cooked goose. I still had to run back to Yoyogi Park by myself, having lost Gareth and Colin earlier to common sense. Then, mercifully, a few km from the end I bumped into the marathon babes. They were finishing off their 30 km run and were also heading to the Park. They were a real godsend as I was ready to just lie down and die. Seriously. But they hitched me up to their little red caboose and dragged me back to the park.
  • Total for the week: 108 km. Not to bad. But I till feel a bit like I am slowly falling apart.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Psst, they're onto us...

As I sit here nursing my still tender (in fact, 16 km of newly tenderized) biceps femoris, it was not very comforting to discover in today's SMH that there are certain eggheads who think it is unhealthy to exercise for more than six hours a week! Say what?! That's just ridiculous. Haven't they heard that too much running is never enough?

Still, I know can always go and read that old post of Jay's and make everything all better.


Monday, October 01, 2007

Funny way to treat an injury...

As some of the more observant of you are already aware, I made it to the end of September with a run every day. It never started out as an aim, but just became something I thought would be cool to have in the log once I realized it was possible.

After aggravating the injury last Wednesday it certainly took a measured approach for a few days to get there. The gentle late night run on Thursday, then a not so bad 7 km on a treadmill on Friday morning with the hill setting turned up to 6%. On Saturday I arranged to meet Satohi (who I am coaching for Tokyo Women's International Marathon) in Sendagaya to support her with a pre-speedwork run (i.e., she had to speed up to 5k pace for a couple of minutes with a good rest between efforts). I woke up at 9:00, precisely the time we had arranged to meet. Oops. Some quick calling and apologizing allowed me to get there only 35 minutes late. The run went quite well. The sore bit kept reminding me of its existence, but wasn't too bad. But we clocked up 12.5 km, which was certainly better than I expected.

So that just left one day, Sunday, to get the milestone. I had to leave the house at 10:00 to get to a craft beer festival by 11:00 (I was volunteer working there). That left not a lot of time for the run. The day dawned cool and wet, as in raining steadily. Without time for a proper long run, and with a slight head-fog created by a couple of drinks celebrating our 18th wedding anniversary on Sat night, it would have been easy to just can the run, hang out with the family for a bit, and head to the beer event. But there was just one run left to rack up the full calendar month of running! And it would be ages before the boys would wake up...they are teenagers after there was not much choice was there.

I got out the door and decided to keep it simple by heading off on my normal weekday course, up to Komazawa Park, a few laps and home. I thought that if the leg held up I would try to keep the pace up around lower aerobic level and try to make 20 km -- six laps. So I wasn't going to push anything much and was looking to settle at a pace of about 4:40/km. However I was doing that within a km or two of starting and things were feeling good. I started running laps of the park and was surprised that despite being under a heart rate of 140 I was running at around 4:20/km and feeling quite comfortable. The leg was even feeling alright.

As the laps started accumulating my heart rate rose only very slightly into the low 140s, climbing to high 140s only late in the uphill section. It was just a great feeling rolling along at this pace in the rain, knowing somehow that things were gunna be alright. The contrast to those fatigue- and angst-filled struggles of a week or two back was stark. I soon realized that I was running at about or not far off 90-minute half marathon pace and started to think that it would be good to measure the half-M point, though not do anything different to what I was doing. So I ran a seventh lap to reach 19 km and then worked out where the exact point would be on the way back home for the half, which ended up being 92 minutes. Not exactly sub 90, but not bad for a long-run substitute! I had another 2 km to get back home and just kept on with the same pace.

I was thinking about how far I could have kept running at this pace. While it is always hard to be sure, I was certainly starting to feel a fair build up of fatigue in the legs, despite still being able to turn them over at the required speed. I think I could have kept it up until 30 km without too much drama, but we would have been getting into leg-thrashing mode, and I certainly didn't want that ;-) (nor did I have the time).

So that completed almost 23 km for the day (at 4:24/km), 85 for the week, and 503 for the month. Not so bad. Not so bad.

While the sore bit has not healed completely, and I am still going to have to be a bit careful with it, I am feeling much more upbeat than I was a few days ago. I think I can carry on running some easy/steady training runs this week mixed in with some sessions in the pool and or elliptical trainer. Then we shall see what we shall see.

And today is definitely going to be a rest day (the beer event took its toll, you see).