Monday, September 29, 2008

Hospital + IV Drip = Bad Training Week

The last week has been my worst training week EVER. I went for a run on Sunday a week ago, and felt oddly tired and slow. I just figured that I'd been running a lot for the last week and it was time for some rest days. The next day I developed a slight cough, by Tuesday night I had the start of a high temputure. I woke up on Wednesday feeling aweful and then spent the next few days probably the sickest I've ever been.

All this climaxed with a trip into hospital early Saturday morning and me getting hooked up with an IV Drip delivering 2L of fluid plus some drugs to get my temperture down. I also had a bunch of tests down to determine that I didn't have anything to sinister, which thankfully I don't. Just a well developed case of Man-flu.

So where does this leave my bid for a new half marathon record with the race in less than 2 weeks?

I suspect that if I'm lucky I'll be able to get out for a light run later on this week, form there it will be a cae of assessing how much form I've lost. The plan now is to can going for a personal record and instead use the half marathon simpl as a training run. This will mean training right into the race and not specifically tappering for it.

Its a little disapointing but life throws these curve balls at you from time to time. The test is in how you react to the trials, and making sure you come back stronger for the experience.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Sudden High Intensity Training

Sudden High Intensity Training (S.H.I.T.). This is a training system which guarantee's results. Unfortunately the results that you get are not always desirable - injury, reduced performance, fatigue etc. I remember the first time I heard about this type of training. I was sitting in a lecture theater and told in no uncertain terms to never ever prescribe your clients S.H.I.T. training.

Happily this is a lesson that I took to heart. During the same lecture I also got introduce to the more sensible progressive approach to High Intensity Training (progressive H.I.T).

For my Ironman Training, the focus was all about going the distance. This time around I have the fitness base, so the emphasis has shifted a degree and I've been progressively building the intensity.

High Intensity Training (HIT) is good, and very profitable provided you follow a plan and don't over do it. If you load up on to much H.I.T what you're left with is S.H.I.T and nobody wants that.

Now that I've committed to doing another half marathon making sure that I have a good balance of intensity is taking on increased importance. I've got some definite time goals for my half marathon, and for an upcoming full marathon to for that matter. The only way that I'm going to achieve these goals is to ensure that I train at an appropriate intensity. What this means for me is two specific H.I.T runs per week. One in the form of intervals, and one longer run, at a sustained pace slightly above my half marathon pace.

With a bit of luck this will give me the kick I need to achieve my time goal.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Long and Slow??

This week marks the transition where I come out of winter and my ultra training starts to get a bit more serious. To date most of my runs have been fairly short with the emphasis being on building speed. Now things start to shift and volume becomes more important.

Which begs the important question, "what's the best type of training for an ultra?"

The obvious answer of course is to run lots, but really, that isn't an answer at all. After all I'm sure a 10k runner will tell you that they run a lot. The reality is that the answer to that question lies in the type of running (and other complementry training) that you do. When you boil it down, I believe (because I've asked it seriously) that the question becomes this; "do I training by running long and slow, or do I continue to include speed work?"

There's pro's and con's to both approach's. On the one hand, by running long and slow you are significantly less likely to pick up an injury, as your body isn't being pounded excessively. In addition its been pointed out that the key to running an ultra isn't so much running fast, but rather not slowing down - so long and slow would make good sense.

However on the flip side, do you really want to train yourself to run slowly? Maybe if you don't have a competitive streak and you simply want to complete. Its also interesting to note that successful ultra runners generally run sub 3 hour marathons - now you don't do that by training yourself to run slow.

I'm convienced that the answer lies somewhere in between. And personally I'll be aiming to keep my splits down. For my part I don't simply want to complete a 100k race, I actually want to do well in it. If that means I mess things up and blow to pieces, then so be it - there's always the following year to get it right. In the mean time I've set myself a Sub10 target (which given I have no experience with that distance, and its a fairly hilly course my be a bit premature) and I will be setting myself up, as well as possible, to get there!

On that note I logged in my first real long run today on a fairly tough course. I headed out into the wops and up a bunch of hills. It was my first time on this course but LOVED it so will probably make this a staple.

This is one of the hills I went up - got rained on again!!

It was a really cool run and I only saw maybe three cars (loads of cyclists, but hardly any cars!!). I to stretch it out a bit though, so will be looking to add a bit more to it.

The sun came out on the way back down

I felt really strong throughout and could have; a. Pushed a lot harder, or b. Gone a lot farther. After doing this I'm really encouraged about both the upcoming half marathon (I've decided to enter by the way - see previous post) and the Auckland Marathon. The course for both are MUCH flatter (therefore easier and quicker) than this course. I'm starting to believe that sub 1 hr 30 min for the half and 3hr 30min for the full are both possible for me this year.

All in all, the sun's shinning a lot more and things are good. I'm planning another long run tomorrow of similar distance to todays (I'm going to be building up my back to back long runs in the weekends followed by a swim on Mondays going forward). Next week will include some technique work as well as some shorter runs.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Spring Time

Yes at last it's spring. Weeks and weeks of quite possibly the worst weather I've ever had to put up with are now a thing of the past. In fact this morning when I was out for my run I even saw a mother duck and her ducklings following her areound. A sure sign of spring!

But to the all important matter of training. I've run my fastest kilometer splits ever this week (mind you over a 7k course it probably isn't going to do me much good for my Ultra Dream). What this does tell me though is that my plan to break out of my previously plodding running tempo over winter has been largely successful. My leg turnover has picked up noticably and my perserved effort is quite comfortable.

In the past I've been frustrated by an inability to go faster, dispite the fact that I'd finish races feeling fairly fresh. I just couldn't get my legs to turn over quicker. So post Ironman this has been a major focus for me. Now that I seem to have met with some success I'm starting to build up volume again.

The summers racing is now starting to take shape.

- Half Marathon on 12th October (this is potentially a bit of a problem, I'll explain shortly)
- Auckland Marathon 2nd November
- Harbour Crossing (2.8k ocean swim) 16th November
- 42k off road run 22nd November
- Rotorua Half Ironman 13th December
- 100k run 21st February

That should keep me busy enough.

Now the reason why the half marathon in October is potentally a problem.

This has been a bit of a spur of the moment thing, but potentially a good training day. If I truely treated it as merely a training run, then I'd train right up to the day, do the run, and keep on training. The problem is that this particular half appears to be on a very flat course which is a bit of a rearity for me. Earlier on this year I ran a personal best half marathon time of 1 hour 38 mins. I think that given the way I'm running at the moment, and given the nature of this course (the last half I did was a hilly mix on on and off road) I quite possibly have a 1 hour 30 half in me waiting to come out. So do I treat it like an "A" race and really try and nail a good time? And if I do will I have enough time to recover for the Auckland Marathon? (which I have some unfinished business with following a disappointing shoing last year - legs wouldn't turn over fast enough, see my previous comments).

Well any suggestings?