Monday, February 17, 2014

Er, ABN Amro CPC Loop Den Haag Half Marathon Week 6 / 9

Monday: 3 x (2' @ 3:00, 2' @ 6:00) + 1x (90" @ 3:00, 2' @ 6:00) + 6 x (1' @ 3:00, 1' @ 6:00) + 1 x (2' @ 3:00, 2' @ 6:00)
Tuesday: 60' @ 4:00
Wednesday: core + 4K @ 4:27, 2K @ 3:45
Thursday: 3 x (800-1,000) @ 3:35-3:45, w/ 3' rest between sets
Friday: 20' @ 4:00
Saturday: -
Sunday: 4K @ 4:27, 10K @ 3:45, 2K @ 4:27

It's been a bit of a mixed bag this week. As I posted already, I realized as I was about to book the flights that I had been training for the wrong distance. But more than that, the real issue has been that my back said "no more" and forced me to cut short my training on Wednesday and Friday. By Friday it was really bad. To put this in context, I would say that the level of discomfort is a "2" out of ten but it is just enough to make running intolerable, even when it is supposed to be "easy" - and the pain just doesn't go away whatever position I am in. In spite of this, I just managed to do all the quality sessions, which is the main thing. A good question is why my back wasn't more of a problem building up to the New York Marathon: I think that the culprit are the vVo2Max sessions that I have been running at 20 kph. The biomechanics for running at this speed are quite different from other speeds and require a lot of explosiveness and hip extension. I think that my legs can take the strain but that my upper body gets left behind, putting strain on my lower back. Given that I spend most of the time that I am not running, sitting at a desk with an undoubtedly bad posture, it's not surprising that something had to give.

In one of those nice coincidences, I rang up Slings - where I was due to pick up a new pair of Vibram SeeYas that they had ordered for me only a couple of days before - and it not only turned out that Friday was one of only two days that the physiotherapist worked there but there had also been a last minute cancellation which I snapped up right away. (I noticed that they also sold those foam rollers I had been looking for all over town and had ended up buying from the internet.) The previous Friday I had a massage that relieved muscle tension but it didn't get to the route cause - at least, the problem came back gradually during the week as I worked my way through my training plan. This time I was seen by an osteopath who managed to get clicks out of joints that had seemed unclickable and left my spine feeling a lot looser (as well as probably adding half a centimeter to my height). It takes a lot of trust to let somebody hold your head in their hands and manipulate it abruptly and violently. Of course, my muscles were still sore but I took the next day off training and, thankfully, I was able to run again by Sunday. I consciously tried to run with my pelvis tilted so that my spine was more of an "S" shape - I'm convinced that Sam Mussabini tells Harold Abrahams in Chariots of Fire to engage his hips as if he were making love to a woman but I've never managed to find that quote (and I have tried) so it may be that I imagined it.
Sunday's session was a sort of Half Marathon simulator - 4K easy running followed by half a Half Marathon at Half Marathon pace and 2K of easy warm down. It was very important psychologically to complete this workout after the abortive attempt on Wednesday, so I got out the big motivational guns and watched a good old (new) horror film (Inisidious 2) on the projector screen. It was a bit disconcerting that, every so often, the subdued soundtrack would be pierced by some grating noise that almost made me jump off the belt, but it certainly helped me concentrate on the film and not on my suffering.

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