Now I have the first "proper" week of training under my belt I have a better idea of what shape I am in and what constitutes a realistic plan for the next 7 weeks.
I already posted about my experience on the AlterG. One of the good things about training for a hilly race is that you don't really need an anti-gravity treadmill to do an "overspeed" workout - anything with a flat gradient qualifies. I did my first intervals since May on Tuesday - 6 lots of 1 mile - and it showed. I managed to complete them allowing for some extra recovery in between the first 3 and the second 3 but, if I had been doing these at 17.5 kph (3:25 min/km) without too much difficulty back in May, it was quite a struggle to finish them at 17 kph (3:30 min/km).
I was able to step up my weights on Wednesday and I didn't suffer so long from the after effects. Thursday was an impromptu day off as I had to go to two funerals: one I already knew about (Emilio Botín) but the other was quite a shock - I discovered that day that a colleague of mine had died the night before.
Using Jack Daniels's calculator I worked out that running 15 kph (4:00 min/km) up a hill with 10% gradient was considered to be equivalent to running at 19 kph (3:10 min/km) on the flat. So I took one of my speed interval workouts from earlier in the year and adapted it for developing hill strength instead. I'm not sure if I agree with Jack Daniel's calculations because it was a real bastard.
This Saturday I ran the second half of the Behobia course on my treadmill, simulating all the ups and as much of the downs as possible (the limit is 12.9 kph with a -3% gradient). The second half seems a lot easier although there was quite a sharp climb just at the point where I'll be tired from the previous 16 km although it seemed to be downhill from there on in.
Finally, on Sunday I ran down to the Casa de Campo where there are enough hills without needing to simulate them. Encouraged by the favourable progression of my foot, I decided to wear my Vibram Spyridons which provide a little more protection than the Seeyas but less than the Merrill Trail Gloves (which, I have to say, I really do not enjoy running in as they give me blisters and they smell). It turned out not to be such a good idea as I stepped on a stone just in the spot where I have the neuroma on my right foot and, for good measure, I stepped on another stone with the other foot and started to get a similar pain which made me worry that I had two screwed feet. I don't know whether it was feeling depressed about this, the fact that I had not run continuously for longer than 40 minutes for the last 6 months or whether I was coming down with something. I felt pretty crap and washed out for the rest of the day and it's true that the rest of my family had had some kind of virus, leading me to believe that the latter was to blame.
I didn't manage to convince the family to go down to the bike show (la fería de la bicicleta) but I didn't try to hard as I didn't want to end up spending any money. I did finally get my triathlon bike back although the disc wheel is being investigated by ZIPP to see why it has a bit of play and makes that disconcerting creaking sound. I went for a quick spin on it and the initial conclusion is that the aero extensions with a J-bend are much more comfortable, allow me to get down low as well as being able to apply more power. They just don't look quite as cool as the S-bend bars that came with the bike.
Monday: 30' AlterG @ 4:27 - 3:10 w/ 80% - 100% bodyweight
Tuesday: 2 x 3 x 1,6000m @ 3:25 (one set) - 3:30 (5 sets)
Wednesday: weights 3 x 15 x 60%, 40' @ 4:27
Friday: 6 x (400-200), 400 @ 4:00 w/ 10%, 200 @ 4:00 w/ 12%
Saturday: Behobia II (10.2 km @ 4:27 w/ 130m ascent)
Sunday: 13.3 km in 60'