Thursday, October 9, 2014

La Behobia Week 3 / 8

After the summer break it was time to go back to the podiatrist to take stock oh how my foot problems had evolved. The neuroma is still there but I only notice it if I squeeze in the right spot or if I happen to land right on top of a stone. I admitted that I had gone back to running in my Vibrams on roads and indoors but that I would go back to a more cushioned shoe at the first sign of any pain. He said that I had managed the situation very well and that it must have been quite difficult for me - he understands perfectly the symbiosis between a runner and his running shoes... The next step is to try some more supportive work shoes and to go back in a month: if there has been no improvement or indeed a regression, then he'll look at getting me some orthotics made - at this point only for walking around in. He said he preferred not to mess with how someone ran unless it was absolutely necessary, referring to the recent Marathon World Record being held by someone who (allegedly) heel strikes against the current popular wisdom. (I explained that I thought the angle of the shin to the ground was more significant than the angle of the foot.) So I bought some normal dress shoes for the first time in years but decided to size up (12 UK) to leave ample room for my bunion - it feels so great to have my toes free to move even if I have to put up with a heel counter (which tends to hurt my knees and contribute to my bad posture). They also happen to be Clarks (remember I live in Spain) - I think the last pair I wore were actually bought for me by my mum! I also felt more inclined to Clarks as the founder of Vivobarefoot shoes is none other than Galahad Clark, grandson of the original Clark (it sort of feels like there should be a "Sir" in their somewhere).

Anyway, after all these months I was at last able to do my intervals at the same intensity that I was doing them before my relative break: six lots of 1 mile (1.6 km) in 5:28. There are few things I find more satisfying in training than lying in bed after a session like this and feeling tiny popping sensations all over my legs as the muscles shake themselves down and prepare to rebuild themselves, only this time to be more resilient. I tend to sleep very well afterwards although I often wake up much earlier than usual.

Of course, I ran those intervals on the flat (1% incline) but I am training for a hilly race, so my second quality workout substituted speed for hills. Another of the advantages of the treadmill is that you can precisely control the length and grade of the hills you run up although, arguably, running downhill has it's own demands and should also be trained for. This week we took the kids to some new swimming classes at the work gym, which now opens at the weekend. While they were swimming (they actually enjoyed the class for the first time; they are always complaining about going) I did my workout which consisted of 6 sets of 200 and 400 meters at 15 kph and 12% and 10% respectively. I'd come up with this by using Jack Daniel's table to equate the effort to running at 20 and 19 kph on the level. I suppose that this depends quite a lot on how much the runner weighs - readers of this blog will know how much I complain about hills, something that is no doubt connected to my 85 kgs. In spite of managing this workout on my home treadmill, it was too much for me on the work one. My wife, who was running on the neighbouring treadmill, asked me if I was OK and the fact that it took me about a minute to even be able to answer her, so out of breath was I, did nothing to reassure her. I decided to do the rest of the workout at 8%. When I got home, I used my Kindle Fire to check the gradient of my treadmill and, in spite of having calibrated it, a 10% grade appeared to be more like 8.75%; I'm curious to see whether what my Kindle Fire has to say about the work treadmill.

That just leaves the long(ish) run on Sunday. I chose the same route that two weeks ago had proved challenging for just 60 minutes (I think I was coming down with something) and tacked on an extra 10 minutes each way. It felt much much better than last time and I kept a pretty constant speed (hills permitting). What was not very constant though, was my heart rate. I decided to wear a heart rate monitor - something I had got out of the habit of doing because I felt that I was gauging my efforts better by feel - as I wanted to see how my fitness was progressing. My heart rate started off nice and low (140-150 bpm) and held at 150 for quite a while, but then started to creep up to even Marathon levels. I think that this just reflects the need to keep on working on these long runs and extending the time for which I can comfortably maintain a reasonable pace. I'm clearly not in the same shape I was in this time last year but it's only been three weeks and things have been getting better quite quickly, so I am at least confident I will be able to feel pleased with my performance even if it is not on par with a personal best.

Monday: 30' @ 39 kph on tri bike
Tuesday: 6 x 1,600 @ 3:25 w/ 1' rest
Wednesday: 2 x 8 x 60% explosive + 20' @ 4:27
Thursday: 40' @ 4:27
Friday: -
Saturday: 6 x (200 - 400) @ 4:00 w/ 8%-10% gradient
Sunday: 80' w/ hills (18.12 km @ 4:24)

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