31 March 2008

Kuala Lumpur Half -

In short, my Personal Worst time for HM distance since 2004 (the first year I took up running).

I've been struggling with sore hips for the last couple of weeks. While I could do easy run with no problem, but running long at a solid pace puts a lot of strain on the hip. I arranged for a deep tissue massage on Wednesday, but the guy was sick at the last minute and he could only do Friday which was too late since I flew to KL that day. That sort of put an end to my hope of getting a last resort.

Struggled big time even after only the first couple of ks and it spiralled downwards from there. The route itself wasn’t nice as we ran mostly on the shoulder of highways – which was heavily cambered/tilted. After running up and down the highway ramps, I passed the 10k in 44 minutes. While this is still ok for a 1:32-1:35 finishing time but my sore hips restricted me to sustain the pace for the rest of the race. From then on, it was an uphill struggle as my pace slowed down due to the tightness in the hip. I made decision to run easily and took walk breaks for the next 12k (total distance was 22k + by my Garmin) to finish in 1:44.

Couldn't sit comfortably for the whole day due to the sore hips, but luckily we took the plane home.

Just came back from a one-hour massage session. And boy, it was excruciating!

This fiasco has put a serious dent in my hopes to do a marathon this year. Inability to do long runs due to persistent hip problems and heat/humidity has pushed my running times backwards by a couple of years. Perhaps I should have a re-think and just focus on short-term distances for a while.

27 March 2008

Week 13 General Training: Half-cooked

After two full days to recuperate, I finally was able to get rid of the flu bug and the sluggishness. Due to two weeks of 'lost training', my strategy was simply to get back in shape ASAP. While I understand this week's training sessions probably will only have minimal impact for this Sunday's race, but I just wanna make sure that my body will be familiar with the demands of running a Half Marathon (e.g. running ~90 mins in duration at a good pace).

On Monday I did a 19k run including a few ks of race pace on the treadmill - which was not a biggie despite using a 1% grade. On Tuesday I ran a threshold type work on a short 400m marked bike path. I am hoping that the training balance will be okay, not too little to have negligible effect, and not too much to cause any negative effect for Sunday's race in KL.

In essence, I felt that my endurance sucks big time due to lack of long runs. I will still keep a sub-90 goal in sight, but realistically I will be happy with anything under 1:35 given my poor fitness level. Also, I've been hearing information that the KL Half Marathon route was not a traditional 21.1k but closer to 22k. Hence, the above timing goal might be out of whack.

On a good note, despite a couple of low weeks due to flu & tiredness, my March mileage will likely to reach around 300k - the most since August 2007 when I did 350k that month.

Sunday 23/03 (treadmill):
8k easy in 42 mins (av pace 5:21)

Monday 24/03 (treadmill):
6.5k warm up in 34 mins (av 5:15, 148 bpm)
3 x 2000m @ 4:17 (170-173 bpm) with 500m recovery
4 x 2 mins @ 4:00 with equal time recovery
1.5k cool down
Total workout: 19k in 91 mins (av pace 4:50)

Tuesday 25/03 (treadmill):
AM: 2k jog + 20:00 weight training (upper & lower body)
PM: 6k easy in 31 mins (av pace 5:15)

Wednesday 26/03 (road):
2k warm up incl. 2 short strides
10 x 400m @ 10k-16k pace on 400m marked path, ~30secs recovery to turn around
Splits: 1:33, 1:36, 1:35, 1:36, 1:34, 1:34, 1:35, 1:34, 1:33, 1:35 (av apce 3:57, HR 173, high HR 183 bpm)
4 x 200m in 00:41, 43, 42, 42 with 1 min rest
1k cool down
Total workout: 9.4k in 44 mins (av pace 4:42)

Thursday 27/03 (treadmill)
10 mins weight training (upper body)

6.6k easy in 35 mins (av pace 5:21)

Friday 28/03 (road)

9k easy in 45 mins incl 5 x 8 secs hill sprints (av pace 5:04, 153 bpm)
Travel to KL

Saturday 29/03:
Probably 3-4k jog in the hotel's treadmill

Total for the week 64k, month-to-date 275k, Year-to-date 838k

20 March 2008

Week 11-12 General Training: Miserable

Sore hips + flu bug = Double trouble !!

These two weeks have been a bitch for me. Caught flu and it still didn’t want to go away even after a week. Also, my old nemesis: sore hips have been bugging me lately, resulting in missed long runs and speed/tempo sessions.

My original target for next week KL Half was sub-90 (vs. my current ‘tropics’ PB of 1:32). With only 2-3 runs above 20k in the last 8 weeks, essentially I am well short in endurance.

The deadly twin pairing of the flu and tight muscles also made me un-energized and led me to tire easily. I found in the last few runs that I don’t have any strength to climb hills or run at a solid pace. In fact, the last few runs have been terrible and I could only last for 30 minutes or so. I plan to have a complete rest for the next 2-3 days and hopefully the flu will disappear and the energy levels will return.

In light of the above, I will be happy if I can run the HM under 1:35 – a time which I easily got three years ago. This is what you call a backward progress!!

My training in the last couple of weeks:

Mon, 10/03: Felt tired from yesterday’s long run. Did a 30 minutes turtle slow run from apartment to Esplanade in the morning. Av pace was 5:54 and HR was around 140. In the evening, did a recovery run for 40 minutes along Alexanda Park Connector. Av pace 5:34 and HR 141 bpm.

Tues, 11/03: Getting ready for tomorrow’s Wings 4.3k Cross Country Race. Did a 40+ minutes easy run on a 1-km loop with 2 small hills in the middle, including 4 x 125m uphill and 4 x 70m downhill strides. Av pace was 5:09 for the run. Felt strong and if it wasn’t for the race tomorrow, I would have done a long run today !

Wed, 12/03: Was roaring to race today, but it virtually rained non-stop since the morning. Was undecided whether to go to the race or not for the whole day. At the end, I decided not to go since it wasn’t fun to run a XC race in a wet weather. Went to the gym instead, and did an easy 65minutes run at 5:10 pace.

Thu, 13/03: In order to make up for the disappointment of not racing yesterday, did a speed session on Alexandra Park Connector whether there is a marked 400m path. The plan was to do 8 -10 x 400m at 5k pace, but only did 7 total. Recovery between intervals was around 1:00 which was probably too short for me. Split was 1:32/157, 1:28/164, 1:30/166, 1:29/167, 1:28/168, 1:29/170, 1:28/170. In the evening, did a 20:00 light jog on the treadmill.

Fri, 14/03: I found out that the XC race was actually postponed to today due to wet weather on Wednesday. Bummer! How could I race today after the interval session yesterday. Ended up doing an easy run on treadmill for 50 minutes at 5:10 pace/147 bpm. Later that night, I found that the times were quite slow and I actually had a chance to finish in the top 10. Bummer !

Sat, 15/03: Woke up with a minor flu symptom. The plan was to do a long run of around 24-27k with 4-5 x 1600m intervals at HM pace (4:15). Wasn't feeling good with legs and hips being stiff. After doing 45 minutes easy, I started running the 1600m and found the effort harder that it should be. About 400m into the second interval, I decided to quit and then run home. Perhaps it’s better to close shop and do the real long run tomorrow. Ended up doing 16k in 82 minutes or 5:10 pace.

Sun, 16/03: Take two, Planned to make up for yesterday’s failed long run, however I failed again ! Only lasted for a mere 1k. The whole body was weak and my legs had no strength. Try again tomorrow.

Mon, 17/03: Take 3. Felt okay for the first half an hour so due to the rest day. The plan was to do 6-8k tempo run at HM pace (4:15) but I couldn’t handle the pace after 3k. I did a couple of sub-90 HM back in 2006, but I am struggling to run at that pace now. Damn ! Another failed long run and ended up running 75 minutes.

Tue, 18/03: No run. Busy at work and no motivation to run after three crap days in a row.

Wed, 19/03: Went to the gym and did a 50 minutes easy run on the treadmill at 5:20 pace. Felt better.

Thu, 20/03: With 10 dys to go to the KL half, woke up early and planned to do a 90 minute run. But it rained heavily and had to resort to treadmill running. Was sweating a lot more than usual even after 5 minutes of running and the body generally felt weak. After 35 minutes, I decided to end the misery. Enough is enough.

Total mileage for the month: 215k
Total mileage for the year: 778k

09 March 2008

Week 10 General Training - Finally, some quality

A quality week for my (usually low !!) standard. Given Kuala Lumpur Half Marathon is less than 4 weeks away, I decided to up the ante. Basically, these coupe of weeks are make or break time for me.

Managed to do 3 quality workouts for the week. A short tempo run on the treadmill on Tuesday – which I found to be wasn’t ‘that hard’. This is probably due to either incorrect calibration or just because of ‘conveyor belt-assisted’. Nevertheless, my HR was in the 170s during the tempo, hence I still worked fairly hard. On Thursday, I did 5 x 1000m CV intervals on grass with lengthy recovery, and finished the session with a few fast 150m. This is the most number of intervals that I ever done in Singapore since normally I was already stuffed after 3 x 1k or 4 x 1k. Pretty damn pathetic, isn’t it?

On Sunday, I went to the East Coast Park, the mecca for outdoor activities (running, roller blading, cycling) in Singapore. Did a 28k long run in 2:16 with around 15k of marathon-pace segments (8k, 5k, 2k) included. Was ‘fried’ at the end as I’ve never run this long for over 4 months !! Total mileage for the week was 84k.

Below is this week training. Oh ya, I’ve changed the name of the training cycle from Base Training to General Training since it is probably more appropriate.

35:00 recovery run @ 5:42, av HR 140bpm (treadmill)

Tempo: 6k in 25:00 @ 4:10, av HR 169 bpm
Intervals: 2 x 1k @ 4:00 with 2:00 jog, av HR 172bpm
Strides: 4 x 00:30 with 1:30 jog
Total Workout: 13k in 60:00 @ av pace 4:33 (1.5% treadmill)

AM Yoga
PM 25:00 jogging @ 5:46 (treadmill)

Intervals: 5 x 1000m 'cut down' @ ~10k pace with 2:00 rest/jogs. Splits: 3:58, 3:57, 3:55, 3:53, 3:50. Av pace 3:55, av HR 171bpm
Reps: 4 x 150m in ~00:30 with 1:00 standing recovery
Total Workout: 11.6k in 55:00 @ av pace 4:45 (grass)

40:00 recovery run @ 5:43, av HR 149 bpm (road)

~60:00 easy run @ 5:03 (gravel)

20:00 easy, 8k @ 4:30, 20:00 easy, 5k @ 4:30, 20:00 easy, 2k @ 4:30, 15:00 easy
Av HR for the faster segments were 170 bpm
Total Workout: 28k in 2:16 @ av pace 4:53

Total mileage 84 km for the week @ av pace 5:01 min/km
Year-to-date mileage 676 km @ av pace 5:08 (av 67.6 km per week)

02 March 2008

Week 9 Base Training - February in Review

I had a business trip to Jakarta early in the week which limited my running. Also, I've been feeling a bit unenergized lately, hence a mini-break was probably appropriate. Since this week mileage was low, I squeezed in a short VO2 Max session on Saturday of 3 x 1000m. Probably could do 1-2 more intervals but was short on time as we had an appointment. Sunday long run was good with the help of an overcast weather.

For the month of February, I ran a total of 275km vs 288k in January. Year to date, my mileage was distributed as follows: 73% of slow-to-easy effort running, 12% long run (anything longer than 90minutes), 5% at steady-to-marathon pace, 6% at Half Marathon-to-LT effort, and 4% at CV-to-VO2 Max pace. The primary concern is still the lack of long runs. In Febraury, I only managed to do 2 x 21k continuous runs and one 26k run but with lots of stoppages. I MUST do better next month!

My training this week was as follows:

Mon: off (work in Jakarta)
Tue: 35:00 easy @ 5:24
Wed: 35:00 easy @ 5:30/146 bpm
Thu: 40:00 easy/moderate @ 4:52/156 bpm
Fri: am 25:00 easy @ 5:28/133 bpm, pm 25:00 easy @ 5:08
Sat: 3 x 1000m VO2Max intervals @ 3:42-3:45, av 176 bpm (on grass)
Sun: 21k easy @ 5:00/155 bpm

Total 60.0k for the week @ av 5:05 min/km
Year to date 592.0km @ av 5:09 min/km (av 65.8k per week)