22 February 2009

Getting There

First of all, congrats to Epi who smoked his 10k PB by a huge 1 minute to low 38s. This showed how consistency is the most important succes factor in running. He did high mileage all spring/summer to prepare for Canberra Marathon, and prior to the 10k - has run 7 weeks straight without a day off.

From my end, I felt that I am slowly returing to full fitness. After being sidelined for 6 weeks (3 weeks of zero running, then 3 weeks of running through the pain), I've gradually built up my training over the last 5 weeks to around 75k this week. My speed is coming back, judging from the interval and tempo workouts. However, I am still behind in terms of long endurance runs as both the mind and body are still not used to it. All in all, I took me 1.5 months lose it and another 1.5 months to get back to around 80% of my old fitness level. Probably I still need a good one month before I am finally able to put in consistent, quality training week-in week-out. Ankle is occasionally still sore, especially after hard workouts.

Next Sunday, I will be running the Active Newton 10k race. I do not have a high expectation for this race given I am about 80% fit. The course has some undulations and just like other road races in Singapore, it's very crowded and the distance is normally inaccurate.

Mon: Rest Day
60mins Yoga
Paid the price of doing two races within 12 hours. Quads and ankle were very sore.

Tue: Easy Day
AM: 30mins Easy (5:39 pace)
PM: 30mins Easy (5:34 pace), light weights, foam roller
The damn DOMS won't go away!

Wed: Moderate Day
AM: 10mins wu, 25mins MP (4:23 pace), 5 x 15sec hill, 10mins cd
PM: 25mins elliptical, sauna
Planned to do intervals, but still felt the effect of DOMS. Decided to do a little workout instead (short MP running), good pace but not overly hard to have any negative effect on tomorrow's workout.

Thu: Workout Day
AM: 20mins wu, 6 x 1000m with 2mins rest (av 3:50), on F1 track, 20mins
PM: 30mins elliptical, light weights, sauna
My call to delay the intervals until today had paid-off. Been struggling with intervals in the last two weeks, so today's session was a surprise. Perhaps the F1 track had something to do with it! Splits: 3:53, 3:50, 3:55, 3:50, 3:55, 3:42 (last 200m kick). Felt good the whole way, although ankle was sore from the jarring afterwards. Temp was 25c, 90% humidity.

Fri: Easy Day
40mins Easy (5:22 pace)

Sat: Workout Day
15mins wu, 2 x 15mins Tempo (av 4:06), 4 x 15secs hill, 15mins cd
Happy with the effort, was crusing the whole way without working extremely hard. Temp was 26c, 90% humidity.

Sun: Easy Day
80mins Easy (5:12 pace)

Total 75k for the week + 55mins elliptical

15 February 2009

Double Up on Valentines Day

Did two races within 12 hours.

The first race was Wings XC on Saturday 4pm. Despite its title, it was nothing like a XC race. The first 3k was on concrete and the last 1k+ on gravel track. The only thing that resembled a XC was a steep hill after km 2, other than that the terrain was flat. The organizer said the total distance was 4.5k (vs the advertised 5k) but according to my Garmin it was closer to 4.4k. The race was among the most competitive in SG, attended by school and university runners. Hence, basically I was competing against guys half my age !! The winning time was under 13:53 by a 20 yo national triathlete who has PBs of 16mins 5k and 1:17 HM.

I did a poorly executed race. Despite just coming back from a long lay-off, I couldn’t resist the temptation to go out with the boys and passed the first k in 3:30-ish. As mentioned previously, I am currently having troubles sustaining pace under 4:00 min/km in training either due to lack of endurance/strength or poor lactate buffering ability. So it wasn’t a big surprise that I paid the price and slowed down badly to 4:00+ pace for the remainder of the race (ouch !!!) At the hill, I was virtually crawling due to lack of strength and was simply holding on until the end to finish in 17:13. I think if I have started the first k conservatively at around 3:50, I might have a chance to dip below 17mins. The only positive gotten out of this race was a ‘pain threshold training’ since I was huffing and puffing with a high heart rate for the last mile or so. I guess I never learned!!

12 hours later, I was at the start line for a race aptly called Bedok Valentine Run. Judging from the name, the race didn't look like it would be very competitive. The distance was 2 laps around Bedok Reservoir (8.6k) on gravel track. My plan was to run this as a tempo run aka no faster than HM pace. Started in the 5th position and was cruising at sub 4:10 pace for the first couple of ks before the muscle impact from yesterday’s race and the 95% humidity took their toll. I slowed down to around 4:15 for the next 5k. However, I managed to gradually cut the deficit with the 3rd place runner from 400m at km 4 to around 100m at km 7. I upped the ante (despite really struggling with speed at the moment) and passed him with just over 1k to go. Ran the last mile in 6:40 and finished in the 3rd place in 36:13 (4:13 av pace). The winning time was 33mins, so I was 20secs per km slower. Overall, it was a good tempo-effort run, despite the average pace only turned out to be equivalent to Clown and Epi’s projected marathon (42k) race pace !!!

Picked up a 3rd place trophy and in the lucky draw….get this !!! I won an Apple i-phone worth $1000+ :) My bet to double up on Valentines day Races had paid-off !!

Mon: Easy Day
AM: 40mins Yoga
PM: 30mins Easy on treadmill (5:43 pace)

Tue: Workout Day
2.5k warm up
3 x 800m (av 3:50 pace) with 2mins jogging (3:04, 3:05, 3:02)
4 x 400m (av 3:30 pace) with 2mins walking (84, 83, 85, 84)
2.5k cool down
A mini hard workout before this weekend’s race. Felt terrible in the 800s like last week. It seems that I am okay negotiating a tempo run at 4:00-ish pace, but always struggle every time I go below 4:00 pace. My speed endurance sucks.

PM: 30mins elliptical in the gym for recovery

Wed: Easy Day
45mins Easy (5:23 pace)

Thu: Easy Day
50mins Easy (5:10 pace)
Included a bit of running at old MP and 4x10secs hill sprints (two of them with a fast young European runner whom I met at the hill)

Fri: Easy Day
38mins Easy (5:10 pace) with 4 x 100m strides

Saturday: Race (28c, 73% humidity, 31c heat index)
1k warm up (arrived late)
4.4k Wings XC in 17:13 (3:55 pace), 51/91 Mens Open
4.4k cool down

Sunday: Race (25c, 95% humidity):
2k warm up
8.6k Bedok Valentine Run in 36:13 (4:13 pace), gravel track, 3rd place
4.3k cool down (with Aerosolcan & Trailblazer from SGrunners)

Total 66k for the week.

08 February 2009


A week of highs and lows, both physically and emotionally. One day I felt good, one day I got injured and so on. Money can’t buy this kind of thing, only running can…..

I decided to enter a 5k cross-country race next week. In fact, I ‘greedily’ will do 2 races on back-to-back days (5k Saturday 4:30pm, 8.6k Sunday 7am). This might not be the smartest move since I am just in my third week returning after a lengthy injury. But timing is a secondary issue for me right now.

Mon: Easy Day
AM: 1-hour Yoga
Today’s class was core-focused, lots of squats, planks etc

PM: 25mins jogging (6:07 pace)
Wanted to run on grass to avoid pounding, but I didn’t see a root and rolled my bad ankle again! Unfortunately, the impact wasn’t hard since I ran really slowly or perhaps I had a higher pain threshold from the last ankle injury :p

Tue: Workout Day
2k warm up
6 x 800m (av 3:53 pace) with 2mins passive recovery
2k cool down

Wanted to do intervals in order to gauge my fitness for next week’s 5k. Did the session on 800m road stretch. Splits (3:06, 3:05, 3:10, 3:05, 3:10, 3:00) were all over the place due to a slight headwind on the way out. It is emotionally depressing that pre-injury, I was able to do 5x1600 with 2mins active recovery but now after 6x800 with passive recovery, I was very wasted :( I think I am hard pressed to do a sub-20 min 5k now which is used to be my tempo pace. Flew to Jakarta for work in arvo.

Wed: Easy Day
AM: 20mins elliptical + a couple sets of weights in Ritz Carlton
It seems that running intervals yesterday with 5kg additional body weight wasn’t a good idea. Ankle was really sore from the pounding :( No mood to run, decided to XT

PM: 20mins Easy (5:15 pace)
Flew back to Singapore in the evening. Did a shake out at 10pm.

Thu: Easy Day
45mins Easy (5:10 pace)
Calf and hammies were really tight. It seems the muscles were overworked becoz I went from 0km to 40-60km in the last 3 weeks.

Fri: Aborted Workout Day
5k warm up to the track
2 x 1k in 3:50, 3:55 + 3x200m in 43-44
Walked in despair for cool down and took a bus home.

The plan was to do intervals as my last hard workout before the race. Felt good during the warm up, but the session turned out to be a disaster. Ran the first k on target pace, but slowed down badly in the second. I was struggling both aerobically and muscularly at this point. Decided to abort and run a few 200s in order to salvage something from the session. However, my 200s were in the 43-44secs range (normally sub-40) and this was even with 200m walk for recovery! I decided to have enough after 3x 200s. Tried to jog home, but the body seemed to be paralyzed and running at 8 min/km pace was frekingly difficult:( I walked 2k to the bus stop and took a ride home.

PM: 1-hour massage
Looked back at my old logs and found the problem was typically muscular-oriented. Managed to get a last-minute appointment and had a painful one hour session.

Saturday: Workout Day
2k warm up
8k Tempo (av 4:12)
4 x 200s (38-40)
2k cool down
30mins stretching/foam roller

I was thinking this is it! If I couldn’t get a decent workout then I should cancel my plan to race. Did an Ovett tempo (3 miles HMP, 1 mile MP, 1 mile 10kp) with splits 19:58 (4:09) + 7:02 (4:24) + 6:35 (4:07) = 33:35. Just didn’t have any strength to run the last mile at 10k pace. 3 months ago I did the same session with splits 19:48 + 6:57 + 6:16 = 33:00, hence today’s last mile cost me 20secs. I attribute this to the fitness loss and a drop in lactate buffering capacity. Despite this, I am happy to be able to squeeze in a decent workout considering that I was unable to run yesterday :)

90mins ez (5:05 pace)
Warm and humid day. The body just is not used to long runs anymore.

Total 64k for the week.

01 February 2009

Whip me into shape

January is over! 160k mileage for the month after 60k in December. If we add up the two, the total is 220k for last two months. This pales in comparison with my mileage prior to the injury of around 360k per month (Sep-Nov).

Ankle is improving and gaining strength, but a lenghty period of absence has created lots of new problems.

1) Weight gain
I gained about 5k in weight over the last 2 months. I am 170cm and my normal weight was 67kg (still heavy for a runner) which put me at 23.2 BMI. Due to a combination of little running during the lay-off, festive seasons, and pregnant wife who needs to eat frequently, my weight has ballooned by 5kg, implying a BMI of 25.3, and this is categorized as 'Overweight' .

No wonder that I am struggling at the moment. Increased weight leads to increased cost of running. I also feel that my knees take a bit of battering due to the added bulk.

2) Contamination to other body parts
I found that when you run with some kind of injury, your other body parts will be affected too! My injured ankle is still not 100% healed, and for some reaon, my brain tells me not to do 'push-off' using the injured leg. Hence, my good, healthy left leg has to carry the other leg. This imbalance leads to sore and niggles around quads and glutes for the left leg.

Another concern right now is my archiles. After two months of limited running, it doesn't seem to be used to the jarring and pounding anymore. Perhaps the archiles is forced to work more to compensate for the weak ankle.This morning I did 2 x 4k at steady state pace and planned to do a few quick 200s for leg speed afterwards. After the first 200s, I felt a weird feeling in the archiles and I couldn't run the 200 at my normal pace (today was 44secs vs 38-40 secs normally). I decided to do just one in order to avoid any risks.

Another funny thing is that even my elbow is sore, especally during tempo runs when fast arm swing is required. Talk about muscle memory hey ??

3) Loss of fitness
Lastly, after a period of length inactivity, fitness level really eroded rapidly. On Tuesday, I had to break my temp run in 10 minute chunks as I couldn't do a straight 20 minute classic tempo. On Friday, I tried to do intervals, but only lasted 800m since the pace felt like an alien to my body.

On another note, this week marked my baby's 31 weeks since conceivement (9 weeks to go before fatherhood !). My wife has left for Australia and I will be joining her in mid March. Until then, I have about 6 weeks with lots of time/flexibility to build up my training and whip my fat ass back into shape !!

M: off
T: 2 x 3.2k Tempo 4:10 pace, 4 x 200 Reps av 39-40
W: 35mins Easy 5:33 on treadmill
T: 45mins Easy 5:00 incl 4 x 10secs hill sprints
F: 30mins Easy 5:07 (tried intervals but felt crap)
S: off
S: am 70mins including 2 x 4k @ 4:20 pace, pm 40mins Easy 5:12

Total 57km for the week