31 May 2009

Week 7 of 12

Did 88k in just over 7 hours (av 5:00) during Week 7 of 12

A recovery week. Only had one workout but a decent one.

Felt jaded early in the week due to fatigue. Wanted to do a 10k MP run on Wednesday but could last a measly 5k since the effort felt like a race. I got very frustrated with the frequent inability to complete workouts.

Flew to Melbourne to see my 2-month old son (he is very, very cute). Since this week is a recovery week, I decided to take a couple of days off to freshen up. My objective is to practice a race week routine by having a taper, carbo loading, before doing a 26.2k ‘marathon simulation’ run on Saturday.

Came Saturday, the temperature was windy, but cool at 13-14c with 70% humidity. I wore a 220gram racing shoes and started my run. The course was from home to Collingwood and back on the Koonung and Yarra trails. The route had a combination of flats, undulations and a couple ks of dirt road.

Started with 5k warm up at 4:44 pace and it felt so easy (in Singapore, my aerobic runs are about 30-60secs slower than this and I had to work my butt off!). I completed the 26.2k simulation run in 1h:56m, averaging 4:26 min/km. Felt strong the whole way and still had a lot left in the tank with only a minor tightness in the legs near the end. Rest time were very brief (total stopagges were less than 10mins, excluded from running time) compared to Singapore, where I virtually had to rest 5mins after running every 30mins in order to re-hydrate (I am a heavy sweater, hence lose lots of body fluid). Quads were beat up from the undulations afterwards. All up, with warm up and cool down, the total run was 35k in 2:40 (av 4:35 min/km). Thank God for the Aussie weather!

Overall, I am pretty happy with the simulation run (~2 hours of MP running), although the pace is a bit slower than anticipated (was hoping for low 4:20s). Average HR was 160s or 82% Max. Hopefully the next 3 weeks of training will help me to increase the ability to hold MP from 26.2k to 26.2 miles !

Mon: 100mins Easy (av 5:17)
Tue: 40mins Recovery (av 5:28)
Wed: 95mins Easy (av 5:08), aborted MP run
Thu: off
Fri: off
Sat: 160mins Long Run (av 4:35), with 26.2k @ MP
Sun: 43mins Recovery on grass/trail (av 5:28)

Total 88k for the week

24 May 2009

Week 6 of 12

Did 93k in 8 hours (av 5:05) during Week 6 of 12.

The recent increase in training load has finally caught up with me (600k in last 6 weeks vs 2 months of sporadic training during paternity break plus 2 months lay-off due to injury). Began to experience niggles and strains, around the knee and groin/quad area. The latter was particularly very sore around the area of lower groin, quads, and below the waist. Does anyone what kind of strain is this? I’ve gone for a massage, but since the pain is in the groin area and my masseur was a lady, there were a few awkward moments.

Due to Sunday’s race, there was no long run. Had a medium long run on Wednesday (25k), other runs were slow and easy. The race itself didn’t go that well. My plan was to average 4:00 pace for the 10.4k, but ended up averaging around 4:06 due to ‘human wall’ of slow runners who started the 15k wave earlier.

Will be flying to Melbourne on Wednesday to visit my son for a week. Probably a good opportunity to take a down week, before the final stretch of training (3 weeks of hard training, 2 weeks taper). Also, will discuss with Mrs. Sling about the next trip (which will determine whether I am running GCM or Perth).

Mon (Rest):

Tue (Easy):
AM: 60mins Easy with 6x100m strides (av 5:12)
PM: 25mins Recovery on treadmill (av 5:28)
(Total 16k for the day)

Wed (Workout):
AM: 25.6k Hosaka workout (av 4:58)

The June’s edition of Running Times has an article called ‘Day After Day’ about Yoshihisa Hosaka (WR marathon for 60-65 yo in 2h:36m). His training as follows:
AM: 2.5k up, 5x1k from 4:00 to 3:20 pace, 2.5k down (10k)
PM: 12k (5:00-6:00), 5x1k downhill from 3:40 to 3:20, jog up for rec (22k)

Essentially, Hosaka does this workout everyday, all year around, aka 32k per day in doubles (no long runs). He said intervals are the way to go for old runners since long runs are very taxing on the body. When asked about the lack of variety, he said that marathon is all about running at constant effort, therefore a runner needs to train to manage that constant.

Based on Hosaka’s MP (3:40 pace), my interpretation is he starts his morning intervals at MP+20sec, dropping the pace by 10secs each one to MP–20sec (4:00, 3:50, 3:40, 3:30, 3:20). For the PM session, he begins at MP, and then cuts it down by 5secs to end at MP–20secs (3:40 down to 3:20).

This week, I tried the Hosaka workout but instead of running doubles, I combined the two sessions into one as a variation of medium-long run. Did 3k ez, 5x1k (4:40, 4:30, 4:20, 4:10, 4:00), 10k ez (5:30 min/km), 4x1k on flat ground (4:15, 4:10, 4:05, 4:00), 3k ez. Recovery was about 1min standing. Total distance was 25k +, since I skipped one rep and didn’t do 1k recovery jogs due to time constraint.

Thu (Easy):
AM: 40mins Recovery (av 5:31)
PM: Massage

Very sore groin and it affected my running form. The massage was painful since that area is softer than other parts of the leg.

Fri (Workout):
AM: 55mins Fartlek (av 4:48)
PM: 25mins Recovery (av 5:50)
(total 16k for the day)

Did a light workout to test the legs. 15mins easy, 20mins Moderate (4:40), ½ Mona fartlek (90, 2x60, 2x30, 2x15, jog rec), 10mins easy. Effort was harder than it should be.

Sat (Easy):
PM: 40mins Easy (5:17)

Slept in and missed the morning run. Ran at 7pm in the evening.

Sun (Race):
3.3k warm up
10.4k Saucony Passion Run 42:36 (av 4:06)
6k cool down
(total 19.7k for the day)

Due to traffic jam, the cab dropped me 4k from the start line. Ran to start line and just made it in time. No time to do strides and do active stretching. My plan was to average 4:00 pace for the run and I was on pace for the first 2.5k. After that, I encountered ‘human wall’ of slow 15k runners who started 10mins earlier than the 10.4k runners. My pace then slowed for the next 6km since there was no enough room to pass. My pace blew up to 4:13, 4:11, 4:18, 4:15, 4:19, and that’s after pushing/elbowing runners and ran on the grass/beach sand beside the pavement. I was glad to finally reach the turnaround point, and ran home the final couple of ks under 4:00 pace. Should have skipped the race. Probably a long run in place of today’s race would have more training benefit.

Total 93k for the week

17 May 2009

Week 5 of 12

Did 112k in over 9 hours (av 4:57) during Week 5 of 12.

Had a couple of good sessions: track workout on Tuesday and long run on Sunday. Between these two workouts, I was struggling, probably due to slower-than-expected recovery (sign of getting old!!) and soreness in the legs. Luckily, a few easy days and a deep-tissue massage brought me back to life.

I have entered a 10.4k race next Sunday (wanted to do the 15k but it was full). I just don’t understand why the organizers can’t make the turnaround a bit shorter in order to round it up to a proper 10k. No taper and will not care about the timing, other than a hard solid effort to practice ‘mental toughness’ (I think I bailed out in some workouts too easily). Might do a longish warm up and cool down to make it a medium long run.

I will make a decision re: GCM or Perth in a couple of weeks time (early June).

Mon (Easy):
AM: 40mins Easy (5:08)
PM: 30mins Easy on grass with 4 strides (5:18)
(Total 14k for the day)

Tue (Workout):
AM: 84mins (av 4:32) including Intervals (see below)
PM: 25mins Recovery on grass (5:50)
(Total 23k for the day)

27mins wu to the SMU track and did drills & strides. Then ran ‘3-by-3 intervals’ which consists of 3 x 1600 @ 10k pace + 3 x 800 @ 5k pace + 3 x 400 @ 1500-3k pace with 90secs walking between reps and 3:00 walking between sets. Splits were 6:14, 6:18, 6:17 (av 3:56 min/km), 3:02, 3:02, 3:02 (av 3:48), and 1:23, 1:26, 1:20 (av 3:28). Av HR data are worthless since walking recovery reverted HR to low numbers, which in turn lead to low av HR for the reps. Max HR were 177 for the 1600s, 182 for the 800s, and 184 for the 400s. Cool down was a 25mins slow jog. If I were to prepare for a 10k, probably the recovery has to be modified to brisk jogs.

Wed (Easy):
AM: 45mins Easy on treadmill (5:22)
PM: Indian dinner feast
(Total 8k + 2 beer for the day)

Thu (Workout):
AM: 35mins Easy on treadmill (5:12)
PM: 50mins (av 4:42) including 2 x 2-mile Tempo
(Total 18k for the day)

Inner thigh and outer fibula on the right leg were sore and slightly painful. Planned to do 3 x 2miles at around 4:10 pace, but bailed out after two. Also felt really sluggish, probably have yet to recover from Tuesday’s hard session.

Fri (Easy)
AM: 35mins Easy (5:33) - painful quads and fibula
PM: Abs

Sat (Easy):
AM: 45mins Easy with 3 strides (5:15)
PM: Massage

Sun (Long Run):
33.5k Long Run with MP (av 4:42)

I sucked at previous attempts of MP runs, hence decided to run at a different place. Took a cab to East Coast Park at 5:30am and started the run at 6am. The plan was to do time-based ladder with each one a couple of seconds faster (I am guessing my MP is around 4:20-4:30). Started with 17mins warm up, then 30mins @ 4:27 (162 bpm), refuel + 5mins jog, 25mins @ 4:24 (167), refuel + 5mins jog, 20mins @ 4:22 (171), refuel + 5mins jog, 15mins @ 4:19 (170), refuel + 5mins jog, 10mins @ 4:16 (173), refuel + 5mins jog, and finally 5mins @ 4:09 (178). Refuel stop was 2mins and recovery jog was a slow-mo at 6:00 pace. Weighted average HR is 168 (or Max – 25) for the tempo segments. Next time, I will try to shorten the re-fuel break and make the jog a bit faster.

Total 112k for the week

10 May 2009

Week 4 of 12

Did 97k in about 8 hours (av 4:56) during Week 4 of 12.

I scaled back training this week in order to let the body rest a bit and adapt after running 120k last week. Took one day off, had a massage, and only did 2 doubles days. Had the time to run more doubles, but decided against it and substituted them with non-running exercises instead (core, yoga, abs). Plan to bump the mileage again next week.

As mentioned last week, I planned to do a ‘spec test’ of 2 x 10k MP this week. However, the result wasn’t as good as I had hoped. Did the first 10k segment averaging 4:21 min/km and 164bpm (a high of 172, so it was pretty evenly paced effort). After 5mins break to refuel, I started the second segment and went through the 5k averaging 4:23 – a tad slower but HR was still stable at 165. My legs were heavy and I was thirsty at this point, and when I saw a vending machine, I decided to stop. The post-rain weather was cooling at 26c but awfully humid, so I lost a lot of body fluid. I wanted get a canned drink but the machine was broken. I then tried to resume the run; however I have lost the rhythm and motivation to continue.

Hence, it turned out to be a so-so workout. Unable to finish, but happy to see the HR pretty stable at 165 (30bpm < Max) for at least 1/3 of marathon distance. I feel that my body is currently not very efficient to run at MP effort. Having said that, with more favourable weather conditions (such as in Australia), probably I could do 20k at MP today without a break. With taper and fresh legs, perhaps it will add another 5k. Hence, I am still short by about 17k in terms of ‘ability to sustain MP for the marathon’. There are 8 weeks to go (6 weeks training + 2 weeks taper), hence I am hoping that all future training will improve my MP extend-ability by around 3k each week.

Mon (Rest):
OFF, massage

Tue (Threshold):
AM: 8 x 1k @ tempo effort, 4 x 200m
PM: 28mins Recovery (5:40)

Did 8x1k at threshold effort in lieu of continuous tempo. Thought that I could accumulate more volume doing it this way since a straight 20+ minutes will feel like a race effort in these conditions. Recovery was 1 minute walking. Splits: 4:02/158, 4:02/159, 4:01/162, 4:03/164, 3:57/167, 4:00/169, 3:55/171, 4:01/172. Felt good throughout, no straining, and I was tempted to make it 10 intervals, but didn't want to risk it.

Wed (Easy):
AM: 46mins Easy on treadmill (5:09)
PM: 37mins Easy on grass with 6 x 15sec strides (5:16)

Thu (Easy):
AM: 1h:35m Easy (4:59), around 150 bpm
PM: 1-hour Yoga

Tested a place that is often referred as Singapore’s best kept secrets for running – the old Bukit Brown (Brown Hill) Chinese cemetery. There is a 2.4k loop of walking path inside, nicely path with some undulations. Very green with lots of trees and more importantly, traffic free. Wow, this is just like a running trail found in national parks in Australia, except you will pass old tombstones and burials, most of them within a couple of meters from the walking path. However, I must admit that running alone and seeing these tombstones on a misty morning is a bit creepy.

Fri (Easy)
AM: 35mins Easy (5:00) with 4 x 10secs hill sprints
PM: Abs

Sat (Long Run with MP):
30k Long Run in 2h:22m (av 4:45) including abbreviated MP session

Consists of 2k warm up, 10+5 km at goal MP (4:23 pace), 13k cool down.

Sun (Recovery):
AM: Yoga
PM: 35mins Recovery on grass (5:15)

Total 97k for the week

03 May 2009

Week 3 of 4

Did 121k in about 10 hours (av 5:01) during Week 3 of 12.

Happy with the mileage progression (88, 90 in the last two weeks). Totaled 375k in last 30 days, which is a decent increase after running only 60k in Dec, 160k in Jan, and 250k in both Feb and Mar.

I don’t expect mileage in subsequent weeks to increase significantly from this level (I did 3 doubles which artificially boosted the total). My aim for the rest of the training cycle is to keep the mileage around this level (plus or minus), and start increasing the pace (especially long runs, aerobic runs) and start to introduce long MP-type runs.

With respect to MP, currently I found that I can’t run at 4:20-4:25 pace for some reasons (last week only managed to do 4:35s during a 16k run). If conditions are right, I might do a ‘spec test’ next week, such as 2 x 10k at MP in order to evaluate my fitness level and identify things that I need to work on.

Mon (Easy):
AM: 35mins Easy Run with 4x100 strides (4:57)
PM: 35mins Easy on treadmill (5:27), last 5mins @ 4% incline

Tue (Intervals):
AM: 2k wu, 10 x 800 with 90secs walk, 2k down
PM: 30mins Recovery (5:40) on treadmill + light weights

Fed up of doing long intervals unsuccessfully, I did shorter intervals this week consisting of 10 x 800 on a bike path which is marked every 100m. In order to ensure that my HR will return to normal levels (<140), I took 90secs walking break in between (if I do jogging, my HR would be in 150 range and made the subsequent intervals harder). The plan was to do the 800s in 3:04 (3:50 min/km), but only managed to hit one. The remainder was done in 3:02 (5 reps), 3:00 (3 reps), and 2:52 for the last one. Note that this is not a Yasso workout.

Wed (Easy Long):
AM: 2h:06m Easy on undulanting terrain (5:15)
PM: Pilates

Replacement GPS was scheduled to arrive tomorrow, so I used MapMyRun to create a running route. Ran at easy pace the whole way and pretty much uninterrupted except for short drink stops and traffic lights. Consumed 0.5l sports drinks, 0.5l water, and 2 salt tablets.

Thu (Easy):
AM: 40mins Light Fartlek (4:57) on treadmill
PM: 35mins Recovery (5:38, 70% Max HR) – new Garmin

Felt a bit bored running on treadmill, so sprinkled in 5 x 90secs bursts at HM pace (4:10), with 90secs recovery at moderate pace (4:45). Replacement Garmin arrived in the arvo and tested the HR monitor with a slow run.

Fri (Easy):
AM: 52mins Easy (5:04, 75% Max HR) with 4 x 12secs hill sprints
PM: Yoga

Sat (Aborted Long MP):
48mins Run (4:48) with 30mins @ old MP

The plan was to do 4 x 5k at MP, but 5 minutes into the run, it began to rain hard. Still attempted to do MP but the effort felt so hard. Due to the heavy downpour, socks & shoes were soaked in water and felt heavy. Decided to finish the MP run after 30mins and go home. Although the rain stopped afterwards, I didn’t feel like running and risk catching a cold. Felt a bit light-headed in the afternoon and took a couple of panadols.

Sun (Long):
31k Long Run in 2h:30m on undulating terrain (4:53)

Woke up at 5 but it was pouring hard. Slept again and ran at 7. Post-rain weather was cool, 26c, 90% humidity, but the good thing it was cloudy and windy. Since I did a bit of MP run yesterday, I decided to defer the long MP run until next week. I used Pete Pfitzinger’s guide for long runs, starting at MP+20%, ending at MP +10%. Therefore, I did 30mins sections @ 5:00-5:05, 4:55-5:00, 4:50-4:55, 4:45-4:50, 4:40-4:45 min/km. Consumed gels at km 17 and 24, 250ml sports drinks, 2 salt tablets, and lots of water. Felt good except in the last 30mins where I had to stop a couple of times.

Given the Singapore conditions, I am pretty happy to keep my long runs at around 28-30k level. At the end of the month, I’ll be flying to Melbourne to visit my wife and son for a week (passport application). During that time, I might do 35-36k run taking advantage of the weather.

Total 121k for the week