29 November 2009

1 week 2 go

Training this week:

Monday: 4k warm up with strides (5:12), 8 x 3 minutes intervals with 1 minute jog, a bit of self-improvisation by turning them to 800s, covered ~810m by GPS (normally overstates distance). Splits: 2:55/160, 3:04/166, 3:01/168, 3:04/169, 3:01/171, 3:05/174, 2:58/175, 2:59/177. Av for the interval was 3:01, surprisingly feeling fresh two days after 29k long run., 3k cool down (5:37), total 13k+ (av 4:37 pace excl breaks). Wondering how fast I would run Yasso 800 with 3 minutes steady jog instead of 1 minute slow jog?

Tuesday: 46 minutes easy including 1 set of drills & strides, warm and humid, lucky I tweaked Sean’s schedule as otherwise I would struggle to do the intervals today, total 9k+ (av 5:10)

Wednesday: 80 minutes at easy pace, but it wasn’t easy effort-wise, heat index 40+, took a couple of lengthy breaks to stay under shades, total 16k (av 5:04 excl breaks)

Thursday: 42 minutes easy on treadmill, 120 abs crunches, myrtle hip exercise, core work, one-legged squats, lunges, total 8k (av 5:15)

Friday: 4k warm up with strides (5:20), 6k sustained run in 23:48 (av 3:58 pace). Splits: 3:56, 4:01, 3:58, 4:00, 4:01, 3:52. Av HR was 165 bpm (high 172) which was better than the same workout a month ago at av 4:01 pace, 170 bpm (high 183), short jog, 10 minutes up and down 100m hill at steady effort, 3k down (5:10), total 15k+ (av 4:40)

Saturday: off

Sunday: 90 minutes long run with a bit of self improvisation, first 30mins easy pace (5:05), next 30mins moderate pace (4:40), last 30mins steady pace (4:28), total 19k (av 4:45)

Total 81k for the week

Week in Summary:

A decent week with a couple of solid workouts. Good 800s on Monday at around 5k pace, while Friday's 6k tempo run was 3 secs/km faster with 5bpm lower HR compared to the same session one month ago. Comparing the 6-week training blocks between Melbourne ½ (87 min) and Singapore ½, this time I am doing more mileage (15% more over 6 weeks total) and longer long runs (3 runs between 29-32k vs a single 29k for Melbourne). Hence, it looks like my endurance is better. For Melbourne, I did 2 race pace sessions, a 9k and 10k sustained runs averaging 4:05 pace, while this time my most specific run was 2x6k at 4:08 pace (on tired legs). All in all, I am not sure of my chance to get a PB next week and certainly the conditions (300% higher temperature than Melbourne on heat index basis) will make it a challenging task.

Will be interested to see the marathon results and whether the course records will be broken this year. The SCSM organizer has invited 8 sub 2:10 African male runners and 8 sub 2:30 female runners to battle for the glory. I’d say the Singapore Marathon has the deepest field of all marathons in Asia excluding Japan & Korea and is definitely stronger than any Australian marathons.

21 November 2009

Too many modifications ?

There is good article on Kara Goucher about running by feel. It is interesting to note that Kara only knows what session to do (either intervals, tempo, easy runs) the night before and her coach, Alberto Salazar only told her the actual workout contents when she shows up on track in the morning. Even then, the session could be modified depending how she handles the beginning of the session or even during the warm up.

see here


I have a confession that I frequently modify Coach's schedules to my liking. But rather than changing them depending on how I feel, I do them based on life' schedules and weather conditions. If I feel that I will be time pressed on day x, then I will swap a scheduled workout A with an impromptu easy short run. Also, if weather looks decent (cloudy or after a long rain), I would do a workout instead of a scheduled easy run.

For instance, Coach schedules the following for this week:
Mon ez, Tue Workout, Wed ez, Thu Workout. Fri ez, Sat Long

Instead, this is how I did the week:
Mon Workout, Tue ez, Wed Workout, Thu ez, Fri sort of Workout, Sat Long

All in all, only one session matched the original schedule, which is Saturday's long run. This happens almost every week, ranging from 1-2 tweaks to 6 tweaks just like this week.

I am pretty sure the program is designed for a reason. While sometimes I told Coach about the change, most of the time I didn't tell because I only can decide which session to do after seeing the day's schedule or weather.

This makes me a bad trainee. Is this good or bad??

Anyway, two weeks left before the SCSM Half. My 'modified from the original schedule' training this week:

Monday 3.5k ez/strides (5:05), 15-10-5 minutes intervals > HM pace with 4-3 minutes rest, av pace & HR: 3:59/169 for the 15, 3:58/174 for the 10, 3:49/175 for the 5, lost concentration in the middle segment but overall legs a bit tired from 32k long run two days earlier, 2.7k ez (5:30), total ~14k

Pace & HR data for the same 15-10-5 workout in the last 11 days. It seems the good result on 10 Nov was simply a function of temperature and not fitness.
5 Nov 3:59/168, 3:55/174, 3:49/176 (arvo, rain)
10 Nov 3:59/164, 3:53/169, 3:45/172 (morning, cool)
16 Nov 3:39/169, 3:58/174, 3:49/175 (arvo)

Tuesday 40 minutes easy on treadmill (5:20), 100 abs crunches, myrtle hip exercise, total 7k+

Wednesday 4k ez/strides (5:10), 2 x 6k at HM pace, First 6k in 24:44, av pace 4:08 pace, HR 165 bpm, splits 4:10, 4:12, 4:09, 4:05, 4:07. Second 6k in 24:37, av pac 4:06, HR 172, splits: 4:06, 4:06, 4:08, 4:13, 4:06, 3:58, I expected low 4s on average so a bit disappointed, thought of aborting at 4k mark in the 2nd segment but decided to be mentally disciplined and carried on, 3k ez with 4 short hill sprints (5:20), total 19k

Thursday 50mins easy in the driving rain (5:13), total 9k+

Friday 2.4k ez, 2.84k in 10:33, 3rd (av 3:44, 174 bpm), supposedly 3.2k but well short, a waste of time and effort, 2.4k ez, total 7k+

Saturday the schedule calls for 32k but short on time, planned to get up at 4.30 and start at 5, but only ran at 6am, home-tanglin rd-holland rd-sixth ave-dunearn rd-rifles range and back, first half at 5:05-4:50, second half <4:50, total 29k+ (av 4:53)

Sunday off

Total 87k for the week

14 November 2009

Ok week

Attended a 3-day conference, hence running took a back seat this week. Most runs were short and easy since I had to fit them during the lunch time break. With the exception of one decent session and a long run, everything else was so-so.

Singapore now officially enters the monsoon/rainy season. I actually like the rainy season since the morning is normally very cool (24-25c), especially after an overnight’s rain.

Had a good 15-10-5 minutes session which have become my favorite of late. Did the workout in the morning, which led to faster pace and lower heart rate. Average pace were 3:59/164, 3:53/169, 3:45/172 versus a similar session done last week in the afternoon under rainy conditions with av paces of 4:00/168, 3:55/174, 3:49/176. Therefore, av HR during the intervals were 4bpm lower, but average paces were a couple of seconds faster, which is always a good sign. I think this is underpinned by the favorable weather conditions as well as the recently introduced moderate-paced long runs which gave that slightly extra endurance stimulus.

Three weeks to go to the SCSM 21k!

Anyway, training this week:

Monday: one hour easy including 5 long hill sprints, total 11k+ (av 5:00), 100 abs crunches, 2x15 lat pull, deltoid row, fly, rotary calf, leg curl, leg extension

Tuesday: 15mins warm up with strides, 15-10-5 minutes intervals with 4-3 mins walk/jog recovery, average pace: 3:59/164, 3:53/169, 3:45/172, 10mins cool down including 2x200m, total 12k+ (av 4:28 excl rests; pm 5k slow (av 5:40), Myrtle hip exercise

Wednesday: Felt crap after yesterday’s session, 50mins easy with stops here and there, total 9k+ (av 5:13)

Thursday: 4k up, 10 x ~200m hill, up in 55secs, down in 65sec down, 5x100m hill sprints, walk rec, 1 set of drills and strides (high skipping, high knees, butt kicks, carioca, bounding), 4k cool down, total 12k (av 5:03 excl breaks).

Friday: 35mins relaxed run on treadmill, 6k+ (av 5:25)

Saturday: Nice running on a great route (Rifles Range) in cool conditions (24c), first hour 5:00-4:50 pace, second hour 4:40 pace, finished up with 8 x 30secs on/90secs off and a couple ks cool down, total 32k (av 4:50 excl breaks)

Sunday: off

Total 89k for the week

07 November 2009

Self Improvisations

Good week. Probably the first time I came close to completing Sean’s written program since I engaged him to be my coach a couple of months ago.

I also made some self-improvisations to my training by introducing a few extra things here and there, such as barefoot strides, technique drills, and short hill sprints which are not in the Coach’s program. I think it’s a good time to introduce them now, and if I do them diligently, I might reap the benefits (e.g. better running economy) in time for 2010 GC marathon build-up.

Another new thing that I introduce is a fartlek-esque long run. Coach only prescribes me to do my long run at 4:50 pace, which can either be a flat 4:50 pace for the whole duration or a progression-style, something like 5:00 in the first half and 4:40 in the second half or a real progression from 5:00-4:15 pace. Due to Singapore conditions and the fact that I am a heavy sweater, it’s hard for me to do progression-type run over here. After 60-90 minutes or so, I would experience a huge sweat loss and hydration-deficit (I could drink more, but that would make the stomach sloshing with water). In light of this, what I did this week was to run the faster stuff in the first half while I am still fully-hydrated and the temperature is still cool. Maybe I should call it a reverse-progression run haha? As the main purpose of progression run is to teach the body running at faster pace while tired, I did a short fartlek at the back end in order to replicate the stress. For example, today I did 5k warm up, 12k solid at goal MP less 20secs, 3k easy, 5k of alternating 1min on/off, 4k cool down. Not so sure, whether this would have the same effect as a normal progression run, but I guess I’ll give it a try. Furthermore, this also makes the long run more interesting due to the pace variation.

Anyway, training this week:

Monday: 3k up, 7 x 800m hilly loop (splits 3:00, 3:01, 3:02, 3:04, 3:02, 3:05, 3:07 with 1:40 rest), the loop wasn't difficult, but I still struggled. Clockwise, 1min moderate slope, 2min gradual downhill (acts like recovery), anti-clockwise 2mins gradual rise (not challenging), 1mins steep downhill. Need to find a better loop with more ups and downs. 3k down with 6 x 20secs barefoot strides on grass, Myrtle hip exercise, total 12k+ (av 4:35 excl breaks)

Tuesday: 100 abs, 8k easy on treadmill to minimize leg pounding (5:12), 1k jog to grassy area, 1 set of drills and strides, 1k down, total 11k+ (av 5:10)

Wednesday: 1 hour easy moderate (15mins @ 5:10, 5:00, 4:50, 4:40), then 20mins easy, the original plan was to finish last 20mins at 4:20-4:30 but legs didn’t want to go. Super humid morning, 5 x 10secs hill sprints to hopefully oust the staleness for tomorrow’s session, total 16k+ (av 4:56)

Thursday: 3k up, 15-10-5 minutes intervals (av pace 4:00, 3:55, 3:49). Recovery 4mins and 3mins, had bowel problems and had to poo during the recovery. 3k down, total 13.6k (av 4:27 excl breaks). Did 10mins of light upper/lower weights. Sean schedules this workout for the next 2 weeks, so will be interested to see the progress.

Friday: 35mins relaxed run on treadmill, 100 abs, Myrtle hip exercise, lunges, total 6k+ (av 5:30)

Saturday: 5k easy (5:10), 12k solid undulating terrain(4:35), 3k easy (5:20), 5k of 1min HM pace/ez (av 4:35), 4k easy (5:10). Warm morning, dehydrated. Had to stop a few times, total 29k (av 4:50 excl breaks)

Sunday: off

Total 89k for the week

01 November 2009

Season ain't over yet

Really envious of Clown & Epi who have finished their running seasons and are heading to Everest Base Camp.

My running season is not finished yet, with SCSM half marathon in 5 weeks time.

Did 280k in October – lowest monthly mileage in a while. This was a function of doing 3 races (3k, 21k, 10k) within a span of 20 days and the associated pre-race taper and post-race recovery. My monthly average between April and September was 350k+, hence this month was 70k short. I do feel that I have lost some ‘oomph’ from the drop in mileage (presumably endurance). Note that these races are my personal choices, and the coach just wrote the program around these events.

Hence, I am quite happy to see the training ramping up back to my usual 80-90k range over the next few weeks. The Coach’s plan is a bit different to the prep for Melbourne HM, emphasizing more on endurance this time around. Will be doing mostly 90ks a week and only taper in the last several days. Long runs have now been extended to 32k.

Another change from the last prep was shorter fast-sustained runs (tempos). Last time, I did a couple of 10k sustained run at HM pace – which took me around 40-41mins. In general, I think they were useful sessions and I was able to run at this pace during the race (unfortunately, the pace slowed in the second half, hence the reason for adding mileage and longer long runs) This time around, most speed workouts are 20-30mins in total duration and they will be in long intervals format with long breaks in between.

Therefore, some new tweaks in training (more mileage, short tempos). Let’s see what happens on Dec 6!

M: 18k easy (4:53)
T: 12k easy (5:00)
W: 2.5k wu, 6k sustained run @ 4:01 pace, 5x100m hills, 2k cd
T: 7k very easy (5:30) + core strength
F: 12k easy (5:00)
S: 5k easy (5:10), 21k moderate(4:40), total 26k
S: off

Total 86k for the week