31 October 2010

The Road to Nowhere

Mon: 7k easy run (5:02 min/km) incl. 4 x 80m strides, 2 x 50m skip, 2 x 50m butt kicks
Tue: 40mins elliptical + weights
Wed: 9k easy run (5:08 min/km)  incl. 5 x 30secs fast
Thu: 8k easy run (5:10 min/km), 80 abs crunches + weights
Fri: off (hangover from last night office dinner)
Sat: 40mins elliptical + weights (rainy day)
Sun: 16k moderate (4:46 min/km) incl. 5k slow tempo (4:23) + 8 x 100m strides
Total 40k for the week

Still familiarizing with the use of orthotics. Ankle and the extensor tendon are improving to the stage that I could now dorsiflex without any issues and even do one-legged skipping drills. However, the left leg still felt shin splinty and often got inflamed after the runs. My left stride which was shorter than the right one when I was injured has also gained more stride length recently. The pod suggested me to wear the orthotics in combination with stabilty shoes, but interestingly I found that my leg feels better if I use the orthotics with neutral shoes. Sunday's run of 75 minutes was the longest run in about a month - the sad thing it was also the hardest :( Legs were a bit inflamed afterwards.

While my legs are still not 100% healed yet, but I don’t think they will stop me from running. The issue is how to stop me from ramping up too soon :p

Anyways, during the down time, I've had some thinking about my plans for the next few months. My next key race is a June/July marathon, which is 8 months away. However, there are a couple of things to navigate in the short-to-mediun term, namely 1) a HM in early December which I registered long time ago and is part of the gigantic annual Singapore Marathon festival (60,000 runners); and 2) we will be holidaying in Europe for about a month in Feb 2011. This probably will result in very little running since the bulk of time will be spent in a Mediterannean cruise ship and also traveling between cities in Italy.

For the Dec HM, I don't have any specific time goal. Anything between 90-100 mins would be great. This year's route is special because we'll start the run at Sentosa Island and include one round inside Universal Studio theme park. As this event is about 5 weeks away, my plan is to build up to 70k in the next 3 weeks. I think below 70kmpw, I will find it hard to reduce my weight. Since this race holds no importance, my training will be likely all easy miles with light workouts (like this week's) sprinkled in. My aim is simply to get back to consistent running without re-igniting the injury.

After the HM, I have two months before the long break in February. My thoughts is to do 5k training during this period to attain a different stimulus and build leg speed. I will probably try to follow Pete Magill's 5k training plan for over 40 since the program sounds less aggressive than others. At the end of January or early Feb, I plan to insert a 5k time trial on athletics track in order to make me motivated despite the inexistence of goal races or whatsoever.

So, here's the 'road to nowhere' training plan:

November: 4 weeks of easy training with light workouts (target ~70k)
5 Dec SCMS 21k
December- January: 8 weeks of 5k training
End Jan/early Feb: 5k track time trial
February: 1 month off (Europe)
March: start marathon training for Perth/Gold Coast

24 October 2010

Different Settings

Only ran two times, 6k and 9k. And the 9k felt like 30k with the current biomechanics and fitness that I am in.. Started to use orthotics, but it still gave me some shin splits. In the next coming week,  I will try to use the orthotics with other shoes in order to evaluate which one fits best. In general, the ankle (and extensor tendon) is back 80%. However, the anterior and posteriro tibialis are still giving me griefs.

Since I don't have much to write, I am putting up some photos on different training environments between Singapore and Australia.

The comparison is meant for fun only :)

a) Two minutes jog away from my in-laws' house, there is a large, smooth grassy field. The soft surface is perfect for doing recovery run!

b) Two minutes away from my apartment in Singapore,  all I can find is this concrete jungle.

a) In Australia, you can run to your office in CBD on traffic free running path. For instance, this Yarra trail in Melbourne is approx 30k long connecting the city with the eastern suburbs.

b) In Singapore, this traffic-free concrete running path to the CBD is unfortunately, only 3km long

a) In Australia, all running paths and parks have water fountains placed every couple of kms

b) In Singapore, to staisfy runners' thirst,  every couple of kms, you can find the following:

18 October 2010

39 and down

Turned 39 today...

Have been low on motivation lately. Only ran two times in the last 14 days. Normally I am very pumped up everytime we visit Melbourne - taking advantage of the conditions and traffic-free running path by doing long fast workouts at paces faster than Singapore training efforts. But this time, there was no motivation nor the urge.

Didn't feel like wanting to run at all. I am just mentally tired of running with shitty form in order to compensate my ankle and shin problems. Didn't stay in a hotel, so no gym equipment to cross train with. The only cross train I did was playing hide and seek and chasing around Sling Jr :)

Also, the weather after 10-10-10 became Melbourne-esque. Storm, hail, gusty wind and rains every single day. Didn't bother to put on my shoes and go outside.

I am even too lazy to run on my birthday :p

With very low mileage in the last 2 months due to injury and almost no exercise in last 2 weeks, my fitness level surely have gone down by several notch. I need my mojo back.

12 October 2010

Ground Zero

The 10-10-10-10 became a big 0.

So far, my leg pain was concentrated on the anle and lateral shin, but all of a sudden my posterior shin was hurting too. Tried to run on Wednesday before flying and then on Friday in Melbourne, but no good. I struggled even to hold marathon pace for 3 minutes.

Didn't feel like jogging a race. If this was a Boston, NY or Berlin which is something I won't do in life very often and costs a bomb, I might get a cortizone shot or something like that to numb the pain. I go to Melbourne twice a year and stay at the in-laws, so the only cost is frequent flyer points for the flight.

Went to MCG and watched people finishing the race from the grandstand. It hurt not being able to run.

Was estatic to see Rob getting a massive 6mins PB to finish in 2.53. Bloody awesome. 10 minutes improvement from 3.03 to 2.53 within 6 months is mighty impressive. Couldn't imagine that 5 years ago, we were doing 42-45 minutes 10k races together!

Another impressive thing was how discipline Rob was. He wasn't tempted to drink even during his own 40th birthday and then with me on Friday at the Young and Jacksons. Although he drank lots after the marathon  ;)

Good to catch up with TB after the race too.

Also went to visit a sports medical centre over here. Did some research on the web and called to get appointment with some of the country top Track & Field physios. Unfortunately, the top dogs are in Delhi for the Commonweatlh Games and they are fully booked for the next couple of months anyway. As a result, all I get was the left-overs !

Anyways, the rehab continues. Will take a sabbatical leave from running for a while.

A photo taken from the wall of the physio centre...

06 October 2010

From 10-10-10 to 0-0-0

Things are going from bad to worse. Haven't run for a few days now :(

Ankle is still very weak and doens't have much strength to toe off. I also strain my back due to overcompensation of running gait and maybe incorrect posture when doing cross training. Tried to run, but only lasted a couple of minutes. All body parts are extremely tight and I can't run with my natural movement.

At this moment, it's only 30% chance I will make it to the start.

Will try to see a sports physio when I am there. I notice some of these physios have experiences with the Australian natonal track and field team and AFL clubs. Hopefully they can fix my problem for good.

03 October 2010

Hard Times

Mon: XT - 40mins bike, easy
Tue: XT - 30mins elliptical + 30mins bike (several 30secs surges)
Wed: Run - 1k at 3:50, 2mins rec, 5k tempo 20:50 (av 4:04), 2mins rec, 1k at 3:50, 4x200m in 40secs, total 14k;
XT - 35mins bike easy
Thu: Run - 6k slow, very painful; XT: 1 hour elliptical, easy
Fri:  XT - 45mins elliptical, easy
Sat: Run - 4.5k trail race in 18:36 (av 4:04), XT : 40mins bike easy
Sun: Run - 18k easy in 92mins (av 5:05);
Total 43km of running + 5 hours XT

Did about 3.5 hours or running this week and almost 5 hours in cross training. I find XT to be a bit of chore, not utterly enjoyable. Perhaps it will take time to be comfortable with thse kind of activities, but when you are injured, do I have any choice? Still experiencing sore arse from biking and to kill boredom, I normally bring a novel or two to read. Currently doing all the cross training at easy pace (maybe equivalent slow jog effort?), but for ellipticals - I tried to average about 160-180 strides per minute. At this juncture, I cam capping  most of my XT at 40 minutes, felt like going crazy if I go longer than this. Not sure how much fitness benefits these XT sessions will bring (~40 mins XT = 20mins running ??), but at least they do burn some calories and minimize weight gain.

Since I can only run a few times a week, I decided to make my running days short but with some quality included. On Wednesday, did 1k, 5k, 1k, at threshold effort and it felt hard. I think I am of those guys who lose fitness rapidly if I don't run much for an extended period of time (1 month now and counting). Also, due to inability for my left ankle to push-off, I simply had to work significantly harder to run at the same pre-injury effort.

On Saturday, along with 3 other work colleagues, I participated in Frost The Trail corporate challenge. Ran the race cautiously since the trail surface was uneven and finished the 4.5k cross country course in 18:36 (4.08 pace). Shitty time, but given this is an inter-corporate event and not a competitive race, I managed to finish 3rd fastest runner even with a bad leg. Our team ended up finsihing 2nd and we won $250 shoe voucher for each person.

After a reduced workload for the last month or so, I feel the AT tendon and lateral shins have been improving but I am probably still several weeks from full recovery. The problem is that due to over-compensation and muscle imbalance, I've been experiencing hip issues and sore lower back. Running through injury is definitely a vicious cycle.

Will arrive in Melbourne on Thursday and stay there for holiday until the following Sunday. My goal for the HM is simply to finish the race in one piece. Best of luck to Rob for his 2.50-2.55 goal and also Jon's PB attempt. See you guys next Sunday. Also, good luck to my legs :p

Photo from yesterday's Fros the Trail.  If you notice, I was racing with an ankle brace (left leg)