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Showing posts from 2008

Jerry Can

The first of Threshold training has been covered. Eight days, over the holiday period. The extras required in this time meant I missed two easy runs, but I got in all the key training. Christmas day was a planned day off, but I missed the extra day, due to travelling up to Murray for a few days away.

The time away from home and work was great. Nothing beats a change in scenary. Otherwise all training has been smooth. The medium run was 83 minutes of solid, sub-threshold running. Felt great during it, slightly heavy the next day. The so-called steady run at about 85-90%HRmax was two intervals of 20 and 10 minutes over the red dirt up next to the Murray river. A nice hard run at the time, but the recovery was better than hoped.

While up north I was away from my usual weights. No problem, with a bit of lateral thinking and some input from the other guys we fashioned a solid strength session using jerry cans, sling-rings and a lump of wood with a spotlight attached.

Trifle

The stupid seasons tries very to take over. However, this year I managed to keep things as close to normal as I think I can get them. The shopping was done early for me. I managed to avoid the nastiness that hovers over carparks through the pre-christmas period. We even managed to limit Christmas day to immediate family and didn't spend the whole day driving from place to place.

Of course the amount of food consumed hit me this morning. My morning run just felt heavy. Good thing I had chosen the hill-fartlek run for today. This meant I had the freedom to just go on feel. So a mixture of different hills, some drills, hill bounding and sprints had me feeling like better.

Now its back out to the relatives for a top up with trifle and white christmas.

Section 10

The first medium run of the threshold phase of training. Perfect sunny weather. Good mixture of trails. It was just one of those runs that reminds me of why I enjoy it so much. The run felt easy-fast. Where you know you're travelling at a good pace, but it just feels right. 100 minutes of fun.

People often ask what I think about when running for so long. Anything beyond 10 minutes seems to be considered by those who ask the question. Based on today's run here's my answer:

Why do people insist their dog if fine when it jumping on other people?
Why do people get aggressive when you ask them to call their dog away from the two old guys it is jumping on?

If I run faster, then I'll start hurting... today I like not hurting.

I could do with another coffee, speaking of which I wonder how many days I have left with my current beans.

Cool! I'm running faster up this hill than those cyclists are riding.

Why do people sitting inside their cars, eating McDonald's for breakfast, w…

Threshold 1/5

First day into my Threshold phase. It consists of 5 x 8-9 day cycles. The first 4 cycles consist of an increasing workload with the fifth week for recovery and testing, before heading Specific phase of training.

As the name suggests my primary focus is on improving my abilities around my threshold. For my take on this concept check my last post "Threshold Training Rehashed". This time I am approaching the threshold training with a two-pronged attack, meaning there will be two dedicated sessions per cycle.

The first stage of attack is what I list as my Medium run. It is simply about 90 minutes of running at a steady-state intensity a bit below what feels like my threshold pace. This should see my heart rate climb within in the range of 75-85%HRmax, but I suspect will generally be at 80-83%. By running just below, but close to my threshold (remember it is a range, not an exact point), I will be developing the structure, neural pathways and physiology to support enhancement of th…

Threshold Training Rehashed

Since I've covered the topic before, no point simply re-writing the same stuff. With a bit of copy and paste, some extra editing, I present my rehash of the post I wrote last year: Threshold?



What exactly is this threshold concept? The short answer is that it depends on who you ask. There are so many different definitions, slightly different names and different testing procedures to define the threshold. It is no wonder people get confused.The list of names include: anaerobic threshold; lactate threshold; onset of blood lactate accumulation (OBLA), aerobic threshold; ventilatory threshold; aerobic threshold1 and or 2; maximal lactate steady state (MLSS); threshold 4.0; lactate turn point and plenty of others.

I like to accept there is an area of intensity at which the body's production of anaerobic byproducts (lactate) is greater than the body's ability to absorb these byproducts. The biggest problem with understanding this is that most people assume it is a set point to be …

End Base

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The dates of the Emergency games are one to two weeks earlier than I thought they would be. I was hoping to extend my Base phase into January, but I can't alter the calender. So with a few roster predictions, counting out 8 and 9 day cycles I've come to realise if I am to follow my plan, then the last day of Base training will be this Sunday.

What this means is the Threshold phase begins next Monday. Looks like some harder training will be a nice Christmas present.

Looking back at the Base phase, from which I started almost completely back at the proverbial drawing board, I believe I have achieved my goals. Firstly I have significantly extended my aerobic conditioning in that my easy running is not only comfortable for up to 2 hours, but is now about a full minute per kilometre faster at all aerobic levels. Better than that running just feels easy, fast, slow or in between. Yesterday I hit the track with a third 400m time trial. This time it felt natural to run, a time of 70.8 s…

HARM PRICEM

In "Healing By Primary Intention", TriExpert asked me to elaborate on the no HARM concept. To do so I need to include the other aspects about soft tissue injury management as well.


Let's accept that the first 24-72 hours following a soft tissue injury (such as a muscle tear, tendon strain or ligament sprain) is the acute phase. The basic concept of treatment is based on two principles:
Don't do anything to cause further injury or impair recovery.Do what you can to enhance recovery.With just a little bit of knowledge the rest is common sense. Something I believe about all of first aid.Point 1 is covered by the no HARM concept. In reality it is just a mnemonic to help remember things. I was first introduced to it in about 1998 while studying Human Movement as part of the class Care and Prevention of Athletic Injuries.Point 2 is covered by PRICEM. Which is the RICE principle that most people are familiar with, with two extra points.no HARM: avoid these things as they are …

Sri Chinmoy Foreshore Run: 10km - Race Report

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A bit of number crunching earlier in the week gave a prediction of 38:40-38:55. Pre-race the plan was to ignore split times and just run on feel, which has been proving to be the best approach for me over the last few years. The weather for race had me throw out any time goals. According to weatherzone.com.au the conditions during the race were: Temp: 13-14degrees celcius Rainfall: nil during my warm-up or the race, but was torrential either side. Wind: SSW 20km/hr progressed to 39km/hr with gusts of 46km/hr Who knows how much affect the wind really had. First it definitely slowed me down when running into it, but I think it also took out any spring left in my legs as the race progressed. Otherwise it was a flat, 2-lap course. Nothing fancy just a solid 10km. I finished outside the top 10 and a few seconds slower than last month in 39:37. The standard of the field was a bit higher too. Despite the slower time, I think the conditions masked the mild improvement I have achieved through the l…

Healing By Primary Intention

My injury is only a minor rolled ankle. The damage appears to be a strain to the peroneus longus tendon, which is an area of trouble with tightness in the past. My approach to minor soft tissue injuries is mainly based on allowing the body to heal itself with a little extra guidance just to make sure function isn't reduced.

For this injury, the timeline and reasoning behind management is as follows:

Sunday:
Rolled ankle -> nil treatment as I didn't think I had actually caused any damage.

Monday:
Long run, then one hour later development of localised pain, redness, heat and swelling behind left ankle. -> follow NO HARM principle (no heat, alcohol, running or massage) for the next 24-36 hours to allow for initial acute inflammatory response.

Tuesday:
Nil running. To allow for destruction and removal of injured cells. Nil ice, compression or anti-inflammatory drugs applied as swelling was not significant. I believe these methods are only required when the injury is more severe or …

Degranulation

It was only a little stumble. A slight roll of the ankle over a loose stone. Nothing that had me lose my footing. Just a slip that required me to adjust my stride. A few seconds later I had forgotten about it. However it was enough to trigger the mast cells, kinins, local vasodilation, alter vascular and cellular permeability.

The following day, about an hour or so after my long run, I was reminded about that small stumble with a bit of pain. Nothing too bad, but the wrong sort of pain. Not the good pain of running hard, the pain of injury. A bit of redness, swelling and bruising tells me the inflammatory system it working.

So a few easy days focussing on recovery and repair are in order to make sure it doesn't go any further.

Caffeine: The Evidence

1,3,7-trimethylxanthine the world's most used psychoactive and pharmacological substance.


Ergogenic aid?


I love good coffee and also use caffeine to help with my racing. Back in my university days I was a guinea pig in a number of studies involving caffeine, substrate metabolism and endurance performance. My knowledge was current then, but there has been a lot of research since . Time to check in on where things are up to with caffeine and race performance.


A recent review (Caffeine Use In Sports: Considerations For The Athlete) provided an good starting point. The review added a fair amount of speculation and personal interpretation on the data so it was essential to look at the original research presented.


Here I present my own summary of caffeine and it's effect on sports performance. I skip the theories on mechanisms and pharmacology and stick with the practicalities.


Performance:

Improves time to exhaustion and work output in endurance exercise that lasts between 5 minutes and …

Anatomy of Steady Base

I've hit the top of ranges for my base period. My long run is at 2 hours, medium at 1.5 hours. The other sessions are consistent with only one day off running per 8-9 day cycle. As I stated before the improvements are still coming at about the best rate they can. There is only one training session that leaves me stiff and sore for any longer than one day. That session is what is listed as STEADY.

The listing in the program looks simple enough:

Run: Steady 0:60 @ 75-85% plus extensive warm up with speed drills & cool down.

...but what does the session actually involve?

The essence of this training is to prepare me for the harder race specific training in two ways:
Develop technique/efficiency and power for fast runningDevelop a relaxed steady-state running style
Point 1 is achieved during the speed drills.
Point 2 is achieved during the 60 minutes of running a bit below threshold pace.

The typical set:

10 minutes of very easy running, typical HR 60-75%.
5-10 minutes of dynamic mobility w…

Four Seasons

Typical Melbourne weather. During the 1 hour and 43 minutes of running this morning I was greeted with blustery winds, no wind, rain, bright sunshine and a temperature range of 9 to 22 degrees celcius. Perfect weather for running.

Strength Training: The Evidence

I talked about the strength training I incorporate into my program in an earlier post: Lifting Metal. The actual program can be viewed here. There are many different view points on whether or not, how, what, why and when different forms of strength training should or shouldn't be included in distance running training. What is the evidence available to guide this type of training?

Searching through the recent (last 3 years) of published science on the topic reveals a reasonable level of investigations into the question above. Here I present my brief summary of the findings out there.


Running Performance

Simply put the key peformance criteria for distance running is to be able to run a set distance, whether that be 5000m, 10km or 42.2km faster. Any other change probably isn't really worth it, if it doesn't result in a faster race time. That said, three important variables seem to be highly correalated with endurance race performance:
Maximal oxygen consumption (VO2max)Anaerobic/…

Just The Elements

An easy run was scheduled before work this morning. The alarm beeped at 0500 which made me think about all the stuff that beeps at me at work. The selcall, the pager, the mobile data terminal and the phone. I was already over technology so I decided to leave my heart rate monitor behind.

With nothing more than the simple guideline of an easy run, I headed out into the light drizzle over a mix of traffic free suburban streets and dirt trails. It was probably the most refreshing thing I could do all day.

All In The Legs

Struggling to fit everything in this week. It's the crappy part of my roster where an extra 14 hour night shift is thrown in the middle of what would otherwise be my days off. This cycle looks like I'll have to drop the main bike ride to make sure I can fit in all the running.

Performed some max attempts for the squat, military press and deadlift yesterday. Compared about one month ago I haven't been able to increase the press, still stuck at 43kg. The legs are better, the squat went from 85.5 to 88kg and the deadlift from 88 to 93kg. So I am happy with that.

Basic Extensions

Despite predictions, the weather was good this morning. The only problem I had to contend with at the athletics track was a couple of guys who ignored the signs and basic courtesy. They allowed their dogs to run all over the track, unleashed and with no regard for anyone else using it. That aside I enjoyed the short session.

Today's 400m time trial resulted a time of 1:11.9. That's a 2.1 second improvement from last month. Recalling my post from that time (Base 2):

"In the last week of Base 1 I also ran a 400m time trial. The time was 74 seconds. To me that time is slow, but it is where it should be. Over the next few weeks of base training, I would expect only a small improvement in 400m speed following the introduction of speed drills. This test is an indicator of anaerobic capacity. It shows the net effect of local muscular strength, speed endurance and efficiency, with the ability to generate relatively high force output coupled with the ability to both tolerate and buf…

Patience Pays

I beat the nasty weather this morning, and managed to fit in my latest MAF test in a reasonably pleasant light rain. Apart from the time, the key thing I noticed is that the pace just felt natural. I hardly had to spend any effort in either keeping the pace up at the right heart rate or hold back. This morning I recorded a pace of 4:38/km which is 56 seconds faster than my initial test back at the end of August. The improvement is right on the fastest rate of improvement expected, which is about 4 seconds per week average.

Tomorrow I have a 400m time trial planned, but this will now be weather dependant. Today has been a mixture of strong winds (about 60km/hr at times), heavy rain and some hail. If the weather is like this tomorrow morning, then test won't be relevant. Of course I'll still put in some training, but the time trial will have to be delayed by a day or two.


dateHRpace27/08/081495:34/km12/09/081495:10/km1/10/081495:28/km21/10/081495:05/km22/11/091494:38/km

Waiver

I just submitted my entry for my next race, the Sri Chinmoy Williamstown Foreshore Run: 10km (rolls right off the tongue). While the waiver isn't isn't as involved as those associated with some longer race (such as Ironman triathlons), this time it actually caught my attention. Apparently I agree to...

"...waive all and any claim, right or action which I or they might have for and arising out of loss of my life or injury, damage or loss of any description whatsoever which I may suffer or sustain in the course of or consequent upon my entry or participation in..."

Sounds like an extreme event when put that way. To me a 10km fun run just doesn't seem to pose more of a threat to life than travelling to the event itself.

Hills/Fartlek

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Just a good run.
Intensity range: 65-85%HRmax (123-160bpm) Time goal: 1:00 Location: Ruffey Lake Park, Hilltops Circuit 3 x 3.6km laps
Lap 1: Easy Lap 2: Solid effort on hills, recover downhill Lap 3: Sprint over hilltops, on turns and at any changes in terrain, moderate effort in between

Times per lap: 23:25, 20:02, 18:20. The Hilltops Circuit takes in three decent hills, so with three laps thats a total of 9 proper hills. This is the type of run that has me feeling better all the way through. The variety in types of surges, technique/speed work on turns and in changes in terrain, development of hill running form plus a progressively faster average pace. What more could you ask?

Lifting Metal

During Base 2, my approach to strength and power training is based on a few key principles. The principles are simple even if the paper work looks a bit complicated.

The principles are as follows:
Develop absolute strengthUse major compound exercisesLimit isolation exercisesDevelop strong core coordinationDevelop connective structuresMinimise fatigue carry over into runningInclude job specific strengthThis results in a program that is varied, adds a progressive workload and is complementary to running based on long term planning. There are many ways to incorporate strength training into a running program. The factors are dependent on many things such as injury history, body structure, physiology, goals, strength background, technique, access to equipment, plus what you enjoy. The Base period is the ideal time to concentrate on making significant strength gains. It becomes harder to do so as the running intensity increases in the later phases of training.The program can seen here: BASE 2…

Hot Rain

Slightly closer towards a reasonable amount of sleep had me feeling better yesterday. Six hours interrupted now seems to be the best I can get, which is better than my wife has been getting. Some flexibility work in the morning partly woke me up for a day of work. Work didn't really woke me up any further. Must have been the heat.


Happily I finished on time allowing me to get in my medium-long run. The pace would have to be a bit slower. It was 35 degrees celcius. On paper my time was meant to be 75min, but this extended out to 84min due to the heat and route choice. Despite the heat and strong, swirling hot wind the run was just perfect. No one else was out on trail which is a bit unusual in the evening, but then again it was hot. A storm was predicted to come through, and I was looking forward to some rain during the run. This didn't happen, just a few changes in wind direction is all I had as a slight reprieve from the heat.

This morning I was greeted with a reasonable light…

First Sighting

Perfect warm, sunny weather had me out for a 2 hour bike ride through the hills yesterday morning. There was no need to pay any particular attention to intensity. Simply just riding had me in the right heart rate zone. The warm weather had the wild life out. A wallaby sighting, plenty of rabbits, a kangaroo and around the corner from home was my first snake for the season. Over half the road was a good size eastern brown snake making its way across. Easily bypassed, but a good reminder to keep a better eye open when out on the running trails.

The became a very long day extending into the night and until 0800 this morning when I finally got to bed. Called in for an extra night shift meant today was a complete right-off for training. After waking in the arvo, my body was stuffed. No hard training today, and then no easy training either after a few requirements of life reared their head. Some catch up on sleep should see me able to stay on track tomorrow.

Cruising

I've hit the next level in my running. The level isn't based on times. It isn't the ability to tolerate higher pain levels. It isn't a sudden change in technique. It isn't a sudden change in technique. The new level is simply a product of consistency.

What is the mark or criteria of this new level?

It is that I can pick a pace, and as long as it is aerobic then it simply feels like I'm cruising. Whether I choose a heart rate at 60, 65, 70, 75, 80 or 85% of maximum then I can just go out and run at the designated intensity and keep going. Also I can just go out and run comfortably slow, or comfortably faster (sprinting is a different story). It reminds me of Lydiard's comments about developing a "tireless" runner. Fatigue isn't a limiting factor during my current stage of training. I don't feel indestructible, just that I am absorbing the training in the right way.

Looks like I'm still on track.

Some People Are Just Born To Run

An article by Haile Gebreselassie got me thinking about why I run.

There are probably so many reasons why, but essentially it all comes down to that I was born to run. I'm definitely not the fastest runner, I'm not elite, but the immense satisfaction I get from the sport is incredible. Not too mention that I just don't feel right if I'm not running.

Mustard

Fitting in training is often a challenge. To make sure I get it all in without neglecting other areas can take a bit of organising. For the most part I usually have to think 3-4 days ahead to ensure the logistics are correct. One advantage I have is working reasonably close to home. This allows me to fit in either running or cycling to and from work. Cuts out travel time. The issue is I have to ensure the correct clothes, shoes, food, toiletries etc. are at the right location for event.

The good thing about having to be organised, is that I do it. I am definitely more productive with time constraints. With running or cycling between home and work I get a really good stress release. Perfect way to start or end the day (or night depending on shift). What it does prompt is the line I have heard for most of life when I head out for a run.... gee you're keen.

Revisiting Lipid Oxidation

In reply to canute1's question:


"I have a question.For marathons (or Tri events of Olympic distance or longer) a high capacity to burn lipids be expected to be very valuable as it should allow conservation of glycogen. However, as I understand it, lipid utilization is inhibited as lactic acid concentration rises, and hence lipid utilization tends to be switched off as lactate threshold is approached. Since a marathon is run a pace not far below lactate threshold pace, it seems to me that the crucial requirement is to be able to continue to utilise lipids almost up to lactate threshold. It might be expected that this capacity is best achieved by training near to the upper end of the aerobic range. Is there any evidence that enhancing the ability to use lipids at the lower end of the aerobic range (lets say 50-65% of VO2max) produces a substantial gain in the ability to utilize lipids in the upper part of the aerobic range?"

Yes, training at 50-65% of VO2max does increase th…

Endurance Training Adaptations

Why does low intensity and therefore, slower training improve race times?


Simple question. Long answer.


Time to look at what adaptations occur to endurance training. To do so requires a couple of brief definitions of basic concepts.


Adaptation to training will only occur if the person exercises at a level above their normal habitual level of activity on a frequent basis. It is generally accepted that endurance training is performed at 50-80% VO2max for prolonged periods several times per week to induce adaptations that will improve functional capacities. Adaptations to endurance training are transient and reversible. Sufficient time for recovery is required to allow morphological adaptations to occur. The adaptations can be defined as central (cardiovascular, respiratory) and peripheral (muscle, cellular).


Adenonside triphosphate (ATP) is a high energy compound that is the immediate source for energy requiring processes in cells such as muscle contraction. The ability to maintain prolonge…

Base 2

After a successful initial reintroduction, I am now ready to move into the second part of base training. I creatively called this phase Base 2. So far I have re-established a reasonable low heart rate pace along with some okay lactate turnover dynamics to set the groundwork for the future periodised training.

I improved my MAF test which was performed at a set HR of 149bpm from 5:34/km down to 5:05/km over 8 training cycles. This is a good indicator of basic endurance efficiency, cardiovascular adaptation and improved substrate use. While the numbers are a bit arbitrary, it is the consistency of the test variables that give it credit. Continuing to improve this will show a better aerobic base.

Running a 39:27 10km road race off only low intensity running supports the concept that working on my base pays bigger over time than does running high-end anaerobic sessions. The 10km is also a good indicator as to the balance between anaerobic threshold, maximal oxygen uptake and stamina.

In the …

Meadowglen & YMCA Fun Run: 10km

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What better way to finish a training phase than with a race. To signal the end of Base 1 I headed over to the so-called Meadowglen International Athletics Stadium. Really it is just the running track in Epping, albeit a good quality track. There were a few races on offer this weekend, but this one provided a good course, was low-key, not-too-far from home and was fund raiser for the Northern Hospital. All good points in my book.

I felt good in the morning, but then again I've been feeling good for most training sessions since I've started my current training program. However with almost all running slower than 6:00/km except for a MAF test every couple of cycles I wasn't too sure how I would go. I decided I would be comfortable with a time of 42min, would be happy closer to 40min, but thought something out towards 44min was possible. The plan was simple: ignore heart rate, ignore split times and run at an even pace that feels like a just doable 10km.
A good warm up, a good a…

Reasoning

In an attempt to answer a few questions in one post, I present some of the reasoning behind my training plan.


Police & Emergency Services Games 2009: Training


Overall my plan is constructed to fit my life and not take over it. I call my weeks cycles because each one is between 6-10 days (usually 8-9). This is because I work rotating shift work and that's what fits best into my roster. Monday, Tuesday... etc doesn't mean much to me.


I table out the key training sessions only, and write a note about the other supplemental sessions in the overall plan. This is so I know which sessions I have to prioritise. The key sessions I will fit in. The extras I will fit in if I can. This works very well for me. I maintain much better training consistency doing it this way, rather than writing exactly what I should do each day. It does not work for everyone.


Training Phases are divided into Base (1 & 2), Threshold, Specific and Peak. It is a progressive, periodised plan with the objectiv…

Trendy

dateHRpace27/08/081495:34/km12/09/081495:10/km1/10/081495:28/km21/10/081495:05/kmNo need to worry about slowing down in the MAF test. The bump on 1/10 had enough reasons for slower pace. I'm happy that the trend is for good solid improvement. Almost ready to begin Base2. Just have to get in a 400m TT and the 10km race on Sunday, then I'll have all the info I need.

Around The Bay...

... well just one side of it this time.

Each year Bicycling Victoria hosts the Around The Bay In A Day ride which this year attracted about 17,000 cyclists according to reports. On offer are 50, 100, 210 and 250km rides. The 200km+ rides will take you all around Port Philip Bay, with a ferry crossing between Queenscliff and Sorrento.

I haven't particpated in the ride for a few years. This year my father-in-law talked me into doing the 100km from Sorrento back to the city. He was very convincing, "Want to do the ride?" "Sure."

Anyway I was curious to see how I would go after only doing very low intensity and slow cycling over the last few weeks. Distance wouldn't be a problem, but I had no idea if I could hold anywhere near a pace I would be happy with. I didn't need to worry. The day just fell together into a great ride. Sharing the road with a ridiculous number of cyclists, cruising along the tarmac and bridging gaps in the group was just great fun. I lov…

Influences

Looks like I've given the impression that I'm following Maffetone's training guidelines. A few people have asked me specific questions about the program. I have never read the book or delved too deep into what the exact program (publicised) program is. What I have incorporated into my training is the MAF test only. The test is a way of settling on a heart rate that should give a guide to the my aerobic development. The heart rate is reasonably arbitrary, I could have achieved something similar by choosing to perform the test at 80%HRmax.

This has lead me into considering what has influenced my training philosophy. Obviously completing a bachelor degree on the topic and working in different coaching and fitness roles certainly forms a big basis of theory and practice to develop from. However, here I will comment on the events that have stuck in my mind that really have led towards my training and racing philosophy today.

Table Tennis
I used to play competitively, but my sister…

Reset

I'm now part way into cycle 7 of Base 1. Overall I managed to get in almost all of the key sessions (long rides and runs). The supplementary work of weights, power and flexibility has also been consistent and regular. Importantly I have noticed I am getting fitter in the way I need to. My aerobic base is redeveloping. While I have probably lost a good portion of the top end speed, importantly my base increasing as it should. The easy paces are becoming faster, there is less heart rate variability and recovery is faster. Next week I'll test the different areas with the 100km Around the Bay in a Day ride, MAF tests, 400m Time Trial and end with a 10km Road Run. This will give a thorough guide as to where my training has taken me leading into Base 2 where the focus really shifts towards running.

On Shift

After two weeks off work, I'm now back into some sort of reality. The last week of training has been pretty good and I managed all my key sessions plus enough of the supportive ones. This morning a bit of accumulated fatigue meant this morning's run was only an easy recovery one, instead of the 60 minute moderate on my program. That's one of the best things about how I have written my plan. It allows for a bit of shuffling to ensure appropriate recovery/adaptation and accounting for the unexpected. The legs are now feeling partly rejuvinated, so looks like I'll be back into a full session tomorrow.

Shrinkage

Into another new pair of training shoes. My consistent favourites that have done very well by me for 8 years or so. My shoe of choice are the Brooks Adrenaline GTS. I used to run in Asics Kayano until I had a bad run with a couple of models that wouldn't make it past one week. This forced a a look at other brands and for me the grass was definitely greener.

I've now been for a couple of runs in my new pair, and as usual there has been no need for breaking them in. They just feel great. What I have noticed is I am going down in size. This pair (which fit exactly as they should) are size US8.5. My last few pairs were US9.0 and checking back on a pair from a few years ago that I keep for the garden, I used to wear US9.5. Have my feet shrunk. Well, the sales assistant at the shoe shop suggested my arches may have increased in height resulting in a shortened foot length. To me that is doubtful. So I measured the shoes against each other, rolling the based and comparing inserts...

...…

Dusk

My body clock is a bit messed up. Firstly with sleep being constantly broken, second with my training sessions at very random times (compared to before) and now daylight savings has just started. The daylight savings period is getting longer each year. Maybe soon it will be all year round. I personally struggle with the concept that putting the clock forward one hour gives you an extra hour of daylight each day. Can't fool me. I know it just results in a different relative time frame for the same amount of daylight. Then again I do most of my training in the morning, so really just get more darkness.

Last night I didn't get to do my training run in until after dinner. A strange concept for me. With 70 minutes of running to do I headed out the door at about 19:30, with no plan as to where I was heading. Every now and then I enjoy picking my running route as I go. Just a few minutes in I remembered there was a trail along Ironbark road that I had only been on once before. Perfect…

Fitting Together

It's interesting how easy it suddenly becomes to prioritise aspects of life. I have missed plenty of training in the last week, but for the first time in my life, it really, and I mean really doesn't matter. That's not to say I am throwing training on the back burner. Far from it.

Of course I am finding it hard working out how life now all fits together, but I am thoroughly enjoying the process. Training is now just part of the puzzle. What was a very easy load a couple of weeks ago, is now just manageable. This is what I anticipated. As things settle down and I work out of few things the training load should again become much easier.

At the moment it looks like I will be able to get in all the key sessions, so in reality it is going fine.

Back

First of all, I wish to thank everyone (and there were more than I thought) for all their well wishes, congratulations and the like. The family is now all home and doing well.

Naturally training went out the window over the last few days because I had more important priorities. I only put in one run, which was a Maf Test. The pace was slower than last time but there are likely to be a number of reasons for this, including:
Fatigue from lack of sleepStiff and tired legs from no exerciseFirst relatively hot day (26 degrees)Thoughts were on other topics and raise HRTest 2, was artificially high and reflected too much improvementI'm expecting this test to be a slight anomaly, but will have to check how the trend goes over the next couple of months.


dateHRpace27/08/081495:34/km12/09/081495:10/km1/10/081495:28/km

Wow

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I'm a new Dad. Couldn't be happier. All are doing well. Jaya was initially reluctant to enter the wide world, but she soon changed her mind and took everyone by surprise with a fast entrance. Born at 3.680kg (8lb 01 in the old school). She's happy and hungry.
I am so completely inspired by Kristy. What she went through and did during labour is far beyond anything I can imagine doing myself.

Sunscreen

The weather was perfect today. It hit 28 degrees with clear skies and a strong, but reasonable wind. Perfect cycling weather. Today was the first day I wasn't wearing extra layers such as arm warmers, windbreaker or similar since last summer. Unfortunately I didn't think about the sunscreen and will be sporting the lines of my sleeves and knicks for the next few days.

Still no action from the little one yet. As a result even though my ride was 3 hours worth, my route choice meant I was never more than 30 minutes away from home. My mobile was always on hand too, just in case.

Overdue

I was expecting my life to change signifcantly before today, but it hasn't yet. Our daughter is now four days past her due date. Kristy is well, but definitely feels well past ready. The waiting continues.

Loving It Tough

Finally I got that ride in. Unfortunately a decent change in the weather with strongs winds and heavy rain hit, so I put in the hours on the turbo trainer. Coach Troy Jacobson was on the DVD yelling... 3,2,1 go go go... if it was easy, then it wouldn't be worth doing... don't slow down on me now... building endurance, building strength...

In end cycle 4 wasn't too bad, I did get all the key sessions in, so my consistency is there. Should pay off later.

Chasing The Long Ride

Listing only the key sessions in my program provides me a certain degree of flexibility. Instead of being locked into set days for each training session, I can simply fit them in where they fit best. This is important with rotating shiftwork. For most weeks it works very well.

This week it hasn't so far. For most of the week I've been chasing my long ride. On the first day I was hoping to cover those miles, I was so tired after night shift that I spent most of the day sleeping. Then after being up for only three hours was back into bed again. Each day after that had some unexpected, but neccesary appointment of different sorts that meant my time has been a lot more limited than I wished.

This brings me too the last day of cycle 4. I have managed to fit in all key sessions except for that long ride. So, once the morning's appointments are done, I have set the afternoon free. That ride will be covered.

Moving On Through

The last few days have been completely full, but nothing of too much note. Plenty of work, moderate sleep, lots of coffee post night shift, steady training, good weather and waiting. Our daughter is due next Monday so we're not committing to any set plans at the moment. Which is something I usually tend to struggle with. I usually have everything planned well in advance, but I am enjoying not being able to at the moment.

Training is simply following my program. The best thing is I'm seeing obvious improvement and the load is very, very manageable. This is despite not quite keeping up with adequate food intake. The lack of appetite towards the end of night shifts, followed by sleeping through a good portion of day has resulted in a couple of missed meals. I didn't notice at the time, but looking back it is a pattern I've fallen into in the past. Need to keep an eye on it.

Sprung

Having geeked it up a bit over my last few posts, I thought it was time to reflect a little on the other aspects. Plus my brain is a bit fried from too many night shifts, as evidenced by all the gramatically errors of my last post.Last night I changed into my running gear at work and headed out onto the dirt trails following the Yarra river. What a perfect night for running. One where I wished I was carrying a camera. First I just felt really good running at a nice easy pace. I was able to take in the sites. Being Spring and with some recent rain the grass was bright green, instead of the usual dry brown of the last couple of years. The sun was heading towards setting and was sending awesome streaks of pink, orange and yellow to contrast the dark clouds. A sunshower resulted in a double rainbow. To add to the enjoyment I passed a mob of twenty or so kangaroos with their young joeys. They were a great site spread out in the orchards as I ran past.

I became lost in my surroundings, the a…

Heart Rate versus Oxygen Consumption

Monitoring exercise intensity is a mixture of art and science. Using a only single number (no matter which variable) to fully quantify training doesn't cut it. The body is a complex and changing organism that doesn't always respond as expected. Training can be simple, complex or everything in between. In order to get the most out of yourself it may help to have a good understanding of the scientific concepts. From this grounding, the art of training can be further developed.

To begin with I need to define a few things. Yes the first part is heavy on jargon, but I have tried to stay away from too much detail and focus on the key concepts. Hopefully this provides a good enough base to see where I am coming from and heading to.

Oxygen consumption (also termed VO2) is how much oxygen the body can utilise for exercise. Oxygen is essential in the breakdown of fats and carbohydrates to the usable form of energy for cells, adenosine-tri-phosphate (ATP), without the resultant waste and f…

Limitations Of Measurement

So--do you recommend using vo2max or hrmax? It seems that to get an accurate HRmax number is very difficult and could be dangerous for someone who is deconditioned. However, VO2max testing isn't exactly readily available. If done by a non-experienced person, the numbers could be all over the place. Fortunately, many gyms are offering VO2max testing out here. But how reliable are the people giving the test?



Good question Tea. As usual I don't think the answer is as simple as just picking one over the other.





First things first, anyone that says they can test your VO2max with a test that doesn't involve gas analysis is wrong. To explain this I'll delve into the definition of maximal oxygen consumption, beyond it simply being the highest rate of oxygen that can be used by the exercising body.





Oxygen consumtion (VO2) is the product of cardiact output (Q) and arteriovenous oxygen difference (CaO2 - CvO2):


VO2 = Q x (CaO2 - CvO2)





This is reflected by both central and peripheral ph…

Training and Fat

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This is a revised version of a two part article I wrote about two years ago on how training, and diet affect fat metabolism, plus my view on what should be the focus of training. Overall it provides a good amount of the background theory behind my current training strategy.



In order to appreciate the intent of training a few simplified concepts need to be understood. Exercise intensity influences the contribution that carbohydrate (CHO) and fat have in fueling exercise. The cross-over concept outlines that there is a certain exercise intensity at which fat and CHO both contribute 50% of the energy required. Below this point the majority of energy is from fat, and above this intensity the majority of energy is from CHO as demonstrated in the graph below.



From Go Hard


This cross-over point occurs somewhere between 40-55%VO2max depending on a number of factors, this is often the intensity recommended as the so-called fat burning zone. Unfortunately it is a case of a little knowledge can be …