Showing posts from November, 2008

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.



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.


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.


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.


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…