Showing posts from December, 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.


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

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…


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 HARM: avoid these things as they are …

Sri Chinmoy Foreshore Run: 10km - Race Report

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 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:

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

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.

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 …


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.


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/…