Showing posts from November, 2011

Go Hard: November 2011

My run training was hampered by a knee injury.
That didn't stop me from getting out onto some good trails.

Coburg Lake Classic 10km - Race Report

I restarted my training over a month ago with the intention of racing this race fast. Obviously having to deal with an injury and the required reduced running has meant less than an ideal build up. As a result my intentions changed to forming a race plan specific to my injury rehabilitation. It also became an opportunity to try something different in my racing.

The Coburg Lake Classic 10km, is usually a simple 2 x 5km out-and-back lap affair, with a moderate hill that results in 4 climbs (2 on each side) on a concrete bike path. Recent heavy rain saw the Merri Creek overflow and flood some of the course, so an alternative was in order for the day. The result was 4x2.5km looped laps, over a very undulating circuit the only flat section was the athletics track itself. Also adding into the mix was a section of wet, muddy soft grass that amounted to maybe 500m out of the 10km. Otherwise it was a mix of bike path, concrete path, a slippery bridge and road. As it worked out, the 10km race w…

Patella Femoral Syndrome

What's wrong with my knee?

It hurts when I run, and keeps hurting afterwards. Most of the pain is surrounds the patella and is variable in both intensity and location (but is clearly within the tendon) and highly dependent on activities. Eccentric loading causes the most grief, such as downhill running. The pain reached the level where it was obviously counter-productive to even contemplate running through it.

Essentially all other attributes are classical Patella Femoral Syndrome. If you're not familiar with it, a quick internet search will reveal a ridiculous amount of references, almost all giving the same descriptions.


Hard to say exactly what the initial cause is. There is a bit of chicken or egg problems here. Best I can do is list the contributing factors that are relevant for me, then work on eliminating those problems. The list are mainly chronic issues were were probably exacerbated by some acute loading.

Late stage over pronation with compensatory internal rot…

Only As Strong As Your...

No point sticking with a plan if it isn't going to work. I'm now at the end of my second week of training. Continuing on from the first week, it certainly hasn't gone anything like I originally planned. My left patella tendon is more than a weak point. It is an injury. I'll cover the details later, but the short version is I have patella femoral syndrome. I've had it before, and it is a symptom of other, more ongoing issues. So it will take a while to correct. So here is what the last training week looked like.

Day 1: Run: Hill repeats: 14x40sec, walk/jog back (70-100sec) Day 2: Run: Easy 1hr approx 9km. Slow, but feeling almost comfortable. L) knee sore later in day Day 3: Rehabilitation: cycle & run too painful for knee Day 4: Strength: Session Deadlift, Bench 3+
Day 5: Run: Easy 1hr, approx 10km, knee felt ok
Day 6:  Strength: Session Squat, Press, 1+Aerobic conditioning run: 60min, mainly flat, taped knee, main focus on correct running form Day 7: Rehabilita…


I need big goals. I train at my best when working to push my limits. Examples of when I got my training right, worked very and had life on track have always been when working towards significant targets. The main one's that come to mind are:

1st marathon1st Ironman triathlon1st sub-3hr marathon There have been others. For my big goals to work, I also need a genuine desire to achieve that goal. It has to be more than just doing something a bit better or faster than before. It has be more than just going somewhat faster. An element of fear has to be there. That fear may simply be the fear of failure, or it can be as big as wondering if I can even complete the race. So far it has always come from initial throw away thoughts that spark a little further interest. At some point I follow up that interest and it develops into almost a need to pursue the next challenge.
At the moment triathlon doesn't fuel my passion. Running does. I want to go back and run a faster marathon. I want to …

First Week

I have covered my goals leading into next year, and outlined a training plan to get there. Exactly what this involves may be best demonstrated by giving some and daily and weekly accounts. Instead of a generalised post every now and then. My first training week (8 days) went a little something like this...

Day 1: High Intensity
Eltham Fun Run 10km race. About 5km worth of warm up and 1km cool down, so 16km for the day. I came in 6th overall in 38:25 overall a hilly course. I raced at a high intensity, and pulled up very sore.

Day 2: Recovery
My left knee and quads were a little questionable the day before the race. The race certainly hammered that weakness. With my quads trying to halve their lengths and spasm, my patella tendon was suffering from all the abuse. Sore to touch, very painful to move. Ice, rest and gentle physical therapy on the muscle bellies, was what was required.

Day 3: Basic Run
66 min and 9.7km, giving a pace of 6:52/km. Slow, but the HRav was 125. The lowest intensity…

Interpreting Day One

The point of training is to get better at racing. So I chose the Eltham Fun Run 10km as my first day of training for the new program. It was to also serve as a genuine test of my true fitness and racing skills. What did this day tell me?

My current 10km race time is now 38:25.  Outside of my target range of 37:17 - 36:13. This difference is probably reasonable right at the start. Most of my 10km race times have been in the 38:xx area over the last few years. So this is probably my base level. The task now becomes to improve from here.

Working off the McMillan Running Calculator my current predicted race times are as follows:

5km 18:30 (3:42)10km 38:25 (3:50)21.1km 1:25:29 (4:03)30km 2:05:10 (4:11)42.2km 3:00:17 (4:17)

As can be seen above, my predicted marathon time is 12 minutes faster than 4 weeks ago. Two possibilities here. First is I gained a high amount of fitness from the marathon race and the recovery period had me fresh on race day. Second is my ability for the shorter races i…

Training Into 2012

I have some goals.
I have my race result.

Now for the training plan.

Heart Rate Zones:

HRmax: 188
MAF HR: 151

B: 113-131 (60-69%) Base
E: 132-151 (70-80%) Aerobic conditioning
T: 152-165 (81-88%) Anaerobic threshold
V: 166-188 (89-100%) VO2max

Training Week:

8 days (not everybody else's 7 day, Monday to Sunday)

Because of the rotational shift work and variability in commitments, the plan is a set of priorities. Each training week will then be structured in how to best meet those priorities given my other commitments.


Long RunHigh Intensity RunSupportive sessionStrength sessionBikeStrength sessionSwimSecondary Basic RunCore trainingBike This is the initial training. There is a lot in there that isn't running. However, I am finding I need this other work to limit over use injuries and other issues.
Priority 1. Long Run: 2-5 hours, initially aiming for a duration of 2:30-3:00. I would like the majority of to be in the aerobic conditioning zone, but do expect that when …

Eltham Fun Run 10km - Race Report

Marathon. Recovery. Some exercise. No genuine training.

To kick off the first day of training I decided to start hard with the Eltham Fun Run 10km.

Last year I managed 9th place in a time of 39:31. Check last year's race report here. This year I wanted to do better. With having four weeks of recovery post marathon, I didn't really know if that was going to be possible. Whatever the case, I developed a race plan.

With hardly any flat, this is a race of up and down. Mainly on bitumen, plus a small section of gravel. Not really a fast course, but a course I can make work for me if I can put up with a painful race. Having the ability to travel fast downhill and even gain a little recovery, I wanted to push the concept of going extra hard on the ascents. It is a risk, and may rob me of significant time later in the race, but if it works then I can gain some places and maybe some chunks of time when heading against gravity. There have been a handful of races over the year that I hav…

Goals Setting Towards 2012

To get the most out of my running I need a plan. Working rotational shift work (8 day cycle) and not living off a typical 7 day week forces a different line of thinking. It isn't as simple as writing a repeatable week that covers 8 days. I have to take into account the commitments that are related to the Monday to Sunday world. For example, day 2 of my training week may be a Wednesday or Sunday. The competing interests of the rest of my life will be very different depending on which day it is. Over the years I have tried a few approaches. Many mistakes have been made. There have also been a few successes. What follows, is the starting point of my next major stint of training.


Currently I do not have an exact race in mind. That doesn't preclude me from setting some strong goals. I've been tossing around the concept of running a couple of trail ultramarathons next year. I'm looking around the 50km-ish mark. Exactly which ones and at what level I'll compete in ha…

Learning From Mistakes

This year's marathon preparation was almost a contrast to my 2009 effort. This year I made some significant mistakes that kept me a fair distance from any attempt at a personal best. Two years ago I got a lot right which resulted in a PB of over 10 minutes. Often it is important to focus on the positives and take the best from each situation. On the other hand, I also think it is important to analyse the mistakes to understand why they happened, where the future risks are and to develop strategies to not make them again.


Instead of going the miniature and covering every speed variance in each run versus heart rate, or marking kilometers covered versus sleep, it will be more useful to take a larger view of my training. The outline of goals versus the type of training actually completed and in relation to the rest of life will be more useful. Let's get into it.

The Goals

I wanted to run a new PB at the Melbourne Marathon, that meant faster than 2:58:44. There was even hop…