First Week - ESG Training

After five days of no running and just recovery work, I was champing to get back into training. The first day started with a very easy 60 minutes Nothing spectacular about this run. Get out, keep the intensity low and allow the legs to transition gently back into running. It reminded me of a Junior Mint... very refreshing.

On the second day, the run was delayed until the evening. Originally planned to be in the morning, but out for dinner and a ghost tour made for a late night. As a result the sleep took precedence. So after the sun went down I got out for another hour. The intensity was up a little bit more as I tried to pick the most complicated footing possible. The run took me through a mixture of short and rough off road with plenty of slippery surfaces due to the rain. Through the more industrial and suburban sections I found myself jumping fences, up and down stairs and through the various levels of car parks and town square. This run highlighted just how stiff I have become around my ankles, plus how slow I am at sharp changes in direction.

Up early the next day. Really my body wanted an extra couple of hours sleep, but if I was to fit in my 2 hours of running in the morning, then there was no chance after a 12 hour shift at work. So up before the sun and out into the pouring rain. The air was warm and the rain seemed to keep others away from the trail. My legs mentioned it had only been 9 hours since the last run, but they were working properly by the end of the warm up. Next came 2 x 7.6km, with 5 minutes of easier running, over the flat Diamond Creek trail. The heart rate alarm kept me from dropping below my threshold zone. The session was above my comfort zone, but not quite fast enough to hit comfortably hard, instead it was an uncomfortably solid run. The second repeat was at the same heart rate as the first, and resulted in a slightly slower run. The times are slower than what I want, but they are what I expected. Back home after a total 22km and I was wrecked. Time for breakfast.

Day 4 and the intensity dial was again turned up another notch. As today was leading into a night shift everything moved later into the day. Importantly I caught up on most of my sleep debt. A series of hill repeats. I picked one that took about 2:10 to scale that had a few twists, a couple of moments of questionable footing and the key was an ever increasing gradient to the top. Heading up I made a concerted effort for full range of motion and gain air time on each stride. Going down, provided the heart and lungs some respite, but not for the legs. The musculature was still hammered from yesterday, plus was taking a further beating from both the extra power requested upward and the impact on the controlled falls. In the end I only completed five repeats and all up the run took a mere 40 minutes. Plenty of room to move.

The fifth day was a write off. The 14 hour night shift knocked me for six and I just did not go for a run. There were thoughts on the day that I would just swap what was meant to be an easy run today with the day off running on the seventh day. I was also concerned about the belief I had that not running after night shift had me feeling flat for the next few runs. This was dispelled when I hit the track on day 6. Here I clicked off 8x400m at what for me is quite quick. The session felt great, the speed came almost naturally. It was great to be back on the track working with meters and seconds. Then a few hours work in the garden, swinging the mattock, and ripping out english ivy and blackberries took the place of a weights session.

A broken sleep thanks to the pets had me ignore the early alarm on day 7. When I did get up for the kids, it was clear the 400m repeats wasn't exactly something I was used to at the moment. I tossed around ideas of fitting in a run while looking after the kids, run with them in the pram or hit the treadmill when one's asleep and the other is having her quiet time. Hobbling around pointed out, running some more today was only going to delay recovery, so I reverted back to original plan for this day and took the recovery. A good walk with the dog and kids acted for the light exercise to help stimulate some blood & lymph flow.

Finally the 8th day of the week arrived bringing with it the long run. The night before I prepared my gear, mapped out my route, attempting to link as much technical trail as I could mix in. Also if the map warned a path or road was steep then it was included. An early alarm had me go through the motions in almost a trance. A wrong turn at the end of my court was the first of many. Quite a different course than planned resulted, but plenty of hills, bush and some scenic locations, mixing it with the local kangaroos. Despite all that good stuff, this run was a struggle. Clearly the week's training had taken it's toll. My lower legs were in pain after the first few steps and they got worse throughout. My speed was extremely slow and due to this and a lack of overall power I was forced to walk way too many hills. I refuse to the check the distance of this run as I know I will be disappointed with kilometers covered. Still I was out there for 3:20.

A reasonable starting point for my preparation for the Emergency Services Games. It is definitely a sharp increase in intensity from the previous 3 months of base training. I think I am on the right track with the format. At least it highlights where my current strengths and weaknesses are at. Based on this week, I am very good at the higher end aerobic and anaerobic threshold running. My flat level running is clearly above all other levels, especially with the ability to pick the speed up. The problem is running fast is really knocking my legs around for 2-3 days afterwards and the slower recovery looks like it affecting the other sessions. My long run suffered for this reason. At this stage of training, it doesn't matter too much if the long run is slow, even with some walking, as long as I can see some overall improvement each week. As for hills, I'll just say they need a lot of work, really I need to see a lot of improvement over the next few weeks.

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