Limiters

I'm starting to feel like a runner again. This really just comes from the fact that I've been for a run nearly every day for the last couple of weeks. I've had to rethink my approach so as not to develop the same problems that limited the marathon. Those problems still exist to a certain extent, so there is a good deal of rehabilitation required within the training. So here's the basic outline of my current training approach...

I only have two races planned at this stage. First up is as part of a relay team at the Surfcoast Century in September where I'll be covering 28km in the hilly section. Second on the list is the Two Bays Trail 56km in January. I am hoping to throw a few more events in, but I'll see how the body goes.

With those races in mind, the basic structure is a 9 day cycle that looks little something like this...
  1. easy
  2. Intervals
  3. easy
  4. Hill sprints
  5. easy
  6. Threshold
  7. easy
  8. Long
  9. easy
The easy runs are exactly that, easy. Something between 40-90 minutes depending on how I'm feeling and the time I have at a very comfortable pace. In these runs I'll try and cover as many hills as I can, but the idea is purely to add to the base and enhance recovery between the key sessions. These runs should not add to fatigue or recovery requirements.

For the interval sessions I was originally planning alternating between 10km and 5000m pacing each cycle, but after my first few attempts at faster running it is clear this where my injury risk is. As a result I am hitting the athletics, between with 1000m repeats. The pace is purely set at a solid effort within the limitations of my hamstring and glute tightness. I am working within my biomechanical abilities at this stage. The resulting pacing in the first two sessions has been somewhere approaching my 10km race pace, but as per the easy runs is simply a by product of ensuring good technique within certain parameters. Over the previous couple of years I've stressed a fair bit about times on the track. Now I'm changing to just being happy with getting a little bit faster and going a little bit further most weeks.

The next lot of fun are the hill sprints. With these, I seem to be able to get away with intensity. The core of these sessions is to find a steep hill and sprint at maximal effort for about 10 seconds. Recovery is a slow jog back down and a little bit more, not being too stressed by how long it takes. The warm up will also include a mixture of dynamic drills and lighter plyometrics. As a result the distance covered will be quite low, but distance isn't what this bit of exertion is about.

I use the term threshold in the next category of run. Some may call tempo, and others may come up with different jargon. In the end it doesn't really matter what its called, but threshold works for me. Basically this a steady-state run. Starting at 30 minutes in the first cycle and building to 1 hour before working on increasing the average pace. Here I'm erring on the side of caution and not pushing the intensity hard. The first run ended up being slower than marathon pace, but I'll keep these based on feel and see how they unfold.

As may be obvious I'm not overly concerned about the actual paces run. Instead, quality is the key, and quality doesn't stand for intensity. It stands for proper technique, form and creating an stimulus to improve rather than break down. The kilometres accumulated will be a by product of consistently getting the sessions completed. To help keep my head in the right space I am not keeping a tally of weekly mileage. Compared to the training early in this year the speed is well down.

Then there is the obligatory long run. Distance running cannot do without this one. At the moment I am keeping the intensity well down, below the aerobic threshold and training to enhance fat metabolism and gradually increasing the fatigue resistance of my legs. In the marathon training I tried to force the speeds of these runs and broke down quite a lot in the final stages, right now I want to finish strong and will run on the mantra of relentless forward progress. Long starts at two hours and my plans at the moment are to simply keep extending out the time of the run until I feel the need for a different approach.

Of course there is more to running than just running. Everything else in life can influence the quality of the running itself. Whether it be the amount of sleep, how you usually sit in a chair and even stress from work and all the rest that happens. From a training perspective I will be doing a lot more strength work, both specifically for running and also generalised in order to work at the other important aspects of physical health. On top of this I will be paying more attention to my diet, taking the tact of ensuring I am providing myself with enough nutrition to build, rather than the focus on making a racing weight. Getting older combined with a few connective tissue problems has highlighted what worked in the past may not be my best approach now. All of the above forms the basic plan. Like all best laid plans it won't pan out like that. I do enjoy making it work.





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