Thursday, May 13, 2010

On the Way Back! - Little bit on weight etc.

Have had an awful week workwise- had my second set of professional exams so was working around the clock from about last Thursday till Wednesday in order to make sure I was completely okay and had nothing to worry about (fingers crossed!).

Have just kept up running a steady 60 or so minutes a day this week as well (with a few faster spurts at ~tempo pace on the run into work on Tuesday) - have also realised in my usual post target race slump I've managed to put on half - three quarters of a stone (usual weight is 10 stone, sometimes dipping down to 9 3/4 during heavy training) - clearly got to cut back on the hot chocolates at work!

Seems as reasonable point as any to address weight! My policy (which may or may not be healthy but it seems to work for me!) - is that I know ten stone is about the right weight for me when running decent mileage - if I'm a few pounds either way I don't  really care. If it creeps out to a quarter stone or so out I generally just make small adjustments. If I'm at 9 3/4 then there'll be a couple more soft drinks/takeaways etc. and if I'm at 10 1/4 then I start cutting them out. As those who know me know - I've an awful soft drinks habit putting it away by the litre - and I like my junk food! - regular Indians and a 17 slice best at the Pizza Hut Buffet - long term once I start hitting some barriers it might be something that'll need serious consideration but I have to admit that I slightly live by the maxim that if the furnace is hot enough - anything will burn!

When I find myself considerably out (never been much lower than 9 3/4 generally) - and know I need to lose a couple of pounds - if I'm in full training I don't really worry as I know that running 80-90 mile weeks just by not eating as much crap but still getting all the healthy stuff in it'll drop off. If I'm not in full training (which is likely as usually the reason the weight can balloon is if I'm not training due to injury etc.) - then I start using the exercise bike more. When I get the Nintendo DSi up or something on TV and just cycle away at a very low heart rate/intensity you can get a lot of cardio/aerobic time at minimal stress to the body.

This is particularly useful as a lot of the time the weight can be contributing to the injury problems. During my worst ever period of injuries lasting 18 months I finally clocked on at one point and got on the scales for the first time in about 12 months- I'd gone from being a very slim 18 year old at about 9 3/4 stone to a 20 year old at close to 12 stone - you wouldn't necessarily notice to the eye- but in terms of my body it meant that for every footstep my already weakened legs/tendons were taking they were carrying an extra 2 stone - by cycling I managed to lose the weight (I usually reckon that 2 lbs / week is the maximum that should be lost and can actually be kept off).

Eating/weight is obviously a slightly taboo subject in the running world as there is  a problem with a lot of serious athletes having eating disorders or more commonly disordered eating! The unfortunate fact is that losing weight below what's best for you usually does improve your running- for a very short while until continual illness and general health problems catch up with you. It's also not helped by the seeming ability of some African athletes to look incredibly lean whilst seemingly fine.

 It's a hard balance to strike - perhaps not helped by the huge divergence between the athletics community (where generally people tend to be very slim) and the running/jogging community (where occasionally people might need to lose a pound or two for optimum performance but generally have very different aims in terms of life goals often not being just to run as fast as possible) - which makes frank discussions about the subject difficult. I once got a text from a friend after a run commenting that I was now looking "much leaner than before and was everything okay?" - whilst I was slightly shocked (my biggest eating problem generally seems to be avoiding stealing food off people's plates due to my greed issues...) I didn't mind being asked- if someone's concerned to my mind they should always say something!

Okay- this is starting to get a bit too long now. Basically try and be healthy people (I won't advise you on diet- that'd be a very much pot-kettle-black discussion!) -  measure weight regularly (but not obsessively!) - and over time find out what weight works best for you. I find a BMI of 19-20 my "optimum" for performance and much over 21 I need to lose a pound or two but that may be totally different for other people.

I definitely need a catch-phrase to sign off with. Answers on a post-card please. Winner will get the pair of trainers in the last post (or maybe one before that?) signed by me, Bryn Reynolds - or there are some used batteries on the table in front of me- you could have those instead.

Time to fly
Keep running
Jog on
Let the demons loose (Once a Runner aside...)
Run for the fun of it?

Monday, May 03, 2010

Striding out again and new laces!

Third day back running. Today was always going to be tough as I had a mock to sit for my professional exams which combined 3 areas for the first time - on a bank holiday! 3rd bank holiday in a row I've missed but will be totally worth it in the long term.

Anyways- after the exam had a great little meal at Nandos with the rest of the trainees before heading back getting a bit of work/revision done at the office before heading home a bit early. Watched an episode of Arrested Development then headed out for the run - was thinking somewhere between 40-60 minutes but having chatted with David we're still keeping this week fairly relaxed so decided to do same 2 loops of Clapham Common but add in 6 x 90m strides just to get the body used to running a bit quicker again.

Run went well - am really quite surprised at how quickly it seems to have recovered. Haven't had a huge amount of "pop" yet but certainly feel pretty much back to usual. Been interested to see how many people have been racing again this weekend immediately after the marathon. Obviously everyone is different but to me that seems crazy and/or like they still feel they have something to prove and are in a real rush.

Strides went well- no issues with how I was moving and think they were probably at around 65/lap pace. One thing that was surprising was deciding to go through one of the little woods dotted around the common and seeing a number of gentlemen dressed a little too well to be out walking the dog loitering around the centre of it - had heard the rumours but didn't realise that it actually happened! Will be sticking quite firmly to the perimeter trail of the common in future!

Laces went on one of my wave riders last week but what with not running haven't had to replace them. Now gotten rid of them and replaced them with the new red HEART laces I got from VLM - totally mismatched and look suitably crazy!

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Recovery Continues

Did my second run back today. 39 minutes jogging two laps around the common at a very easy pace. I'm deliberately trying not to push it too hard after last week being a complete recovery week. This week I'll be looking to run ~50-60 minutes most days with some strides thrown in for good measure and maybe a 75ish minute long run. The week after that will hopefully be closer to 80 and maybe a light session or two... After that I should be back to full training. I'm currently wondering about whether to include a pre-competition period of ~4 weeks of very intense anaerobic work to get me in "track" shape before then starting to race and complimenting the racing with a return to more aerobic work-outs. Still really not sure what to focus on competition-wise. I know the Beagles would like me doing a few chases and to be honest I do like the event- I'm just carp at it! On a personal level I'd like to do some revision to my 800 and 1500m times. Then as the season progresses shift up to do a few 5000s and then a good 10,000 effort aiming to try and break 31:30... Have a short break after the season and then start looking at running a good 10M or HM time this winter- possibly Great South Run or Great North Run? Also might be nice to race abroad so the Amsterdam Half Marathon sounds like a very quick course and I'd hopefully have some 2:18 marathoners to share the pace with...

Right- off to the office to get some work done for tomorrow when have a mock for my professional exams (on a bank holiday - yay!).

Saturday, May 01, 2010

My three medals...

Probably the three medals that mean the most to me together with my herts county xc u17 silver... (Damn that pepper!) Each was a combination of a lot of hard work and training which paid off this season big time and with interest!

Return to Running

Going to try and post more regularly now... hopefully will help keep things fresh!

First run back today- just did a single lap of the common in about 20 minutes. Very relaxed run. Typically though managed to leave it late enough that the good weather had ended and the drizzle had started. Still good though. Really enjoying having a first free weekend in what seems like months (well... when I say free I am going into the office tomorrow...).

In response to the questions/comments on the last entry...

Ben - Many thanks for your advice! I do quite a few of my long runs without fuel (not so much planned but more lack of planning/being late) and it does seem to help but definitely think I need to get more faster running into them. Considering doing the Spedding work-out as part of them just to get me running faster in general. Was very pleased at Eastleigh- the build-up races and just learning to train harder was a major part of this marathon build-up - must admit that catching a South runner in the final km was very pleasing after last September. Looking forward to us having a few battles over next few months at various races!

Anupam- Think you'd be surprised! My first few long runs were definitely scaring me a bit just in terms of time on feet etc. and our long chats and explorations definitely made it a lot easier. We should definitely link up for 2011 if at all possible. With Sean potentially moving over here, Will already not more than 5 minutes jogging away- could be an Oxford endurance powerhouse if you moved anywhere near!

Regarding your schedule- looks good but think you'd fine 7 miles @ ~tempo pace (as HM pace will feel more like 10 mile pace in a training week) pretty intense- would cut that down to 5-6 but apart from that solid stuff. Next time round just going to try and bag so much MP stuff...

Bryn Running

Training diary and musings on running in general.