Monday, July 12, 2010

Keep spending limits of my life

Very interesting session with Noel Thatcher who managed to squeeze me in on fairly short notice. Split it up into two halves basically - firstly trying to work out what existing problems there are in my body which could well limit me in the future (and quite likely caused the current issues!) and then in the second half working specifically on the current problem. Great seeing a physio who totally understands the drive that runners have (undeniably greater than my own) to get better.

The good news is that the achilles injury is on part of the achilles which has a good blood supply and that the injury itself probably isn't as bad as the pain occasionally suggests - around the insertion point although there is tendinopathy (and if any of this is wrong it's my fault for not remembering properly what Noel said!) but the "irritation" from the shoes is due to a small patch of hypersensitive tissue - basically that particularly bit shouldn't be lasting but just until it calms down. There's still a lot of work to get the achilles healthy but on the whole it's not as bad as might have been thought.

The bad news is that it and the strain on the outside of my foot are almost certainly caused by a complete lack of mobility and extreme tightness around the rest of my body. My glutes have apparently "gone to sleep" and are just totally non-functional almost when I run. My hip flexors are tight as anything so there's no way I'm driving my body forward properly. My hamstrings are... well... they're my hamstrings just as they've always been and roughly the same length as my patience in not running. I've got an asymetric pelvis which whilst not great isn't a huge worry apart from the fact that the tight glutes, ITBs, hamstrings etc. are exacerbating it.

So going forward - I have exercises and stretches to do. Basically along three main lines - 1) strengthen achilles (eccentric heel drops) 2) stretch out all my very tight muscles groups 3)reawaken my glutes and basically learn how to run properly.

On the plus side once this is all done then I'll be able to run possibly not looking like I'm on a long haul flight to the US and settled in for a long journey (I sit down - a lot) and hopefully a little bit faster/more efficiently as well.

My fastest ever 400m was oddly enough set the summer after I was badly enough injured I couldn't run more than a minute or so and ended up just doing a solid 20 minutes of drills each evening and sometimes 2-3 times a day. Almost immediately I came back and whilst I couldn't run aerobically for toffee I was much more fluid. Looks like I'll need to try and be more of a complete package now than the stereotypical marathon runner!

Whenever I think about it - it always shocks me how we're willing to throw ourselves into 10-12 hours of running a week and yet spend so little time learning "how" to run.

To the commenters (it's appreciated!):-

Aaron - Thanks for the support mate - miles will be down a bit temporarily but as long as I can tick over I won't be too frustrated. Seeing the progress you've made recently has been pretty inspiring stuff for the rest of us!

Anonymous - You're absolutely right. I'm working on it - probably having breakfast at least two out of five weekdays now but it's still not enough. Unfortunately I'm not a morning person. Once I'm running regularly in the mornings I think it no longer becomes even vaguely optional though.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Run to where you want...

Couple of succesful days running to report. Yesterday did 17 minutes steady (~6:30mm) followed by 18 minutes easy jogging. Generally I felt fairly good on this but definitely wasn't an improvement on the whole today so I just went for a very relaxed jog up to Battersea Park to see them taking all of the stuff for the JP Morgan Corporate Challenge down. Really hope to race it competitively next year. Unfortunately I always seem to be injured in the summer- perhaps need to work out why!

Marginally awkward elevator conversation on the way down from work (working in a different building for next 5-6 weeks so don't know everyone!) - with a group heading off to the challenge. Said I ran a bit and hoped to have done it but company wasn't able to get me a place.They offered me a spare place which I had to turn down with my achilles injury. Got chatting and asked me what sort of time I'd have liked and said something in the 15:xx minute range when fit. They clearly were moderately undecided as to whether I was bsing or they should be impressed (group seemed split about 50/50). Lost track when stopped to top up my oyster but passing them in the queue a few minutes later I heard one say "yeah- everyone has times and stuff from school sports days and dodgy events" - ye goods I wished I had my national 12 stage medal with me! Be interested in how people deal with the dichotomy between us knowing that what we do really isn't that special (and that we're really distinctly average) and that the average person (maybe that should be runner?) is blown away by it? (False?) Modesty usually seems the best policy and not really talking much about it.

Spent most of the evening watching the Diamond League meeting in Lausanne and some fantastic performances by Michael Rimmer and Lisa Dobriskey on the British distance side. Rimmer has been world class at times in previous seasons but now appears to be able to do consistently and this was rewarded with a strong new PB - unfortunately the Polish athlete he beat at the European Cup managed to marginally edge him! It's looking to be a great European championship between the two of them and Borzakovsky. I noticed that we're not taking the full complement in the 800. This seems foolish to me when we can take more - in 2006 after "that Watford race" - it looked like we had three big talents but Hill and Rimmer definitely took the headlines. Ellis took the medal. If we can send the athletes- particularly in an event like the 800 - we should do. Rimmer has clearly moved on from then however - it's great to see him throwing himself into the Diamond League- to my mind (for reasons to be explained later...) it's a fantastic innovation and has given real structure to the calender particularly in this non-championship year. What's noticeable in this (and the previous Golden League and high quality meets now in Diamond League) is that often the "race" which can dominate the world rankings can come slightly unexpectedly (often because without a "star" the athletes seem to race more freely) but by being present all season you guarantee your chance of being there when "it" happens or similarly a slightly slower race gives you a chance to come through. This is in stark contrast to when some British athletes (in all fairness being self funded usually) go across to a single European meet and hope that it ends up being the "one" with the race they need.

Rest day tomorrow with just some cycling - if achilles is great might pop out for 30 minutes but want to make sure am ready for physio on Saturday.

For dinner I cooked Lamb Chops with a moroccan sauce (sadly pre-applied) on a bed (doesn't that sounds so much more fancy than "with") couscous which I added chickpeas and dried apricots to. I also fried some polenta which was interesting as I've never had it before (quite solid stuff as well rather than granular) - but is apparently moderately close to Ugali. Wasn't amazing but definitely edible - can see what people mean when they talk about it not being a "natural" taste.

Right- time for bed! Night all. 

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Tweaking the System

So- aiming to build back up. I'm coming at the whole thing pretty much from scratch again (current estimate of fitness is about 4:30 1500 / 16:40 5000 / 34:00 10,000 - very roughly and totally guesstimating) - so what can I work on from the beginning now?

Flexibility and stretching. This has been an area I've just been generally improving on over the last 6 months or so with regular opportunities to stretch at beginning/end of runs being taken advantage of.

Sleeping habits. They're poor to say the least but now I've started full-time work they're actually slightly better. It'll be a tough change when I start running in the mornings again though!

General strength.  My body as a whole is generally not particularly strong - increasing use of body weight exercises and v. light weights should at the very least improve general strength and specifically work on legs and calves so they can take the pressure of running high and up on toes for 10+ miles.

Diet. Recently my diet hasn't been the greatest - although cooking for myself it's usually been the case of just lumping something into the oven most days. At lunch my diet has generally been better (usually a salad (mostly kidney beans to be fair)) and either a sandwich or jacket potato with cheese and beans. Breakfast is frequently skipped but I'm working at improving this. Main area to be worked on though is the evening meal which is going to involve more pasta (without drowning it in sauce) and grilled chicken/lamb. Cutting out the ludicrous quantities of fizzy drink might also help.

Massage- just generally using "The Stick" to ease up calves, quads etc. and try and deal with injuries and strains before they happen.

Plan for this evening is 35 minutes jogging and 30 minutes cycling - wish me luck!

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

The Long Road Back...

Hey all,

As most will know - whilst I was making a slow recovery from London I opted to do the Green Belt Relay and managed to tweak my foot/achilles pretty bad on the first day and racing the second day made it worse. It's been an odd injury as I've never been in great deals of pain and been able to keep jogging through-out (3 x 70-80 mile weeks and then about 3 weeks of 20-30 as I've tried to give it a chance to recover) - finally had a run tonight I would describe as 99.9% pain free so am hoping to start blogging again on my hopeful return to form.

Will be trying to tweak things as I go along and get better at the simple stuff. First up I'm going to see Noel Thatcher for physio to absolutely get this sorted and worked out.  Noel is a great guy and whenever I'm home a pretty awesome training partner - it's good having someone to bounce ideas and the like off especially when they've been there before and know what it's like.

Despite the fact I could probably build up now I reckon it's crucial that I get any biomechanical issues I might have sorted out now. I can probably get away with them at 80mpw but as I gradually build up it's going to be harder to do so.

In terms of racing - I think my next major goal is going to be GSR if I can get a place. Originally I was looking at running a track 10k but I doubt I'll have time now to get fit for late August so track might be off the agenda. I might see if I can do the Cardiff 10k to get an idea of fitness and after GSR it'll be pushing on for the Leeds Abbey Dash and a 31:15 attempt. Once I have some basic fitness (e.g. running 60-70 minutes a day) - key to getting back into shape will be short progressive tempos (5 miles going from 6:00 to 5:20 - then 5:50 to 5:10 as I progress) - then as I get closer to fitness mixing 10 mile tempos at 5:3x with 5 mile tempos at 5:20 will be key sessions together with learning to be efficient at 5:0xmm - probably through sessions like 8-10 x mile / 3-4 x 2 mile off 60 and finally some VO2 max stuff at sub 5mm.

Of course that is just pie in the sky at the moment with my most recent fitness seeming to suggest 4:50 is my flat out mile at the moment!

Okay- keeping this a short one as one of those "tweaks" is to ensure I get 7-8 hours or so of sleep a night!

Training 6th July 2010

~30 minutes @7:30mm (4)
~20 minutes exercise bike (10.08km)

Bryn Running

Training diary and musings on running in general.