Friday, August 13, 2010

'Cause I'm in Need of Some Restraint

Well - progress continues. Yesterday topped off a solid morning run with a very easy jog then drills and 90 minutes on the exercise bike before today running into work at a decent clip. Really feel that I'm getting a lot more of a range of motion around my ankle joint so positive stuff on the whole.

Interesting day - I usually set aside one day a week where I try to have a beer or two and just relax (that being better I reckon than nothing for a month or two before an absolute blow out). It always seems to bring things into focus.

Had a leaving do for a friend today as she managed to get her dream job elsewhere. Had the following conversation on the way back (my fellow new starters found out about London when I couldn't walk the next day and I made the mistake of telling them the U23 ranking) - "So do you want to go to the olympics" - "well yes, but that isn't happening", "I thought you were the top ranked in the age group", "yep, but all the good runners don't do them this early"(honourable exceptions for Wanjiru and Kebede), "So you're going to get better?" "Well hopefully but I'll still be miles off the pace". Just interesting to see the contrasting views of runners/non-runners. I'm moderately happy with a 2:31 debut but know that my chances of ever running 2:15 are slim to say the least (the only thing that gives me hope is how many of yesteryears runners managed to go under 2:20...) but to a non-runner it's only 16 minutes! It also makes me wonder a bit - given that I've run 2:31 and think I've got a very limited chance at running 2:20 that's pretty much one minute a year at most for the rest of my potential career!

Also interesting to put things in focus. I had a beer. Just the single. And stayed out chatting away etc. It does make me wonder though - how much more can you improve/could you improve if you took it utterly seriously. I'd say I generally take it seriously, but just doing the drills these last few weeks makes me realise how much I could have been doing that I haven't. Instead of going out for a drink I could have done an extra cycle session, another session with the stick (instead of just the usual quick workover), massage on all parts of the leg rather than just a concentrated session looking at loosening an ITB, few more weights, bodyweight exercises, core - there's a whole list out there of things which help you improve and I'd be interested in knowing who out there honestly feels they dedicate their lives 100% to the sport.

I can think of very few runners I know who do. It's utterly impractical. The big one is having to work/study for a living. That's life unfortunately. But maybe, just maybe, that whole-hearted 100% focus is what allows the Kenyans and the Ethiopians to get that extra 1% which takes them clear of the rest of the world. Farah cut his honeymoon short and went straight to a training camp, and he's looking like he has that extra 1% now.

And whilst I know it's impractical, short-sighted and just ridiculous for an athlete (which is stretching it!) of my calibre, you sometimes just have to wonder - "what if I did focus like that, how good could I be?" - before usually settling down for another pint. That said if I can manage to combine running to a good degree (including up to and above 100 mile weeks!) together with a normal life, that'll be for the best without a doubt but I'll still be waiting to see if that hunger emerges to really try and hit the absolute limits. For the moment running a low 31 10k would do very nicely though!

Keep on running and hopefully see you all at the races soon. Albeit not the Olympics!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Time has come to make things right

So the last few weeks have gone fairly smoothly. I've managed to up my exercise biking and my running to the extent where at the very least I'm no longer losing fitness.

That's all really subsidiary to my achilles though. It's made progress but not as quick as might be hoped (a large part to do with realising I was doing my heel drops entirely wrong which thankfully Noel managed to correct me with in fairly quick order!) and I think there's now some substantial progress being made - in particular they're now targeting (and reproducing the pain!) exactly where the sore patches are. Hopefully towards eliminating issues that aren't just short term but might have been lurking since 2006...

I think the drills are generally helping, if not the achilles then just generally in making me a more efficient runner. The key is going to be integrating them once I'm back to a full training schedule.

Hit a good run back tonight - decided just to hit a steady from work, then spent a fair bit of time on the bike - roughly 100 minutes. Hopefully should help build up some general leg strength as well.

Adios for now.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Got to heal the wounds that we've made

Update time I guess!

Will actually get the last two weeks training logs up soon. Basically things seem to be going on track. The achilles is definitely improving (Thursday I was actually able to wear normal shoes with no issues) - but it's going to be a matter of weeks/months until the eccentric dips manage to improve it substantially.

That said am now running pain free in my vaporflys and am gradually increasing the volume of running. I've also finally stopped moping and gotten myself on the exercise bike. It's not perfect but if you're putting in long stints on it, a) you keep the weight down (and I was getting perilously close to a stone above training weight - now it doesn't make a huge difference to my appearance but an extra stone with every footfall - not good on an injured achilles!) and b) it keeps you at least aerobically fit.

Right now with drills, limited running and extensive exercise biking I'm hitting over 2 hours a day training - that's not going to win me any medals but should keep me under 17 minute 5k shape and make a comeback much easier once my achilles is fully healed. I really felt it a bit last few days getting back into semi-decent training - it takes a week or two for the body to adapt- luckily I was at clapham all this weekend so nice and easy to take a midday nap!

One thing I would be fairly interested in is seeing my actual sprint speed in the next few months. Right now 6 days a week I'm putting in 20 minute a day of drills and then a few strides - last time I ended up doing something like this (but nowhere near as rigorously) I dropped a 56 high/57 low 400m despite having very little running under my belt. Not really intending to too but temptation might get too much. If I can keep this up I'll certainly look at doing a few time trials and maybe even doing some running indoors and see if I can get anywhere near 2 minute for 800m.

If anyone knows where to get any shoes (or any models) with a very flexible heel cup (or very cushioned) - a la the Nike Vaporflys please let me know - currently they're the only ones that don't manage to completely shred my achilles at the moment.

Training log up very soon. Haven't done the final calcs but next week the total training volume (running/drills/ex. biking) will be good I hope...

Bryn Running

Training diary and musings on running in general.