Back on the Treadmill Again

Well, I didn’t get going on the day I wanted to, but I got there.  Treadmill run at lunch time today while working from home so that I could squeeze it all in.  Started the program with a bang – I’ve increased my paces for intervals by two levels in the Nike training plan which made for a pretty full on session today.

Tempo pace, which was my “easy” today has increased from 7:10 to 6:30min/km.  Fastest intervals were kilometre pace, which has increased from 6:15 to 5:35min/km.  I didn’t do this exact session last time around on this plan, so I don’t have anything to compare it to, but intervals last time were always relatively easy.  I don’t think that’s going to be the case this time!

I have a couple of sessions to catch up on, but if I can squeeze one in every other day for the next week I will be all caught up.  Good things about my run today were my heart rate recovery between intervals was great dropping back under 120bpm every time and usually a lot less.  My cadence was also looking good with my fastest intervals jumping to about 170spm on average – so much better and I wasn’t even focussing on it.  I’m also looking forward to seeing the impact the faster interval sessions will have on my pace overall!

What’s Coming Up?

Confession time – I haven’t been for a run since the NOSH event.  We even just had a long weekend, which usually means a great opportunity to fit in two longer outdoor runs – this time, nothing.  I’m not injured, the kids aren’t sick, we didn’t have plans that stopped it from happening, I just didn’t want to.  So I didn’t.

But, that has to change.  It’s 14 weeks away from my first official half marathon event.  I’m going to give the same training plan another go and this time I’m going to stick to it and try not to make the same mistakes again.  I need to actually DO the simple strength training, stretching and foam rolling my body needs to keep running.

So other than a half marathon at the end of September, what else is lined up?  (Because with orienteering going on, there’s never just one event within a three month period!)  In three weeks is the annual Sydney Turkey Trot – a line course orienteering event usually taking in urban bushland, but this time up in the Blue Mountains.  Assuming we can get baby sitting lined up, we’ll be up for the medium course (approx 12km) again.  There’s a 6 hour rogaine in Canberra in mid-August that I’m trying to sort out too.  The in-laws are lined up to come down with us and look after the girls while we do the event and we can all hang out together the rest of the time and get to check out some of the fun things Canberra has to offer.

Hopefully we can get along to a few other smaller orienteering events in between these and, despite the half marathon being a road race, I’ve eyed off some local trails I haven’t been on yet to check out for some of my longer runs.  I need to get back on trails again – my mind doesn’t get the same refresh from the road runs that it does from an hour or two on the trails.

Now I just have to make sure I get back on the treadmill, starting tonight!

Lessons Learnt

Some big lessons, some reminders and some things I really should know better after last weekends trail race.

  • Don’t ignore your asthma, just because it’s seasonal, mild, whatever. You have it.  Carry a puffer. Don’t be slack with taking the preventer.
  • In preparing for a hilly trail race, run hills and trails in training. To be fair, I knew this  and had planned more hills and trails. Calf issues early in the year and achilles pain more recently had me pulling back on this and running mostly flat road runs. Which would have been great for a flat road half marathon. Not so much a lesson as a reminder that the way my training went meant that while I am fitter this year, I’m still not trained for the terrain. It did at least have me fit and able to run, rather than injured and having to sit it out completely, but I was never going to get my time goals training this way.
  • Strength training will help! Yes, of course I know this. But I’ve never had it thrown in my face quite so effectively 🙂 Those calf raises, squats and bridges my physio keeps telling me to do? I need to start doing them. I worked out a bit too late the perfect time to do my calf raises – while I wait for the train in the morning on my way to work. Every day from now on! Now to find the perfect time for the others.
  • Sort out fueling. My husband told me after the race that I need to start fueling earlier as I was getting snappy. I think my first thing was less than 40mins in though.  Personally I think I just don’t like people talking to me when I’m not in the mood for it as I often do runs over an hour without anything. But I do need to sort it out, I just didn’t prioritise it. Work out if trailwind, nuun, whatever, work for me and test them – preferably before I hit a trail with no nearby toilet stops!
  • Make sure I get out on the course a couple of times in training where possible. I had been on the first part several times in the past six months which made it a comfortable, known section. While this is our third year running the event, having a couple more outings on the latter parts would definitely help.

Plenty to work on for next year and I’m sure it will help with everything in between as well.  There were some things I did right as well though, so maybe they will make it for another post.  Next up, Sydney Turkey Trot on 2nd July!

April-May Stats

Well, it’s been a while since I looked at my stats for a month.  The last two months have been my biggest ones so far – even with a few skipped runs this month due to the wrong shoes.  So, with no further delay, here it is!

April

  • Distance: 85.6km
  • Elevation: 873m
  • Number of runs: 10

May

  • Distance: 75km
  • Elevation: 559m
  • Number of runs: 8

That’s 160km in two months!!!  That’s huge for me.  Two years ago I was lucky to hit 30km in a month.  I’m now kicking close to 600km in the last year.  Even better, my new shoes arrived yesterday so here’s hoping for more pain free running in June.  But first, on Sunday, there’s the NOSH 16km trail race!

Shoes, shoes, shoes…

About a month ago I had to admit that my trusty Brooks road shoes were on the last legs.  It was time for some new shoes.  While the Adrenalines were generally comfy and didn’t give me any issues, they did give me a few hot spots and the last rogaine gave me a couple of blisters.  So I thought I’d check out some other shoes and see if I could find something that fitted a little more like the comfy slippers that were my trail shoes.

Tried on a few different ones and it came down to the Brooks Ravenna and Asics GT-2000.  In the end, I decided to go with the Ravennas.  My first run in them was amazing, it was fast, comfortable and I felt like I was floating.  Next run, not so good.  After only 4km my knees started aching, by the end of the run my knees hurt, my shins ached and my hamstrings were tight.  I put it down to doing my longest run to date.  The last two weeks the only runs I’ve done are my long runs on the weekend as my legs have been so sore.

Finally clicked that it’s probably the shoes – they’re great shoes, just not right for me.  So, a new pair of Adrenalines is on the way (I considered the Asics, but maybe next time) and I ran todays long run in my old pair.  Soooo much more comfortable, fast and no pain.  Just happy, tired legs.  Can’t wait for the new pair to get here!

Still Running…

It’s been a busy couple of months with starting a new job and still trying to find time to get in 2-3 runs a week. The training is going well and while most weeks I’ve managed 3 runs, some it has only been one or two while I gave my body a rest due to a niggle in my calves or pushed my way through the usual autumn colds.

My longest run was 17.5km two weekends ago and boy was that one tough! Getting the trots around kilometre 15 sure didn’t help, especially when I was still 1km from the nearest toilet. That was a pretty desperate time and I was lucky to make it… I’ve stuck mainly to road runs with only one or two longer runs on trails as they seemed to stir up my achilles and I didn’t want to risk being out of action for the final run. My physio helped to sort things out and reckons I’m good to go, so I’m glad I got on to it before it all went bad for once.

There have been good runs – the effortless 8km one Friday morning with brand new shoes – and bad runs – the slow, painful first time I ran 13km – there have been boring runs – treadmill intervals anyone? – and fun runs – 16km from Balmoral around to Sirius Cove and back with my husband on a sunny Saturday morning. My most recent 13km felt great and was 30 seconds per kilometre faster than the first time I did it four weeks earlier, so obviously something is working!  I was supposed to run today, but my legs are a bit achy after the physio dug into my calves yesterday, so another rest day might be in order instead.

I have a draft of my rogaine report from April that I wrote shortly after the event which I’ll get posted soon too and hopefully I can keep on top of posting here again.  It’s been a bit quiet on the orienteering side of things since Summer Series finished at the end of March and I’m guessing it will continue to be a bit quieter over the winter months, although we hope to get along to a few events we’ve made it to the last two years as well.  There’s also another asthma update to be written and the Great Nosh Footrace is less than two weeks off – then we’ll see if the training has paid off!

 

Training Plans

Four weeks in to my chosen training plan and I would say I’m going “ok”.  I’ve managed the three core runs each week (except for this week!) but no extras and I haven’t stuck to it 100%.  But that’s ok and I’m happy with what I’ve been doing and my legs feel like they’re getting stronger.

Most weeks I’ve managed a 45 minute orienteering run which I’ve counted as a “Speed” session along the lines of a fartlek/interval.  Although with my toe still in recovery mode I’ve been taking it a little easier and am just getting back to pace on these now.  There’s been a treadmill session each week which has mostly been intervals. My paces on these are based on a line I semi-randomly chose from the Nike training plan based on one of the only times I’ve done a straight 10km run and my currentish 5km road pace.  I’ve been finding these a bit slow and the intervals a bit easy, so I’ll probably increase these paces a little over the next few weeks.

Then there’s the Endurance run on the weekend.  I think I’ve done one of these properly which was last weekend.  The first two weeks I was supposed to do a 6.5km slow and steady – one week I did trails and the other I was on a girls weekend away and managed to squeeze in a fast 4km instead.  This weekend I’m a bit under the weather, so chose not to run.  So the only real one of these I’ve done is last weekends 10km.  I didn’t want to run the hilly 10km my husband heads out on most weekends, so just did a flattish out and back instead.  It’s a long time since I did a 10km steady run – in fact, I’ve only ever done it twice before!  I slowed right down and managed to keep moving the whole way (minus two pauses at traffic lights).  My other goal was to slightly increase my pace as I went which I also succeeded with!  Every kilometre in the second half was faster than every kilometre in the first half with kilometre nine being my fastest.

Now it starts getting a bit more focussed.  The speed sessions get a bit more intense and I’ll be increasing the pace as well.  The long runs also get a lot longer quite quickly, jumping from 10km to 13km next week and 16km the following week!  The treadmill is definitely getting some use.

Coincidence and Training Plans

I’m currently bang in the middle of two weeks work free while I’m between jobs.  I had grand plans to do some runs in different locations or even put in some decent length hikes, but the broken toe put paid to those plans – for the first week anyway!

So I’m trying to make sure I don’t waste all of my time and wrote a ridiculously long list of things I wanted to achieve across the two weeks.  Within that list was to find a training plan so that I can try and make sure I’m ready for the Nosh Footrace this year.  Both times I’ve run this I’ve ended up with horrible cramps in my achilles and really struggling – but this is my year!  Using trusty old google search, I quickly discovered that there weren’t too many free pre-written training plans for a 16km (or 10 mile) event.  The 5km, 10km, 1/2 marathon and marathon are extremely well catered for, not so much the less “standard” distances.  After scanning over a few of them – one had me running only 3 times a week, one running every day and the length of plans ranging from 8 weeks to 16 weeks I opened up the Nike 10 mile training plan to take a bit more of a look.

Gotta say, it looks pretty intense!  Taking a closer look it breaks down into 3 “workout runs” each week and 4 “recovery” days which can be either shorter run or no-run days.  This could actually work pretty well.  I’m going to have to review it all and make some changes based on the fact that I’ll be doing a trail run and I’m pretty sure this is written for a road race, but I think it’s a good starting point.  It’s also a 14 week plan, which I thought was probably a good idea – a longer plan probably eases into it a bit better for me.  So I checked my calendar to see how far off the Nosh is – it will be exactly 14 weeks from this Sunday!  Couldn’t have planned that better if I tried – coincidence?

On The Dreadmill

Getting out for two runs a week is manageable in summer.  In winter just getting one in requires a bit more effort.  Fitting in three runs a week on a regular basis requires more organisation than I possess.  The solution?  In January, I bought a treadmill.  The only way running farther is going to happen for me is to gradually increase my running by running more frequently.  And the only way I will be able to run more frequently is if I can run without leaving the house.  Hopefully this will also help stop me from pushing harder than I should when I only run infrequently and hence ending up injured more than I would like!

While my intentions are good, it’s been off to an incredibly slow start.  Firstly, I bought the treadmill the day after the physio had told me not to run for 2 weeks – boo!  Then when I was allowed to run again, I wanted to head outside, because I had missed it too much to just run at home.  I started getting back into a rhythm and put a couple of short 2-3km runs on the treadmill – all part of my plan to run a little more frequently without over doing things.  Then two weeks ago, I broke my toe.  Not running related.

Since we have another rogaine on this weekend, I really needed to test out my toe beforehand – so on the trusty treadmill for this purpose.  This way if my toe started screaming at me at any point, I was already home.  I buddy taped my toe, with a little extra tape to prevent possible blisters on the toes now pushed together.  I slipped on my shoes – all good so far.  My plan was to do an hour on the treadmill at whatever pace the toe could cope with.  I hadn’t run for two weeks, and with the break in January as well, my fitness is rapidly decreasing.  Walking 4km/hr was ok, so I turned the speed up and settled at 5.5km/hr – not pushing things, but not dawdling either.  After 20 minutes I increased the speed to 8km/hr for 5 minutes to see how it all went with a bit of running action.  To my surprise, I still felt absolutely no pain or discomfort.  Another 20 minutes of walking, 5 minutes running and ended the hour with a final 10 minutes walking.

Success!  An hour on the treadmill, no pain in the toe and I now have high hopes of coping with the rogaine tomorrow.  I loved that the treadmill allowed me to do this at home so I had the security of knowing that if the toe caused issues, I could stop at any point.  Or is the taping was problematic, I could take a break and sort it out before continuing.  It also meant that I didn’t have to worry about silly things like stubbing my toe on uneven pavements or tree roots on a trail.  While this rogaine is another 6hr event, we will again only be there for a shorter time – no more than 5hrs due to babysitting constraints.  Probably a good thing really.

Stumbling Blocks

After a few weeks of physio in January to sort out my hip, the start of February was off to a great start.  Last week the latest of the summer heatwaves really set in and all bets were off as I waited for the cooler weather that was due.  We stayed away (in air conditioning!) for a couple of days, heading home as the southerly changes were hitting, my mind already planning when/how my next runs would be.  Unpacking the car, I kicked a stack of wood at the back of the carport.  Damn that hurt, hang on, no, that really, really hurt!

I iced my toes for close to an hour in the vain hope that it was just a minor stubbed toe and I would be right in a bit.  After an hour of ice and rest I took a few steps.  Nope, off to the GP.  Probably broken was the consensus, but get an x-ray in 2-3 days just to check.  In the meantime, tape it up and keep off it as much as possible.  The pain when touching it was excruciating.  Nooooo!  We had just signed up for a 6 hour rogaine in two weeks time.

Needless to say, I wasn’t being overly dramatic and the x-ray showed a fracture in my middle toe.  The bruising is really quite spectacular, but oddly enough there’s very little swelling.  The GP I saw this time was quite optimistic about the whole thing.  It’ll be right in 2-3 weeks.  When can I run again?  Oh, in another week you should be right, it might hurt a bit, but it will be ok.  So, I have a 6 hour event in 10 days, will that be ok?  Sure, the fracture will be fine, it’s just about managing the pain and how long you can deal with it.  Ok….

At this point, I’m going to give a walk on the treadmill a go on the weekend and see how it copes – I’m currently still limping a little, but the pain is reducing quite quickly (although I still haven’t poked it again).  It means my goal of getting to 30km for the rogaine won’t be happening, but at least we should still be able to make it.

Ouch!

Ouch!