Saturday 29 November 2014

Good until 22km

This morning I ran my Dore Moor Half Marathon at a leisurely pace; as before keeping an eye on heart rate. The weather was indifferent to poor. I set off in mist and it was drizzly until Fox House. There it was raining needing hood up an head down. Luckily as I moved towards home the rain stopped. Whether this was due to the loss of height, the shelter from the plantation of just the passage of time I don't know.

My stomach was fine. I ensured I didn't over eat last night and I had just a single slice of toast with tea for breakfast. Some part of that seemed to help. All was good until I was very nearly home when my left knee developed a bit of pain laterally and in the patellar tendon. After more food I walked into town to collect some pre-ordered trousers. This didn't seem to trouble the knee but on the homewards journey it became quite uncomfortable and that remains.

I can't find a spot that's tender to pressure so hopefully nothing serious. It's a great shame as for the last three months I've been making slow, but clear, progress after injury. Although my chart shows this as my first 40km week I did a 'rolling' 50km in Spain so this wasn't an especially heavy week.

Next week is a recovery week, I hope it is.

Thursday 27 November 2014

Hilly intervals

The latest edition of Trail Running magazine included a pull out training guide, as it so often does. The programmes all included hill sessions as an opportunity to improve power but that's something I've not tried. This evening I estimated a stretch on a local street which turned out to be 360m rather than the recommended 400m. That was a fairly good guess. The gradient was 5%, again acceptable.

I did 5 ascents, trying fairly hard after the first time. As a first time I didn't see a need to do the recommended 8. One of the notable things about the plans was their lack of progression. They started with 8 and finished with 8. Maybe one should try harder, or perhaps the same effort would result in better performance? The plans also seemed to be a bit short of rest days and rest weeks, some were less than others but not as much as I seem to need.

Anyway, the hill intervals were OK and my knees survived. A good first step.

Wednesday 26 November 2014

No swim

I'd been wondering about today's breaststroke swimming session but in the end it didn't matter. An after 5o'clock work meeting went on much longer than expected, partly because I arrived late for it. If I'd rushed I could have been 10 minutes late for the session but I just didn't have the motivation. This is reminding me very much of being 10 years old when I found excuses to not go to a swim training session where we all got shouted at to push harder. It'll be interesting to see how I feel about next week.

Saturday 22 November 2014


Today's run was spoilt a bit by stomach pain. It appeared around the half way mark and ebbed and flowed until I got home. Eating a bit of Clif bar seemed to dampen it a little. As soon as I got home I took an extra Omeprazole and the pain went - far too quickly for a pharmacological action!

There is some sort of link between running and my gastritis, although there's also something to do with eating largish meals and travelling. Stress is a key factor too. This bout seems to be being a little harder to shake off than previous ones but maybe there is more ongoing stress.

Should I be cutting out breakfast, meals the night before a run, or even stopping running. When I spent a week trail riding on the motorcycle in France I couldn't quite stop the tablets - no running then, but there was travelling.

Some interesting papers to read about poor guts in runners and my interpretation:

  • Simons and Shaskan (2005) - Running can aggravate gastritis and Omeprazole is prescribed. Not eating for 3 hours before exercise helps some people. Best to avoid carbohydrate pre-run too.
  • Choi et al., (2006) - Runners at 200km/week training bleed into their guts from oesophagus and stomach. H2 antagonists (ie different class of drug to omeprazole) reduce the pathology seen by endoscope and blood loss. Even though I don't train this hard, and don't have lesions (or didn't have) my guts are delicate post irradiation.
  • Thalmann et al., (2006) - A proton-pump inhibitor reduce faecal blood post-ultramarathon. Some of the sample already had gastritis.
My take home message from this is that gastritis is fairly common in runners. The studies look at athletes far more active than me but a link is there.

Mostly round

Today's quandary was whether to do a long run or not. It's on the rota but my knees were a little niggly despite 3 non-running days. Despite the mist and drizzle I set off to do the Round Walk in reverse direction and go as far as felt comfortable. As a long run I tried to keep my pulse down although it did creep to 150bpm a couple of times.

Early in the run my left knee felt a bit weak but as I relaxed into it things seemed good and so I kept on going. It was only on the steep descent early in Porter Clough that  it was clear my legs should be given a rest as both quad insertions were slightly sore on the steps down. As the gradient lessened they were OK. Rather than go all the way to Hunter's Bar I turned home via Ivy Cottage Lane.

Plenty of rain last night...
So that was just over 25km. This is my longest run in terms of distance, elevation and time since 1st March. That run occurred during the time of the knee breakdown so I'll have to be careful. Some rest, rollering and hemp protein powder called for now.

Wednesday 19 November 2014

Swim for fitness?

I've joined 'Swimming for fitness' at the Goodwin centre as I was a bit unhappy with my progress KES. I'm not sure if it was a good idea or not. It's a stroke per night and today's was crawl, really all I want to do. There were a few tips and then off we went for a couple of lengths prior to next tip or drill. I was one of the weaker swimmers and I was a little reminded of a class I did when I was 10 years old that put me off swimming classes for nearly 40 years. That's not a good recommendation is it? My biggest hesitation about it is that I got very little feedback on my style. Partly this is due to the class size but it also seems to have something to do with the class format.

Perhaps I'd be better in another session? Next week is breaststroke and I'm not sure that I want to do that at all since I've been advised to avoid that stroke to limit lateral loads on my knees. Do I skip the session, let the leader know or just get on with it?

Tuesday 18 November 2014

Dore road loop

I was rather unsure about doing a run this evening as my knees (both) had felt tired and stiff through the day. Not sore, just less than ideal. Ultimately I had to adopt the approach that I'd only know by getting on with it. I tried hard to have good form and on a level 1km section I was very aware of a fore to mid foot strike with my heel barely touching. The pace was smooth and I felt I could have gone for ever. The speed was not great, just a 5minute km but I approached the ascent to Hathersage Road feeling fresh. I was able to pace it so I stayed running and kept my heart rate around 140bpm.

Heart rate on 140bpm after initial weirdness
I wonder if the lack of a Monday swim and an easy saturday has given me a good cardiovascular recovery even if my legs started off a bit iffy. During the run my knees behaved and really did loosen up with use. As soon as I got home I was on the roller as my calfs especially were rather tight - all that fore foot use!

Saturday 15 November 2014

Tired knees

This nominal rest week has been a little harder on my knees that I expected. Perhaps unwisely, on Tuesday I did a fairly fast run which was inevitably stressful. This was followed by circuits where I managed some squats and small lunges and collectively that was quite a load on the knees and quads.

Therefore today I limited myself to a loop of the woods and included some of the running drills. I didn't have any twinges during that 7km and pain hasn't developed during the evening which are good signs, but I can tell that they are 'tired' at the very least.

Tuesday 11 November 2014

Short and (a little bit) faster

This is a rest week, it's also best part of 4 days since my last run. So the idea was to not go far but make a bit of effort. Last winter I did intervals along the park and now I'm feeling stronger I thought I'd try that out.

After a warm up from home I attacked the 1km straight with fair intensity but not as fast as might have been possible. After all I didn't want to set off any of my recovering injuries. My pace for that was 4:17 min/km which is my 4th best time. The average heart rate was 182bpm. The last third of the segment was at a heart rate of around 155bpm which suggests that I could go a little faster. Conversely at the start at was over 220bpm. Is this possible or is it misreading?

Links like this and here suggest that the band and the chest contacts might be too dry until a good sweat builds up. That's good as I'm sure 50 year old myocardium can't move that quickly!

After the 1km effort I headed home with some streetlamp and tree fartlek both on the level and uphill.

Sunday 9 November 2014

That'll do

I had half planned to run 5km this evening but it's not going to happen. I'm tired after a very long return journey last night and I think I have done enough this week; I feel it could be junk miles. Although some argue that distance is crucial I feel that the overtraining demon is near my shoulder and this week has been relatively hard for me.

I'll make do with some rollering and stretches.

Friday 7 November 2014

Guadalest half marathon

My pre-holiday planning had highlighted the valley of the Rio de Guadalest as a potentially easy, but interesting long run. Although it's a day or so early it seemed madness to postpone a long run until back home.

The hotel arranged a taxi for me, which whilst not cheap, was a lot quicker thsn taking 2 buses. Cost wise it wasn't much more than the entry fee to a recent 10km race in Sheffield, so on that basis I justified it as a reasonable holiday expense.

During breakfast I had niggles from my right knee and my stomach and did my best to dismiss these as 'pre-event' nerves. The taxi dropped me in the village at Guadalest ready for me to descend into the valley. From a previous visit I remembered that the swimming pool is on the road to the reservoir and so followed signs to that. I walked much of the road, mindful of the earlier niggle, the gradient and the absence of a warm up.

The tourist hotspot I didn't visit today
Close to the dam the route took md through an open gate where warnings about security were less than welcoming. Side routes were locked so it appeared that access to the main track was tolerated. At the river this was supported by a distinct path passing around a fenced off facility.

Thereafter navigation was simply a sequence of lucky guesses to stay on the track trackng the river optimally. Around the halfway point near Callosa I made the wrong gamble and had to retrace my steps past many snarling dogs locked into small holdings. The route lacked variety being lined with bamboo and passing through agricultural land mostly.

At 23km I reached the beach just to the north of Altea and was pleased with a time of 2.5 hours. The forecast of 23degrees felt a little conservative and I would have been pleased to have a sun hat with me. Considering the run was a mere 'half' my legs feel worn but I suppose I have done 2 long runs within 6 days with Tuesday's steep run to the cross in the mix. My plan is to do an easy 5km or so on Sunday and then it's a rest week. I will need it.

Tuesday 4 November 2014

To the cross

Tuesday is road day so I headed off along the promenade to do 5km or so. Above me I was tempted by the cross on the southern aspect of Serra Helado which didn't look 'too far'.

Working my way up the road the cross was getting closer but time was passing. The sunset over the bay cast lovely colours, accentuated by delicate clouds.

At 31 minutes I achieved my goal, meaning that I could be back to the hotel within the hour. There was a handful of other sightseers who had walked, run or driven to the viewpoint.

Although I agree with the sentiment I can't agree with painting the roadside.

Once at the cross I had to descend as I didn't want to be on the road after dark. I was just in time as night had clearly fallen when I was back on the promenade. I'm not sure if it was the steep descent, gastritis or a substantial lunch in Alicante (reviewed here) but something made me quite queasy!

I was a little concerned about my knees after the descent but in the short term they seem fine. I did try to be careful.

Sunday 2 November 2014

Terra Mitica

As we flew to Spain yesterday my 'long run' was postponed until today.  I'd designed an 18km loop from the hotel and round over Serra de Cortina and back into town. I set off after a medium-sized breakfast and progressed slowly towards La Cala and then turned inland to Finestrat. My goal was obvious as the lowest of the hills inland of Benidorm.

All of this was on road but eventually, after a total of 6km, I headed up a stoney path.

It was a 1.3km walk to the summit, I'd have struggled to try any sort of run but it was off limits on a long run day. The ridge was runnable amd gave good views back to Benidorm. At the northern end of the ridge there was a view down to the theme park and I wondered how it was possible to get permissions to excavate a hillside.

Bright sunlight spoilt this image a little
The descent to the road was shorter than anticipated and didn't upset my knees. This was followed by a long shallow descent on road. I cut through the theme park to stay off the main roads and that worked well.

After more food and a wash I was walking along the promenade.