Thursday, 28 January 2016

Lost data

After work I nipped down to Millhouses Park to try a short 'fast' run as recommended by the physio. She thinks that I need to make a little more power. This is an old route and so I hoped to see how much slower I was than a year or so ago. I thought it went fairly well and didn't struggle too much on the uphill back home.

Unfortunately the FIT file recorded on the watch is absolute rubbish. The locations are not very near here, the altitude is fiction and the pace what better than I could manage. The heart rate might be about right though! I've looked at the file as a cvs file after converting it (FIT repair tool) and I really can't see how it can be tidying. There aren't any obvious glitches. It's just wrong...

I wonder this has something to do with it. Maybe the ephemeris data is corrupt? It can't be 'real time' data error as the old satellite is offline.

From itnews
I'll just to have note that I did my best and try again in a week or so. The issue now is whether the watch is at all trust worth. I'll have to take the HOLUX out next time and that was a bit reluctant a few months ago in Spain.

January 2016 Week 1 Session 3

After some long days at work I managed to leave early today and reached the pool while it was quiet. The staff were taking the opportunity to top it up so one end was bitterly cold! Oh well, it stopped me lingering.

The warm up was another PB at 5:29mins so I've broken another barrier. Maybe I'll take a step back next time but at least I know it's possible for me.  The training sets were a new approach with a 400m set followed by alternate slow and fast lengths. I experienced the usual loss of pace across the session but the underlying pace was good. In the first fast/slow block I managed 6 out of 10 'fast' lengths at under 2:10min/100m pace but could only manage 2:12min/100m in the second block twice.

An interesting observation is that as I started the second 400m I thought I was being lazy and so tried to increase the effort. The net result was that I was slower and with more strokes per length that in the first set. Was this due to more, ineffective, effort or simply a compensation for tiredness?

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

January 2016 Week 1 Session 2

Today's swim is a little odd as the routine calls for progressive increases in effort and then 200m with paddles. I find the paddles both hard physical effort and a concentration drain so today I did this first routine without them to get a feel for what I should be doing.

I was very pleased that my warm up (with legs) came in at 5:35min; to think that 6:00min used to be a goal! In the first 2 sets I managed to step up the pace by a few seconds for each 66m but by the third set the increase was less distinct although I managed to retrieve the pattern for the fifth. Naturally, there was a gradual loss of pace across the hour of swimming with my habitual increase in strokes/length.

This block is focussed on trying to keep pace throughout a session by building in reserves of speed. In a few months I'll find out if it worked.

Saturday, 23 January 2016

Slowly on Houndkirk Moor

Even though I felt a bit tired I really wanted to do my Saturday long run. To be sensible though I knew it had to be a short long run at under 20km and that I had to go gently.I walked many ascents to keep my heart rate low and walked on the single track across the moor for fear of straining my recovering ankles. The pace ended up as slower than usual but clearly faster than 8min/km ultra pace.

The weather forecast was for a sunny start with rain later and the morning certainly lived up to expectations.

The week's rain was evident in puddles and the softness of the moor leading up to Houndkirk Road. Of course I had wet feet but the well ventilated RocLite 295 shoes let the water out as quickly as they let it in.

I still found that the right ankle area was irritated a little by the shoe and although I removed the lock lacing I was glad to take my shoes off at home. I finding shoe choice a problem at the moment and can't really conclude whether the problem is intrinsic to my ankle or shoe-induced. I suspect that I'd be better returning to size 9 shoes and have tight toes rather than nipped tendons.

Thursday, 21 January 2016

A hard rest week

Tuesday was a rest day but I was stuck on a train. Yesterday I had a swimming lesson and then circuits - never very much so today I felt like a decent run. I went out on the road for 11km and it felt fine although my legs were a bit stiff. Yesterday's squats had made their mark.

Looking back on my times for the Dore road loop I'm a lot slower than I was 2 years ago. I'd like to recover some of that pace but I'm acutely aware that injury came soon after the spell of best ever paces. I was instructed not to race every run! I'm using the HRM on every run now and it is clear that this run is at or above classic tempo run pace and  as such must be handled carefully.

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Swimming PB but not quite to target

This morning I arrived at Julian's poolside office a little bleary eyed after a disturbed night at St Pancras YH. The historic YHA-enforced bedtimes used to seem draconian but today's 24 hour activity shows the rationale.

He was satisfied with my basic rhythm and pleased to hear of my confident buoyless 1500m. On the 400m time trial I set off at what I hoped was a strong but sustainable pace. The final 100m was hard but I worked at it. My time was a new best at just over 8:20 min but missed my goal of 8 minutes. The first 100m was sub 2 minutes, also a PB, which felt fine, maybe even easy. As I suspected as I try to improve pace my stroke length shortens and with that my pace can drop too. The lesson here is to focus on length and cadence.

The only other point to note was that my right arm is tending to crossover on the reach. 

Right arm tending to cross the centreline
 practiced reaching to the right and must keep on that. It felt quite strange, almost as if to the side although on camera the improvement was clear.

Sunday, 17 January 2016


Earlier in the week I received a millionmilelight that I'd supported via kickstarter. It's a clever motion-powered safety lamp for runners. It's bright, it works, what more could you want?

Monday, 11 January 2016

End of swimming week 10

I'd hoped to do the third swim of week 10 yesterday but the pool opening hours didn't fit in well with other things I wanted to do. Today I did 4 sets of 66m alternates which went very well. Once again I managed the warm-up at better than 3:00min/100m pace again so this is becoming something I can do reproducibly.

Two lengths were at 2:01min/100m pace including one in the second set so I'm getting slightly faster and able to do fast/slow better too. The first 3 sets had at least 5s per length differential but this dropped to 2s in the last few reps.

Saturday, 9 January 2016

Ankles and the woods

Since the minor sprain of my left ankle nearly 2 weeks ago both ankles have been a bit delicate. Seemingly I have started to irritate them again with the edges of my shoes. The Red Brookes shoes were especially bad on the run to the circuit class and I threw them off the minute I arrived. The circuit was mostly abdominal muscle work so I didn't miss shoes  on the whole.

For today's 10km-ish (it was nearer 9km in the end) run to be gentle to my ankle I wore the low cut Runnegade shoes. This distance seemed to be fine and they weren't irritating. I think this confirms the the problem with these shoes is not the neoprene cuff but their reduced heel drop. Hopefully I'll gradually get used to it.

Thursday, 7 January 2016

October 2015 Week 10 Session 2

Today's swim was a record length of 2700m and took well over the hour. The routine was 3 supersets of 5 sets each that were supposed to increase in pace.

I can't say that I managed 5 increments in pace. On the whole the latter sets were quicker than earlier and naturally there was a gradual reduction across the 3 supersets. My best pace for a 167m set was 2:16min/100m although I did manage a 2:03min/100m length once.

It seems that I have a best, or favourite, pace and find working above that ineffective. That's pretty much the case for running for everyone so why should swimming be any different?

Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Coped with 5km

Yesterday I was given a green light to move on with runs as various balance tests showed a good degree of ankle stability. I'd done 2.4km on Sunday so I was recommended to try 5km. It was OK at a reasonable pace although I've iced it again to keep going in the right direction.

The right ankle is still being irritated by the cuff on shoes and that's becoming a bind. I must make an effort to do the calf raises etc in the strengthening programme. When I'm confident with road running I can return to the trail where demands on ankle movement and subsequent stability are higher.

Monday, 4 January 2016

Metric mile swim still improving

I'm wanting to go on an introduction to open water swimming but one of the courses requires that you can swim 1000m without a break (in a pool). Last year I knew that I couldn't although 2 years ago it seemed feasible. For some months my swimming has been done mostly with a pull buoy and lengths without have felt awful. So could I do it?

I was very pleased with the outcome in that I reached 1000m at 30:20 and 1500m at 46:40 giving an average pace of 3:02min/100m. That's pretty consistent. I only stopped because I was running out of time - my form was slipping but I could have lasted longer.

Although I fear that the pull buoy has been a crutch there really is progress. My previous paces for 1500m have been:

05/03/15  3:35min/100m
26/07/14  3:52min/100m (estimated)

I know in these previous attempts that I was pausing to re-catch my breath so I think that a lot of this improvement is due to pacing and effective breathing.

Sunday, 3 January 2016


The (potentially) sprained left ankle was fine during a countryside walk on friday and no trouble walking to and from the pool yesterday. So I decided it was worth a 'test' today. I know that runners are often accused of testing injuries before they are healing so I was very careful and dressed prepared to walk. I went for 2.4km on the local streets with a spot of ascent and descent. The left ankle was fine.

I did notice that the right ankle was irritated by the Ultra 290 shoes that I'd put to one side a few months ago due to their annoying effect.  At home it occurred to me that perhaps the heel lock lacing that I was using to stop the shoe slipping might be making them too tight and thus rub on tendons around the heel on every step. I set the shoe back to ordinary lacing and jogged up and down the street. Although it was avery short trial I don't think the shoe rubbed as much but I did notice the heel being loose. That's no good!

Saturday, 2 January 2016

October 2015 Week 10 Session 1

I should have done this routine last week as well but had to cut it short as I was meeting my wife for lunch. Today I had no time constraints and that was just as well as it took me nearly 70minutes. The four blocks of 600m each felt fine although I could feel myself tiring. I thought the second set might have been the best but the data show otherwise.

Pace of the 5 sets
There is clearly a gradual loss of pace and the stroke per length table shows the opposite, rising from around 21 initially to 25 or more in the last set. In the third set I tried being really relaxed and not thinking too much about 'feel' and that seemed to give a substantial drop in pace. On the final set I focussed  again, trying to achieve a better time and only lost a few seconds - despite my leaden arms!

I was pleased that my warm-up set was within 3:00min/100m as I've not achieved that in the last few sessions. Don't forget that the step improvement in pace between the first and subsequent sets is due to the pull-buoy.