Thursday, October 16, 2014

Training update #477

A friend in the gym recently asked how my running was going, I replied, "Cycling is going great, thanks". I'm doing lots of ankle rehab, and at the last physio visit they got me to add in deadlifts. As I'm meant to be doing the rehab 6 days a week (!), I managed to get a banged up, rusty barbell with some small plates for free! Yes, I could probably lift a heavier set of plates, but six days a week? No point injuring myself further. So yes, cycling has been going well. I generally get out for one long or two medium to long cycles at the weekend and two or three 40-60k turbo trainer sessions during the week before breakfast. I've set myself some cycling goals for next year, as the sportive season is over for 2014. One of the goals is the Ring of Kerry. It's a charity cycle around the roads of Kerry in July covering 175-180k. Distance varies depending on who you ask. As for running goals, well there was a couple of races I was intending on doing this year, which I couldn't make, so I'm planning on doing them next year. Then again, if I don't get to do them it's not a big deal either! Best of luck to everyone running/jogging/walking the Dublin marathon on October the 27th!! Eoin

Friday, October 3, 2014

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Physio and training

As you may know by now, I had an MRI on my ankle in July and I was told that it didn't show anything. That's both good and bad. The good thing is that there's no real damage, the bad thing is that it makes it pretty difficult to pin down the issue and from that find a fix.
So I tried contacting the Sports Doctor (who I hold in reasonably high regard) about a follow up, but his receptionist just relays my phone and email messages, with no reply apart from "I'll pass that on".
Being the active type, I'd like to get a resolution, so I went looking for a reputable physio...
Then I remembered having gone to a talk in a hotel not too far away last November. It was given by a Consultant Physio and a Strength & Conditioning coach. I didn't agree with everything they said,  (that's life), but I took a few recommendation on board and have been feeling the benefit of them. They both worked in the SSC in Santry, so I rang them and booked myself in.
My appointed physio (there seemed to be quite a few of them) had a chat and I told her of how I got the injury, the MRI etc and that it was still an issue. She did a lot of pushing, prodding etc and then took a video of me doing a few exercises like single leg squats. We then watched the video clips and I was able to see some areas that need work. I was given four different exercises to do, six times a week for two weeks. After that I have another physio visit and she wants to see me running on a treadmill. If I'm honest, having not been running since April, the treadmill is something I'm apprehensive about. Will I be in pain from the start, or pretty early on? Also, being the optimistic type, I'm wondering if this will be the "cure" and enable me to get back running!

As I'm fond of saying, time will tell...

Run easy,

Thursday, August 21, 2014

It's a GOAL!

Yes, been a while since I posted last. I've been meaning to post for a while.
Quick running update: I'm not.
Yes, after injuring my tibialis posterior tendon  near the end of the Tralee Marathon, it has yet to be a) given a timeline for recovery, b) a root cause or c) stop giving trouble, despite not running since April.
Yes, it's annoying. But you see I have a choice; I can let it bother me, let it become the sad story I tell other runners etc...or I can do other training and move on.
In that vein, cycling is now my primary exercise - it was secondary for long enough I guess. Last month I did a 50k cycling sportive. Not that much distance, but I cycled to and from the start/finish, which added a little over 26k...each way. So the day's total was around 105k. I did the same last year on a hybrid bike and my legs were in bits at the end, having to stop twice to rest on the way home. This time I didn't stop and felt good the whole time.
Last week I did a local 60k charity cycle, again I cycled to/from for a total of around 75k.
I had been feeling a bit "unfulfilled" or lacking drive in my life for a while before that and didn't really know the cause. Then I stumbled on it. When I was running, I had goals, like a marathon, an adventure race, or breaking a PB I ran in a 5k or something. When I wasn't able to run, I had no exercise goals...
So of course I started looking to cycling to give me something to aim towards, some goals.
The next two or three cycling sportives I'm planning are all 100k or over, one of them is 160k and hilly! I have no time goals, just to finish, enjoy it and build my endurance.
I was cycling in the gym as a warm up and cool down, never more than 30mins per day and a long session on the bike at the weekend. Now though, with my new goals, I'm doing 60-90mins a few times mid-week and one or two long sessions at the weekend.
More details on how I get on to follow...


Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Tralee marathon race review

As some of you may know, I'm ran in the Tralee Marathon on Sunday (16th). I've been getting a few questions about it that I'll try to answer here.
1. Why the Tralee marathon? - Well my training plan (for the Connemara ultra) had me doing a 40-44k long run that weekend anyway, so I thought that rather than running for four hours (or more, probably more) on my own around the village where I live, why not do the "long run" with a bunch of other people and get a t-shirt and/or medal to prove it!
2. What is my goal finishing time? - I don't have one. Honestly, this may be a "race", but it's really a training run. If I push myself too much, then the rest of my training for Connemara will suffer. So slow and steady does it.
3. What's my nutrition plan for the race? - Water. That's it. Water, in moderation. If you have any questions about that, I'll refer you to the excellent book "Waterlogged" by Prof. Tim Noakes. Also, as I eat very few carbs, I won't be using gels etc.
4. If I'm not eating during the race, and it starts at 9am, what will breakfast be? - Bacon, eggs and coffee.

With that out of the way, here's how it actually panned out...
I got the train down to Tralee on Saturday (so much cheaper than driving!) and walked the 1k or so to the Brandon Hotel where I had booked my room. I had chosen this hotel as it's where the race expo was and was pretty close to the race finish line (thinking ahead...).
Picking up my bib number at the expo went by pretty easily and I took a minute to chat to Brendan Doyle about his exploits in The Race. He was also doing the marathon, just two weeks later!
After that I took a stroll around the town and bought a 250ml bottle of water to bring around during the race. I knew water would be available, but wasn't sure if it would be in cups or bottles, as it happened they supplied bottles. I ended up having dinner in the hotel and getting a reasonably early night.
I was up at 6:15 the next morning - the hotel opened the breakfast room from 6am especially for runners, a nice touch! At breakfast the room was about half full, all of the people were dressed in running gear and eating cereal, toast and/or bananas. I sat down and when the waitress brought out my plate of bacon and eggs everyone in the room stopped talking. Like they just didn't believe what they were seeing...
So after eating all of that I headed back to my room and slowly got ready - I don't like rushing things before a race. It was lightly raining but there was also a breeze coming in off the sea. So I ended up in a long sleeve technical top and a wooly hat along with my club singlet and compression shorts, running shorts, Injinji socks and "normal" runners. I usually wear minimalist runners, but find on rougher ground/roads the balls of my feet are pretty tender from 30k onwards. A few times during the race I took the hat off, but would end up putting it back on again a few minutes later, depending on whether we were running into the wind or not.
It was a 4-5 minute walk to the start line and there was only a couple of hundred people doing the full and about the same doing the half, which started 20 minutes later. Eventually after doing my warmup the gun went off and I went out at my planned pace of between 5:45 and 6:00 the whole way. I knew there were a few hills that would slow me down, but I wasn't going for a goal time.
Pretty soon (about 3k in) a few of us were moving at a similar pace, so we just ran together and chatted, a nice distraction from the distance. About 10k in the half marathon leaders came sprinting past us and shortly after the routes split, with the full going out towards the coast. We got to the 10k mark in 55mins, pretty much on pace. By the time we got to around 17k we got to the first of two big out and back sections. This one was a right turn, up a steep incline, down the far side, go about 200-300m, turn and come back over the hill back to the main road. I thought it was tough until as I was rejoining the main road I saw the only wheelchair competitor about to go up the hill...huge respect to him!
The 20k mark was hit at 1:55, slightly slower but most likely due to the hills. I lost the rest of the group around here, some went faster and some slowed down once we hit the half way mark (21k). When I was passing the aid station at 23k I noticed my 250ml water bottle was nearly empty, so I swapped it for another of the same size and kept running. Pretty soon I was hitting the 30k mark at around 2:45 or 2:50, which I was pretty pleased about. I had unintentionally caught up some time!
From here on every time I passed an aid station my mind was asking if I wanted some gels or jelly babies, jaffa cakes, fruit etc. I'd do a mental check and never felt hungry or lacking in energy so I passed them all up. As we were starting the second out and back a woman caught up with me and asked if she could run with me as my pace was pretty consistent. We chatted for the next 15-20mins along the journey, a great distraction. We were about half way between the 4:00 and 4:15 pacers.
A man at the side of the road called out to me by my first name, I did a double take and smiled and waved as we ran by. Only later did I realize he had a print out of the runners and race numbers in his hand and matched them to to give us some encouragement!
Pretty soon my running buddy said she was slowing down to take on some food, so I kept up my pace. She would overtake me on hills not too much later (there are *no* hills to train on where I live).
At around the 36k mark my left foot started giving me problems and in no time I was hobbling and in pain every time my foot hit the ground. I tried altering my form but it didn't make any difference. By about 38k I was reduced to try some walking to try to make it less painful and then some easy running and back to more walking. Around this time the 4:15 pacer overtook me, I wasn't disappointed, I just wanted to finish.
On two occasions during the last couple of KM the route took us around a roundabout to turn right and all the cars were stopped to let us by. There were a good few twists and turns at the end, which was good and the last 100m or so brought a welcome view of the finish line. Getting over the line I almost immediately stopped and grabbed a railing to let my foot stay off the ground for a minute. Great to get it done though!
After eating two bananas and drinking some water I hobbled back to the hotel.
Apart from the foot issue (which turns out to be a strained tibialis posterior tendon), everything went according to plan. I never felt hungry, never had a lack of energy and was able to keep a solid pace (up to getting the tendon issue).
Would I use this nutrition strategy (low carb, high fat) again? Definitely. At the start of the race I saw one runner with eight gels tucked into his waist band and some sweet packets in his back pocket. At the half marathon I did two weeks before I was chatting to a runner with four gels. Why do people use so many? Is it a confidence thing or is it something they read in a running magazine and follow to the letter?
Either way I'm very happy with how things worked out (again, apart from the injury).
Oh, I also beat my previous marathon time by 8 minutes too...

Keep running,

Tuesday, February 25, 2014