Monday, February 28, 2011

Legs go boom, or how I learned about long run recovery.

I conked out this morning, about four kilometres into my run, wahhhhhh! The stiffness left over from Sunday's long run made itself known and basically went from stiffness to discomfort to serious discomfort. WWJD? Although in this case, the J stood for Jeff Galloway, and so the answer was to quit while I was ahead (and vertical) and walk home.
Once upon a time this 'failure' would have reduced me to tears, but as this HM experience is all about learning, I chose to see it as an opportunity to learn more about the art and science of running long (and yessss, to me 8k is long, nyahhhhh).
So today I've spent some time reading up on long run recovery, learning about what to do, what not to do, and what I may be doing wrong.
1. Hydration/nutrition
Even though I'm only just reaching the point where I'm out for over an hour, as an early morning runner my fluid levels are not at their peak. To combat this I plan to drink extra water the day before my long run, and pre-mix some sports drink to either take with me or slurp on beforehand, as well as topping off with more sports drink and extra water upon returning home. As my runs get longer I may experiment with gels, not sure I'm ready for that yet though. I think I'm getting a little dehydrated after my runs, and also possibly running out of blood sugar a bit, so I'm hoping some experimentation here will help.

2. Leg love
I also plan to work some serious love for my legs (and extra love for those hard workin' knees) into my post long run routine in the hope of faster recovery. I've read about a few great ideas to try, everything from the super scary ice bath (or it's gentler cousin, the cold water bath), to ice massage, regular massage, extra stretching, and laying down with your legs up vertical against the wall for five minutes to let the blood drain (which is supposed to reduce inflammation).

3. Chill time
While my flopping on the couch post run reaction is normal, it's not that helpful. I need to keep walking around for awhile after my run, and then, rather than curling up on the too-short couch all day, actually head off into bed if needed. If I can get my feet higher than my head, even better!

4. The old faithfuls
Deep heat, anti inflammatories (although I'm unsure that this is wise), epsom salts in the bath, heat pack......

I'm hoping this will be enough to give me some strategies to try, as it's worrying that I am this sore after only 8 kilometres, when I have so many more to go. Who knows, maybe I'll be able to build some pleasant and fun post-run rituals that will persist for years to come.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

14 days in, 138 to go

Ok, so at this point I am two weeks into training for the Run Melbourne Half Marathon in July, which translates to 6 hours, 13 minutes, 6 seconds of running covering 42.63 kilometres. It's a start!
On Sunday I ran eight ks in the rain, which took me an hour and twelve minutes. I'm quite pleased with that, as I expected it to take about an hour and twenty. Course my legs are a bit heavy and tired today, I went for a walk this morning and they were quite stiff, but there are no really sore spots so that's good.
I bagged myself some new gear last week, a fantastic cool weather long sleeve tech shirt and a new shell jacket (I had one but it just didn't fit me at all). I'm pretty pleased with myself for getting in early and being organised for the cooler weather well before the first day of Autumn, yayy! I also ordered myself a cute hat and headband from Bondi Band, I'm kinda bursting for them to be delivered but as I only ordered them yesterday it may take awhile. I'm contemplating purchasing a lighter long sleeve tech as well, and possibly a vest, although I've never been a vest person so I'm unsure how I feel about them. Might have to do some gear reviews soon with all this cool new stuff.
The ticker on start to finish says that there are still 138 days until raceday.Urggggggggg such a long wait!
I'm kinda in a bad mood this week, partly as I have PMT of apocalyptic dimensions but also because my program says this week is an easy week. After last week's eight I'm pumped for a ten, but nope, it's a step back week and only asks for a four. There are lots and lots of step back weeks in this plan, which logically I know are a great idea and they let my legs strengthen and adapt and yadda yadda yadda.....I wanna go for a run!!
So I decided that during the week I'll have my Tuesday easy, make Thursday a gentle speed workout (I'm running intervals so I'll just make every second interval a fast one) and then for my Sunday four k I can head to the park with Oscardog and maybe do some hill repeats (very very gentle hill repeats, really more like strides with a hill in the middle). That way, even though it's a less challenging week I've still inserted some challenging bits, but not so challenging as to defeat the purpose of the easy week.
So, onwards and upwards!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Plodding to Glory

A very early start this morning for another slow five k. It took me 52 minutes to cover that distance today, I was weary of mind and heavy of limb, although to be honest I suspect I am still in recovery from Sunday's long run. It certainly didn't help that I wore new heels yesterday...ending up with sore feet and a slight strain through the front of the foot/ankle. I was looking for new Thorlo fatties though, and Running Fit didn't stock them, so I ended up having to hoof to Myer in shoes that were most certainly not made for walking.
I'm not convinced I'll ever get used to the early starts. It's a barrier that's mostly psychological, but my constant yearning for sleep does not help. If I can manage to maintain my schedule for Thursday's run (thinking of taking a rest day tommorrow, Wednesday) then I may switch my long run to Saturday this week so that I can have a lie-in on Sunday and get some extra rest.
I'm planning to spend some time today devising a nice simple 8 kilometre route. The week after is a step down week so I'm going to hit Brimbank park with Os and do a leisurely 4k among the hills, nice.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

What a difference a week makes!

Weigh-in day this morning, and in just a week I've gone from 83.2kgs to 79.8kgs, wahoo! I ran 17.83kms, which I'm also quite happy with. I already feel much more energetic, lighter and happier.
Yesterday was long run day, I surpassed this weeks' target of 6.5km, running 6.86 in total. Next week's goal is 8kms, which I've only run once before, and after that we head into new and uncharted territory (insert spooky wail here).
I don't have much else to say, really....I'm just planning to keep on keepin' on.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

So today was a running day, but I opted for sleep. Fortunately, my plan enables me to pick up that day tomorrow with no real harm done to my schedule.
Yesterday was a rough day. I felt hungry and tired, my limbs were sore, and by the time I got home from work (at almost 7:00pm, erg) I was barely coherent. I've been trying not to eat my exercise points, but I did go at least 1 or 2 points over for the day, as I had two vegemite and cheese sandwiches for dinner. I don't think it will be detrimental though, part of a sustainable program is knowing when to eat a little extra food or take a rest day. Maybe some people would say that makes me a bit of a pussy or whatever but I don't see the point in suffering endlessly.

The extra food and a lie in (till 5:30am, wahooo) seems to have done the trick, as I'm feeling 100% better today. I don't ordinarily run on a Friday as I'm usually quite tired by then and it's a long day for me with overtime and such but I'm confident that my desire to stick to my plan will get me over the Friday hurdles. Worst case scenario, I'm feeling awful and reward myself with an extra cup of coffee, mmmm.

I was thinking yesterday about the body's set point and the idea that as humans we are designed to lay down extra weight to protect us from famine. We have all these hungry hormones that kick in after fat loss to protect us from dying of starvation, and these are a hurdle to dieters as the more weight we lose the harder it becomes to maintain a calorie/fat intake that will enable us to lose weight and feel okay.
Why then are we obsessed with thinness? We feel good when we are thin, envy others who are thin, and constantly work towards being thin. There are studies (centred around BMI) that suggest that being moderately overweight may actually be allright, but this is more about the idea that muscle mass may place one as technically overweight while otherwise being healthy.
Can we lower our set point? I suspect that for me around the 75kg mark is the most comfortable metabolic point, but if i am able to push beyond there then I certainly will. At 75kg BMI classifies me as 7kg overweight.
Then there is waist measurement. A waist circumference of more than 80cm for caucasian women is indicative of internal fat deposits. So if one's BMI is 26 or 27, yet one's waist meaurement is less than 80cm (and, if one's waist is smaller than their hips) then it's safe to say one is in no immediate danger from any extra fat carried.
Runners quite often have a very low BMI as so much fuel is burnt on long runs. Sadly I suspect I'm in no danger at this point.

I'm planning on running (or to be more accurate, run-walking) my first half marathon this year, hopefully in July at run Melbourne. It's mid-Feb now so that would give me 19-20 weeks to train for it, which ought to be enough. I'm working with Jeff Galloway's "To finish" plan, as I'd much rather have the fun and challenge and just be able to say I did it, than to kill myself trying to set what would be a very mediocre time anyway. I run for joy, and nothing so joyfull as running should be rushed :)

Monday, February 14, 2011

4:30am starts are totally awesome.

Today was my first day of getting up super super early to go for a longer run. I'm running 1:30/walking 3:30 so it's not like the running itself is super strenuous, but it's a little harsh getting up 20 minutes earlier.
Still, at least I wasn't alone! There were a whole bunch of cars around, I even saw another walker. Plus I had my faithful Oscardog :)It's really quite peaceful out there in the mornings, even if I do occasionally feel a little crazy, running around in the dark.
Coming into work my legs felt a little heavy and tired but it was nice to think that even though it was only 7:30 in the morning, I'd already put five k into my legs. Other people are sleeping and I'm out there, putting in some k's. I'm a saint.

Diet wise, I wanted to note for my own records that for week one, I'm eating 20 WW points a day, and while I'm logging my exercise points, for the time being I'm not eating them. Yesterday was day one and I ate 17.5 points and earned 2 bonus points. I felt pretty happy with what I ate, it was all pretty tasty and kept my hungries at easy to manage levels. I made protein pancakes for dinner which was yummy but devastating because I'm almost out of protein powder and I can't really buy any more until I get paid....damn my shoe fetish!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

OMG fat turtle!

So I've had a bit of a lay-off over the last few weeks, a few sporadic runs but nothing of note, nothing plan to speak of. Sporadic running + hedonistic eating + busy schedule has unfortunately equalled = big fat ass. I started the year with ten kilograms to lose....and just like that, I have to lose fifteen. Frag.

There's no time like the present to turn things around, so as of today I'm back following the principles of good old Weight Watchers, and am running long intervals three times a week using the C210k program in my iPhone. I feel a little better already, but then I always feel better when I'm in control.
I've set myself a four week challenge with some basic goals. By the 14th of March, I hope to be back under 80kgs, and comfortably running four minute intervals. Very very doable.

Let the games begin!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

How much do you love...

...strides! I am a total plodder but whoooeeee, I sure do love to run fast! I ran some intervals this morning (I've slacked a bit so I'm rebuilding my base) and one of them was the fastest and longest i've run....hmm probably ever. Admittedly it was eminem assisted, but I think it still counts :)
I've been messing around with low-carb eating and I'm only just getting enough energy to start to run again, and really enjoy it.
I'm soooo geared up for a great running year right now :)