Get In Touch

If you'd like to get in touch with me fire me an email to I'd love to hear from others who love running, food and gadgets.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

To Compress, or not To Compress?

That my friends, is the question.  I've read so much about compression running socks over the past few months and other than the ridiculously steep price they charge, find no reason not to start using them on my hard workouts, and even while I sit at my desk for 8 hours the days following hard workouts.

Steve Magness discusses the merits of these socks on his blog, Science Of Running, and he writes quite possibly the most in depth post I've found on the topic. He covers the theory behind it and supplants it with some first hand accounts.  He concludes they are a useful tool to minimize calf/achilles/plantar fascia pain and inflammation.

I also came across Shannon Rowbury's blog, the 2 time winner of the NYC 5th Ave mile.  She also seems to use them and finds them most useful when travelling, but again, take her word with a grain of salt, she's sponsored by nike and will likely have a slightly partisan view on their products.

So it looks like I will begin my hunt for some Zensah or Sigvaris compression socks that I can wear on my long runs and during the day at the office after hard workouts.  Does anyone have suggestions?

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

On the mend....

Last week I complained about my knees hurting. I decided to act upon the pain immediately and cut down my mileage last week by 50%, down to 40km, and this week has started off on the right foot.

I biked 25km in 55minutes on Sunday night and the knees felt about 90% throughout.  I tackled a 10km steady run last night at 4:30/km and it also felt great, at about 90% on both knees (with a few slight twinges on the left knee as I ran). 

I've been trying to tweak my form lately, trying to eek out a little more efficiency while trying to minimize any heel striking and subsequent knee pain. Overall, I think it's successful. I no longer have any heel pain (I'm glad I avoided the plantar fasciitis thanks to my acuball mini and some plantar fasciitis stretches which I will detail later this week.) and I my knees are definitely recovering. However, there are times when I am running that if I over analyze and try and micromanage each of my strides that I find myself with some knee or foot pain that instantly disappears once I let my mind float freely and just run. So I'm taking this revelation along with my need to improve my form and am hoping I can somehow find a happy medium between controlled and natural.  I'll keep everyone posted on how that progresses.

It's officially rainy season in London and we've got back to back rainy days, hopefully I can make it out tonight for an easy 12km run.  Cheers!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Running Log: Week Sep 20 - Sep 26

Well, after last week's 65km running week I decided to listen to my body and see how I reacted to the increase in mileage. In short, my body reacted adversely.

I've blogged about my knee problems in the past and they flared up again last week (as my last blog post discusses). Well, the increase in pavement pounding last week and my involvement in the Terry Fox run took its toll and I was feeling it this week.  Instead of trying to run through the pain, which we all know does absolutely no good in the long run, I listened to my knees.

I spent time stretching my legs, icing my knees, massaging my legs and got back to my physio routing. Why did I ever stop my physio routine in the first place? Sigh. So this week I toned down the running mileage and jacked up the bike mileage, which I discovered, can be just as painful on sore knees as pavement pounding.


MON: Day Off (12km Bike Ride)
TUE: Easy 11km
WED: 17km @ Weldon:
--4km warmup
--10min tempo, 5min rest
--8min tempo, 4min rest
--6min tempo, 3min rest
--4min tempo, 2min rest
--2min tempo
--3km cooldown
SAT: 14km @ Weldon
--5km warmup
--2 x 10min tempo (4:00/km) w/ 2min rest
--3.5km cooldown
SUN: DAY OFF (Hard 23km Bike Ride)

TOTALS: 41km (RUN), 35km (BIKE)

Not running today took all the self restraint I have. I spent the morning watching the Scotiabank Waterfront Marathon in Toronto (where Reid and Eric ran amazing races and the winner set an all comer record for canadian marathons!). Then it was the 5th ave mile till 1PM, and I got to see some of my fave men race in the elite men race, including a northern Ontario boy, Taylor Milne. I used to race against the guy way back in high school, though I was always too far behind. Here's the results from a 5km him and I ran back in 1999!

So I start this week with fresh legs, and knees that feel immensely better than last week.  They are still a little tender, but there is no burning/throbbing pain at the moment.  Onto another week of running!

Here's my monthly overview to date:

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Stupid knees

Well, seems my string of running knee pain free has come to an end, for now at least.  Last week saw me crank out 64km, the most I've run in a week since doing XC at UWO in 2003.  I did more than half of that on the road and it's taken its toll on my poor knees.

I went out last night for an easy 11km run on the trails by our place and through the run I had a constant discomfort, but nothing too distressing.  I'm now sitting at my work desk and my knees are a little on fire.  I've been neglecting my physio exercises a little, but I've picked those back up this past weekend and hopefully that will help. Guess I've learned not to ignore them. I think it may also be time for me to start taping my knee again, but this time around it seems like both my knees hurt. sigh.

Its times like these that make me doubt my reasons for running. Is this type of pain worth the ultimate gain? I've had a nearly exponential increase in mileage since June of 2010:

So this is my attempt at getting things sorted out. I am clearly abusing my body and it's responding by crying.  Maybe I should do a thing or two to make sure this doesn't come back:

  • Return to my daily physio exercises
  • Return to my physiotherapist for more advice/exercises
  • Continue to ice nightly
  • Tape my knee until the pain goes away
  • Reduce my mileage
  • Try and run on trails as much as possible
  • Stay away from racing road races
  • Work on my posture, both sitting and standing
  • Massage therapy
I need to be more attentive to the items above. If I have knee pain, I can't run. If I can't run, I get crabby. We don't want that.  GOTTA STICK WITH IT!

Monday, September 20, 2010

My Vic Matthews Open XC Run Recap

Ah Cross-Country running....the sound of spikes and wood chips...the labored breathing...the rotting leaves....the grey I love thee.

This past Saturday saw me hit the lovely Guelph Arboretum trails for a 7.5km Open Cross Country race. The race, The Vic Matthews Open, is run in memory of Vic Matthews, a well decorated Gryphons cross/track coach from the 70s/80s that passed away in 2004. This was my first XC race in 7 years and I was excited to hit the trails.

We arrived with about 50 minutes to spare before the 12:00 start time, and just in time to watch the women race (including three LRDC women) as I warmed up. This was Melanie's first time at a XC race and I was so happy to have her with me before and after the race. She made the entire nerve wracking experience much more bearable. I had not managed to find my teammates yet and was slightly worried about getting my chip and bib in time for our start time, but I trudged along the unknown trails getting in an easy 4km warmup.

I eventually found my team, got my singlet (I'm official now baby!), my chip and my bib number. Got suited up and then headed over with the boys to do some easy strides before the race officially got under way. A quick survey of the starting line culminated with a few observations:

  • Steve and I were pretty much the only guys wearing flats, and not spikes. Hmmmmm...
  • I was well above the average age of 13 for the entire field. These kids were young...or I was old. Whatever.
  • I'm not nervous at all. Weird.
 And bang the gun goes off and we're off! Let's see if I can remember much from the race, which consisted of a 2.5km loop we get to run on 3 times.

1st 2.5km Loop

Steve had informed us that the first two loops were to be a hard tempo effort, at about 85%, and our last lap should be a HARD effort during which we play the 'pick people off' game. That sounded like a good idea to me, but we all know how that changes as soon as you toe the line.

So I started the race off at a relaxed pace, not really jostling for position, unless you really wanted 4th last at the first 200m, of which I am your man! I didn't realize I was so far behind while I ran, but if you look at the picture to the left, you'll notice that there was nearly no one behind me coming off the line. Maybe I should have sprinted a tad more, I blame my lack of recent racing experience.

The start of the race, the first 150 metres or so, are slightly uphill and the course takes a sharp 90 degree right into a path that is much more narrow than the start. I felt like I was moving at a good pace, somewhere around 85% as Steve instructed. Based on my recent workouts and my 10km race 3 weeks ago, I felt that I could probably crank out 4:20 pace as an average, across the entire course. This was my pace at the 10km road race, and since then I've had a hard time really digging into my speed and since this was XC I also made the assumption that it would cause me to be slower than my road race pace.

The first km in the 2.5km loop is slightly downhill and it makes for a nice and relaxed, fast pace.  I have no idea what my km markers were, and since my watch had somehow reset to miles it was telling me my pace in minutes per mile.  I realized this during my warmup and had realized that I wanted to run sub 7min/mile, and settled on 6:30 per mile. What I didn't realize is that 6:30 per mile would equate to a 40:00 10km over XC, and I haven't run sub 40 since 2003. Heck, my current road pb is 43:27!

So expecting to be at about 4:30 per km I was absolutely startled when I came up the final hill of the loop, a gruesome 300m hill, to see the clock reading under 10:00 (about 9:55) as I ran past it. I ran my first 2.5km at under 4:00/km and I was feeling surprisingly good...

2nd 2.5km Loop

So I just finished a nice and relaxed 2.5km loop, but as soon as I saw my time, doubt started to settle in.  Did I go out too fast? Can I maintain? Will I have enough to pass people on the 3rd loop?

I quickly surveyed my physical and mental states and decided that I was feeling good enough to try and maintain this pace for my second lap and then let my guts run the last. So away I went on my second lap, passing people, tucking in behind people when we got in windy spots and trying to cruise down hills while attacking uphills without exerting too much energy. I felt pretty good on this loop and I found myself passing at least 3-4 people, and tried my hardest to maintain that 4:00/km pace I had set in the first 2.5km

I came up to that stupid 300m hill again and truly started to feel laboured. I didn't want to push too hard on the uphill as I wanted to carry my speed across the top of it and then back down for the slightly downhill km that followed.  I came through the second lap in 20:10 (10:15 for that lap) and at this point I started concentrating on my form and letting my mental toughness take the reins. And so began my last and final lap...

3rd 2.5km Loop

The final lap.  I knew I had 10 minutes left and I found it to be a perfect time to work with as I visualized this as the final 10 minute tempo for the day. Much like the last leg of a workout, I decided to leave it all on the course.

I turned the heat on considerably on the slightly downhill first km and worked my way up the pack some more. I would say I passed about 2-3 more on the first half of the last lap and I was feeling pretty good. The last km has two hills, one that is short and steep, followed by a nice downhill section which I capitalized on to drop a Humber College runner, and then a long steep 300m hill into the finish chute/sprint.

Coming up the last hill I had no idea how close the Humber College runner was.  400m back he was breathing down my neck after I passed him, and I did not want to look back so I just kept pushing the pace until I could no longer do so.

Sprinting for 100m after a 300m climb is no fun. 300m hill climbs on their own aren't any fun, let along tacking on a finishing kick after 7.4km of grueling XC racing. But I did. Somehow. I felt strong and smooth and Melanie validated my hunch. I was smooth and strong throughout the race.

I came across the finish line at about 29:55, which meant I ran a 9:45 last lap, a whopping 30 seconds faster than my second lap.  I had originally hoped to finish the race in the 32 minute range (4:20/km) and apparently I had severely under sold myself as I was able to run under 30 (3:59/km). I didn't place well, but good grief was it a competitive field. I finished 92nd out of 103 (though I don't show up on the official results) and I ran my heart out. The runner ahead of me was in 9th grade and I had to chuckle when we chatted and he asked what University I ran for...

My overall time bodes very well for my current performance based goals, I think I'm capable of obliterating them any time, but I need to keep that in check. I'm running to stay healthy and build a solid base.

A 5km cool down, a friendly farewell and we were off to downtown Guelph to find us a bistro to enjoy a lovely lunch. We ended up at Artisanale Cafe & Bistro and we had a delicious meal that included Kronenbourg beer on tap. Yum!

My next race is the Halloween Haunting 5km road race on October 31st. It should be a fun one, considering the whacky costumes it brings out.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Running Log: Week Sep 13 - Sep 19

I capped off this week with my first XC race in 7 years and I surpassed even my wildest dreams. I ran far faster than I thought I was capable (29:55 for a hilly 7.5km XC), but I still ended up 92nd out of 103 competitors. I'm on the road back though, but it looks like there's a big mountain to climb. Bring it on!

I met with my coach this week and we decided that this season would be a relaxed season during which I would concentrate on staying healthy and injury free while I slowly work my mileage up to 65km per week. Last week saw me clock just over 50km and I had planned to do the same this week. Well, that didn't turn out.  Let's review the week and see where I went wrong.

Monday: 2km warmup, 8km steady at 4:20, 2km cooldown (12km total)
Tuesday: 14.5km easy run along bike path
Wednesday: REST (knee was bothering me slightly after the 27km of road running prior)
Thursday: 10km easy run
Friday: REST
Saturday: 7.5km XC race, 8.5 warmup/cooldown
Sunday: 11km easy run

TOTAL KM: 63.4km

So that's my week and I was nowhere near my planned 50km week, and that's due largely to the easy run on tuesday which I don't normally log. Then come the weekend, I was unable to back out of the race, or the terry fox run. So I logged the miles, tried my best to stay smart and listening to my body and I think I succeeded. I will return to the 50-55km range this week and treat it as an easy week as last week saw me throw a few new things at my body running wise. 

Stay tuned for my play by play account of my XC race from Saturday. Till then!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Tools of the Trade: Acuball Mini

As a runner, I often have pain in many areas, and most of those areas are sometimes hard to get at due to their small size or precise location. Yeah, that's right. I said that. Where is your mind wandering to?

This little blue ball (yet again, sigh) is a product of Canada (from what I can tell) and is actually recognized as a medical device in our great white country. It's apparently used by many professional athletes and as we were browsing the apparel at the Running Room last night, I discovered this little gem tucked away in the back area of the store.  I was immediately intrigued by it, considering my recent return to running and the mild foot pain I sometimes get in my left foot. So I purchased it and now I'm reaping the benefits.

I've only spent one night and a morning with this ball but already I am feeling immense benefits.  Here are some of my reactions after 3 sessions with this ball:
  • It works wonders on my feet for two reasons. Firstly, it promotes blood flow in the tissue in my feet (ie: plantar fascia) and increases my ability to heal.  Secondly, it massages the ball, arch and heel of my feet into a mushy heaven.
  • It's great at straightening out my back when I sit at my desk. I simply wedge it between my lower back and chair and voila!
  • It works wonders on a friend's shoulders and neck. And once again, it promotes healthy blood food and improves the body's healing abilities.
I haven't spent too much time with it but already I can sense a new level of healing, especially for my feet.  I batter these bad boys with my miles of running, it's about time I do something for them.

If you're looking to learn more on the Acuball and Acuball Mini, head over to Healthy Runner, where they have the best prices on Acuball products!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

I ache

Not the typical type of ache that follows runners around. This time, though my knees are a little sore from yesterday's run in my Fastwitch4s, my ambitions ache.

I want to run fast.
I want to run on the track.
I want to PB.

So many wants to fulfill, the only question left to answer is how long it will all take.  I ran my fastest track/road/xc times nearly 10 years ago. I wonder if I will ever return to my old form. I certainly have many things against me (age, weight, health), but I also feel I am much wiser now and able to commit more fully to running and staying injury free. Plus, I've taken a long rest of 7 years, that must help with something. LOL.

I'm still as mentally tough as ever, maybe even more so now, and I am basing a lot of my drive and ambition on this fact alone.

I will run fast.
I will run on the track.
I will PB.

Its that simple. Step 1: Believe you can do it. Let's see where this takes me from here.

sidenote: summer is fading, this shot captures it. taken by me.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Running Log: Week Sep 6 - Sep 12

Well, another week in the books and considering how rough the previous week was, this week was pure bliss.  I managed to crank out 51km this week, and I could have easily gone for another 10-15km today but decided to stick to my current goal of 180km per month (and at this pace, I'm looking to break 200km this month!)

So I had some great easy runs, found my speed again, did some hill work and loved the weather this week. If only the weather were always between 15 and 25 celsius. To dream...

Monday: Easy 11km
Tuesday: Easy 10km
Wednesday: 15.5 km total (hill workout + 2x8min tempo @ 4:10 pace)
Thursday: REST
Friday: 15km Bike ride
Saturday: 14.5 km total (12min tempo @ 4:10, 4x3min hard (1min rest))
Sunday: 23km Bike Ride

This week I get to iron out my goals for the next months and maybe race my first XC race in 7 years! There is a 7.5km XC race in Guelph and some of my teammates are going!

As an added bonus, here is my Google calendar screenshot of the current month. It includes my running, cross training, physio and other athletic stuff I've done.  Gotta keep it all balanced!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Life Ain't a Track Meet, It's a Marathon

Ice cube was never wiser. The past weeks of running and training have shown me that I had enough speed to push each workout, but I simply didn't have the endurance to keep it up. I was running a track meet, not a marathon.

I've increased my weeks' mileage quite substantially, especially when I think back to early July and my 20km weeks. The last 7 days saw me crank out 56km in total, something that is altogether new for me and though I am moving ahead with some caution, I don't think I'm truly prepared for it all.  I'm just still a little too gung-ho, especially at practices, so I've decided to take it down a notch and my return to the hill of hell tonight was a perfect example of just that.

Instead of demolishing my quads again I listened to my legs and I let them dictate my pace.  Once the hills were done I had a 2x8 minute tempo sessions to crank out and I managed to get the legs moving at 4:10 pace and it felt GOOD!  Since my 10km road race just over a week ago, the increase in mileage and that brutal hill workout; I have had a really hard time getting back to sub 4:20 pace (which was my race pace in the 10km). So tonight was good, except for a few things:

  • I need to start eating less food prior to running. hummus and bruschetta 60 minutes before the workout is just too close.
  • I need to stop rolling my fucking ankles. Seriously. Anyone have any great stability exercises they can recommend?
  • I need to sort out what is going on with my left leg. My stride is still a little off and recent changes have taken away the knee and heel pain I had, but now I'm left with some achilles soreness.
So now I'm taking 2 full days off of running, I just had my first 3 consecutive running day spurt, and my legs are telling me that is enough. That and the rolled ankle. So for now I will pamper my legs with stretching, relaxing, massaging, icing and some cycling. Till next time!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

What do you take when you go running?

A new article on the Asics Blog discusses what you should bring on a run in terms of gear.  The article mentions you should bring a cell phone, band-aids, sunscreen, money, anti chafing products, anti-inflammatory drugs, and sometimes toilet paper.

Did I miss an intro to running class years ago because frankly, this list is absolutely ludicrous. Unless you are doing 50 mile ultra runs, most of these items are completely pointless.  I can see the merit in their use (say you get jumped on an early run as the blogger claims they did), but frankly, I'm not going to start carrying shit around with me simply because of the off chance I may need it.  And seriously, band-aids for a scraped knee? You are running, not painting your toe nails. If you fall and scrape yourself, keep running.

So what do I bring? Not much:
  • Shoes
  • Shorts
  • Socks
  • Watch
  • (in)Sanity
And that my friends is it.  There is nothing more liberating than leaving all your worldly possessions behind your front door as you step outside for a run.

If I'm doing a workout with the team, I will bring a water bottle I can use between workout segments, but that is the only time I use water. I'll go 15km and more without the need of water, I make sure I'm damn hydrated all day long, not just during my runs.

Frankly, running with anything more than my clothes and shoes defeats the purpose. Out there, its me and nature. And my clothes. And my shoes. And my watch. But nothing more.

Tools of the Trade: The Stick

I figured I should spend some time describing the tools I use to stay healthy, fit and fast....there are so many that I thought some of my readers (I do have some, right???) could benefit from their daily use.  Let's kick things off today with THE STICK.

That's The Stick. It's a tool used to massage muscles, to perform self myofascial release of the kind you normally get from deep tissue massage.  This tool has been around for years, it is by no means new and is a prized possession for any self loving runner.

You can use this tool on any muscle on your body, but I tend to focus on my tight calves (soleus and gastrocnemius) and my quads.  If I've got someone else in the room, I'll ask them to massacre my hams, but mostly, like 75% of the time, my calves get the royal treatment. It's even great for relaxation, especially if you've got a partner.  Hop on the couch and roll away as you both sit/lie/cuddle while watching tv.  The stick makes hard massages a breeze, especially for those with weak fingers.

I purchased mine, the full sized stick, at Runner's Choice (London) for $50 and I think the travel sized one, which I will be adding to my collection, runs for $30. A great stocking stuffer for that runner in your life!

Monday, September 6, 2010

My Legs. My poor, poor legs....

I wrote last week about the killer hill workout that demolished my quads and I am sad to report that today, 5 days later, I am still feeling the after effects of an ambitious week of exercise. I still can't get off the floor quickly as the instantaneous flexing of my quads causes immense pain and I find myself laying on the floor rather quickly. I can't do 100m striders to get a nice stride flowing, the speed simply kills my quads.

I can however, do a nice relaxed pace (somewhere between 4:30 and 5:00 per km) for as long as I want to. I just can't easily jump into anything fast for the moment, which is making me adjust my workout schedule. I could probably go day to day and try and eek out some sub par workouts, but in the grand scheme of things, that would be the wrong thing to do. I'll keep stretching, icing, massaging and listening to my legs.

They've already come a long way compared to how they felt last Wednesday night, it's just that I wish it would be a faster road to recovery. Just gotta keep listening to them and when they are ready, I'll be ready to punish them yet again.

In other leg-related news, I have noticed a sharp decline in heel discomfort, especially when I wake up. I was fearing the early onset of plantar fasciitis and since then have made the following changes:
  1. Changed my stride to be more of a flat foot/midfoot strike instead of lazily letting my leg fall as it pleased, normally on my heel.  I've been reading up and watching videos online, and it seems that this Ryan Hall video really nailed it home for me.
  2. I have been stretching my soleus and gastrocnemius muscles with my hands, drainage pipe and 'The Stick' (view image below).  I've also started massaging the platar fascia and my arch and though the rewards aren't as instantaneous as they are when I massage my muscles, I think this is another key reason why my heel has taken a 180 degree turn for the better
  3. Ice after runs. I spend 15-20 minutes icing my heels and knees now after runs. This helps reduce any swelling (swelling you may not see at all) and slow the formation of scar tissue, which will quickly become a pain in the ass heel.
 I will continue to listen to my legs before listening to my heart and over-zealous mind.  My legs are literally the most important part of the entire equation and to ignore them is just begging for trouble. Gotta love your legs and they'll love you back!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Running Log: Week Aug 30-Sep 5

Well, it's hard to believe that yet another week has come and gone. Last Sunday I ran my first 10km Road Race in years and this Sunday I took Melanie on her first ever mountain bike trek around Fanshawe lake.

This was a tough week physically as I was still recovering from the road race and my first hour of yoga on Sunday.  The wednesday hill workout (4km of hard hill running) tore my quads to shreds and I've been struggling with any type of speed work, or movement for that matter, ever since. I ended up logging more easy mileage this week with only one real hard workout.

My knee seems to have recovered very well, I managed to run 25km on it without any taping, on soft and hard ground. And that includes the hard hill workout.  My heel seems to be on the mend too, so hopefully my ryan hall-esque stride adjustments of recent times are actually helping me.

I hope to crank out the same mileage this week, I'm not looking to increase every week, I fear I'll simply find the upper limit and fall into injury. I want to keep a good solid base, between 40 and 60km per week, for the next few weeks until I can attest that all systems are check.

Here's a breakdown of this week:

Monday: 60min physio @ Fanshawe and 30min of stretching
Tuesday: 10km easy run, just trying to get the legs moving after the road race/yoga sunday.
Wednesday: 11km total, 5km warm up, 4km hard hill (500m up - hard first 2/3, 500m down - hard first 2/3) x 4, 2km warmup and seized quads.
Thursday: easy 7.5km run, trying to do some recovery mileage
Saturday: 16km easy instead of my xc workout with the team.
Sunday: Day off, 20km Fanshawe bike ride

Add to that 2 weight lifting workouts, plenty of physio exercises, stretching, smr and massage.

Friday, September 3, 2010

A Serious Dose of Reality

Well it seems I've hit a snag in my near perfect training over the past 6 weeks. I started training with the LRDC in July and the strain that has put on my muscles has finally taken it's toll, I can barely run any faster than 5min/km pace at the moment.

The combination of my 10km road race and the hard hill workout this past week has left me tight and sore, a pain I can't recall ever feeling. I guess it serves me right after 7 years of 'rest'.  I thought I was doing amazingly well in practice and that my body was handling the increased load and intensity swimmingly, but much like a long race, the fact that I can stay ahead of my team mates or competitors means diddly squat when I can't maintain the effort over multiple practices.  Essentially, I went too hard too fast and this past week broke me down a bit, so it's time to re-evaluate and remember that not every single practice needs to be fast.  I'm still trying to ease myself into the schedule, something I tend to forget rather easily when everything is going well.

Gotta stay grounded...

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Recovery Runs

I always believed recovery runs were good simply to get your stiff legs moving and clear out any lactate that may still be residing from the previous day's hard workout. I had a super tough workout yesterday which ended with my quads seizing up on the way to our final leg of the workout.

So today, though still stiff, I decided to do some research on recovery runs and see if it was beneficial for me to trek through the trails along the Thames River. I stumbled upon this fine article on A Fresh Perspective On Recovery Runs.

The article talks about how recovery runs aren't actually good at flushing  out lactate (that stuff leaves within 60 minutes of your workout) but in fact the true benefit of recovery runs lies in the endurance building attributes of the run. Since your legs are already tired, you will be training your legs to perform when tired, recruiting fresh muscle fibers and in turn causing your running to become more efficient.

The article goes on to discuss a study performed at the

University of Copenhagen, Denmark. In this study, subjects exercised one leg once daily and the other leg twice every other day. The total amount of training was equal for both legs, but the leg that was trained twice every other day was forced to train in a pre-fatigued state in the afternoon (recovery) workouts, which occurred just hours after the morning workouts.

After several weeks of training in this split manner, the subjects engaged in an endurance test with both legs. The researchers found that the leg trained twice every other day increased its endurance 90 percent more than the other leg.

So the next time your legs are stiff the day after a hard workout, try and get them out there and moving. Don't push the pace, simply go as fast as your legs want to. Take this time to have a relaxing run, both mentally and physically. You're already training your muscles to perform while at a deficit, this will inherently make you a stronger runner.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Hills Suck

Well, tonight's workout was a total bust.  The workout started out with a 20 minute warmup, then a 10 minute warmup complete with backpack through some ridiculously hilly trails.  Then came strides and discomfort. I thought I had recovered fine from my 10km road race last Sunday but it turns out that as soon as I tried turning the legs over for some speed work, I was tighter than I ever remember. My quads were feeling a twinge and I felt I could still put in a solid hill workout.

The workout that ensued was 4km of hard uphill/downhill work (500m up, 500m down , 0 rest between reps). I wasn't feeling too much pain during the workout but as soon as I got a bit of rest I completely seized up. Our 10 minute jog back to the paved path for some tempo work was beyond excruciating for me as any downward slope caused my quads to instantly seize up due to the relaxed position of my quads when extending my leg.

I wasn't able to do the tempo work, I tried, but just couldn't. I spent 10 minutes stretching and massaging and then tried to walk away some of the pain. I didn't even attempt a proper cool down. It was a heavy day of mileage considering I didn't put in the 3km of tempo and 3km of cool down, and I still clocked in 11km.

Time for tons of solid rest the next few days. Massage, stretching and heat are in order and maybe a slow bike ride to get the legs moving tomorrow. If all goes well, I'll be able to get a short run in on Friday night and maybe, just maybe, make it out to practice on Saturday.

August Is In The Books

Well, today marks the first day of September and officially closes the books on August of 2010. August was a great month on many levels for me, running included.  I truly started engaging in the London Runner Distance Club by attending the final practices of the track & field season and I got started on the XC season.

I've improved leaps and bounds worth in my mileage and speed, clocking 162km in August (capping the month off with a 50km week and a massive 10km road race!) and my legs, though still adjusting to the new load, are doing remarkably well.  For every hour I spend running I find myself doing an hour of cross training/physio/massage/stretching.  So far this has worked wonders, keeping me fresh and pain free ('cept for this recent heel pain) and I do wonder if this is what my training program of old was missing all along. This balance is a key part to my success in August.

September brings new things. New running grounds, new challenges and new races. I purchased some new racing flats and I am aching to give them a proper spin, and in the meantime I am breaking them in around the house. I clocked in 160km+ last month and I'd like to keep that steady in September to allow me to adjust a little more to the distance and speed work I built up in August (keep in mind this is my first hard month in 7 years, I do not want to injure myself again!).  So I'm thinking 160 to 200km TOPS in September, and maybe October can see me move on from here, or not.  Time to talk with my coach.

I am running a 5km road race on September 12th and I am aiming for a sub 20:00 time. Will I actually get it? I don't know to be honest. It's a lofty goal and if the course is fast, it will go a long way towards helping me. After running a 43:27 10km, I'm confident I'll be at about 20:30 for the 5km race, I want to dip under 20 though. Mind over matter. Mind over matter. Mind over matter.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...