Thursday, April 30, 2009

More efforts

Twice in one day... what's going on? It was such a lovely evening that I decided to join the Conac gang for efforts. It was over to Eaton Park for laps on the grass - 6 x 3 mins, 1:30 recovery. The loop is about 660m, and I was doing around or just shy of a lap each time, so that translates to something around 8 minute miling, towards the middle of the pack. Not bad for my first effort session back since the injury.


Trying to find something different, today I alternated 400m sets with 50m sprints (1 min rest between):

200m WU
50m 0:50
400m 7:45
50m 0:50
400m 7:56
50m 0:51
400m ?8:05-8:10 (watch buttons klutzfest)
50m 0:53
200m CD

I set my watch up for intervals at 1:05 (basing that on last week's performance, i.e. >1 min per 50m) and then just noted the time left at the end of whatever I was doing. However, the beep went after about 3/4 of a length on the last 400m so I must have left it going after the sprint - duh. It was noticeable that on the first two 400m I was getting further along each time the beep went, i.e. 1:05 was enough for me to do 2 lengths and a bit. On the third the size of the "bit" was much smaller most of the time and I was in more or less the same place when it went! Only on the last 2-4 lengths did I open out a bit. I've guesstimated at 7 full intervals plus about 20s before and 15s after.

First 400m was good, smooth and controlled and feeling powerful. Second was OK but definitely felt harder, I had to concentrate to maintain form. Third was getting very tough - aside from the confusion about the time, my arms were feeling pretty weak. The last 50m sprint left them feeling like noodles. Still - must have worked hard, and the times didn't fall off too badly considering.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Long swim

Conscious that I haven't done a straight swim in a while, so I did that today. Just 40 mins to spare so it was a cursory warm up. To save counting I just hit lap on my watch every 6-10 lengths, to work out my speed and see how it varied over the swim. Average time (secs) per 25m over 10 unequal intervals:


Total 1900m, 40:30 total time. 50m WU at the start wasn't ideal but never mind. I felt slow for the first half, then felt faster but really wasn't going too much faster looking at the times! I stopped at what I thought was 40 min, with a couple of quicker ones, but then realised I had another 2 minutes to go - bummer. I guess I could count that last section as cool down ;)

Monday, April 27, 2009

A run of two halves

Nothing yesterday apart from spectating at the Marathon. Out at 6:30am, home at 2am, I think that's enough for one day!

Ran with Conac tonight, around Newmarket/Christchurch, enjoyed it until I needed the loo around Unthank/Christchurch... oh dear. But after walking for 400m and letting the others go on, I seemed OK and was able to get all the way back to University Drive, at a reasonable pace too.

8.8km (-0.4km walk = 8.4km) in 49:30 = 9:29/mi

Saturday, April 25, 2009


Intended to run from home, then realised I forgot my trainers, so it was a phone call and an emergency drive to work (where I left them) and then straight to Lizzie's to run from there. We did the Waitrose loop plus a little bit to make 40 mins.

6.8km, 40:44 = 9:39/mi

Foot seems OK, not perfect, but not giving me major problems either...

Friday, April 24, 2009

Mixed swim

Not too great on the 200m reps today, but good on the 50m sprints. Swapped to an empty lane halfway but I can't see that made any difference. I was just slow!

300m WU
6 x 200m hard, 20s rest: 3:56, 4:00, 4:07, 4:02, 4: 06, 4: 12
4 x 50m sprint, 45s rest (done @1:45): all 57-58s
300m CD


Thursday, April 23, 2009

Riverside run

Lovely run by the river and broad at lunchtime, it wasn't overly sunny but was quite warm - are we spoiling for a storm I wonder?

Total 6.2km in 35:30, so 9:13/mile. Again, not bad! Although today I definitely thought I was going at a decent pace, and worked to sustain it. It felt fun - just running for the hell of it, through to woods and along the boardwalk and everything. Nice, really nice :)

Orthotics are still doing well, no pain and no obvious effects elsewhere while I'm running. Fingers crossed it stays that way. I reckon next week I can start to at least approximate the run sessions from The Plan.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Five minutes more...

I failed to get out yesterday - had time, strictly speaking, but didn't. Ah well. Out tonight, round the block and making up the time a bit to hit at least 30 mins, following Monday's 25 minute success. Total 5.4km in about 31 minutes (reset my watch without taking proper note, d'oh) which makes 9:15/mile. Huh? Are these orthotics made of helium or something? 31 mins is an outside estimate, too, I am pretty sure it was actually 30:something. Rock on :)

Monday, April 20, 2009

Little run and a few weights

Back with the club - hurrah - if only for a bit. Out over Bowthorpe marshes, cut back early and walked after 25 mins. Everything seems hunkydory - 10 min miling again. Really nice to catch up with Claudia, Sally and co., and lovely evening to be out.

After the run I squeezed half an hour or so in at the gym:

Biceps, 8kg dumbbell, 3x8 each side (moderate/hard)
Triceps, 5kg dumbbell, 3x8 each side (hard)
Shoulder press, 6kg dumbbells, 3x8 (hard)
Lat pulldown, 35kg, 3x8 (moderate/hard)

Shoulder bridge off ball, at ankles, 2x10
Side leg lift, 2x10
Clam, raised feet, 2x10
Shoulder bridge, normal, 2x10 - tried for leg extension while up in bridge but hamstrings complained!

Less dodgy swim

Was looking forward to a nice uncluttered lunchtime swim, and almost got it. Swam alone for warm up and first few 100m reps, then was joined by a couple, swimming 2 lengths at a time and then resting. They were swimming almost at my speed (and resting a LOT), so not too bad, but I did delay a couple of reps here and there to give myself some clear water.

300m WU
5 x 100m, 5s rest
9 x 75m @ VO2 max pace, 45s rest
6 x 25m sprint, ~20s rest
325m CD

Total 1950m

100m reps:
Did 5 - should have been 6, but, er, I can't count?! Times: 1:57, 2:02, 2:02, 2:01, 2:01

75m reps:
Done @2:15, between 45-50s rest, so 1:25-1:30 per 75m. Pleased with that, especially as some of them were slightly held up behind the other people in the lane. I was definitely pushing it, just not quite sprinting.

25m sprints:
Done @45s, 21-18s rest so 24-27s/25m. I was really feeling it by this point. On the last rep there was a guy in the lane next to me at about the same speed, so I tried to race him, and suddenly my left arm was just like jelly, no oomph at all. I guess I just used everything!

Sunday, April 19, 2009


Another big bike ride today - 90km, this time via Old Buck and Bungay.

Leg 1 - 28km to Old Buck, 1 hr exactly, 28km/hr. Meet Rob, who's done the same from Shipdham, with a headwind. I noticed a bit of breeze but couldn't say I had been struggling so far. So far.

Leg 2 - 37km to Bungay, 1:23, 26.6km/hr taking the overall average to 27.2. As this was in pretty much the same direction as Rob had come, there was a definite headwind. And one or two hills. But also some good roads where you could at least keep it rolling. At Bungay we refuelled with a bacon butty and waited for Trish and others to complete the half marathon.

Leg 3 - 25km back home, about 1:07, 24.2km/h. I accidentally reset my computer when leaving, and in the confusion forgot to check the sensor was in place until about 5 minutes up the road, so lost a little bit. Took the back roads through Thwaite, Seething and Brooke to pick up the main road a bit later on - my legs were really feeling it so I was glad I wasn't trying to contend with faster traffic until I'd warmed up. Even stopped and raised my saddle about another inch or so, but whether it helped I can't say! Didn't hinder so I have kept it for now. Back roads were very pretty, quiet, held a few nasty hill surprises, and were devoid of any signposts to Brooke! Made it on instinct though.

A glorious day, good to be out, but that last 25km was hard work. The first 15 of the last 25 was the worst, I think the break at the race finish was possibly a bad idea, but live and learn.

Punctures were a pain - one slow around Tibenham (37k), fixed thanks to Rob's magic CO2 device. Needed another top up at Flixton (58k) and then it was getting flat again by Bungay (64k), so I changed the tube. That got me home, aided by the talisman of borrowing the CO2 widget. Must get one of those and replace Rob's cylinder - forget pumps.

When I got home, I went out for a run. It wasn't really a brick, as I put the bike away, had a pit stop (where I drank far too much, d'oh) and then set out, but the legs were still complaining a bit. Trundled down to Lizzie's as I thought they might be in the garden on a lovely day like this - no sign, but then there she was just going for a run! So we ran together up to Church Lane and down to Waitrose, which made my 20 mins and I walked home (OK, jogged down Marston Lane at the end). Added up to 3.2km, so 10 min miles - pretty comfortable. The orthotics seem to be settling in well. I had minimal discomfort this morning (2 mins after getting out of bed, maybe), then some stiffness after sitting on the sofa post-run today but by bedtime it all seemed fine.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Annoying swim, another run

Off to the pool this morning for my usual Saturday swim. I got in a lane with some people doing a similar speed to me. I haven't been over Easter due to pool closure and other stuff, and I just wanted to swim steadily for an hour and see how far I got, no sprints or efforts or drills.

After about 40 minutes of steady swimming, the lane had lost most of my original companions and acquired about five slower swimmers who had no clue about letting faster swimmers past at the end! And they were spread out so that I couldn't overtake, and even if I turned early to get ahead, I just caught up with the next one.

I checked the other 3 lanes - one full of crazy fast dudes, two with a sprinkling of equally slow swimmers as my lane. Why can't people get in the lane with people going a similar speed, rather than going for the one with "most space"?? I got so frustrated, I got out and stomped off to shower and change, cutting my planned session short by a third. 100m warm up and 1600m in 40 minutes including all the dawdling and faffing. 2:30 for 100m! FFS.

Later on I went for my 15 minutes in the lovely spring sunshine. I could feel yesterday in my foot for a short while when I got up this morning, but it wore off sooon enough. Since today's run again I can feel a little bit, but not sure what choice I have. The orthotics are wearing in well, I kept them in for a good hour or more after the run and they feel fine. I'll try for 20 mins tomorrow and see how we go.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Tentative run

Yesterday was crazy, no time for anything, but I did manage to pick up my orthotics. Scary big things - have had to re-lace my shoes to miss out the midfoot holes, as otherwise they are too tight.

I went for 10 minutes, as instructed, down by the broad. It was a nice sunny evening, good to be out (added to my wildlife tally with a confused hedgehog stumbling around...), and the running seemed OK. It's obvious that there's something different about my shoes, but it's not necessarily uncomfortable. I guess I might get niggles in odd places as the rest of me gets used to it all - there was a funny twinge on my left ankle at one point, but that could have been random. I'm most worried about getting calf cramp if the shoes remain too tight, as was the problem with the ladies' Sauconys. The big test will be how it feels tomorrow...

After that little warm-up I went to the gym:

15 mins rower - dodgy display that didn't record most of the time, grr
2 x 12 mins stepper, profiles 3 and 5, level 8 rising to 9
pilates exercises - move up to level 2 next time
abs upper and lower

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Poorly but recovering

Came down with a rubbish head cold yesterday - managed to trail round Bury with Lizzie (not that I was much company!) but was then no good for anything except sitting on the sofa mainlining hot honey, lemon and ginger.

This morning I felt a bit better, but unable to face going to work, I grabbed some marking to do at home and snuck off to the gym (which I would have done at lunch if I'd gone to work, honest). Wasn't up to the greatest session ever but it was good to get the blood flowing, and I think it helped.

5 mins bike WU
10 mins rower 2395m
2 x 12 mins stepper, profiles 3 and 5, level 8
20 mins bike, profile 3, level 6
pilates exercises interspersed as before

Monday, April 13, 2009

Going the distance

After being rained off the other day, I thought it was time to bite the bullet and do the Cowman bike distance - 90km. Weather wasn't too inspiring but there was no wind, and the sun did come out for a little while. It was good to be out!

It was bad luck that my plans didn't match up with anyone else's, so I was out on my own. Not really a problem except it is easier to keep speed up in a group, so I wasn't expecting too much from the average. However, I managed to match last week's of 27.4kmh (17mph) - amazing! It was actually 27.5 until I wearily slogged up Church Lane to come home. At max I hit about 44kmh, and it wasn't down a big hill either!

I put my saddle up a bit (quite a lot really - about an inch or so) and that made a big difference. I was tired at the end, but I didn't find the hills quite as bad as last week in terms of leg fatigue. I'm beginning to think I may just need a different bike, as the reach still feels too long. My arms were stiff from being extended all the time. But I don't think I can quite justify it at the moment. We'll see.

A nice little lift towards the end of the ride, when I was tired after climbing up from Thuxton towards Mattishall, was a barn owl (with prey in its talons) flying parallel to me over the fields for about 200m. Beautiful.

Saturday, April 11, 2009


Having taken yesterday as a rest day, typically it was glorious weather. We got loads done in the garden but it would have been ideal for a bike ride!

So, today, I thought I would get in an hour's bike ride with a few hills, and a gym session. Stupidly I did the gym first and now it's raining... maybe later it will clear up!

5 mins rower WU
triceps: 15kg 4x6, 10kg 2x12 (15kg too hard to do >6)
biceps: 15kg 4x12
lat pulldown: 30kg 3x12
shoulder bridge 2x10
shoulder bridge with ball 2x10
clam 2x10 each side
leg lift 2x10 each side
abs: 3x25 upper, 2x10 lower

Thursday, April 9, 2009


Ah, a day off work, so... two hours down the gym! Not all spent flat out, though - actually a lot of time lying down, doing the gluteus medius pilates exercises from the physio!

5 mins bike WU
15 mins rower 3515m (2:08/500m)
2 x 10 shoulder bridge level 1 (plain bridge)
12 mins stepper, profile 5, level 8
2 x 10 clam level 1 (each side)
12 mins stepper, profile 3, level 8
2 x 10 side leg lift (each side)
30 mins bike: 5 mins level 7, 4 x (3 mins level 9, 2 mins level 6), 5 mins level 7, all at RPM 85-90
5 mins bike CD

adductor 35kg 3x12
abductor adequately covered by pilates above!
squats 3x12, 2 with 3kg weights, 1 with 4kg (hard)

Felt very tired on the rower, just couldn't summon up the oomph, but found it by the stepper - reduced that down from 27 mins total to 24, but in 2 lots. Tough, but I kept it going, ditto the bike efforts. Horribly sweaty :(

The exercises were OK, will see how I feel in the bottom area tomorrow!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009


Had my physio appointment this evening - I found the practice online, looking for one convenient for work/home, and it seems really good: Murphy Physiotherapy. I had a good hour's consultation with Jo, including pinpointing the exact problem, discussion of what might be the cause, some general advice to help ease the symptoms, exercises to help long-term by strengthening the gluteus medius (keeping everything in alignment), and ordering some orthotics.

It seems there might be various causes including the new shoes, some slight biomechanical issues (slight pronation, slightly lower arch that side), maybe not so much the mileage increase (due to my previous running at higher mileage) but possibly the effect of road camber from the Great East as my longest run in a long time. Also running in men's shoes is less than ideal as they are not just for a different foot shape but for complete different biomechanical layout (narrower hips, more straight up/down). However, as they have served me well so far Jo thought that it was worth keeping them and trying the orthotics. It seems there is a reasonable chance that will sort things out.

Also reassuring was the idea that the pain is not really related to long-term damage. Obviously I want to get rid of it, but running through it to get me through the Cowman shouldn't cause long term problems. The orthotics should be here next week, allowing for Easter, and so hopefully I can try another gentle run and see how it goes.

Before and after

Before: tired, slightly achy arms, not really up for it.

300m WU
4 x 200m threshold: 3:55, 3:53, 3:58, 3:58
6 x 50m sprint: 52, 53, 52, 53, 53, 53
300m CD

Tired, pleased, barely able to lift fork to mouth to eat lunch, so may starve to death this afternoon...

Seriously, I'm really pleased with the consistency of the times, and the times themselves! Under 4:00 for 200m is way better than I expected, and to hit 52s for 50m means I might finally have got the turns right. It was tough, but just the right amount of tough. This is why I should always make the effort to go even when tired!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Step it up a bit more

After yesterday's upper body weights, I didn't really fancy rowing! So limited tonight's gym session to stepper and bike, upping the stepper time by 35%.

5 mins bike WU
27 mins stepper:
9 mins profile 5, level 8 (abrupt lo-hi sequence, 4 peaks)
9 mins profile 3, level 8 (smooth lo-hi sequence, 3 peaks)
9 mins profile 1, level 9 (abrupt lo-hi sequence, 4 increasing peaks)

Embarrassingly I admit I did 9 mins because the machine displays have 18 columns on them to show the profile, and I wanted a round number of minutes per column! But then gave that up and for the bike did:

15 mins profile 5, level 7
10 mins profile 2, level 7 (smooth lo-hi sequence, 1 small & 1 large peak)
5 mins CD

I was getting flickers of calf cramp towards the end, so level 7 was enough. A good old stretch was well appreciated afterwards.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Introducing lactate intervals

Week 9 of the training plan, and this week I introduce lactate intervals (RPI = above threshold but below sprint). I was a bit worried about these when it came to swimming, as I wasn't sure if I really had a speed in between moderate and sprint! I felt a bit creaky and slow when I got in the pool but warmed up well, and was able to hold the 75m reps at a pace that was just sustainable given the 45s rest in between each - but still had enough to keep up 24-25s for the 25m sprints. I'm really pleased with today's times, they're dropping nicely compared to a week or two ago.

300m WU
6 x 100m, 5s rest: 1:57, 1:58, 2:00, 2:00, 2:00, 1:58
7 x 75m, 45s rest: 1:24, 1:25, 1:24, 1:25, 1:25, 1:26, 1:26
6 x 25m @45s (~20s rest): 24, 24, 24, 24, 25, 25
300m CD

Total 1875m

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Beautiful day...

Spent the morning marshalling the Diss Duathlon, then biked back via Hingham and Barford with Rob and Rosie. We were cruising along pretty nicely, and my average read 27.7km/h until we hit the hill from Bawburgh to Little Melton! Overall average 27.4km/h, distance 57.3km (17mph, 35 miles). Really nice ride - the sun was shining, birds singing, and drivers behaving.

No odd noises from the bike this week, but I do think I need to put the saddle up as it seems to have dropped and I'm not getting full leg extension. Maybe it was the seat post creaking?

Saturday, April 4, 2009


Up to the Sportspark for a swim at 50m this morning. Saw Gill and David who had just got out - Gill joked "don't go in lane 4, it's full of crazy people!", but on examination lane 4 was the only one without breaststroke swimmers (4 lanes were in use by a club again), so I got in. It wasn't too bad for the first half but either people got crazier or more people got in, as soon I was being overtaken (and cut up when the overtaker was cutting it a bit fine with oncomers), bashed, and unable to touch at the end for people hanging about. I caught up with splashy kick lady from last week, it's kind of like swimming in a jacuzzi but with the POUNDPOUNDPOUNDPOUND of her kicking feet as a soundtrack. This week I pushed it to overtake her and managed to stay far enough ahead to not have her on my toes.

As soon as I was done, I ducked under into the nextdoor lane to cool down without inconveniencing the turbo people, and was immediately frustrated by the slow speed. And this was on a cool down, even swimming with just arms and very slowly. So basically there was nowhere for me to go. Thankfully I had done 300m warm up so only needed 200m cool down and I was out of there (actually a bit short as I turned early at one point just to get some clear water!).

100m splits were variable, at least for the first 9 - my watch didn't save any more than that as the memory was full :( So, from memory, I think it was 32:29 for the full 1500m , which makes 2:10 per 100m. The laps that did get saved varied from 2:06 to 2:22, although some were artificially longer as I waited at the end to be overtaken.

Friday, April 3, 2009


Gym session at lunchtime, going for maximum calorie burn/cardio benefit in the time available so no weights or abs.

5 mins rower WU
10 mins rower 2487m (!!!!)
2 x 10 mins stepper, interval profile 3 & 5, level 8
20 mins bike, interval profile 3, level 6 increasing to 7
1 min bike CD, quick stretch and gone!

Heel feels a little dodgy today so won't run over the weekend, although will go with beginners on Monday as it's short and slow. Have booked in with a physio next Weds to try and get it sorted.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Completing the set

First up, a little run mostly on grass - now it's light, the club are over on the grass doing efforts, so I ran down there with them and made up a circuit around the playing fields and back to base in 30 mins. Just mapped it as 5km so that's 10 min miling. Foot feels OK now, let's see how it is after a rest.

Then hit the gym for some weights:

Adductor 35kg 3x12
Abductor 30kg 3x12
Lat pulldown 30kg 3x12 (hard)
Biceps (barbell) 15kg 2x12
Squats (dumbbells) 2x4kg 3x12
Abs: upper x60, lower x30


Forgot to check the training bible before coming out this morning so I made up a session of similar length to Monday's:

300m WU
3 x pyramid = 1200m
200m CD

Total 1700m

Pyramids were 1-2-3-4-3-2-1 lengths, i.e. total 16 lengths/400m each. Done @ 35s. Times were pretty good, ranging from 25-26s for 1 length to just under 30s/25m on some of the later 3 and 4 length reps. Overall I was usually around 29s/25m, which I'm really pleased with. Some of the slower later times came because I had 2 other people in my lane and turning was sometimes tricky.