Training update, 25th-31st January

Coach Tom Schwartz (Tinman Elite) podcastkey takeaways (available here)

• Remember 80% rule, i.e if you can do 10 reps then 8 is probably enough in training;

• Seek to avoid “instant gratification”, i.e. try not to let the ego win. The ego wants instant gratification but gratification must be delayed in training;

• Respect your current fitness level;

• It takes a long time to improve running economy (reducing the amount of oxygen consumed at a given running speed);

• Self discipline is more important than motivation. Motivation wanes, self discipline at all times is key.

Mon, 25 Jan: run on golf course

Managed to get out for a lunch time run on Newcastle United Golf course on the Town Moor in Newcastle.

I wouldn’t usually run on the golf course but the conditions were still freezing and so the ground was hard underfoot, almost like concrete.

It was pretty windy (Strava said >20mph). I was planning to run around 50-55 minutes total. I jogged up the hill over Town Moor and onto the golf course and did 3 full laps. I used to play golf here when I lived in Fenham. It was pretty cool. I’d walk up Wingrove Road with my clubs after work. I had an agreement with the green keeper. I’d just play the front nine. He would meet me on the 4th or 5th and I’d just give him a fiver. Brought back some memories…

I had deliberately tinkered with the settings on my Garmin as follows – auto lap turned off, pace and distance measured by my Stryd power meter foot pod instead of GPS (I think it’s more accurate). I changed the display so I was only looking at a timer. This made the run much more pleasurable and I just ensured to run within myself.

Ended up with just over 10km in just under 52mins. Average heart rate was 144bpm. Felt like I’d judged it about right. You can tell by how you feel after a run. If you feel tired you’ve overcooked an easy run.

Tue, 26 Jan: baseline tempo run

Prior to my second physio appointment I got out for a little line in the sand tempo run of 5x a loop of St. Andrews.

You may be wondering what the St. Andrews loop is. Well it’s named after a nearby church on the housing estate where I do pretty much all of my uptempo running.

The loop I run measures out at 1,090m (based on my Stryd footpod). So today I was doing 5x about a 1km tempo which for me is usually an effort at around 10-11 mile effort, sometimes even HM. I usually work it to my current Stryd power metrics. So I’m looking to push out 315-320W which is approx 4.3 to 4.4 watts per kilo for me.

On this day the conditions were pretty good with little wind and I was ticking the laps off just over 4mins which translated to around 3:41 – 3.45 per km. This is approx 6 min miles or just under. I am conscious that this is quite a bit slower than my current 10 mile (avg. pace of 3:27/km) and HM (avg. pace 3.38/km) PBs. However, I am training at a lower HR (typically <170bpm) than I raced those distances (approx 173bpm for HM and 178bpm for 10 miles) so I think it’s fair to say I am slightly undertraining versus race pace which is fine.

I’ve only had the Stryd foot pod since the back end of November so in many ways it is still calibrating and I believe it is underestimating my real ability at the moment. However, current fitness and ability are two completely different things. The power meter wants to know what I am capable of but my current training is not feeding it such data. The main thing on this session was that everything felt in order and in control. If you can’t manage a smile then you are probably going too hard.

At physio that evening, I had my foot re strapped as I felt like it had helped my shin. I agreed with the physio to come back in 2 weeks. I had some Hoka One One Arahi 4 stability running shoes ordered to try to see if they could also help.

Wed, 27 Jan: another easy run

My new Hoke One One Arahi 4s arrived so I wore them for the first time.

The right shoe felt a bit tight but I put that down to the strapping I had on the foot. Overall I liked them. For a stability shoe they felt very light and also the sound on the pavement was nice and quiet.

I continued with the approach of just referring to time and no other metrics. The plan was another 50 to 55 minutes.

This time I ran down to the Town Moor which is mostly downhill and then looped back up which is back uphill.

Just ran well within myself. Ended up with 6.8 miles in 54 minutes averaging 143bpm. I enjoyed running on without the metrics but still feel I am not as aerobically fit as I need to be…

Thu, 28 Jan: unplanned rest day

For whatever reason I woke up on Thursday not fully recovered and ready to do a planned session.

I use the Oura ring to track metrics such as resting HR, Heart Rate Variability (HRV) and respiratory rate. From this data the Oura app is able to produce a “Readiness” score.

On this day the score came out low and my resting HR higher / HRV lower than normal.

So I decided to take complete rest and see if tomorrow was a better day.

Fri, 29 Jan: replanned tempo session

My Oura stats had returned to normal so I got out for my session.

I reduced the total volume from the original plan just to be on the safe side given that I was still returning from injury and the recent unplanned rest day.

The session was 3x 3 loops of St. Andrews (i.e. 3x 3km+). I ended up with 2x 3 loops plus 1 extra loop. The plan was 2 minutes jogging between the reps but I’d mis read it as 90 seconds which made it harder than plan.

The laps times were pretty much identical to those 1 loop efforts completed on Tuesday (just over 4mins per lap or 6mins per mile pace).

Unbeknownst to me my chest strap Heart Rate monitor had ran out of battery so my watch had reverted to the wrist strap which was typically inaccurate. Again, I hadn’t referred to it during the run but it would have been nice to have been able to do some meaningful post session analysis.

Overall, although it felt hard, it was a decent session.

Sometimes it’s important to remember training sessions alone are hard. It callouses the mind ready for racing. Wanting things to feel easier and faster is unrealistic…

Sat, 30 Jan: 10 mile run with pickup

I usually wouldn’t do two sessions back to back but needs must. If at all possible I prefer to run my longer runs on a Saturday when Jasmine is working so we can better enjoy a day off on Sundays.

Runners seem obsessed with “church of Sunday long run” but to me it’s important to have a plan that suits your life and Sunday long runs rarely suit mine.

So it was a case of shoe horning this run in somewhat. My Oura stats were OK, not ideal but on balance I thought it was alright to run 6 miles easy followed by 4 miles pick up then warm down home.

I ran the 6 miles averaging low 140bpm heart rate and around 5 mins per km. I then picked up to approx. 4:05/km.

I still hadn’t had chance to replace the battery on my heart rate monitor so, again, the wrist HR was well off and not reliable. But the pickup felt pretty good.

Overall including warm down I ran 11.8 miles in 1hr 29. Nothing special and still not feeling amazing but I felt much better than I did after last weeks 10 miles where I felt totally wiped afterwards.

Sun, 31st Jan: another rest day

Again, the Oura stats didn’t make for good reading so I felt it was prudent to take another rest day.

For whatever reason I am not quite getting and absorbing the training like I was before I got the shin injury.

I’m trying not to worry about it but I’m also trying to work out why. I’ve tried to reduce my coffee intake this week for example.

Despite the two rest days I was able to run 39.7 miles total for the week which represents a decent stepping stone from the week previous. And it invites me to shoot for somewhere between 40 to 45 miles next week which seems sensible given where I am at.

Thanks for reading.


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