I took three days off running after Thursday’s Conic Hill run and my hamstring has definietly been feeling better each day. So tonight after work I decided to go for a very easy 3-4 mile run and see how it felt.
Thankfully it felt okay. I could sense it was there and knew that if I pushed too hard then it might well feel sore but if I run easily it seems fine. I was hoping to run our club Christmas Handicap Race tonight but decided that wouldn’t be a good idea.
Katrina is running, defending her trophy from last year, so I’ll be there to cheer everyone on. I’m planning to run the Christmas Day parkrun at Pollok Park with Katrina, Neal and Caroline but I’m going to take it easy and not race.
Thanks to those who have left messages after my Review of 2013. The most comprehensive was from Robert Osfield, who very helpfully, left this comment …
Great review John, it’s great to see you back running well for all your races.
The changes you’ve made obviously have been effective, reversing all the issues you were having with long ultras in the two previous years. I recall in 2011 and 2012 you put away some very respectable 10k and half marathon times, but the ultra’s just didn’t match up. While this year the shorter races you’ve done have similar in speed suggesting you base aerobic fitness is similar, but you’ve been able to covert that speed to good ultra times far better – in effect you’ve shown much greater resilience.
Any chance you can put together a table of your 10k, half marathon and ultra times through the years to see about the pattern that emerges?
In terms of periodization of training – doing faster training in winter, and longer training in summer, I suspect this will be maximizing your aerobic fitness over the winter with all your faster sessions but letting your resilience slip, then when you replace the faster training runs with long runs you develop aerobic fitness less and concentrate on building resilience. The danger would be that your aerobic fitness might actually be diminishing during this period of mainly long runs as you put less demands upon the upper end of your aerobic fitness. If your aerobic fitness diminishes then the base line speed you have will diminish with it, so potentially your ultra speed could suffer. Finding the perfect balance between developing both aerobic fitness and resilience may be the key to optimum ultra marathon training.
For me this year, your diet and dropping some of the least health carbs (wheat really isn’t a healthy food) will have helped you burn more fat when living and exercising, and may have reduced your general level of inflammation helping recovery. Burning more fat will certainly help you be more metabolically resilient. The spreading your longer mileage over back to back runs will also help build resilience, and I believe should place less risk of chronic elevation of cortisol by doing less long training runs, and doing so reduced the risk of over training. The big hill runs should help provide stimulus for the upper end of your aerobic range on the ascent (it’s a bit lit a tempo run) and then on the descent it’ll build your muscle resilience – to me this looks like a great way to provide development of both your aerobic fitness and resilience all in one session.
If I were to tweak your training I’d suggest not periodizing the faster training so much. Instead just to merge them more so in winter you retain more resilience building. Try your fartlek as hill play, run hard uphills, then recover your breath downhill but still provide that prod to keeping your resilence. For tempo sessions try longer hill ascents and followed with longer descents. With the back to back’s your could try out doing what Lydiard suggests – do a faster tempo run followed by a long slow run, this way you maintain the upper end of your aerobic fitness and fatigue your aerobic fast twitch fibres and develop your slow twitch fibres. With this approach you potentially can main your aerobic fitness and resilience better throughout the year.
Some interesting comments from Robert and some things to go away and think about.