Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Training recap week #27

Monday I did some embedded circuit training. My knee was a little wonky from Sunday's run so rather than sandwiching the circuit between easy runs, I did 20 minutes cycle and 10 minutes rowing instead. To keep my heart rate up between exercises, I skipped rope - I am getting much better at it now. I also noticed that the reps were easier with the weights I had used in previous workouts so I made a note to increase them for the next session. Monday night I did some core exercises before going to bed early. I also received my Pose method video in the mail so I will be integrating some of the exercises in my circuit training be replacing some of the rope skipping.

Tuesday was my Q2 training: Intervals on the mountain - 4 minutes hard followed by 3 minutes easy. I did this for the entire route of 10 km.

On Wednesday (Canada day) I stayed home and worked on the property - I moved rocks around for about 2 hours. This was very good weight training and I am so glad I finally got it done!

Thursday I ran the mountain and incorporated hill training. I did 6 repeats of a quarter-mile and brought my heart rate up past 100% on more than one occasion. I also concentrated on making sure I maintained the Pose technique during this run.

Friday, I did my second session of embedded circuit training. In between each exercise, I incorporated the Pose technique exercises. As a warm up I did 2 miles at an easy pace (8 min/mi) but it was not at all easy using the Pose technique - I am still not sufficiently accustomed to it yet. For a cool down I did 2 km on the concept2 rower. Here are my circuit training sets :

Bicep curl (35 lbs DB) x 12
Tricep Kickback (20 lb DB) x 12
Incline Press (55 lb DB) x 12
Dips x 12
Bench press (55 lb DB) x 12
Lat pull down (95 lb) x 12
Single leg press (4 plates) x 15
Leg curls (75 lb) x 15

I really didn't feel much like working out today but I felt like a million bucks afterward! The Pose exercises are really hard and I felt awkward doing them. I will have to do these much more often.

Saturday was a day off and Sunday I did my Q1 run which was 20 minutes Easy, followed by 20 minutes Hard, followed by another 20 minutes Easy. Afterward I stretched for 20 minutes.

Total weekly mileage : 33 km

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Training recap week #26

On Tuesday I ran the mountain by doing 4x800 threshold intervals while on the trails. This was a bit tricky to maintain the threshold pace but it was fun to see how fast I could go on the uphills and also trying to maintain the Pose technique. I also did 2 sets of the mountain stairs (250 steps each) and then jogged back to the gym for a total of 5 miles. Wednesday was a holiday so I spent the day with the family and I tried out an Aquajogger belt in my neighbour's pool. I will find time to fit in some of these workouts over the summer and write about it a little more detail. It seems promising - coming from someone that usually floats 3 inches below the surface! Thursday was threshold tempo day. I am starting to get the Pose technique much easier now. After a one-mile warmup, I cranked the treadmill to a speed a tad slower than my calculated threshold pace and ran 3 miles (7 min/mi). I followed this with a cooldown of a half-mile at max elevation at a brisk walking pace and another half-mile of steady jog for a total of 5 miles. I am starting to enjoy how slight changes in my posture could really influence my speed. Friday, I skipped out early to tend to my sick family and Saturday was nothing but thundershowers, so I did my long run on Sunday instead. 12 miles of Pose practice. My heart rate is not as high anymore but I think I should be able to pick up the pace now. I covered the distance in 2 hours flat which means I averaged a 10 min/mi. pace. According to Jack Daniels, my Easy pace should be about 2 min/mi. slower than my race pace so I should be doing my long runs at 9:25 min/mi. I will try to pick up the pace in future long runs.

Total weekly mileage : 36 km

Monday, June 22, 2009

Training recap week #25

On Monday I did an easy run up and down the mountain. I wore my knee support and everything was good. Tuesday I did some core exercises and stretching at home. I tried running the rest of the week without any knee support. On Wednesday, I tried out the POSE method on the local track (check out my separate post), and Friday I tried this out on the treadmill to see if I could reach my regular tempo pace. This was no easy feat! I started out relatively easy and as soon as I leaned in to advance my hips and shift my center of gravity forward, I immediately accelerated right into the front of the treadmill...I then increased the incline to 2% and resumed running while concentrating on my form. After 2 minutes, I increased the speed, and then again after another 2 minutes. I was now at my race pace and it seemed manageable, but I could feel my heart was working more and I was breathing much heavier than when I ran at this pace using my old form. Another 2 minutes, and I bumped up the speed to threshold pace. I could now feel the burn in my calves as I worked furiously on the LIFT part of the technique. The funny thing is that I am used to running at 90 individual foot strikes per minute using my old form, but for some reason, maintaining the same cadence using this form seems so much more effort judging by my breathing - not my legs. I feel it is more of a cardio workout than it was previously, which makes me wonder if I am truly at the lactate acid threshold pace. I think I should be working my legs more...All told, over the 5 km distance in 26 minutes, I spent 15 minutes in HR zone 4 (between 80-89% of max HR) and reached a high HR of 160 bpm. I couldn't maintain the pace continuously so I had to take thirty-second walk breaks every five minutes. On Sunday, I did a 13.2-mile long run using the method and I found it difficult right off the bat to find a pace that was not bringing my HR up. I suppose this has to do with getting my body used to the new technique more than the actual effort. I found my Easy pace to be a tad slower than my regular form and I had to consciously think about pushing my hips forward to move my center of gravity and accelerate. I maintained an average pace of 10:27 min/mi. and finished the half in 2:17. My easy pace should be more in the 8-9 min/mi range. I suppose it will become easier. By the end of the run, I still felt fresh in the legs. I could feel my IT Band was irritated again though so I stretched and iced it before going to bed. I feel the fatigue in my calves, though.

Total weekly mileage : 41.1 km

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Healthy living helps everyone

I came across this presentation by chance...

Sort of makes you want to reverse the trend, n'est-ce pas?

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Strike a POSE

Okay, so here is the skinny.  I have been yammering on about this knee for at least 6 weeks now.  Physiotherapy, Chiropracty, rest, cross-training, strength training, massage, stretching, taping, knee support, ice, yada yada yada.  You get it, my bad for overtraining. Now I have to pay the piper.  Right? Well, I have news for you!  I have heard about the Pose method for some time now.  I never really knew much about it so yesterday, I decided to do a little research when I came across this little claim that impact on the knees is reduced by 50% and that running injuries are reduced dramatically when this method is used.  After visiting many sites and some YouTube videos on drills to get used to the method, I finally found a site that explains the theory behind it and with video demonstrations.  

After watching this, the drill videos suddenly made sense and I had to try it out for myself.  This afternoon, I headed off to the local track and tried to remember the three principles (POSE, FALL, PULL) as I did some laps.  I didn't have my Polar with me nor was I wearing any knee support.  As soon as I started the method, I noticed how little impact I was making on my knees and legs in general.  I decided to do intervals (400m POSE, Threshold pace - at least from an exertion only perspective, followed by a 200m recovery shuffle).  I did 8 intervals and felt great! Don't get me wrong, I was working out there on the track ; working on thinking about form (head, hips, foot, arms, looking ahead, etc.);  working on the pull instead of push off; working on landing on the balls of my feet, behind the knees, working on maintaing a seemingly insane cadence; and working my heart- for sure!  But my knee was not working.  My knee was not sending my brain any signals of oncoming pain.  My knee did not feel wonky, or like it was going to give out. My knee was at peace and enjoying the ride that my feet were providing.

After this brief session of about 5km, I headed home and immediately ordered the training video to be sure I learn this method correctly.  I will undoubtedly be filming my form very soon to see if I am improving.  It is a bit of a stretch to say I am convinced after only one try but I will definitely give this method the chance to make me a more efficient and healthy runner.  Please stay tuned for more on my POSE journey and I wonder why I had to wait until now to go down this path.  Oh well, live and learn,......and keep running ;-)

Monday, June 15, 2009

Training recap week #24

Last Saturday I ran the trails in Hudson for my long run. I didn't wear my trail shoes but I should have...my nice white NB882s are no longer white. The trails were a little slick in spots as I explored the backcountry in preparation for this year's Harrier race. The black flies and mosquitos were also out and were eager to indulge whenever I slowed down. All told, I covered about 7.5 miles during this first long run and the knee held up pretty good. The knee support was a little loose so I kept fiddling with it. On Monday, I switched it for a smaller one and did an easy 5 km on the treadmill - this support was much better. Tuesday, I ran 6x800 threshold intervals with 1 min. rest in between. It was tough but I so enjoy this type of training because you can compartmentalize it into manageable workbouts. On Wednesday, I ran to the summit of Mount Royal and back down. Another test for my knee...not bad at all. I couldn't maintain the same pace throughout but I pushed myself on the ascent and must have maintained an average 9:40min/mi pace . Coming back down it was more in the 8 min/mi range. Thursday was a day off and Friday I did embedded circuit training in between two short 2 mile runs. I did not run on the weekend but rather did some strength training. All told it was a good week. I think I could take it up a notch now.

Total weekly mileage : 28 km

Monday, June 8, 2009

Training recap week #23

First full week of training. I wanted to see if I could pick up my training and not aggravate my knee. It is still sensitive if I am sitting for too long and occasionally when I go down stairs. My physiotherapist tried a taping to realign my left kneecap on Monday. On Tuesday, I took it through its paces by running 5x800 threshold intervals. It seemed to do a good job and my knee felt secure. On Wednesday I did some aerobics with no problems at all. Thursday, I ran a Tempo pace 5k but I felt the tape had lost its effectiveness. I don't want to be having to tape my knee every other day so I bought a neoprene knee support on the way home. On Friday, I ran up and down mount Royal (10km Easy pace). This is my favorite run because I can really work on the ascents and coast on the way down. The knee support was not as good as the taping was but I did feel my knee less than without it. Friday night I did some stretching. On Saturday morning I ran the trails of Hudson. I intended to run 15km but running in the trails is not as fast as on the roads so I only managed 12km in the time I had scheduled. The knee support started sliding down and was becoming a nuisance. I will try to run without one next time or find a smaller one. All told, I am definitely not 100% yet and I am only 13 weeks away from the Montreal marathon. Since I will also be running New York on November 1st (7 weeks after Montreal), I think it would be more prudent to focus my training to peak for New York and only run the half in Montreal. That way I can gradually ease my mileage back up and ensure I put all the chances on my side for a PR in New York, injury-free.

Total weekly mileage : 37.5 km