Sunday, January 14, 2018

Staying motivated...


So my foot’s better - after not being great again. I guess running three days in a row, with hills, a speed test and sprints was not a brilliant idea. Ten days off and went for an hour run with some tempo paces and it’s ok this morning, though I can feel something. So I’m pretty sure the fracture isn’t there, but just the lengthy sesamoiditis inflammation that I’ve read about – so: rest, icing, and ibuprofen…

Training-wise, I start short intervals in the pool tomorrow with a waist buoy – pool running… And will add one hour of running a week over the next three weeks, then add 20-30mn a week. Keep tempo running but adding sprints only last, in at least a month, if things keep holding. In the mean time, swimming and biking, especially long bike rides before an hour run to simulate long runs as much as possible.

The good news is, the pressure is off. I have an alternate goal if I can’t do the 100km Bienne, with the chance of still being able to possibly aim for a good time at another 100km in November (Ronde des Eléphants in Annecy, less than an hour’s drive) – and that would be the Rapperswil Half-Ironman on the same weekend as Bienne, which my friend Anthony said he is planning on doing. What’s good about this is that on the days when I water-run I will practice the “total immersion” drills to improve swim technique (and presumably speed), and if I can’t run consistently enough to compete in Bienne, that means I’ll be doing more biking so, again presumably, more adequately trained for a triathlon. 

Of course, initially I thought I would do Rapperswil only if I can’t do Bienne. But the prospect of possibly competing in a triathlon with Anthony again is suddenly too appealing for a silly idea not to occur to me: compete in both Bienne and Rapperswil, foot permitting, since Bienne starts at 10pm on Friday night. If I am done in a realistic 12 hours, that means 10am Saturday, then I can hop in the train and be in Zurich by early afternoon, to get my race bib and compete in Rapperswil Sunday morning. 

So the pressure to be ready for Bienne and the anxiety of not being ready for what until now was my first main event of the year, are off – either Bienne doesn’t happen and I can put all my energy into Rapperswill, or I am able to train consistently for Bienne and run a good race – in which case, Rapperswil will be a “best effort”, even DNSing or DNFing if too tired and just appreciate following Anthony’s progress.

At least I have options and it’s a way to stay motivated!

Monday, January 1, 2018

Last run of the year, first run of a new season

Well, thanks to an almost three-month running hiatus because of my sesamoid stress fracture, the start of the new training-cycle-season coincides with the New Year! I picked up slowly end November and have been running for pleasure, anywhere from 20mn to 1h10, with two hilly mountain runs this past week and quite a few hours of intense skiing - capping off the year with just over 2,500km of running, with all of that save the 90km run in December done from January-September.

For the last run of the year on December 31st I tested my maximum (aerobic) speed (the pace that can be sustained for 4-6 minutes) so I know what my training paces for the coming weeks will be: 15km/h... I was at 15.6km/h at the beginning of the year for my GUCR training, so considering I've done no speedwork since mid-August and didn't run for almost three months, I figure that's not too bad and that some high-intensity workouts on the rowing and biking machines, aside from being mentally challenging, were actually quite effective.

In any case, it is what it is - but most importantly it does allow me to dream of a potential sub-10h at the 100km in Bienne. I've decided to start the year with a 8-9 week cycle designed specifically to increase speed - up to 1km/h. And since Bruno Heubi has a training plan to run 100km in 10h that is based on a max aerobic speed of 16km/h, if those weeks of speed training actually get me to that magical number, then theoretically at least I have a fighting chance.

Wow... I hardly recognize myself: "max aerobic speed", "training cycles", "speed work"... Unrecognizable from just three years ago... But, it's a lot of fun and gives some sense of purpose to my running... And that's the main thing. As soon as it becomes boring or overbearing, I'll just move on... But right now, as I once said in a previous blog, it's just me experimenting with myself and that's why I do this: to discover stuff. So I hope to stick like glue to this 8-week plan and see where I am at afterwards...

The question mark is my foot. Three days of mild running in a row and I can definitely feel something there. But I figure that I could also still feel it after two months of no running, and there's no sharp pains and it doesn't bother me when running, so I'll just use the same technique I did when an MRI found a partial tear in my meniscus in 2010 and the doctor said I shouldn't run anymore, especially downhill: I thought, well if the diagnosis is no running, then I'll just keep running till it tears completely, have the operation and take it from there - what have I got to lose? Well, I kept running, competing in over a dozen mountain ultras and the meniscus hasn't bothered me since....

So I'll keep running and just see...