Monday, March 19, 2018

10km Tour de Presinge: enjoying a shorter, faster race

As I was having a hard time in my recent training sessions hitting my target 10k pace of just under 4’30’’ (so’s to slip under 45mn), I really wasn’t very hopeful for the Tour de Presinge last Sunday, and was starting to wonder if even 47mn was possible. And so of course I also started to wonder about all this speed training hullaballoo since it didn’t seem to be having the slightest effect on me, either increasing my base speed or my ability to run faster for longer.

Wouldn’t you know it – perhaps because I’d been training in very cold weather and dodging snow patches, certainly because of the taper effect, and also thanks to some good advice from two friends, I actually hit my target goal at 44’47”… (I think originally I was hoping for 43mn but that was not founded on anything realistic). What is quite satisfying is that this corresponds quite neatly to the predicted time based on my recently tested maximum speed of 15.7km/h. So that does confirm that actually since February the speed work has been having an effect, both in base speed (since I was at 15) and in my ability to maintain about 85% of that speed for longer.

Not only that, but I am also quite pleased that I actually managed the race well in terms of pacing, posting a slightly faster 2nd 5k than the 1st (thanks to some pointed advice from two friends!)...

So now I start on my cobbled-together training plan for GE marathon/100km Bienne/100-mile Montreux with a renewed determination and belief that those goals – 3h25 for Geneva, 10h30 for Bienne – are possible.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Recovering from a sesamoid stress fracture

I've continued ramping up mileage and intensity, moving from 4h to now 6h30, including sprint intervals and hills - and the foot is still "holding", meaning that while I can still feel the occasional tension and weird soreness, there is nothing that prevents me from running and, most importantly, it is all decreasing in duration and intensity, even as I ramp up my running. So while I certainly won't cry victory yet, I think I can put down what I've been doing in the past months to help recover from the sesamoid injury, in case someone else finds themself in the same situation:

- specifically designed orthopedic sole: if nothing else, definitely this! I waited too long.
- rest: it is definitely worth waiting more than less before resuming running; at least six weeks, probably two months, with even minimal walking - and always with the special soles.
- cross-training: to keep up fitness, definitely get into doing 10-20mn of high-intensity aqua-jogging intervals - obviously keeps the heart pumping but also surprising trains the leg muscles; high-intensity rowing; low-intensity bike for endurance to replace long runs (if you do too high intensity, you risk putting pressure on the sesamoid); and strength training (watch out for lunges though!)
- nutrition: magnesium, calcium with vitamin D, vitamin K, and natural acerola vitamin C/ascobic acid; omega 3; and prefer alkaline foods as less inflammatory
- anti-inflammatories, occasionally: for several weeks as i eased back into running, i would take one tablet 2-3 times a week in the evening after a higher intensity session that made me feel the foot.
ice:  definitely try and ice in the evening on every day that you run when you first ease back into it, and of course as necessary.
- return to training: very gradually; go at an easy pace at first - 30mn then adding about 10mn each time, but allowing two full days rest between sessions (i.e. monday, then thursday); if and when you add intensity, make it first longer tempo sessions, then long intervals (1 mile, 1k, 800m) then shorter (400m) and only then go for hills and 30-45" sprints. Even if you are used to high mileage, I found it best to follow the 10-15% rule and back off after 3 weeks. It goes slowly at first, but once you hit 4 hours, it starts to increase noticeably. Just better to really take the time. First time around, i increased too quickly and had to stop for 10 days.
- what pain is ok pain: obviously that's a personal one, so again I can only give the guidelines i've followed, based on what the podiatrist told me after examining me:
    * if i could press on the big toe bone and just behind it, and there was no sharp pain, and it didn't really feel that much different from the other, healthy foot, then it's probably just tension in the tendons and muscles that are being newly sollicited.
    * if it didn't hurt during the run, or only as a distant bother, and in any case didn't get worse, then I would soldier on, perhaps shortening the planned run a little - or avoiding any interval work.

Hope this helps...