By Tom Haynes
RunUltra Introduction: Tom’s article has sent me into a panic this month. I’m also training for a 100-miler (Lakeland 100) and as soon as I saw the mileage in Tom’s training table it made me feel woefully inadequate. Let’s just say things haven’t been going to plan (yet). Tom’s training, on the other hand, seems to be going very well, with miles being ticked off and lessons learnt on what fueling works for him. We’re definitely getting close to the “business-end” of the training plan now – Here’s part 3.
Dan Stinton, Interim Editor
First of all, I need to set something straight. I will NOT tempt fate again. Usually when my instinct tells me something, it is right. Listen to it and things go well. The day after I finished writing February’s article and stating that I was chasing a rainless training record… it rained. It was raining when I started and it rained all the way through my long run.
On the plus side, it did not phase me in any way. I may have been a little bit keen to get home and out of the rain, but otherwise the run went as planned. No more tempting fate and setting uncontrollable challenges!
The first week of March was a scheduling nightmare. I was away with work on Monday, which meant that I could only sneak in an 8km run, rather than the scheduled 19km. I did well in making up the mileage throughout the week and managed to keep my weekly total very close to my plan.
On top of losing mileage, my various commitments meant that I was also neglecting my fiancée. I spent most waking hours working or running and barely even saw her during the week, let alone spent any meaningful time with her. Because of this, I agreed to swap my Friday rest day for Saturday so we could spend the afternoon and evening together. The only downside being that I would be running back-to-back-back.
On top of the additional 12km on Saturday, I bumped the long run up to 32km and the follow-up run to 23km. Lucky for me I’ve discovered that I love Peperami sticks as a running snack and usually eat one every 16-20km on a long-run. I think they taste great and I find go down much easier than energy gels but unfortunately, this week I didn’t have any.
I do keep an emergency stash of gels, so I used them instead but they seemed to disagree with me and my stomach started burning. Although the intensity subsided, the pain persisted for 10km and forced me to prematurely finish at 28km. I did the only thing I knew how: I bought a bottle of chocolate milk and nullified nearly 70 minutes of anguish with only two mouthfuls. I made a mental note to make sure I have ample chocolate milk on hand for the 24 hour race…
Following this episode, I made sure to stock up on Peperami for future training. I also learned that I do not cope well with Lucozade. The reaction wasn’t quite like the gel, but it still upsets my stomach and doesn’t sit well. More chocolate milk to the rescue!
The second half of the month wasn’t quite as hectic as the first. Trips for work slowed down considerably, and I kept an agile approach to my training schedule, so only lost a little of my planned mileage through March.
My mileage throughout March.
The next challenge was remaining disciplined. Whilst my training plan is fairly routine, I’d found my stress levels had increased. It’s hard to run with a low heart rate when your heart rate is feeling high already. It was very hard to concentrate on discipline and rhythm during each run and even harder to sit still on my rest days. It really amazed me how simple life events can turn a jog around the lake into a fierce heart pumping battle to stay in control of your stride.
Despite all of this, I went out and ran close-to a marathon without a hitch. On my penultimate long-run for March, I decided to try a new route and ran 39km without so much as batting an eyelid. No discipline issues, no nutritional hiccups and no physical grievances.
I didn’t have any problems with the short runs during the following week either. My workload hadn’t changed, but my brain seems to have? The mind is a wonderful thing…
On a more technological note, I have been using the HRV4Training app to monitor my heart rate throughout my training program. HRV stands for Heart Rate Variability. I measure resting heart rate every morning and sync my Strava workouts to generate some heart related data.
According to the app, my VO2max is at 49ml/kg/min. Not fantastic, but neither am I a professional athlete! There are two graphs from the software that I pay particular attention to, the first represents my ‘Readiness to Perform’ and quite intuitively shows that after my long-run, I am most fatigued and least ready to perform.
HRV4Training metric ‘Readiness to Perform’ based on daily resting heart measurements and workout data imported from Strava.
The second is my favourite, as I’ve been prone to knee and ankle injuries throughout my life. It represents the HRV4T interpretation of injury risk. So far, my increase in training load has been well paced as I spend the majority of my time in the ‘optimum’ zone.
HRV4Training metric ‘Injury Risk’ based on daily resting heart measurements and workout data imported from Strava.
I am especially pleased, because I can very easily track my progress and changes in my fitness since I started my training plan. The two grey sections in the middle are the two weeks over Christmas, in between my conditioning program and the start of my current training plan.
All in all, I am steadily working my way through the plan with no pressing issues. My goal distances are being covered and my pace is slowly improving. Hopefully I can keep this up. I’m moving into the second half of the plan now, which includes longer distances compared to my last three months, and my calendar is full of holidays…
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