It’s here, 2016! In terms of running, 2015 finished up with some promise, less pain and momentum to take into the new year.
My total running distance was 1256 km’s spread out over 146 runs and 135 hours. All those numbers were down from 2014, but that year was injury free, unlike the year just past. I feel I’ve recovered significantly and am looking at trying to put together a plan of action for this year.
before the snow
I see myself just getting my fitness level back up, putting some mileage and, staying injury free and possibly an easy run in a half in the spring with thoughts of a fall marathon.
I have started to use a new tracking program, SportTracks to log my data. It imports the stats from Garmin Connect but shows much more detailed analysis than GC does. I did pay a fee for this program, whereas GC is free but I was looking to get a bit more detail from my run stats. Whether I can learn from it is another thing!
I am currently trying to calculate my lactate threshold heart rate. This is the upper limit of the moderate intensity range (1), or about 85% of your maximum HR.Today I did a 30 minute treadmill run that shows my LTHR is 157 bpm. I will probably do the test again next week just to confirm the numbers. From this result I will then formulate my pace zones for training. That will be another treadmill test but I’ll wait a day or two to recover from today’s LTHR test. I have lots of data and formulas to work with and to be quite honest, it can be very confusing. The hardest part is trying to figure out whose plan suits you best based on your goals and determining at what level you are at. At my age I may be overthinking a lot of this, especially since my real marathon goal is to break 4 hours! Certainly not world class it it is my goal.
(1) Matt Fitzgerald, 80/20 Running, 2014
Since my return to running from my plantar fasciitis, I have been able to log about 125km’s over 18 runs for a total time of 13 hours. My plan was not to run on consecutive days in order to not aggravate my foot. That seems to have worked, although the odd longer run has caused a bit of discomfort post run, but nothing that a bit of stretching and ice hasn’t been able to take care of.
I’m now thinking about ramping up my runs, with a possible goal of the Calgary Marathon next May, should everything continue as it has over the last month or so. This is the race I was training for when the PF took hold two weeks before last years event.
One thing I have noticed in my runs so far, which for the most part have been at a slower pace, is that my average heart rate is about 10 bpm higher than when I was at my peak training level. I’m hoping that as I get back into running shape that this average will come down.
I’ve also been restocking my winter running clothes closet. I picked up a Lululemon Metal Vent Tech long sleeve shirt to use as a base layer but I like it so much it has become my go to running shirt with the cooler temperatures we have been getting. My plan, once it starts to get below freezing is to wear a MEC T2 long sleeve merino zip top over this and then my outer layer is going to be a MEC Obsession jacket that I have worn a couple of times and I really like. All of my running has been done in New Balance Vazee Pace shoes which despite their light as a feather weight, seem to be working for me so far. I really like them!
However, with the good progress I’ve made thus far, I still remain cautiously optimistic.
Two weeks before the Calgary Marathon, 856 training km’s, 90 training hours, 16 weeks into an 18 week training plan, I have to shut it down.
You know you have to shut it down when you have to go down the stairs in the morning on your butt because you can’t put any pressure on your foot.
I thought I could run through it. Running wasn’t really the issue, until yesterday. It really only hurt when I was inactive. I was getting used to feeling that marble in my right heel. Yesterday started out good. A little cool, sunny with a light breeze. My foot was a bit sore to start but that usually worked itself out as the foot warmed up. About an hour and a half into my long run I noticed my gait had changed, I was limping slightly and my foot was noticeably sore. I started to think about what I really didn’t want to tell myself. I kept going but at about the 2 hour mark, my heel was feeling like a ground up meatball. I stopped and walked a couple hundred metres then started my run again. It only lasted a few strides. I knew it then. I cried a bit.
Then I did something I have never done. I called my wife to come and pick me up. I cried when I got in the car. The pain and frustration hit me.
16 weeks and 856 km’s over 90 hours!
I noticed my foot getting sore mid to late March. I’ve been through this before. But I wasn’t training for anything back then, it was just running. And I was able to fix the problem and get back running. But this time I was doing so good, my training was working. My weight had come down. I was encouraged. But that heel slowly got worse, and I wouldn’t listen. I tried to fix the problem while still continuing to train. But we all know that is hard to to. The only way to fix the problem is to shut it down. So I have.
I am hanging onto a very small glimmer of hope. I will not run for the next week and a half. I will ride the bike and I will treat my heel accordingly. If, on May 27 I cannot run without pain I will throw in the towel. That’s the date I can cancel my hotel without penalty.
Was it too much mileage? Was it a change in shoes? Stubbornness? Of course it was all three combined.
My focus now is healing my right foot. Getting good to run on it again. Then possibly to think about the Okanagan.
After laying on the couch for the better part of a week, having not gone for a run in six days, I decided to throw on several layers of clothes and head out on a crisp, -18c morning with light snow falling. Thinking that a nice easy run in the cold might free up some of the mucus ball that has become resident in my chest much like Sigourney Weaver’s alien embryo, off I went!
Despite the cold, there was no wind and the paths had been bladed by the city snow crews. Footing was good and I went out at an easy pace for about 6.5 km in 45 minutes. I was surprised how good I felt despite still being quite congested and hacking up phlegm balls. It was good to get out again and my legs were really good which made me quite satisfied at the end.
I’m going to chalk this up to a well deserved rest and break from running as I get back out there and gear up for a January 26th training start for the Calgary marathon.
Week one of my “Quick Start” program is in the books. Overall, getting started was not as painful as I thought it would be. And by painful I mean the recording and entering of all the food data, not the physical part.
I purchased a FitBit Flex to assist with tracking of no running calorie usage. I have linked that to my MyFitnessPal where I enter my food intake (either on my ipad or iphone app) and then all of it feeds into my Garmin Connect account.
My routine is to use my Garmin for all running and cycling (spin) activity to get my data on distance and calories burned from those activities. I do not use my FitBit when doing these exercises but do have it on for all other activities including strength training as well as sleeping.
At the beginning of the week I started at 224 lbs and 22.6% body fat. The week ended with me at 23.4% body fat and 224.8 lb. So despite the number being up slightly, I’m not discouraged. I’m not sure how accurate my scales are when it come to the measurements, but all I ask is for consistency. I did have my weight down to 221 for a couple of days. Also, the time of year isn’t helping. Lots of “bad” food at work and around the house, parties and all the associated eating and drinking that comes with it.
I was worried about keeping track of my food intake but that seems to be okay. I have realized that portion size is very important; I don’t really need that plateful, just half of it. My big problem is that time after dinner, sitting around watching tv and more so out of habit and boredom, the need arises to put some food into my body. Do I need it? No. I am trying to meet this challenge by ignoring the urge or being very selective on what I ingest. And I try to find something to do to to take away the “eating due to boredom” syndrome.
So on to week two. I have a better understanding of what I need to do and as we move closer to Christmas, my birthday, and all of the related shenanigans, I will try and keep focused and do the best I can.
Well, this wasn’t news I wanted to hear. After the usual blood work and testing for my yearly physical I get called back to the doc’s office. Guess what? I’m just over the baseline for being diabetic (7.1). This isn’t something new to me, I’ve always been close to the line and now I’ve gone over, but it’s not something that kept me awake at night worrying about it.
The blame, well it all rests with me. My penchant for sweets and other not good for you foods like cookies, potato chips and ice cream has finally caught up to me. It’s especially hard to grasp as I was just about ready to get started with some serious training. Of course you’re asking; well how serious could he be eating all that crap? I agree. I have been my own worst enemy.
When I asked my doctor what the best way to reduce the blood sugar number was he told me to reduce my carb intake. Since the training system I want to follow is based on carbohydrate intake to not only fuel your body for a marathon, it also works to keep your energy levels up to meet the demands of training, I’m now going to have to reassess my food consumption, dietary habits and make some hard decisions followed by defining actions. Ideally, my first decision is to immediately begin making smarter choices and to improve the quality of food I ingest. I really don’t see myself as being a calorie counter so I think just being aware of quality is a good start and seems that it would make the whole process easier to follow and maintain.
But on a good note, everything else was great with the doc!
Since I ran the Edge to Edge Marathon in early June, I have not really been out pounding the pavement too much. My distance has been low and I’ve only been getting out once or twice a week.
Finally about two weeks ago I decided I had better get going again. There is a local half marathon coming up near the end of October that I would like to run in before the year ends so I have been starting to put some mileage on.
Part of my encouragement to get back at it again was reading “Keep on Running; The Highs and Lows of a Marathon Addict” by Phil Hewitt. His is a story of multiple marathons, how he became addicted to the run and his adventures at the many marathons he has chosen to run. It’s a good read but after a while each chapter seems the same, just a different location and you can skim through the story to quickly see how Phil made out in his chosen marathon location.
I have also been reading some of Matt Fitzgerald’s books on running, “The New Rules of Marathon and Half-Marathon Nutrition”, “Racing Weight” and currently “80/20 Running”. I’m no speedster nor am I anywhere near a serious runner but I do have some goals and I like the way Fitzgerald lays out his plans. I have lost a bit of weight following some guidelines taken from “Racing Weight” and I am liking what I am reading in “80/20”. It is this book and plan that I hope will guide me to run the two halfs with an increase in performance. I have run a total of two half marathons and both have been sub 2 hour times, around 1:53, 1:55. I’d like to see if I could do something around 1:45 to show that the “80/20” system works and give me something to build upon. Using the “80/20” book as a plan for the 1/2, I am going to pick things up in week 11 of the prescribed training program.
The training actually started today and of course the first run was a recovery run…slow, agonizingly slow, so slow people in walkers were passing by me! I feel that if I were to run any slower I’d tip over. My goal is to use the remaining weeks to train using this system and see how my finishing time plays out. If it’s good, I’ll focus on using the “80/20” system for next seasons races. I’m quite familiar with the course we will run so that is no problem, the only concern is if Mother Nature chooses to drop snow on us before the race date. having already had a big dump of snow the first weekend of September, I’m not encouraged Mother Nature will play nice.