Thursday, 30 December 2010

change of plan

Hope everyone had a good Christmas ...

I did except that over the holiday period the pain in my left knee returned.  I stopped running immediately and yesterday afternoon saw a doctor who diagnosed Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome.

Saw a physiotherapist this morning and the outcome was ... no running for 10 to 14 days followed by a gradual return to full training over the following 4 to 5 weeks.  During that period I have to do a set of quadriceps strengthening exercises three times daily.  I am also allowed to cycle almost every day and continue with my normal strength and flexibility work.

After every bout of exercise I have to apply an ice pack to my knee and continue taking 1200mg ibuprofen daily for at least the next 10 days.

Now ... what went wrong and why am I injured ?

Well, I'm not too sure.  It's an overuse injury and after looking back over my training (and other factors) with the physio my thoughts are:

(1)  The change of date and venue for next year's World 24 hr Championships has meant that over the past few weeks I've been training without a specific goal.  This has probably led to me taking my eye of the ball at times and overdoing things in the snowy conditions.  Obviously I don't blame the IAU for any injury I have - it's my fault entirely.

(2)  Since October I've been experimenting with a five week training cycle instead of the more usual four weeks which I've used successfully in the past.  Instead of reducing the mileage every fourth week for 'recovery and consolidation' purposes I was reducing the mileage on weeks two and four.

My weekly mileages were:

12-18 Sep ... 25
19-26 Sep ... 40
27 Sep-2 Oct ... 44
3-9 Oct ... 51
10-16 Oct ... 35
17-23 Oct ... 51
24-30 Oct ... 50
31 Oct-6 Nov ... 37
7-13 Nov ... 55
14-20 Nov ... 40
21-27 Nov ... 59
28 Nov-4 Dec ... 62
5-11 Dec ... 45

As you can see it's a bit up and down and that probably didn't help even though it was part of the plan.  The new system definitely didn't work for me.

(3)  My primary goal for 2011 is now definitely the Commonwealth Championships in September but I still plan to take part in three long ultras during the year ... and I firmly believe that's still realistic.

More info soon but in the next couple of weeks I hope to be in a position to be able to enter an ultra race ... which will be part of my build up for the 24 hr race at the end of September in Llandudno.

Friday, 24 December 2010

back to normal ... again

My minor knee injury worries appear to be over.  Ran last night with the club and had no problems at all although I only ran about 4 miles at a fairly slow pace.

This morning I did some hill reps - less than usual though - with no problems at all.

So now I can resume normal training, but at a reduced quantity for the time being.  The plan is to slowly build up the quantity over the next few weeks.  The quality will remain the same as before though as I believe quality should always take precedence over quantity.

Merry Christmas everyone.

Thursday, 23 December 2010

home safely

Thankfully Keir arrived home safe and well last night at about midnight having not been caught up in the chaos at Heathrow airport (and elsewhere in Europe).

Apparently his teachers were looking forward to spending an extra day or two in St Petersburg though ...

Good to have him home for Christmas.

Monday, 20 December 2010

trip to Russia

Last Friday Keir flew to Moscow with about 50 other students and teachers as part of his A level History course.

Since then Heathrow airport has closed and they are due to arrive back there from St Petersburg late on Wednesday afternoon.

At the moment we're not sure if he'll be home for Christmas or what, if any, contingency plans have been put in place by his school or the organisers.

British Airways' website is experiences very heavy traffic and I cannot get onto the arrivals/departures page.

I'm sure they're all enjoying themselves though.  In Moscow recently it's been warmer that it is here ...

Sunday, 19 December 2010

injury update

This morning I ran for the first time since last Sunday.  It was the club handicap in the beautiful Washburn Valley area to the north of Otley.  It looked wonderful in white - a bit cold though.

It was a five mile route mostly on roads through the small villages of Timble and Fewston.  The second mile was the worst and the snow on the ground made the times much slower than usual.  It didn't help that Menwith Hill police were patrolling the exceptionally narrow roads making passing difficult.

I didn't push things too hard as I didn't want to make my knee worse but afterwards I had no pain or swelling whatsoever.  Iced the joint soon after finishing and I'm continuing with the ibuprofen for at least a few days yet.  Right now, 4.5 hours after the run my knee feels fine ... well, over 95% ... which I'm pleased about.

Still continuing with cycling, stretching and strength work as usual and it's very likely that I'll resume running again before Christmas.

I've just started work on a plan B for next year just in case the IAU decide not to stage a World Championships next year.  Reading between the lines of various websites and emails this seems quite likely and I'll need at least one to 'prove my fitness' before the Commonwealth Championships in September.  Ideally I'd like to race twice before September and once after so I've just started looking at the options available.

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

club night

Haven't run since Sunday and already my knee feels much better.  I feel able to take part in the weekend's handicap and then possibly return to training - at a reduced level initially of course.

Last night Otley AC held a social event after training at the local cricket club and in the quiz Andrew Robertshaw, Julian Mawson, Colin Best and myself won.  Our score was a measly 14.5 out of 30 but that's not the point - we won.  The prize was a bottle of beer each ... I don't like beer but I'm sure Fay or Keir will enjoy it.

Thanks to Dominic Egan for organising that and to Carol and John for the food too which was wonderful.

Monday, 13 December 2010

pear shaped ???

Well, after a couple of months really good training I appear to have picked up a minor injury to my left knee.  It's  very similar to the injury I picked up in November 2008 although I think this time it was caused by running on the ice and snow.

The knee isn't painful although it feels bruised and it seems obvious to stop running for a week or so to let it settle down ... with help from ice and ibuprofen of course.

I expect to be running again next week but in the meantime I feel as if I'm in limbo really regarding next year's races.  Obviously I'm looking forward to the Commonwealth Championships in September but apart from that I don't want to enter anything until I know the date of the rearranged World Championships now that Brugg have had to pull out.

I'm just itching to race again - or I was until yesterday.  Maybe it's a sign that things were going too well.  Anyway I hope a date will be decided and announced before the end of this year then I can make some definite racing plans.

I'll let you know as soon as I can but in the meantime I have a few shorter races in the pipeline starting with a club event next Sunday.  See this page for more details.

Saturday, 11 December 2010

I can't think of a suitable title for this one

I've recently been reading a fascinating article about nutrition for ultra distance training on John Kynaston's blog [see link in the right hand column].  The correspondents Andy DuBois and Marc Laithwaite both have some very good ideas but after reading it all the best I can suggest is ...

... be sensible and use a few long runs and ultra races (not important ones) to experiment and see what works for you.

This morning I ran 7.2 miles fartlek on a route that took me past Stephen Smith's Garden Centre on Pool Road, Otley.  As I approached the garden centre I saw a woman running in a red top about 200m ahead of me, I wondered who she was but thought no more of it when she turned into the car park.  When I ran past the car park I realised there was only one car in it and the red topped runner was nowhere to be seen.

The car park is completely open with no place to hide.  She wasn't in the solitary car nor had she time to run into the shop (it was closed anyway, at 8.15am).  Very strange.

Apart from that ghostly beginning I had a good run.  Especially as all the snow has gone and this made it much easier - and safer - to run quickly.

Many of you will have noticed one or two changes on my blog in the last week or two.  Well there are also minor changes to the FUTURE RACES page and to the HELP AND ADVICE page.  If you know of any interesting websites or articles that would be of interest to the wider community please let me know and I'll consider adding them to the latter page.

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Selection Criteria

Here it is ... the selection criteria has been announced for England in the following ultra races next year:

- Commonwealth Championships - 24 hr race and c.50k trail race
- Anglo Celtic Plate 100k

Personally I'm only interested in the Commonwealth Championships 24 hr race and I read that selection will be in two waves:

(1a) for those men who have run over 230k between 1 May 2010 and 3 April 2011
(1b) for those women who have run over 205k between 1 May 2010 and 3 April 2011

(2a) for those men who have run over 225k between 1 September 2009 and 5 June 2011
(2b) for those women who have run over 200k between 1 September 2009 and 5 June 2011

I would imagine that only performances in race with an IAU label will be taken into consideration therefore I believe the following men from England have met the criteria:

Richard Quennell ... 246.121k ... World C'ships (14 May 2010) and
 ... 234.813k ... London (18 Oct 2009)
Jim Rogers ... 244.108k ... World C'ships (14 May 2010) and
 ... 228.214k ... Commonwealth C'ships (18 Sep 2009)
me ... 238.286k ... Perth (5 Sep 2010) and
 ... 231.506k ... Commonwealth C'ships (18 Sep 2009)
 and also ... 222.760k ... World C'ships (14 May 2010)
Pat Robbins ... 231.086k ... Perth (5 Sep 2010)
 and also ... 215.818k ... Commonwealth C'ships (18 Sep 2009)

The following men would also be in with a chance of selection as they have run over 215k:

Keith Straw ... 221.882k ... Cleveland (USA) (4 Oct 2009)
Chris Finill ... 219.032k ... World C'ships (14 May 2010)
Neil Bryant ... 218.425k ... London (18 Oct 2009)

The women who have met the criteria so far are:

Sharon Gayter ... 226.489k ... Commonwealth C'ships (18 Sep 2009)
Vicky Skelton  ... 212.683k ... Commonwealth C'ships (18 Sep 2009)
 and also ... 198.098k ... Perth (5 Sep 2010)
Angela Sadler ... 205.984k ... Perth (5 Sep 2010)
Marie Doke ... 203.985k ... World C'ships (14 May 2010) and
 ... 201.631k ... Commonwealth C'ships (18 Sep 2009)

The following woman should also be in with a chance of selection as they have managed  a performance of over 185k:

Sandra Brown ... 187.119k ... Commonwealth C'ships (18 Sep 2009)

Of course there is still quite a few months in which other runners can register a qualifying performance ... but I'm confident of my selection.

As only five men and five women can be selected it appears that for the women it's quite straightforward but not so for the men at all.  And then there's 'current fitness' to take into account when the selectors meet next April and June.

I would suggest we have a couple of good teams though.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

successful long run (or maybe not ...)

Yesterday I left home at about 11.30am for a long run.  The plan was to run from Otley via Menston to Guiseley and then down Hollins Hill to join the Leeds Liverpool Canal at Buck Lane near Baildon/Esholt.  From there I decided to run eight miles along the towpath next to the frozen canal to Kirkstall before returning home via Headingley and Bramhope.

About 24 miles.  Ice and snow underfoot ... no problem with decent footwear.  Temperature below zero Celsius ... wrap up warm.

The furthest I've run since early September has been 15.7 miles ... I knew I could manage an extra 50% though if I kept the pace reasonable.

Arrived home at about 3.00pm barely tired.  It all seemed so easy but I'm not sure why.  Had a decent (large) cup of coffee about an hour before leaving home and an energy bar after about 17 miles but apart from that I seemed to be flying along in the brilliant - but cold - sunshine.

The canalside section was eerily quiet but provided the easiest running surface as the snow hadn't been churned up by other traffic (runners, walkers and cyclists) and thus hadn't re frozen into dangerous shapes which could easily cause a twisted ankle.  This was in stark contrast to the main road from Headingley, and particularly from Bramhope, which caused untold minor problems with all the snow frozen into injury inducing ruts.

Anyway 24 miles at about 8:35 per mile across snow and ice - very pleasing.

Oh ... one last thing.  About an hour after arriving home I realised I had a tooth missing !!!  No idea why, something obviously happened whilst I was out running, minding my own business.

Friday, 3 December 2010

snow, snow and more snow

Since my very enjoyable run on Monday we've had lots more snow here in Wharfedale.  Tuesday was a planned rest day so I visited my dad in Castleford and took him some grocery supplies.  Travelling wasn't easy as roads were covered in snow and trains were not running to time ... took over three hours to travel 20 miles !!!  And then three hours home again - not fun.

On Wednesday I was planning to go for a long run but as we had heavy snow and strong winds all day I decided to have an endurance session on the bike instead - almost three hours in front of a DVD.

Yesterday morning I went for another run and managed eight miles fartlek.  Fartlek is fun when maintaining a steady pace across snow and ice is difficult ... the temperature was about -1 C but again it was enjoyable because I was well wrapped up and insulated.

This morning I just went for a steady eight miler through the snow and the even colder temperature of -7 C.  Those eight miles seemed like ten though as I was trudging through the snow - 20 cm deep in places - and trying to avoid other pedestrians and cars travelling at 10 mph (and those travelling at 40 mph on frozen roads).

William Sichel seems to be doing well (again) in his latest race in Normandy.  Full details here.  Heather Foundling-Hawker appears to be doing exceptionally well too at the half way stage.