Tuesday, 23 October 2012

not a happy bunny

Well, here's the latest news ...

Went for another run/walk on Saturday afternoon.  And on Sunday too and the right ankle was painful both times.  On a scale of 1 to 10 where 1 is almost no pain and 10 is unbearable - walking is almost zero and running was about 7 or 8.  The difference was incredible.

The injury obviously hasn't healed so I'm going to see a couple of specialists at Leeds General Infirmary tomorrow (including a musculo-skeletal guy who happens to a be a runner).  We will get to the bottom of this.

So ... lots of tests tomorrow.  CT scan, blood, balance, X ray, etc

I'm still doing lots of strength work, cycling and stretching for the moment.  I'm not sure if that's helping or hindering but I feel better for doing it.  Again I'll know more in a few days time.

Friday, 19 October 2012

first run since Poland

Went for a run this morning ... well, running and walking really.  I alternated 5 minutes running with 5 minutes walking for a total of 40 minutes.  In that time I covered almost 3.5 miles (5.6 km).

It was painful.  Which is strange because I have no pain at any other time no matter what I do.  And if I now press with my hand on the area where the pain was ... it's not painful at all.  No matter how hard I press.

Lots of ice when I arrived back home.

hmmmmm ...

Maybe running first thing in the morning didn't help and maybe the running thing was a shock to the system after six weeks.

Try again tomorrow ... in the afternoon.

Meanwhile strength work and stretching continues painlessly.

Monday, 15 October 2012

inspiration, maths and rehab !!!

I love it when a plan comes to fruition.  In this case though it's not my plan but that of Felix Baumgartner.  Many years of planning and training went into his achievement earlier this week which I suppose could be described as 'ultra skydiving'.

In case you haven't seen any news recently here's what happened.  Felix went up in a balloon to an altitude of 128, 100 feet (over 39 km).  He then stepped out of the capsule and fell back to earth.  Simple ... or not. Read this on the BBC news website

The videos here and here are truly remarkable and, I'm sure, inspirational to many people.  ME INCLUDED - DEFINITELY.

OK .. now a couple of questions ... how many calories do you burn for every mile (or km) you run ?  And does it matter how fast you run ?

For the mathematicians among us Graydon Snider has worked out that we burn approximately 1 kcal per kg bodyweight for every kilometre we run.  And it doesn't matter how quickly we run either.  The interesting stuff is on his blog.

Which means that in Poland, six weeks ago, my output was:

0.97 x 57.4 x 231.339 = 12880 kcal

[actually it was probably a bit less because my weight fell slightly as the race progressed]

That works out at well over 500 kcal per hour.  My input was just over 315 kcal per hour.

If we rearrange that formula we can decide how far I can run before beginning to get into 'fuel debt'

kcal burned per km  x  my weight  x  distance travelled  =  input during race
0.97 x 57.4 x distance travelled = 7625
therefore distance travelled = 7625 / (0.97 x 57.4)
distance travelled = 136.948 km

It took me about thirteen hours to run that distance.  So, for the final 11 hours my body was in a state of 'fuel debt'.  I was using more that I could take on board.

Another thing to note is that my calorific deficit for the race was

12880 - 7625 = 5255 kcal

To get that fuel my body burned some of it's stored reserves.  One gram of carbohydrates has about 4 kcal, one gram of protein also has about 4 kcal, one gram of fat has about 9 kcal.

If my body used stored carbs, that would weigh 5255 / 4 = 1.314 kg
if my body used stored protein, that would also be 1.314 kg
but if my body used stored fat, that would weigh 5255 / 9  = 0.584 kg

In truth I used a mixture of the three but the point is that, in theory at least, if I started with a weight of 57.4 kg I should have finished with a weight not less than 56.1 kg

OK that's enough of that ... but it does illustrate that when people ask me (as they often do) how much weight do I lose during a 24 hour race, the answer is 'not as much as you might imagine'.

Now, the big day is Friday this week.  On that day I take the next, important step on the road to recovery.  I begin running again.  For the first fortnight or so it will only be alternating running and walking but it's a step in the right direction.  Although the ankle is no longer painful it does ache now and again.  I'm confident though that 40 minutes running and walking on Friday morning will be OK.

Monday, 8 October 2012

more thoughts on planning for next year

Let me begin by thanking everyone who took the time to comment on my previous post - either on this blog or on Facebook or by email.  Anything which may be helpful is much appreciated ... especially if it can be backed up by experiences and/or evidence.

OK ... unfortunately I won't be taking in the club handicap race this month Richard.  If I'm allowed to run by that time it will only be alternating running with walking for a total of no more than 40 minutes.  You know what that's like from your own experience ...

Until the last few days it had never occurred to me that over the past 40 years (yes, I did begin my running career in 1972) I must have built up a massive amount of endurance/stamina.  So, when it comes to running long distances, my body knows how to do that now.  What I need to work more on are strength and maintaining my cruising speed.  In terms of running, the most recent training schedule - ending with September's race in Poland - was much better than the previous one which ended with the 2011 Commonwealth Championships.  I felt that after many years of tweaking things and trying new ideas I had finally found what works for me.

That is:  weekly back to back long runs up to 27 miles (43 km) in length three weeks out of four.  An extra long run (up to 41 miles/65 km) on the fourth week.  Hill reps, tempo runs, short races and short intervals ... the exact ratio of these depends upon how many weeks there are to my target race.  My weekly volume peaked at 100 miles per week (161 km).

Because I found this to work well the changes will be quite small:
- back to back long runs up to 25 miles (40 km)
- extra long run no longer than 38 miles (60 km)
- volume to peak at 90 miles per week (145 km)
- this will mean that recovery will be slightly better for the tempo, speed and hill work which will be very similar to what I have done recently.

I know that the weekly volume is slightly more than some other runners recommend (sorry Flyer) but I have to take account of my medical history - as a small child I was diagnosed with a recurrent papilloma on my larynx.  Dozens of operations later I was left with a narrower than usual windpipe.  Much later I had two bouts of cancer ending with the removal of half of my right lung.  One result of these illnesses is that my average resting heart-rate is probably higher than other elite runners (in Aug 2012 the average, on waking, was 44.9).  Another result - although I haven't been tested - will probably be a low VO2 max.

Strength work ... most of the stuff I've dropped were exercises that worked a single muscle group, and I've replaced them with compound exercises which work more than one muscle group.  As previously there will be three groups:  legs, core, arms and shoulders.  Core exercises will be little and often and I guess the others (mainly using dumbbells) will be three or four times a week on average for about 25 - 30 minutes at a time.

First of all though I need to fully recover from this ankle injury.  If it's no better by the end of next week I'll be having more tests to try and find out what's been missed.

Thursday, 4 October 2012

training thoughts

On planning my training for next year's races there are a few things which influence the choices I make:

- what are my strengths and weaknesses ?
- what do I enjoy doing ?
- what training has worked in the past and what hasn't ?
- how much available time do I have ?
- what are the key races ?
- I may have to prove my fitness prior to selection for UK and/or England teams

My training is mainly of four types ... running, strength work, cycling and stretching.

At the moment I spend about 20 minutes a day stretching and feel that, although my general flexibility isn't brilliant it is adequate.  To improve greatly would, I think, be too costly in terms of time spent. I will add a bit more specific stretching to address my recent ankle problem though.

I always feel that I'm not making the most of my time in the saddle.  I find it impossible to get my heart rate up to anywhere near what other runners report.  I do find it relaxing though and it does increase my aerobic fitness (but probably not by much) so I will keep the cycling.  Maybe I'll cycle less when other training takes up a lot of the available time.

My last training schedule included 12 different strength exercises for arms and shoulders, 17 for upper torso and core, 9 for legs.  Some of those I have found to show minimal or no strength gains at all so I will drop those and add a few others which I have found in various books recently.  I'm also going to add a few specifically to address my relative weak areas of shoulders and, now, ankle.  So I now have 9 strength exercises for arms and shoulders, 26 for upper core and torso, 19 for legs.  I do find strength work quite enjoyable and cost effective in terms of time spent.  Of course, for those exercises I'm keeping I'll be progressing by using heavier weights.

Overall this aspect of my training has gone very well over the past twelve months and I feel I have done the right amount of the right type at the right time.  The problem now is how to progress over the next twelve months.  One obvious answer is to increase the overall volume (distance run per week) but that comes with an increased risk of injury and tiredness which will impact on all my training.  I could progress by doing an extra rep or two when doing speedwork but also ... at my age if I can do the running at the same pace as last year that is an improvement in itself because I should be slowing due the effects of getting older.

I am well aware that my other weaknesses are footcare and nutrition and I will be doing my best to address both of those over the coming months.  Need to cut down on the croissants ... found some wonderful ones in  Northern Ireland recently.

So, lots to work on then.  That'll keep me busy for a while.  At the moment it looks extremely likely that I'll venture out for my first run somewhere between 12 and 21 October.  Something to look forward to.