overnight hang at Miquelon…

Went out to Miquelon Lake for a quick one night hang.

it’s just running, isn’t it?

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.

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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

a tale of beer, potato chips and a sweet tooth…

2015 was a tough year for running.

Injuries claimed a lot of time. Two weeks before my end of May marathon I had been training for, plantar fasciitis forced me to stop running. It wasn’t until August that I was able to get going again. Then extensor tendonitis hit the top of my right foot limiting my running time. This was much less painful than the PF, I could run through it but it was very annoying and again took time for it to heal.

As I looked to get going again at the beginning of December, I decided to do a six week Quick Start to bring my weight down a bit before actually starting to begin training in the new year. Pre-Christmas time is not the best time to start one of these plans. Too much food at work, too much beer at home, too much overall temptation. And I am weak! I Can’t say no to those Nanaimo bars and cookies. I’m not one to have control over my food urges. Four weeks of my half hearted attempt at some weight reduction saw me lose a few pounds only to put them back on in a day or two so I was just breaking even. My worst time is in the evening, especially if I’m bored. Then it’s several trips to the pantry, because you know, there’ll be different stuff in it each time I open the door.

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Above you can see how my weight has changed over the last year. Dropping to it’s lowest point, 212lbs after 16 weeks of training, then climbing to where it is today, about 224lbs. I really wasn’t taking this serious enough.

Yesterday, after having not ran for a few days, I waivered about going for a run. It was cold out, -16c, but that didn’t bother me. I just thought staying inside was probably the best course of action. After all, there was English Premier League on television and I had coffee. But I worried about what not going would do to my psyche! So, after Manchester United went behind 2 nil, I figured I’d go out for the run. Off I went for a very enjoyable and easy 45 minutes.

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So as part of my plan, I have pretty much cut out the potato chips for some time now (although there was a relapse a few days ago). I have decided that the quantities of beer consumed has to be greatly reduced and those walk by hand grabs of sweets from the candy trays scattered throughout life this time of year have to stop. I’m going to try and cut down on portion sizes as well. As for running, I was going to try and begin the Quick Start again but decided now is not the time. If I was planning on doing a spring marathon I would have to start training in late January, and knowing what happened last year, I’ve decided to just go out, put on some mileage and build my base back up. I’ll let my body determine what I do in the spring, but if I do decide to run a race, I’ll cut back a bit on the training program as I’m sure I overdid it last year and that’s what led to the PF issues.

Fighting off the rest of the holiday season temptations shouldn’t be a problem now that I have this new focus.

I’m glad I ran yesterday!

 

Maligne Lake before it freezes…

I headed out to Maligne Lake in Jasper National Park for three days before the snow starts to fly and the lake freezes over. Here’s what happened!

still all okay…

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!

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However, with the good progress I’ve made thus far, I still remain cautiously optimistic.

Back out pounding the pavement, hopefully…

It had been 96 days since my last run. May 17th to be exact. The plantar fasciitis was so bad I had to shut down.  On August 22nd, having not run for over 3 months, I finally felt good enough to test my right foot again. It was a slow, 25 minute trot, but a good one that gave me some very cautious optimism for the future.  I’ve run twice since, 30 and 35 minutes around the neighbourhood and I am relatively happy with the physical results.

What I missed about not running; cars that glide through stop signs making right turns, my music, the freedom, cars that stop almost all the way through intersections, the sweat, foam rolling and post run coffee.

Fortunately for me, despite the increased quantities of beer consumed over this hot summer, added together with my lack of running, I only put on about 5 pounds over where I was when I stopped running. I had done a fair bit of bike riding as well as a couple of long camping related hikes. I hope to keep the bike riding up (30 minutes to work) as long as I can until winter won’t let ride anymore.

My recovery from PF, although in no way complete was aided by a pretty intense physio program. That has ended and I am now trying to follow a self regulated program of stretching the PF and strengthening the foot and ankle. I was also told I needed to wear orthotics. I had some custom made and have worn them pretty much all the time except when wearing sandals (which really has been most of the time). I am however, not convinced I need them to run, or to wear them on a permanent basis. Having done a lot of research, I am of the mindset that an orthotic, while it can provide immediate, temporary relief really doesn’t cure the problem. Hence my strength and stretching program to get my foot up to grade. Right now, I have no pain from the PF, but my ankle feels like it has a sprain. I believe this is from turning my foot outward to compensate for the pain of the PF when it was at its worst.

I am confident enough about my ability to continue running that I went into a new shoe. I was due for a new pair anyway. I had worn Brooks Ghosts for the training period leading up to my aborted attempt of the Calgary marathon and prior to that I was an Asics guy. When I was looking at shoes this time, I was hoping to go into an Asics Nimbus but the shop didn’t carry them. I was asked to try a New Balance Vazee Pace. Wow! Light, comfortable and a much lower price than the Nimbus. I took the bright orange ones home.one point to note is that I have moved from a stability shoe to a neutral one, of which both the Ghosts and Vazee are.

I believe the reason the PF started in the first place was because I had put too much mileage into my training. I really liked the program, and if I can get to the point of training for a spring marathon again, I will just back it off a bit and follow a less intense level of the same program.  My nutrition on the other hand is questionable at best and is the one area that needs the most improvement. But beer is so darn good!