I took a complete rest day on Monday. It wasn’t planned, but it was pouring down during lunch and when I got home in the evening (after a day at work where I was the only one of the team not on vacation or sick leave) I was deflated and it was still raining.
On Tuesday, I thought I’d stay off the wet and muddy trails and not subject my body to too much elevation; so I set out for a quick road run. I was quite happy with the pace (5:49min/km including the climb back up from the Petrusse valley), but the left achilles tendon confirmed that it still doesn’t like faster activities on hard surfaces and has been a little worse than average since.
Stats: 7.55 km in 43:54 (avg 5:49 min/km). 72 m elevation gain. Strava activity
Unfortunately, when I walked back up to the office after my run, this happened in the staircase.
I’m trying to ease back into more regular updates. In the grand scheme of things, a blog outlining the athletic achievements and other little things in the life of a mostly sedentary former sprinter might not make for appealing reading. But if everyone followed that train of thought, we’d all just sit in front of the TV and passively consume lowest-denominator entertainment. So I’ll try to break out of that bubble one small blog post at a time, and maybe writing here will further motivate me to explore more places, experience more, and having more running and climbing adventures.
On 23rd December, I ran an easy 7.4km in the Petrusse valley during my lunch break. It’s not the most scenic option with all the construction going on; and a trail run would probably be better for my lingering injuries. But with the rain we’ve been getting lately I wasn’t too keen on slogging through the mud. I tried to go easy on the heart rate. According to Strava, 87% of the run was spent in “moderate” Z2 (122-153). Consequently, I wasn’t very fast; with an average pace of 6:28 min/km.
Once again, I woke up with a painful left achilles tendon, mostly towards its base at the heel. Walking downstairs was painful in the morning, but after putting on my Asics running shoes (with a positive heel-to-toe drop) things improved – which is to be expected, since the higher heel in the shoe means that the achilles tendon isn’t stretched as much.
During my lunch break, I threw caution to the wind and went for a jogging around the Petrusse and Alzette valleys. I was once again wearing my cadence meter , and contrary to Tuesday purposefully tried taking smaller steps. My average today was 84 steps per minute, an increase of 5% over the previously recorded 80spm. I was faster too, although that was probably caused by running on paved surface rather than forest trails. I ended up doing 7,47 km with a 5:45 min/km pace, climbing only around 115m of elevation.
The pain in the achilles was fairly noticeable in the first 1 or 2 km, but then faded into the background. Later on, I put the Compex (electro-stimulation) on the achilles heel and tendon and did three “capillarization” programs in a row, for a total of 75 minutes. The advantage of these is that I can do them while sitting at the office and working, since the program requires no input and all I need to do is kick off my shoes and lower the socks. I’m still not sure if the Compex is really helping or if it’s just a matter of placebo effect, but I always feel better afterwards.
Once again, I then came home and had dinner instead of getting on the stationary bike. I still feel like I could stand losing some weight, but food cravings are stronger than my willpower. The achilles tendon is feeling a little better tonight.
My achilles tendon had not been happy on Monday and Tuesday morning. Quite why I ended up doing quite a large double program on Tuesday, I don’t really know. Stubbornness, I suppose.
At lunch, I did a 10km loop around the Petrusse and Alzette valleys near work. I tried to stay on forest trails as much as possible, which means running on a softer more uneven surface almost 50% of the time. I went quite slow (6:44 min/km), although it still felt like I put in quite some effort. The 240m of elevation change didn’t help, probably.
This was also my first outing with my new Garmin 910XT GPS watch and cadence monitor. It was interesting to finally see detailed statistics about how many steps I take while running. Turns out that my cadence on this run at least was quite a bit lower than the 90 to 100 steps per minute that a lot of people seem to recommend. Now sure how my average cadence of 80 fits in with that, or if I’m still in the “reasonable” range because I’m taller than your typical lightweight distance runner.
In the evening, I did a lone sprint training (the others were doing starts, which I can’t do yet): 8x300m with short breaks was the plan. I ended up doing only 5x300m, which is when my running form went to hell. My left achilles tendon was probably really happy about that too, although during the runs it didn’t feel too bad. I wasn’t very fast, just cruising along at a speed I thought I could maintain without too much pain in the hip or achilles tendon: 53″9, 53″5, 52″0, 54″3, 51″6.
The left achilles tendon (or rather, the insertion near the heel) was not happy at all once I had cooled down at home.
Thursday 27/Jun: Went to my club’s track training. Did various stair jumps in the stadium stands (as best as the hip that’s still sore could handle – maybe it’s not the smartest idea to do these jumps while I’m still somewhat injured) and then five laps on the grass (strides on the straights, jogging inbetween). Did quite a bit of cross-training throughout the day in the shape of walking: in the morning, I dropped off the car for scheduled maintenance and then walked 2.25km to work. In the evening, I did the reverse. For lunch, I walked close to 4.5km near my work place.
Friday 28/Jun: Walked to the weight room (1.5km), did a quick lunch workout and walked back to work (1.5km).
Saturday 29/Jun: Did a big trail loop from home, pretty much circling around the entire “Haard” natural preserve. Ended up with 21.23km, or just a tad over semi-marathon distance.
Sunday 30/Jun: Decided that Sunday would be back-to-back day following Saturday’s long run. Ended up doing a 11.78km “out and back” run heading south along the western perimeter of the “Haard” natural preserve until I reached the outskirts of Rumelange, and then turning back.
Monday 1/Jul: Walked to the weight room (1.5km), did a quick lunch workout and walked back to work (1.5km).
After covering quite a bit of mileage on forest trails, I opted to go for a lunch break run on pavement for a change. Thankfully, there’s a bike path near work that is reasonably flat, far from vehicle traffic and at least in my experience doesn’t get much bike traffic but sees quite a large number of runners.
So off I went, covering the first kilometer in fast-for-me 4:48. I was able to follow-up with 4:52 and 4:54 splits on the next kilometers, but then I realized I’d gone too fast, and quite naturally reverted back to an average per km of between 5:00 and 5:30.
After exactly 5km I turned around and headed back the same way. I had to stop once waiting for a traffic light to go green, which slightly worsened my overall pace.
At the end, I covered exactly 10km in 52:09; which is the fastest I’ve run this distance since I started running with a GPS watch, and possibly the fastest I’ve ever done. According to Garmin Connect my course had 81m of elevation change, but looking at individual segments I’m not sure that number is very reliable. Apparently I burned 894 calories.
I feel like there’s still a lot of room for improvement. My muscles were slightly sore during the next day, which is surprising because during the past few days doing higher mileage with more elevation on trail runs hasn’t had that effect so far.