On Monday, I had an osteopathy appointment. Following my 100m race on April 16th, I’d been dealing with a dull pain somewhere in the region of my left hip/adductor that flared up whenever I tried to sprint. It didn’t prevent me from running a half marathon or a 10km race in May, but even two months later I’ve still been unable to sprint faster than 80% to 90% of my normal speed.
So the osteopath found and fixed a misaligned hip and back and told me to take it easy for 48 hours. I did, almost. I went for a run tonight, some 47 hours after the appointment.
Quite a few book and blog authors I’ve been reading lately have been advocating more runs in an “easy” zone, and are saying that most runners do entirely too many runs in the “average” speed category but not enough going slow or going very fast. Right now is probably a good moment to include more slow running in my training because I’m clearly not fit for competitive running and could really use a decent base for any adventures I might encounter further down the line.
For me (age 35, maximum heart rate of around 186), I take “easy” to mean 140 heartbeats per minute or less. So that’s what I set out for tonight. Unfortunately, most interesting trails around here invariably go up at some point, and as soon as I climbed even just a few meters, my heart rate went higher than 140. So I felt like I had to go really slow to accommodate that upper limit, and even then I briefly reached a maximum of 158 when I took my eyes off my watch for a moment, and overall I only managed an average of 141 (rather than treating that number as a maximum). In the end, I did 12.86km with an elevation gain of 263m and a pedestrian pace of 7:14 min/km. It will be interesting, however, to see how (or if) that number changes as I (hopefully) do a good and regular job of further building a base.
I set up this blog in September last year, with the clear intent of documenting any and all adventures I might have that are somehow related to climbing mountains, hiking and running on a variety of surfaces; and maybe by virtue of writing about adventures to somehow be challenged to live a more adventurous life.
But of course everyday life then continued to happen and this blog quickly became an afterthought, as did my grandiose thoughts about more interesting challenges. With only so much energy in any given day, all I managed to write was 4 entries in short succession. Then I got distracted and before I even realized it, I had built up an overwhelming mental backlog, that now dates back to around nine months and that will be impossible to process while juggling a full-time job and almost daily training of one kind or another.
I’ve decided that if I want to move forward and still salvage this blog for something productive, I need to focus on writing about current events, as they happen, and not endlessly worry about the depressing task of spending hour after hour documenting and making sense of quite a large amount of different goals, training outings and yes, a few races.
So, reboot. Maybe this time I can truly breathe some life into this thing.
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.
After a stressful commute home, and a stressful day in general, I only managed to start my run late in the day. I started off with the same 1.7km on paved roads that I’d done the day before, but then opted to go up “Rue de Volmerange”. This proved to be a very exhausting decision, because almost straight away I had to climb up steeply. Over the next 400m or so I climbed around 50m, and my heart rate jumped up to a maximum of 181.
By the time I reached the trail into the forest, the sun was starting to set. Consequently, I did a more straightforward run initially, not entering side trails. By the time I crossed the next paved road, the sun had already set. I still did a loop around Mont St Jean, figuring the trail was nice enough that I wouldn’t fall or twist an ankle. When that worked, I figured I’d save my knees some trouble by not running down the paved road but instead taking the slightly longer way over a forest trail. This was slightly more challenging, with a few fallen tree stumps to jump over and a fairly steep descent at the end, all with less and less daylight.
I arrived back home after 10.08km and 1:02:05, doing a 6:10 min/km pace. The elevation gain had been 211m. At home, I double-checked my watch and realized why the calorie counter (743cal) was giving me lower than expected results: the watch was set to a 68kg male with unspecified base heart rate. This might explain the low calorie reading for the previous day as well.
Kayl to Lannebierg/Kalebierg/Mont St Jean and back
Day 2 of the month saw a slight mileage increase over the previous day with slightly faster pace and more elevation gain. Oddly enough, my Garmin watch seems to think I burned fewer calories.
I started my run on the sidewalk along the main road to Tétange. After 1.3km, I turned left into „Langertengass“, a dead-end street that joins the forest after 1km. Once I was in the forest, I followed whatever trail struck my fancy, with my only objective being not to loose too much elevation. Watching my GPS tracks later on, I realize I did quite a bit of zigzagging, but of course that doesn’t matter much.
After around 6km, I was back on a trail that I recognized clearly from my previous runs last week. By this time I’d been plagued by side stitches for a few kilometers. Fortunately, they eventually disappeared. Two kilometers later, I did some more zigzagging, and then descended towards Dudelange before crossing the road and running towards Mont St. Jean. Here, I did two 1km loops and then opted to run back home through the forest and not do a longer loop that would take me over more pavement.
I ended up doing 13.87km at an average pace of 6:11 min/km. I had to deal with 270m of elevation gain and my watch thinks I only burned 1039 calories. Temperatures were around 15 degrees, which seemed quite hot whenever I ran in the sun and quite cold when I ran in the shadows with a cross wind. I was wearing my Asics.
Kayl to Lannebierg/Kalebierg/Mont St Jean and back
I ran 13.40km today. I started off at home and headed west, intending to join the forested hill I’d ran on quite a few times the past two years that I lived in Esch. Of course I didn’t quite know how to get there, so I mostly trusted my instincts in getting out of town. Turns out said instincts need some fine-tuning, as I briefly followed a dead-end and also ended up circling around the local cemetery.
I finally found the right road to follow out of town and after around 1.5km I slowly started gaining elevation. The increase was gradual, except for the last 200m. Around the 3km mark I had made it most of the way up towards the wooded area known as “Gaalgebierg”. From here, I soon joined a loop trail going over “Brucherbierg”. Following my usual set of trails, I know this loop takes around 3.5km. The loop was eventless – I encountered a few other runners and hikers, but mostly was alone.
With around 7km done and over 3km to get home, I knew it’d be wise to not force too much mileage on my out of shape self. And then I still turned right for another 3.5km loop. I had some knee pain, but other than that I was feeling fine. By the time I’d made it back down near town I was ready to call it a day.
I ended up running 13.4km in 1:27:10. This translated to an average pace of 6:31 min/km. The elevation gain was 192m, and my watch thinks I burned 1189 calories. Temperatures were between 11°C and 15°C, and I was wearing my second pair of Brooks Glycerin 9.
Strava activity: Kayl to Brucherbierg/Gaalgebierg and back
This page chronicles my hike to the top of Zugspitze – Germany’s highest mountain – over the Höllental route. While this ascent does not require technical climbing it is still quite tough, since it involves a height difference of almost 2200m (7200ft), a small glacier crossing and a via ferrata for the last 400m height meters.