Monday, 13 August 2012

The Aftermath, or Fitness Drops Off a Cliff

So in the aftermath of the Grim Reaper, I’ve been getting less and less happy with my performance and my DNF.  Yes, it’s easy to argue that I was beaten by the conditions adn that I dropped out injured but a lot of other people finished their races at all three distances 40, 70 and 100.

I’m also pretty annoyed when I look at the splits I was running fourth by quite a margin when I dropped out.

Plenty of other athletes better than me have DNF’d, look at Paula Radcliffe in the Athens marathon, Ryan Hall in this year’s Olympics, or however many more.  I can remember reading about one Olympic runner who anticipating hot and humid conditions did part of his training in a sauna, I think he still lost anyway.  And what about all those attempts at the summit of Everest before the successful one?  The question is therefore, was I beaten by the conditions, or did I simply fail to prepare properly? 

Currently I’m leaning towards the latter.  I could have practiced running in the rain, or on softer ground more, I could have done more strength work, I could have run further in training.  Either way, it’s irrelevant now for that race.  Let’s look forward and think about what I might do next time.  

One thing I’ve been doing is to try and lengthen and strengthen my hamstrings with eccentric exercises i.e. those that contract while lengthening.  One of the causes of my difficulties in the race, apparently, is short hamstrings caused by running and cycling, and the yoga is obviously not doing enough for it.  So since then, at least twice a week I’ve been doing this:

Warm up

Straight Leg deadlift x 10 x 45kg,
lunge x 15 each side,
Single Leg squat x 15 each side
X 3
good morning x 10 x 20kg,
press up x 20,
tricep dip x 15
X 3 sets,

eccentric HS curl 3 x 10,
ITB stretches 5 mins or so.

Seems to be having some effect both on hamstrings and muscle mass, as I’ve put on about a kilo, but my waist remains unchanged or maybe slightly smaller. 

The only problem though is that my fitness appears to have dropped off a cliff since the race.  I was planning to enter either a marathon in early Nov or a 38 miler in late November, but at the moment I don’t think I’ll be in any condition to enter either of them.  Either it’s a massive loss of fitness, or the cough that I seem to have developed about two weeks after the race is having more of an effect than I thought.  I’ve had it for about ten days now and on today’s run I was really struggling.

I was effectively running at my 10km heart rate, but at slower than my HM pace, and had to stop and walk twice for a breather.  Time to start a few MAF runs I think, build up the aerobic base again.

Today’s run for the record was

9.47km / 50:21 / 5:19 per km / AHR 155 / MHR 176

That max HR is truly shocking for what is essentially a flat loop.  Yes it’s warm and humid today but that really is not an excuse.

I also feel a bit like I’m back to square one on the zero drop running as my calves are sore for a couple of days after a run at the moment which I have not had for a long time now.

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