DIARY: Planning Ahead

It's been a busy week on all fronts, but after the weekend's trials and tribulations I was only left slightly tired on Monday evening. While I felt fairly fine Tuesday, my muscles where completely knackered, so I joined a track group taking it slightly slower than last week's group, and here I kept in the middle.

While my heart was fine, my legs were simply too knackered to push the pace, that I had Emma's warning in my head about the unsuitability of these sessions, probably served as an invisible brake too. At the very death, though, I couldn't resist sprinting home the 200m. I've always had a decent 200m but a lousy 400m, probably a feature of having an effective creatine-energy system (if you're fast enough you can sprint almost the whole 200m without tapping into either the aerobic or anaerobic energy systems). This system fails within about 15-20 seconds.

Test Results
My eagerly awaited test results came from Peak Condition, the new name of PeakCentre, and with it came a shiny new format. You can view the file here:

The standard physical statistics where raised the most eye-brows, my weight had plummeted from 68 to 65, and using an algorithm, Emma calculated that my body-fat seems to have dropped from 10% to 8%, 2% closer to the Holy Grail: The measurements of a champion hill runner as described by Richard Askwith in "Feet in the Clouds".

This means my body-fat has dropped from 6.8 kilos to 5.2 kilos. On the other hand my lean mass (muscle, bone, ligaments), before 20.4kgs, is now 20.8kgs.

Now that's a nice swing, dropping 1.6 kilos of useless fat (male humans are well within the safe range as long as they stay above 6% body-fat, females need significantly more) and gaining another 0.4kilos of muscle. No wonder that I haven't seen much performance loss. My fitness has suffered, but extra muscle vs. less weight has improved my power/weight ratio, the key ingredient of hill running.

I suffer more in Circuit training at the moment, though, so I am theorising that at least my fast-twitch muscle fibres has suffered while my slow-twitch are flourishing. I will keep up the strength work to not imbalance the body's muscular system too much.

Signs are encouraging, at my current base speed of 12kph I produce 1.6mmol/L of lactate, a decrease of only 0.2mmol/L since October. This type of deficit will be regained within a week or two (the slow-twitch fibres decrease your lactate production, and these respond quicker to training than any other type of muscle fibre).

Similar for my 13kph, a decrease from 1.9mmol/L to 2.1mmol/L, so again, just 0.2mmol/L worse than last time. Then the results turn bizarre: At 14kph I used to produce 3.6mmol/L, that has now dropped to a measly 2.6mmol/L, likewise at 15kph, last measured at 8.12mmol/L, now only 2.9mmol/L.

If you produce less than 2mmol/L at a given speed, it means you can continue moving at that speed almost indefinitely if enough water and nourishment is taking in. Moving from 2.9mmol/L to below 2mmol/L is not even a feat. Go run slow for a few weeks, and it's done.

At 16kph I'm still fairly high with 7.7mmol/L and 17kph, my current max, produces 10.3mmol/L. This is almost the same that I used to produce at 15kph when I got my first test last April (10.21mmol/L).

So alround, I have actually gained from the rest, and Emma was quick to put together a very nice programme for me (you can see it in the file above).

My zones have turned a bit whacky from the strange last two months. My AT1 zone is slightly worse off than before, starting at 150 ending at 168. I'm still working in AT2 (so base) from 168 all the way up to 182bpm (basically race pace!). My AnT zone is 182 to 188 and AnT2 has almost disappeared, and can only be found between 188 and 191. Three heart beats, and such a difference.

At the top of the scale, from 192 to 196 lies my Max Aerobic Capacity at the moment.

One of the effects of regaining base fitness will be that all of these zones will drop down in heart beats per minute as the body will not need the same intensity flowing through the system to sustain the speeds from 12-17kph. Once this happens, the maximum speed will move up towards my goal for this year: 20kph. (the maximum speed a human can move without being torn apart is 42kph, the fastest ever run by a human being is 35kph).

Plantar Revisited
Old Plantar made a return on Tuesday, my foot being quite sore after the track. This allowed me to identify another root cause: My calves where completely bombed after the hill runs. This leaves all the stress on the foot, so keeping my calves fresh and rested is key to relieving my feet.

I've stayed off the foot for Wednesday and Thursday, and the pain has now disappeared again.

Coming up for the weekend is a recce of the Carrick race route, and another super-long run out the Wicklow Way.