Yet another run

Back in Fuzhou. I will write a post about the weekend – but this is solely for the running and injury.

The day after the Fridays run I thought I would feel something in the morning. Amazingly I didn’t. I persisted in my strengthening exercises of the achilles. The icing was a little hard these past two days though, but I have been trying to keep the foot elevated as often as I could. It’s not always appropiate among newly met friends πŸ˜‰

No niggles during the Saturday either. Not even in the morning.

Today I ran when I came home to Fuzhou – in the afternoon. It started raining during the run – heavily. But it was quite refreshing compared to the usual climate. They say it’s supposed to rain quite a lot in the beginning of the summer here, but at least I haven’t noticed..

No niggles at all during the run either. So now I’m up to 4 days without a single trace of it. However I get easily tight in the calfs – especially the right one, where I’ve been having the problems. I try my best to stretch it away – I do know that it’s a symptom to Achilles Tendonitis.

Moving on..

Sun 10 July – Easy run in fuzhou

46:23 – 9.47 km – 5:08 min/km – 166 in avg hr

New steps in Fuzhou

Yesterday I had a nice long chat with coach. Among other things we talked about my injury and what I need to do to get it better. One idea is that I might need to let go of it phychologically – stop focusing on getting better and instead trying to enjoy the running. The other thing is to work on it physically, for example with stretches and strength training..

He also made me aware I should be running at at least a pace of 5:00 min/km, no slower. If I hadn’t injured myself or had the stressing time of becoming father again he thought it would’ve come by itself in between winter and summer. As it is now I have to go there myself.

So earlier today, around 16.00 I went out. It was 33 degrees and steamy.. After running for 30 minutes I was sure I couldn’t complete the whole hour. The heat was just too much. Maybe also the fact that I increased my pace with 20 seconds per minute in a leap.

The sweat was pouring. I ran bare-chested, which by the way was very liberating. In Sweden I never get the chance to do so, but here in China many people run bare-chested. And the staring looks I get even with the shirt on, so that shouldn’t keep me from doing it. It’s like this – half of the people I meet stare uninhibitedly – half of them smile as they do it and half don’t. Those who don’t look at you like you’re some kind of freak :D. This is not just because of the running. It’s like that all the time here. Not that much in more international cities, though, like Shanghai. They’re more used to foreigners there. Here most people don’t know a word English, except maybe Hello which some of the young people shout after you nervously once they’ve passed by you and gathered the courage.. Then they laugh out loud πŸ™‚

Anyway, after 35 minutes I had run a lap.. Then I was so exhausted I thought I would only be running for 10 minutes more. But after 5 minutes, when it was time to turn around, I instead found myself doing the lap – only a shorter one. I ran for 52 minutes, exhausted and fatigued.. It took me an hour or so to get back on track.

Funny thing though, I didn’t get a single niggle in the right foot this time. Ealier I have noticed at some runs that I don’t get it when I increase the speed just a little. But I only thought I got strange ideas. Hopefully it will be exactly the same next run. But that time I will keep the pace a little slower. And also – run in the morning instead when it’s only around 25 degrees warm

Is stretching necessary before and after exercise?

During a discussion at work about stretching before and after exercise one of my collegues said “there’s no scientific proof stretching does any good to your training”. I’ve sported most of my years growing up and stretching before and after exercise has always been considered common sense. However, if I’m not sure about something I’m not ready to stand up for it in a discussion, so I just replied “I didn’t know”. This happened half a year ago and since then I’ve been just doing my runs with stretchings involved as usual.

But today I thought maybe I should look that one up on Internet. What I stumbled over was these articles which I find fascinating

The truth about stretching by jason Heavey
Stretching, flexibility, hamstrings and injury by Jim Bledsoe
Phys Ed: How Necessary Is Stretching? by Gretchen Reynolds
Stretching: The Truth by Gretchen Reynolds

The latter of them even suggests that conventional stretching before workout weakens the muscles temporarily. However the first two of them suggests that stretching after exercise is a good thing that makes muscles flexible and helps recovery.

On the other hand Stretching: The truth suggests that warm-up exercises before a workout is crucial to avoid injuries. There are even a few examples there.

I’m not the first one to throw myself at something just because I’ve read an article or two, but I truly find it intriguing stretching might not do as much as we believe. I’m at least willing to go further in my research.

What unhealthy food makes to your running

Today I started by register my minimum heart rate. It went down to 40 for a couple of times during the 15 minutes I recorder lying on the sofa. Here’s the heart rate data. Last time I tested it I had a heart rate of 42, I believe was in the Summer of 2009. So in my case I’m not sure that the minimum heart rate is a very good indicator of how good fitness I am in. I know I wasn’t very fit by then πŸ˜€

During the afternoon the only things I ate were a piece of Strawberry cheesecake and one half pizza. That really showed at my run session one and half hour after the pizza.. The past few days I have eaten exactly how I should. And at those days I have felt light, strong and powerful – today it was morelike heavy, slow and tired.. And on top of that my heart rate rushed. I for one believe that it was because of the unhealthy food. I got all the calories, just of the wrong type :S

I’m talking with coach now about how I should plan this week.. Is it going to be another start of a sub 40 program or a build up? I have decided to have my first race at March 21 instead. That is four weeks from now, and it’s the seeding race of the Gothenburg half marathon. I just read his response – It seems this week will be a build up week, and then I’m up for the sub 40 again πŸ˜‰

Detailed Garmin data

Day 1, Build up
1 hour easy

Lap Distance Time AvgPace AvgHR MaxHR AvgCadence
1 10.82 1:02.03 5:44 137 156 91

Beginner’s running tips article

Since I now have been running for a little more than one and a half year, and began from nothing, I thought it might be helpful for some out there to get a piece of my experiences as a beginner. So now I have written an article about what I think made a difference for me in my running. Hope you like it!

Beginner’s running tips

Thoughts about tomorrow’s 4k time trial

Maybe it really isn’t much to speak of – such a trivial thing as a time trial. It’s only to have something to test my current fitness and adjust the upcoming paced runs after.

Well, to me it is a big deal. I have been running slow, easy runs now for over a month, which makes me feel uncertain of my abilities. Sure, I do rely on the coaching I get and that the easy runs lays a good foundation for the coming race training. But something in the back of my head still nags about me not being able to run as fast as I did (39:47) in the Kretsloppet 10k race in August.. At least not until I’ve proved otherwise, anyway πŸ˜‰

So tomorrow will be an important test for me, other than something to base my paced runs upon. If it shows that I’m in greater shape than I think, it will boost me to continue struggling – and if it tells me that I’m not in as great shape as I used to be, I will try even harder to get back there and over it all.

I believe there’s actually a possibility that my fitness has gotten worse. But to lay a good foundation to reach even higher maybe that was a necessary evil πŸ™‚

Anyway, my plans for tomorrow will be to start out at 3:40 for around 1k, and then take 3:30 pace for 2k’s and end with the last k at 3:20. Don’t know if I will manage, or even get close to the goal, but that’s the plan!

  1. pace 3:40
  2. pace 3:30
  3. pace 3:30
  4. pace 3:20

This will leave me at an avarage of 3:30, which means a total 4k time at 14 minutes. It might be a little high aimed, but I like it that way. I think it’s still reachable if I haven’t lost it all…

When digestion has become an obstacle in the running

I’ve since quite long had a problem with the digestion when running. More than half of the times I run for more than 3o minutes I need to throw myself into the woods or hope to find a stationary one (you know what I mean :)) It wasn’t that bad in the beginning, it feels more like it has evolved into something worse over time. And I always do visit the toilet before going running.

I’ve tried to analyze myself to figure out the root cause and the things I come up with is:

  • It doesn’t matter how long since I had a meal
  • Type of food doesn’t seem to change things a lot either
  • A visit to the toilet before running won’t change anything
  • Time of day to exercise isn’t the cause

Today I even couldn’t complete my training. I was close to the end and some 10-15 minutes before or so it had started out as usual with discomfort in the system that I needed to keep back. Then suddenly, I couldn’t take a step more.. I don’t want to get into any details, but “shit!” could work to describe it a little. I just stood still and hoped that I would be able to hold back so thatΒ  my coworkers didn’t have to come pick me up and take me back to the office in a wheelbarrow or something alike. Luckily I survived through it without any accident πŸ˜‰

After that I decided that I now need to speak to and maybe book time with a doctor. This can’t be normal. I know that many runners experience problematic digestion and other stomach discomforts, but it shouldn’t be such a big obstacle in the training you need to feel worried about it at almost every run.

Sorry if I make you uneasy, but this has become such a big problem in my running I wanted to share it with you all.. It’s not to punish you, only because I like you for wanting to read about me and want to enlighten you as a reward πŸ˜‰

Detailed Garmin data

Day 18, build up (Not completed as you can see in lap 9 and 10)
warm up then 5 x 8min paced at 75% effort with 2 min easy in-between

Lap Distance Time Avg Pace Avg HR Max HR Min HR
1 1.82 08:00 4:24 156 165
2 0.331 02:00 6:01 141 160 131
3 1.75 08:00 4:34 161 178
4 0.343 02:00 5:49 149 162 141
5 1.70 08:00 4:42 162 177
6 0.333 02:00 6:00 150 163 144
7 1.64 08:00 4:53 163 174
8 0.332 02:00 6:01 153 163 148
9 1.1 05:24 4:55 162 170
10 0.376 02:17 6:06 150 165 147

Like running in high heels

Snow, snow, snow..

Not that I’ve ever run in high heels (that would be a sight), but I can imagine parts of todays run could feel a little similar. It snowed all night and all day and then a little more. The snow laid as a thick, smooth 5-10 cm high layer when I decided to go out running in the lunchtime. Well, actually I didn’t decide then, I decided one and a half year ago and since then I’ve done it. Sometimes I wonder if one can be too stubborn. A day like this. But I wouldn’t want to analyze myself – I probably wouldn’t like what dark secrets I would find πŸ˜‰

Anyway, I plowed myself through the deep snow. I tried to run in the tire-tracks, but it was to slippery. The snow got packed under my heels. Why only there I don’t know – maybe because of my mid-foot strike. After some more strides it dropped and started to pack once more…

On top of that the heart rate monitor messed with me again. And this time I strapped myself up like a brought down calf. It was also good cleaned, the watch has a brand new battery and I even usually wet the surfaces in between to increase the contact. So.. Unless it’s the battery in the heart rate monitor I will have to take a serious talk with Garmin.. πŸ˜‰ Or.. Are you supposed to expect that behaviour from such a device?

Well, my data wasn’t so good today, both because of the device and all the snow..

Detailed Garmin data

Day 16, 2nd build up
1hr easy with last 15min of 1hr at 65% effort

Lap Distance Time Avg Pace Avg HR Max HR Avg Cadence
1 7.68 45:01 5:52 133 152 89
2 2.9 14:59 5:11 154 162 91

Soft on my knees, but I might need to strap myself up a little harder

It snowed all night and most of the day too. Made a soft and nice coating on today’s run. I still feel something in my left knee at some of my runs (don’t really know why, but I try to work it away with my strength training), which hopefully got a little better caring today when the ground was soft as wool πŸ™‚

One thing that nagged me though, was that my Garmin was playing games with me again. It was ok most of the run, but during the end it started dancing around again :S

You know that when your heart rate start jumping 5-10 beats up and down at a time while keeping a steady pace, it’s either time to see a doctor (or maybe a Shaman) or your gear is trying to make you nuts for some reason.

It seems it usually happens when it’s around 0 degrees outside.. Might be a coincidence. Another thing might be that I strap the heart rate monitor too loose, because when I pressed it against my chest today it got much better immediately.. I’ll try to strap me up a little harder in the future πŸ˜€

About the time trial on Saturday I’ve been adviced by TheEd to do it on a treadmill instead of slippery surface. Don’t know how to lay it up yet, but… Maybe to start out at 3:40 the first km and then try to increase.. Well, we’ll see about that πŸ˜‰

Day 15, 2nd build up
1hr easy and totally relaxed – at ease through out

Lap Distance Time Avg Pace Avg HR Max HR Avg Cadence
1 10.99 1:04:40 5:53 133 164 89

PS. Today I bought a new Olympus system camera, which hopefully will be put in use soon so that I’ll get some more photos up here.