Sunday, 2 October 2011

Uphill Struggle

Distance: 7.50mi
Time: 01:28:15
Surface: Trail/Road
Conditions: Cloudy and hot

We're experiencing some freaky weather considering we're now in the full throws of Autumn, and I chose today, with temperatures in excess of 25 degrees forecast, to start tackling some hill training and add a bit more distance. All being said it didn't go too badly, I ran all the way including a steep hill half a mile long which, even at my peak I rarely relished or succeeded in completing. My average pace did suffer however at nearly 12 mins/mi (practically walking!). I ate before running this time as we were up early (child afraid of the dark) but didn't take any water with me (my bad) and I think I really suffered for it. My water consumption still isn't great on average and I'm certainly not consuming the recommended 2 litres per day so I really should have taken some out with me especially considering the heat. I have a Camelbak waist belt that is reasonably comfortable however in an attempt to make these runs as easy and as light as possible I've been shedding as many accoutrement's as I can - maybe water shouldn't have been one of them.

I did try out some new socks on this run too, X-Socks Sky Run. Basically they sound amazing and should have  cut my pace in half. OK, maybe I'm slightly over-egging the pudding, but they are recommended for controlling foot temperature and for preventing blisters by having specific protection points across the toes and heel and fast wicking away of moisture. Perhaps I was concentrating too hard on the temperature controlling properties of the socks but for the first 20 minutes my feet felt like they were on fire, not at all what I was expecting! This is probably an unfair assessment of these (pricey) socks - they were very comfortable and I didn't suffer any blisters (though blisters don't usually hit until I hit double figure mileage) - and perhaps I should have washed them first as recommended by Women's Running magazine. I'm not one for reading instructions, as my cooking prowess will testify.

Aside running up the hills, for which I employed any old method that meant I could get to the top without stopping, on the flat trail terrain I attempted my breathing technique and raising my field of vision described in my last post. I am sure this quickened my pace instantaneously by greater than 1 min/mi and at one point I'd reached a pace of around 8 mins/mi which I'd dearly love to maintain across a 10k distance (at the moment it's a good day if I make 10:45 min/mi which is my current "starting again" target. I did begin to struggle with thigh pain about half way round, experiencing quite acute tightening down the outside of my right thigh. I'm still suffering now walking down stairs too. I suspect I've over stretched myself (or maybe under stretched to start with) but it has brought a rather blunt fact to my attention - I'm a bit too fat. For the last few months I've got rather friendly with Mr Cake, and he's taken a fancy to my bottom, and my hips and now my thighs and now won't let go. Running progressively longer distance has just highlighted that my once reasonably toned thighs from regular running, Power Plate and climbing, are now just a bit too wobbly and running hurts more than I remember it.

I know I need to do 2 things to rectify this:

1. Eat better
2. Start Power Plate again

Now, I don't eat badly, I just eat a lot. I like my food and to be honest have struggled with knowing when to stop in the past. But I've lost a lot of weight twice now so I know what's possible I just need to buckle down, but that's not all. I need to find the bit in my brain that will allow me to maintain it for more than a couple of days and I think I'm nearly there, but until I am there's no point I'll only yo-yo diet and that's just within the space of a week.

The second thing I need to do is to restart Power Plate classes. During the last couple of runs where I've tried to blast it, I've suffered from leg pain, particularly calf pain which I never suffered from whilst I was doing Power Plate. I'm also not as powerful. The 30 minute Power Plate classes, twice a week saw me right; built up what now appears to be some good core strength (which means less back ache post runs) and  some fantastic muscles in my thighs, bum and calf (which gave me increased power). I've had nearly a 12 week blip in my attendance. I don't really know what happened (except for very little) once the half marathon was over. I seemed to give up on the 3 things I loved doing for exercise most - running, climbing and Power Plate, a seriously magic combination as far as I'm concerned for overall fitness and shape - which has had a knock on negative affect on my general being. More about that in another article...

So these are the things I need to work on in the next couple of weeks as I approach the 6 months threshold before the marathon.


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