Into Week Two

Here I am on the eve of my long run day, sitting with my foot up after doing more exercises to ease off my still painful Plantar Fascia tendon. It’s not really getting any better, despite multi-daily stretches and massage. Today I have spent a lot of the day on my feet and, at 5pm, my heel is protesting loudly which augurs badly for any prospect of running 13 miles tomorrow.

My heart wants to run. It says head out on a there and back course, run as far as you can, it might ease as you run and, if not, you can turn round and limp home.

My head says don’t be so bloody stupid. You are injured. There is no desperate need for you to run 13 miles or any miles at all until you are better. You can easily run 13 miles on any good day. Missing one long run is not going to ruin your training, but running 13 miles on an injured foot might just stop your training completely.

My head is going to win. As much as I want to run tomorrow and as much as I am not wanting to postpone my training for any length of time, I can’t risk making matters worse. Hopefully taking another week off, continuing with the stretches, massages and icing will do the trick and next week I can pick up where I left off.

My fingers are crossed because it’s too painful to cross my toes!

Mind you, if I had fingers as crossed as this maybe it would my mind off my sore feet!
Mind you, if I had fingers as crossed as this maybe it would my mind off my sore feet!
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Healing a Heel

After Monday’s run I’ve been so sore that I haven’t even looked at how well I did what intervals I managed. The plantar fasciitis that has been developing despite my best efforts finally hit me hard and I limped through my Monday run and could hardly walk afterwards. Last night walking was very painful indeed, so I wasn’t looking forward to my first day back at school today. However the symptoms had lessened by this morning, which really surprised me.

I’ve been following the recommendations which are outlined in this video – it explains what PF is and how to deal with it:

This is also helpful, talking about deep tissue massage:

I’m stopping running for the rest of this week. That’s statutory. If I run anymore on this heel I will risk greater damage and, to be honest, this hurts quite enough thank you! I’m stretching my calf, achilles and plantar ligament, icing my foot, using a golf ball to stretch the ligament, wearing shoe lifts and using ibuprofen and ice gels directly on the skin! If that doesn’t fix it…

 

Monday’s run was hard going, as you can maybe imagine. As it was an interval day I headed down in the woods with my trusty hound. My 0.4 mile stretch of reasonably straight trail was my track for the intervals. I started with a 10 minute run at 10:45 min/mile pace, did a few acceleration gliders and then ran half mile intervals (or as near as dammit) which looked like this:

Interval 1 : 0.57 miles  5:21  (9:19 pace)

Interval 2 : 0.51 miles  5:02  (9:48 pace)

Interval 3 : 0.52 miles  5:14 (10:03 pace)

Interval 4 : 0.53 miles  5:14  (9:51pace)

Interval 5 : 0.50 miles  4:51 (9:41 pace)

Interval 8 : 0.50 miles  5:33 (11:08 pace)

I was meant to do 8 intervals, but after interval 5 I started to really suffer and ended up walking through intervals 6 and 7. To be honest I just wanted to get home! I decided to run the eighth interval just as a way of getting home quicker, so I’m actually quite pleased with that one not being not desperately awful!

Compare that to last time’s intervals you can see how much I was struggling:

Interval 1 : 4:30  (8:57 pace)

Interval 2 : 4.35 (9:10 pace)

Interval 3 : 4:41 (9:23 pace)

Interval 4 : 4:41 (9:21 pace)

Interval 5 : 4:56 (10:01 pace)

Interval 6 : 4:26 (10:26 pace)

I came back a bit disheartened, but not with my performance as much as my injury. I will work hard at easing the tightness that is my lower left leg before evening contemplating my planned 13 mile long run on Monday coming.

 

New Shoes!

After my 11 mile run on Monday I have been struggling with plantar fasciitis in my left foot. Through a combination of massage and pressure point relief I have been gradually working this out, although running has been sore this week.  I said in my last post that my faithful Brooks Ghosts have finally reached the end of their running life. Since August last year I’ve run over 650 miles and a majority, probably about 95%, of those were in the Brooks. So they’ve…wait for it…given up the Ghost!

Today I limped along to my local Nike Store. Near to where we live there is a Nike Outlet where you can buy last year’s shoes at massively slashed prices and as I haven’t got a huge purse at the moment I took a trip there today in search of some new shoes.

Much to my husband’s dismay I tried all of them on. Every neutral running shoe in the store in my size ended up on my foot and sometimes on both feet. I eventually narrowed it down to two shoes; The Nike Air Max Retaliate 2 and the Nike Air Free Run. Both fitted well (in half a size bigger than my usual size), were roomy across the toes (which I look for to avoid bruised toes and blisters on the sides of my feet), lightweight and were comfortable. To be honest I couldn’t choose between them. The Free Run had better arch support, but as they are aimed at mimicking a more barefoot style I expected this. The Retaliate had better heel support, but I expected that too.

In the end I chose the Retaliate 2. They were the first shoe I tried on and felt the most comfortable. However I may, due to the low cost, go back at some point to buy the Free Runs as well!

 

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I have intervals to do tomorrow. If the weather is really bad I’ll test out the Retaliates on the treadmill. If not then I’ll be running them in my trusty, dusty Nike Alvords on the trail! Seems I’m becoming a Nike Gal!

 

Fueling Long Runs

I can’t think of an apt title for this post, so I’m leaving it until the end and hope that some inspiration comes before I hit the ‘publish’ button. If it  doesn’t this will be my first untitled  post!

I’m not long since back from my long run. It was 11 miles today, as Monday is my elected long run day, and I wasn’t looking forward to the run, but I wasn’t not wanting to go either. I tend to either be desperate to get out the door and hit that dopamine high or I have to drag my sorry ass out of the door as it continues to protest loudly about all the other things sorry asses could be doing. Today was a bit in between.

The weather was fine; a bit windy and a bit too sunny/hot at times, but mostly fine. It was ‘that’ll do’ weather for long runs. Heading out I had a headwind, but that helped me home. No complaints there.

For fuel I took some Energybits. I had about 10 left from the freebie the company sent me as an incentive to buy. You are meant to take 20-30 before exercise, but as I only had 10 that had to do. To compensate I took an isotonic drink in my Camelbak (this time ensuring that all the pipes were correctly and securely fitted!) I’ve been looking at how I fuel my long runs for a while now and I’ve never been too keen on sticky gels that are a nightmare to open. To be honest, I’m not even keen on using sugar as a fuel source. It’s too quickly used up and doesn’t take advantage of the fuel I’m already carrying. On these long runs I’ve been taking less and less with me and it doesn’t seem to have made a big difference performance-wise. No dextrose tablets, no gels, nothing. I’m not even making a special point of carb-loading. I just eat normally.

I’ve done a bit of research on how the body uses fuel during long runs and maybe the reason why I’m not losing fat is because I haven’t been using it up. In the past when I’ve used simple and complex carbohydrates as my fuel source my body has used those before looking to what my body has naturally stored. A lot of the time that’s all that’s been used. It’s like having a fuel reserve on a car and never letting the tank run below half.

I decided that if I could run 9 miles on just isotonic juice then I could run 11, 13, 15 and 17 with little more than that. But what to supplement it with is a bit of a mystery still. Using up the Energybits was a step in the direction away from gels/tablets. I follow the writings of Matt Frazier who set up the No Meat Athlete website which has an amazing following. This article ‘Burning Fat for Fuel‘ has given me food for thought (pardon the pun!) I’ve chosen some quotes that sums the article up:

First, note that we’re only talking about the long, slow run. Your body starts sugar-burning as your exercise intensity crosses the lactate threshold.  (A good indicator of when this happens is when it becomes difficult to carry on a conversation, or when your mouth drops open to start taking in air while you run.)  You can gradually increase the level of intensity at which you cross the threshold, so that you can eventually run faster while staying in a fat-burning state.  For speedwork and hill workouts, your body will still rely on sugar, and that’s fine, since they’re short, and sugar is great for hard, short runs. 

Extend your warmup period. If you’re standing still and you suddenly bolt off running, your physiology changes.  Your body senses something is up (perhaps you’re being chased by bears and zombies?) and starts burning the sugar fires, since sugar is great for short bursts of energy.  But that’s exactly what you don’t want to happen on your long run.

So warm up extremely slowly.  Walk for the first few minutes.  Then start running so slow that you have to hide your face when you pass people you know.  Relax everything and enjoy it.  Over the course of 10 or 15 minutes, build up to your long-run speed.  Speaking of which…

Run slow! You want to stay below your lactate threshold for as long as possible, so your body can get used to burning fat for fuel.  So go really slow.  If you use a heart rate monitor, stay at 60 to 70 percent of your max.  Make sure you easily carry on a conversation while you run.  Your goal is to do this enough that your threshold increases, i.e., you can run faster yet still stay in this aerobic, fat-burning zone.

To help with trying to identify my lactate threshold I’ve started wearing my heart rate monitor. I sat last night with it on for about half an hour and got a stable resting heart rate of 58, which I am very pleased with. Today my maximum heart rate hit after 15 minutes and was 206 bpm. As I was running a 10 minute mile at the time I’m going to use that as my maximum heart rate. Regardless of my pace, in order to use my fat as fuel (and I have plenty to use!) I will run my long runs at between 60%-70% of 206 bpm which is 123 – 144 bpm, much lower than the 160 ish I was running at for most of today. Please let me know if I’ve made mistakes here!

Anyway, back to my run. I followed Jeff Galloway’s Half Marathon training app, as usual, but I’ve changed the settings to running four and half minutes and walking for 30 seconds. It’s not much of a change, but it has lowered my pace. I might look at running for 6 minutes and walking for 40 seconds and see how that affects my pace. If it helps me to achieve the lower bpm then it’s worth it and, hell, if I can run for 4.5 minutes and only get a 30 second respite then I’m sure I can manage to run a whole flaming half, if I wanted to!

I ran along the shore road, heading for Bankend village which is 5 miles away. I decided, on getting towards Bankend, that I’d turn left instead of right for a change. Silly wee changes like that make all the difference on a route that you know really well. (I’d decided against two more interesting loops of the road behind our village because of the distinct possibility of the road being flooded after some heavy showers – I didn’t want wet feet after 2 miles. There’s interesting and there’s INTERESTING!)

My left heel was feeling a bit bruised again and the pain started to work into my knee on the way back. I definitely think that the time has come to retire my Ghosts. I need new trainers pronto. Apart from that and the heat build up from mile 8 onwards, where you can see my pace really drop on my Garmin data) this was a fairly uneventful run, for a change! No mishaps, meetings with wildlife or angry fist-shaking motorists, just a run there and back.

I finished my 11 miles in an OK 2:03:53. I wasn’t looking to do fab pace, just do the 11 miles. My pace, as it happens, came in not far off target at 11:15. My training plan is set at 11 min/miles, so to do an average not far away from that it great.

Next week, as last week, I’m set for intervals. Last week I went down into the woods behind where we live and found a 0.4 mile stretch of track that is serving as a backyard stadium. I was due to do half mile intervals, so I’m having to be a bit inventive and run the length of the track and turn or run the length and run in circles for a bit (literally – at one end of the track is a lorry turning circle for the timber lorries!) to get my half a mile in, but it saves me the time and fuel in going into town. I was managing the half mile in between 4 min 30 and 4 min 50 which I was quite pleased with given that it’s an uneven forest track that isn’t flat. I’ll try and improve on that next week.