An Ok start to the week but I’m feeling slightly congested so I won’t overdo it. Easy 8K run during lunchtime letting my legs decide the pace as there’s some fatigue since the weekend. Heart Rate a little bit higher than usual but that’s reflective of how I’m feeling. Second run of 10K running to the offices of the Athletics Association of Ireland for a meeting of the Ultra Running Committee. Still feeling congested but the run went ok and made sure to keep my heart rate at the lower end of my aerobic zone.
Plan for tomorrow is an early gym session and I expect to be taking a step back. My run plan is undecided but I’m thinking hill repeats.
Tuesday Feb 19th. HRV=74 White
A great result and I’m feeling a little bit better, running yesterday’s session according to HRV has allowed continuous training. 2 Hard boiled eggs for breakfast and a cup of coffee as it’s a gym day. Early Gym Session of mostly foam rolling and mobility work, did 3 sets of walking lunges with 7.5Kg Dumbbells and will ease back to where I was but take a step back as each event gets close. Have time for 2 runs today starting with lunchtime MAF session which didn’t go to plan as my HR was spiking and I know because of the figures that it was a problem with the signal so I ran to pace instead and made an educated guess at what it should be. Spiking can be caused by the contact points on the chest straps not being wet enough and this is a common problem on cold and windy days when it takes a while to warm up and start the early stages of sweating. Simply wetting the contact points won’t always be sufficient as the silicone type pad won’t hold the moisture. Saliva works well when cold as it’s sticky and wont roll of the contact points but don’t lick the strap unless you wash it after each use for obvious reasons. Evening session of Hill Repeats on a 300M long hill with a 30M climb which I think is long enough to bring on a burn but short enough not to overcook . The recovery is then short enough to prevent the HR from dropping into the recovery zone and each rep gets progressively harder. Started to lose power after the 6th rep so I took a longer recovery and finished stronger which has me wondering if I warmed up sufficiently or should have added an extra rep?
Plan for tomorrow is an easy Lunchtime Run and an evening Tempo or Interval Session to wake the legs up.
Wednesday Feb 20th . HRV=76 White
HRV moving in the right direction even though I’ve been training continuously hard and fighting a head cold. Easy Lunchtime Run at Recovery Pace to test the legs and hopefully prepare them for an evening session. Felt a bit lazy during this run as I ran the middle portion with someone else and then it was an effort to get back to work on time. Didn’t have use of the car when I got home which meant running to the track and leaving the house earlier than planned so I didn’t have time to eat. Knowing in advance I’d be rushing I had a beet it shot on the train journey home and made a cup of coffee while getting changed. Felt a bit drained when I arrived at the track and wasn’t looking forward to the planned session of 6*1K @ 3:30 per K. Met my training partner and told him how I was feeling and that I didn’t expect to get through the session. Did the 1st rep and it was an effort to get the legs moving and asked my partner to lead out the 2nd which felt slightly easier and I’m thinking it’s because I didn’t need to concentrate on pace but instead I just switched off and followed. He led out the next few reps but started to slow on the 3rd so I picked it up towards the end and we both agreed that we would finish with the 5th. The 5th came and went and during the recovery I remembered the difference a recovery can make so we took a chance on the last interval and eased into it before picking up the pace for the last 500M.
Plan for tomorrow is an early gym session and due to time constraints I’ll try repeat my Tuesday Hill Session late evening.
Thursday Feb 21st. HRV=70 White
Expected lower and will try make the most of this today but time will be tight, result makes me think I can start running my Intervals faster or maybe include an extra 1 to 2 reps. Early Gym session working on depth in my squat and my flexibility seems to be improving, lifting less than before but feeling stronger. Finished the session with hanging leg raises and a variation on the sit up. No time for a lunchtime run as I had a meeting / interview to close of a planned documentary feat the Siberian Project. My evening coaching session finished late and today became a rest day
Plan for tomorrow is the Hill Reps I missed last night.
Friday Feb 22nd. HRV=76 White
Expected higher after resting yesterday but still going in the right direction. Lunchtime MAF session gone wrong as my HR was spiking as per Tuesday and instead I just sat into a pace that was already dialled into the virtual partner on my Garmin, session felt comfortably hard @ 10K in 41 mins. Finished off the day with a hill session similar to Tuesday but less reps and added in 2 other hills on the run home.
Plan for tomorrow is an early local run and a short afternoon trail run.
Saturday Feb 23rd. HRV=73 White
Change of plan as my son’s soccer match has an early kick off and then my daughter was too sick to go training so that meant missing both planned runs. Made the most of an free hour in the late afternoon and hit the Track for 6* 1200M intervals with 1 minute recovery. Tough going but I reckon with company I could go longer / faster and maybe add in a few extra reps.
Plan for tomorrow is a 25K Trail run along the Wicklow Way with an early start.
Sunday Feb 24th. HRV=79 White
Expected a low score and possible Amber after yesterday’s session and this makes me think I need to start running my reps faster and longer. Slight change of plan as a heavy fall of snow overnight has made roads in Wicklow impassable. Drove as close as possible to another location in the hills and settled for a 2hr run in the snow with 680M of ascent. The pace and distance were less than planned but all it was a fantastic run on snow covered trails. Went for a second shorter run at Tempo pace just before it got dark to make up for the easier effort this morning so all in all it was a great day.
Plan for tomorrow is a set of hill reps and possibly an easy lunchtime run.
A good week with a few quality sessions and it went almost as planned.
Diet and Training
A full week without chocolate and my body weight is now at 71.7Kg. Next step will be to cut out crisps and each week I’ll add something else to the list. I find it easier to ease into a new routine rather than try make too many changes at once. Interesting results from Inside Tracker mean making a few adjustments to my diet which includes increasing my calcium and iron intake as my levels are borderline low. Be proactive with your health because you need to be a healthy person first and fitness comes second.
A slight improvement on yesterday and the slower pace or lack of climbing strength probably worked to my advantage. Unplanned day off work as my daughter is sick, took the opportunity to do a short run and felt good so ran the middle 20 minutes of a 40 minute run at a faster pace. I’m thinking about the 50K race on Saturday so my plan will be reduced volume but increased intensity for the next few days. I’m cutting out chocolate and as much junk as I can from today. Body Weight: 72Kg
Plan for tomorrow is lunchtime MAF session of 40-45 minutes.
Tuesday Feb 12th . HRV= 73 White.
Moving in the right direction. Lunchtime MAF session as planned but my usual 10K loop took a little bit longer than I expected. Leaving the office after work I could feel my left calf tighten up so my priority now is to get that sorted as running related injuries don’t just happen and by the time something starts to surface it could mean that the damage is done. Did some foam rolling and made a few phone calls trying to book a massage. Nothing sorted by bed time, not happy.
Plan for tomorrow is a sports massage.
Wednesday Feb 13th . HRV= 75 White.
A great result but today is looking like a rest day as I’m not going to chance running when I know that something is amiss. Leg felt ok as the day went on and managed to book an evening appointment for a massage so I took a chance and did a short easy run in the rain. Feeling slightly sluggish during the run and that could be diet related. Massage was relatively pain free and the signs are good for Saturday. There goes my excuse!
Bedtime Bodyweight: 71.7Kg.
Plan for tomorrow is an easy 10K
Thursday Feb 14th . HRV=78 White.
HRV moving in the right direction ahead of my race and the easy day yesterday seems to have helped. Started the day with a bowl of porridge with raisins, honey, chia seeds & coconut oil to start fuelling up for the 50K. For a race of longer than 100K I wouldn’t worry too much about my carb intake in the days beforehand but for the shorter Ultras that will be run at a slightly higher intensity I think it’s important to have the muscles loaded. Shortened my planned run to 5K and ran most of it at under 120bpm.
This day 2005 I was taking part in the Yukon Arctic Ultra.
Plan for tomorrow will be an easy run of less than 30 minutes with a few strides just to keep the legs moving.
Friday Feb 15th . HRV=73 White.
Same breakfast as yesterday. Happy with HRV and ran as planned but changed the strides to 6*1 minute with 1 minute recovery for a total of 5K in 30 minutes. Will rest up this evening and hopefully have an early night. All going well I’ll be in bed early enough to wake before the alarm.
Plan for tomorrow is a 50K Trail Race. The race starts at 10am so my plan is a 7am breakfast of the same as previous 2 days.
Saturday Feb 16th . HRV=76 White.
A good result for race day. Up at 6:30am for a 10:00am start and had my usual breakfast of porridge made with pinhead oats and added coconut oil, chia seeds, honey and raisins. Might sound a lot but it’s less than half a cup of oats and made with water. Arrived at the race start in good time and went over the feeding plan with my daughter Aisling. I expected to complete each 5K loop in just under 20 minutes and from the second loop I’d alternate my fuelling with a gel or small bottle of water. All seemed ok until the 3rd lap when my legs just wouldn’t respond to the pace. My heart rate was dipping so I knew the power just wasn’t there. My lap times slowed from here to the finish and there were times when the voices in my head were saying why didn’t you just take the day off but for an Ultra Runner these are the days when you get to test and train your mental strength. Stopping when it gets tough is taking the easy way out unless of course you risk injuring yourself. I finished in 3hr57 which was 27 minutes slower than my time from last year but that doesn’t bother me as I’d rather have a bad run than take the easier option of a DNF (Did Not Finish) which can appear more respectable to some than the slower time.
It’s all about the recovery now and first thing I did after the race was drink a bottle of coconut water to speed my rehydration and on the drive home I had a serving of cherry juice. Spent the rest of the day wearing Under Armour Recovery tights and then had the best recovery aid of them all, ‘an early night’.
Plan for tomorrow is a recovery run with duration dependent on HRV and muscle soreness.
Sunday Feb 17th. HRV=59 Amber.
Didn’t have a great nights sleep as I’m slightly congested but the early night meant I probably got enough sleep to wake without an alarm and just in time to meet up for a club run. Legs are feeling surprisingly good and thats further proof that I didn’t run as I should have yesterday. Could probably continue as normal today but my HRV means I won’t get carried away and I’ll keep it sensible. Glad I felt able to run as it would have been a waste of a beautiful morning and the company made an easy run easier as the chat kept the pace very sensible and before I knew it I’d covered 16K and decided to call it a day.
Weekly HRV Summary
This will now end my endurance / base building phase as I aim to build on the training I was doing for the Siberian Black Ice Race. From next week I’ll start to add in some hill repeats and hill runs to improve on my running specific leg strength and if time allows I’ll try end the week with a run of 40-60K. I need a few runs of this duration to help get back to race weight as every gram counts during a 24-hr race.
Short Trail run of 11K with the same 6K climb as last Saturday’s run. The purpose of this session was leg strength and to get the most from it I checked my kilometre splits from Saturday and aimed to run each of them harder. All my splits were faster except for the. 6th K up the steepest section when I paid the price for the earlier pace. Recovered on a 1K downhill and then pushed it all the way to the end. I was half tempted to do a second loop but decided it best to leave it and was happy knowing I could keep going. Rehydrated with coconut water and after getting home I had a glass of cherry juice concentrate (Cherrygood) before dinner. Rested for a while and then it was time for part 2 which included 7K steady state on the track as part of a 14K run. Felt tired during this run and the headwind on one side of the track didn’t help.
Body Weight: 73Kg
Plan for tomorrow is an early strength session.
Tuesday Feb 05th . HRV= 67 White.
Early strength session of some basic core exercises, 2 sets of walking lunges with dumbbells (24 per set) 3*5 reps of Box Squats (Deep) with 47.5Kg and 3*3 Deadlift with 100Kg. Tough work and felt strong when it finished.
Recovery run at lunchtime of 7.5K keeping my HR under 125bpm.
Plan for tomorrow will depend on HRV but I’m hoping to be on form for a Tempo run.
Wednesday Feb 06th . HRV= 78 Green.
A great result but I’ve a mild case of the DOMS so I may not be on form to make the most of it. Recovery run at lunchtime to try loosen my legs out for a Tempo or Interval Session later. Feeling much better as the day went on and did a quick turnaround after getting home from work, got changed and drank a serving of Cherry Juice (Cherrygood) and was on my way to the track within 30 minutes. Extended my warm up as it was quite cold and then did a session of 5*1K with 2 mins rest between for a total of 14K. The session was very manageable and my heart rate never reached into my 5K race zone.
Plan for tomorrow is a runmute (running commute) to work.
Thursday Feb 07th . HRV= 64 Amber.
Alarm went off at 6am and took a quick look out the window to check the weather, cars covered in ice and footpaths look slippy so it’s back to bed. After checking my HRV I don’t feel so bad about missing an early run and will settle for a recovery run today. Lunchtime recovery run in the rain and no problem keeping the heart rate low at a comfortable pace. That’ll be all for today as I’m coaching this evening and dropping / collecting my son from soccer training.
Plan for tomorrow will depend on HRV and how I feel but I’m thinking it’ll be either a Medium distance MAF session or a shorter interval session with longer warm up.
Friday Feb 08th . HRV= 73 White.
A good result and I’m now thinking that I’ll run hard today. Lunchtime run didn’t happen as I ended up meeting a friend of lunch and something else after work meant today became a rest day.
Plan for tomorrow is an early run over an undulating route or an interval session.
Saturday Feb 09th . HRV= 56 Amber.
Unexpected so I’ll keep it easy today. Had a 45 minute window of opportunity while my son was warming up for a soccer match so I hit the track which just happens to be decide the track. Ran a few easy laps and then tested the engine by running a little bit faster. Got carried away after my unplanned rest day yesterday and did 5*1k intervals without stressing myself.
Plan for tomorrow is a Trail Run along the Wicklow Way with some friends preparing for the Wicklow Way Ultra.
Sunday Feb 10th . HRV= 62 Red.
Not what I wanted and looks like I’m paying the price for yesterday. My problem now is that plans have been made and I’ve friends making a 3hr journey from Belfast so the run will happen. Started the morning with a Beet it shot and an early breakfast of a small bowl of porridge with raisins and coconut oil plus a cup of coffee. As a self preservation compromise I decided to try keep my heart rate as low as possible. The run was tough but enjoyable with a lot of wind and rain making the underfoot conditions difficult and there were times that we were running on trails that had become rivers. Ran strong for most of it but fell behind on the last 2 climbs as I just didn’t have the leg strength to maintain the pace. In hindsight that might have worked to my advantage as the slower pace on the climbs kept my HR at the lower end of my aerobic zone. Finished the run with a serving of Cherry Juice which and had the same when I got home as it’s all about the recovery now.