Recovery after 18-miler

I have never done an 18-miler before. Usually I don’t really need any recovery after a half-marathon. I can even do an interval session on the next day and be productive. After a full marathon I normally need a lot of recovery. For at least 2 weeks without any hard workouts.

18-miler supposed to be somewhere in the middle. On the next day I felt really good and did a 20×20 hill repeats (20 seconds uphill sprint 20 times on 2:00 minutes).  The legs were fine.

However on the second day when I supposed to do the mid-week mid-long 15 miles run, my legs were not up to it. I had several small pain points in knees and calves. So I did an easy 6-miler instead. And during this 6-miler the legs felt like they were made of clay.

Today I supposed to do 10-mile with 4-mile LT in the middle. I’m still in doubts about it. I will do 10, but I might not be able to hold a LT pace.

Winter Warlock 18-miler

It was a very good race! The conditions were perfect: sunny, ~30F( -1C) and a small breeze.  My most important goal was to test my target MP of 6:30 min/mile. I successfully accomplished that. The average pace was 6:29. Here is the link to a strava recording

The course was a simple out and back on an almost empty road. About a third of it had paved rolling hills and two thirds had flat dirt road. Fortunately the dirt froze and it felt like asphalt. The first half was helped by a tailwind. The pace felt very manageable, almost easy. I totally should be able to hold it for the whole 26.2 miles.  The second part was harder. Headwind and climbs knocked my pace to ~6:50. But I still had enough strengths in the legs to compensate on descents.

In addition to hitting my goal I also won the 18-mile race. There were at least 3 runners faster than me today, but they were running 10K or half marathon. In fact I think only about a dozen of people ran 18 mile version. So it doesn’t mean I’m fast. It means I finally found a race small enough to win. Nevertheless it felt great to lead a race.

Swimming technique correction

One of my plans for 2017 was the break a swimming performance plateau.  My pace stopped improving around 1:30 min/100 yards and stood there for about half a year.

Today I’ve  got a second opinion about my technique from another swimming coach. E3Training solutions offers a 1:1 swim analysis session.

Before the session I half suspected that my body position and rotation are fine, but the pull needs improvement.  I was partially correct. The major issues with my stoke were in overemphasized stretching and gliding. Not only I glided too long, but also moved the hand a little bit up during the stretch. Which is pretty much the opposite of what I should be doing. It caused a pretty long (0.2-0.5 seconds) dead zone every stroke.

As usual, it is very clear when I see it on the video, but completely impossible to feel.

The major fixed for that problem are:

  • swimming with freestyle fins to make sure the hand doesnt go up during the stretch
  • increase cadence and shrug shoulders instead of stretching just one of them
  • sculling drills to make sure I start the catch immediately after the entry

Miles for Marly 100×100 2017

For the second time, I participated in a crazy swimmers tradition – a 100 times 100 yard interval workout first Sunday of a New Year. Last time I was doing it on 1:50 interval and it was quite doable.

This time I tried to do it on 100 seconds or 1:40. Unfortunately it required an unsustainable level of effort from me. To make things worse, 3 people in my lane finished each interval in ~1:20. That was totally too fast for me, but I tried to keep up. When I was leading intervals 31-40, I tried to finish around 1:27-1:28 and people were almost touching my toes.

My pace deteriorated to almost 1:40 after 60 intervals and I decided to switch to a slower lane. In 1:45 lane I deliberately started last and was swimming with very low effort, stretching after each pull. To my surprise this gave me a stable pace of ~1:35. It is a bit frustrating, sometimes, when I try to swim faster and put more effort, I end up slower.

In any case I finished around 2 hours 51 minutes and quite happy with the result. Shoulders are sore and I feel like internal organs are in disarray. Almost like my body didn’t spend enough energy worrying about the digestive system during the swim.

Too much of a good rain

Usually I like to run in the rain. Wet clothes don’t bother me and the rain cools the body down. I have to watch for wet feet and get thicker socks to prevent blisters, but otherwise rain is just fine.

However doing a ~2 hour run in a pouring rain is a bit too much. 7:20 min/mile pace at 150 bpm means a recovery run for me. Again, I was not able to push as much as I liked. I don’t know if it’s about rain or my legs are just tired.

I’ll try to look at my recovery 6 miles today. If the legs still hurts, I’ll cancel a 12-miler tomorrow. The most important this week is to do the 17-miler and 10-miles MP on Saturday and I want my legs fresh for that.

Tired legs vs tired aerobic system

I am not sure if there is a difference between tired muscles and tired “aerobic system”. Sometimes when you fail to keep up during  a hard workout different parts of your body limit the performance..

Sometimes the heart rate spikes to your limit and you just have to slow down. But other times you heart rate is not even than high, but the legs just cannot move. Last week I had an example of the latter.

Miles 3-6 are supposed to be ran at LT pace or LT heart rate. I believe it should be around 6:20 min/mile or 175-180 bpm. I pushed as hard as I could, but could not lower the pace. The probable reason were the legs tired from a couple of 7 min/mile 10+ milers at the beginning of the week. This was Thursday. However on Saturday I had a very decent 17 miles long run at the same ~7 min/mile pace.  Which means I’m adopting to this pace. I’m going to try to do it for one more week and see if I’ll be able to keep the target MP during the next Saturday long run.

Switching to daily upload for HRV4Training

HRV4Training constantly gets new features. I usually don’t spend too much time in the app, just the mandatory 1 minute after I wake up. So it can take a while before I find them.

It looks like some of the new features, like VO2Max and and TSS summaries are only available when you connect the app to Strava and upload every day, before the actual heart rate management. Apparantly the TrainingPeaks connection that I had enabled for a while is not enough.

I guess Strava’s API provides more data than Training Peaks. Direct connection to Garmin Connect would provide even more, but probably the HRV4Training author doesn’t want to pay $5K for a subscription.

I wouldn’t if I wanted to develop an app, that uses health data.

In any case after a couple of runs the app shows me a VO2Max of 59, which is way too high. It basically means a 2:45 marathon. We’ll see if it changes its opinion after more information.

first week of Pfitz 12/70

The 1st week test was almost a success. I my plan A was to keep 6:30 min/mile for 8 miles in the middle of the 15-mile long run. Here is the result:

The average pace was 10 seconds slower than planned. But taking hills into account, it was actually 6:32 min/mile. Ho heart rate was lower than 170, which is good. But the legs were not as fresh as I wanted them. The reason is basically the same as last time, at the Happy Merrython 2016. I overdid the training during the week. As a test, I increased RPE on my medium-long runs to about 6/10. The runs were still aerobic, but may be a bit faster than they should have been.

  • 11 miles Tuesday: average pace 7:02 min/mile, Pa:HR 4.15%
  • 11 miles Thursday: average pace 7:06 min/mile, Pa:HR 6.78%

The pace is even faster than my A-plan marathon pace+10%. This tired my legs down and I didn’t quite hit the 8mile MP run on Saturday. Next time I’ll keep the pace slower than 7:10 for the mid-week medium runs. However the next week doesn’t have a monster fast run on Saturday, just a lot of aerobic  runs. So I’ll keep pushing on the midweek runs for one more week.

Good Tuesdays and long winter swims

The last couple of weeks the medium-long runs on Tuesday were surprisingly fast. I did 7:09 min/mile on a 13-miler last Tuesday and 7:03 on a 11-miler yesterday. It is a bit strange, because it happens after a hard interval session on Monday. Even my Saturday long runs are slower than that, and I supposed to be rested before those.

Obviously two runs don’t provide enough data for any analysis. We’ll see if the trend persists.

On the other note, the last couple of swimming workouts felt really tough. My arms feel tired and at the end of the workout pace deteriorates to almost a still-stand. To make things worse the long course is back in the MIT pool. I feel horribly slow there. The first (usually fastest) 100 I did in 1:37! It was close to 1:20 on the short 25 yard course.



Pfitz 12/70 start

The ramp-up weeks are behind me. I’m actually quite happy with the progress. Despite a disappointing half-marathon, the workouts are looking better than ever. I do my long runs around 7:20-7:30 pace, looking to dropping to 7:10 during the next weeks. I was able to hold 6:20 for 4 miles of an LT run.  I’m going to start my training targeting 6:30 as MP. It is a very big drop from 6:50 at the last marathon. I will use the Winter Warlock 18-miler as a sanity check.

The first week of the Pfitz 12/70 training has a bunch of medium and short runs during the week and a very nice 15-miler with 8 miles MP at the end. It will be nice to see how I can handle that.

On the other note, I think I hit a plateau with my swimming. I’m struggling to to faster than 1:30-1:35 per 100 yards for any distance longer than 100 yards. And just today I read a post on reddit  describing the same situation. I’ll try to work on my rotation, catch and kick and see if it helps.