Sunday, 25 November 2012

Post Nationals

Nationals played out as I thought and with a strong start I had placed myself in the lead group ready for the challenge but could tell shortly in that things were not quite right. As Shauna had noticed in our warm up as I turned my whole body to chat instead of turning my neck that I had done something to my back to put things out of whack. My neck had been in spasm for the past two days and things were still not quite right race morning. From that point all I could do was settle in and run as hard as the body allowed. Shauna noticed, I was running somewhat off and could tell I was not able to push as my breathing was not overly hard. Given that I was pleased with the strength I did have and think all the strength training has helped but I still need to be careful when lifting large boxes at the shop. I had prepared a large order mid week and in the process must have tweaked things slightly and in the rush to get everything in order before leaving did not get a chance to get things checked out.

The plan moving forward is to maintain the strength training and increase my aerobic training. By including the strength training my back will be better able to handle the aerobic training and I can continue on the road of consistent training and building the milage back up to 100+ miles per week.

Now I would be lying if I did not mention some level of frustration as this is another effort I have put some time and effort into just to have it go the road of having the back dictate but I'm all in as always and look forward to the next challenge.

Monday, 19 November 2012


After some thought I decided to move to the masters division at Nationals, originally I had entered the open category but in the end thought I would be better suited to racing masters as I am not as young as I used to be and now that the change is made I am looking forward to the challenge, the field is incredibly deep and it will be allot of fun running with master runners of this calibre.

After working the rotation core exercises last week I was able to re-introduce overhead squats to the program with the strength gains and have found them to be very helpful.

Overhead squat benefits

  • Increases strength in your quads and glutes
  • Vast recruiting of muscle fibres considering a relative small load
  • Increase your speed and acceleration
  • Strengthen the core and abdomen
  • Improves timing and muscle control
  • Improves balance
  • Builds a good foundation for the olympic lifts

This week will see a tapering of training, maintaining strength and interval styled training. With the taper I have reduced the volume and the intensity doing my intervals at 11mph from 12mph to prepare for the weekend. In my estimation to be able to run with the lead group I will need to be able to maintain 5:30 pace or 11mph after a fast start.

This week, the goal of the overhead squat is continued increases to torso stabilizer strength and core building. The goal of the 11mph paced intervals, dial in race pace with a few blaster workouts with hard starts and then settling into 11mph pace.

Should be a good week, now time for another workout!

Monday, 12 November 2012


Good progression with the weekly time trial with 15min at 12mph this past Sunday and good progression with the intervals and can now handle 4 x 4min @ 12mph with strength between intervals. 

Along with all the running I managed to squeeze in a 10k classic time trial out at SWC and felt solid but weak in the core and the poling which got me thinking that the back, arms and legs were strong but I still felt weak in the core from a rotation perspective which lead to a little searching of ideas, which lead me to the sport of kayaking and the more I looked into it the more I thought some of their core work could transfer to running and skiing as it is not so much how strong your legs or arms are but more the speed and power which you can rotate your hips.

In some respects it could be argued the legs are not responsible for gait but merely “instruments of expression”. The rotary motion of the hips is translated through the core causing storage of potential energy, leading me to this video and a few new exercises that might translate into a little extra power.

Monday, 5 November 2012

National Cross

As we gear up for the National Cross Championships I am aiming to be able to sustain 5min mile pace for 25mins before toeing the line. This past Sunday I managed 10mins at 12mph on the treadmill and the next test I will aim for 15mins, then 20mins and then 3 to 5 days out I will aim for 25mins and then start the taper.

Training has progressed to two 32min workouts per day with 5 x 3min @ 8mph building to 12mph with max strength between sets so something to the effect as follows;
  1. 1 x 3min strength
  2. 1 x 3min @ 8mph
  3. 1 x 3min strength
  4. 1 x 3min @ 9mph
  5. 1 x 3min strength
  6. 1 x 3min @ 10mph
  7. 1 x 3min strength
  8. 1 x 3min @ 11mph
  9. 1 x 3min strength
  10. 1 x 3min @ 12mph
Strength currently entails the following exercises starting light and adding weight with each set
  • 3RM push up
  • 3RM chin up
  • 3RM dip
  • 3RM step up @ 105LBS
  • 3RM box squat @ 265LBS
The other thing of note at this point is tightening up the diet slightly to get back down to race weight weight, I have let things slide as of late and the weight has crept up:-(

So there we have it, allot of quality and allot of strength, the combo of adding the strength to the quality at this point seems to be the key, as without the strength the body seemed to break down to this amount of quality. Not at all scientific, just an observation as I have tried quality every day before and broke down but now with the strength / quality combo I seem to be progressing each week gaining strength and speed and more importantly the ability to sustain 5min pace for longer periods.

The other key, and in some respects most likely more important, is progressing the pace of the intervals so that the first interval "for all in tents and porpoises" is part of the warm up and then progressing speed as the body adjusts and if the body does not adjust do not push the pace, i.e. some days the intervals only progress as far as 6min mile pace.

Note: "for all in tents and porpoises" - one of my Grandfather's best lines:-)