Mining your Training Journal
It is crucial to keep a training journal. Equally as important is to mine (like a miner looking for treasure) your journal; you never know what gems you may have forgotten. Take notice of any days you felt on fire: those golden days where everything just clicks. Then track back four weeks and see what lead up to that day. Also, remember as much as possible from the day itself. This is what I have done and what I have learned.
4 November 2018.
Weather: 19C, overcast
Time: 3:31 p.m.
Location: Fort Langley
Terrain: Half trail, half road. Flat.
The Run: 10 km in 47:17, 4:45min/km,178SPM, 1.19m stride length, 129 average heart rate with a max of 140.
The time for a 10k is not super impressive. What is impressive is this….
At the time my aerobic threshold was 149 beats per minute (bpm). Below 149bpm, lactate acid will not accumulate. Above 149bpm, lactate acid accumulates. So I did the run 20bpm under my aerobic lactate threshold. This is crazy. Basically, I ran a 47min 10k without breaking a sweat or breathing heavily.
The run felt effortless. I kept running quicker, but my heart rate was staying very low. Honestly, it was simply glorious. Two weeks prior, I had another unexplainable day where I ran ridiculously fast without working that hard (I set a half marathon personal best by 2 minutes and it felt easy). This day was less glorious than 4 November. Here are the commonalities between the runs:
1. Both runs were in the afternoon. I think my body is still sleepy during the morning. My afternoon sessions are usually better.
2. I had worked in the morning, meaning my body had been going and was ready to run. My job, at the time, required me to be on my feet and walking for hours.
3. I was losing weight during this time. If I weigh less, I run faster.
4. I was focusing on “leaning forward” while I was running. I tend to be too upright while running. Leaning forward improves running economy.
5. I was loving running. Training did not feel like a chore.
6. I had eaten earlier in the day, but both runs were started at least 3 or 4 hours after eating and were followed by a meal.
What I was doing for training leading up to 4 November…
I was doing a lot of aerobic (zone 2, aka Z2) running, mostly on road. The runs were shorter, but more frequent. Most runs were 60-90mins in length. During one week, I ran ten times. There was only two long days of longer than 5 hours. These were on the trails. I was doing deadlifts (DL) two to three times a week, with at least two days off in-between lifting days. The DL sessions included more reps at 5, usually starting from easy and building to hard, but not crazy-destroy-your-body hard. I was doing my high intensity training (HIT) immediately after the DL sessions. I was doing two HIT sessions per week: one, a track session (400 or 800m repeats, hard), and two, a hill session (2-5min hard efforts uphill usually with a loaded pack). I was doing 2-4 repeats only, on both the track and hills. I pushed myself, but not to the point where I felt destroyed after the session. I was doing a bit of balance work in the gym. I was losing weight during this time, and rapidly too. This was unsustainable, but I think it largely explains why I felt so amazing. Eight weeks prior I had completed Ultra520kCanada, which means I had had enough time to absorb a huge load of training. This, I think, is the other big reason why I felt so good during October 2018. Running technique wise, I was practice “leaning” into my run, or falling forward. This improved my efficiency. I was not building distance; most weeks were around a 100 km. Finally, I was loving running; each night I would go to sleep, looking forward to my run the next day.
October 2018—the four weeks leading up to 4 November 2018
What does this mean going forward?
Well I am going to take what I learned from training for Hardcore Hundred Miles and what I have learned by examining this glorious day and month of training, and then I am going to experiment. I want to try a few things and see what works and what doesn’t. Then I am sure I will write more on the topic. I have CM6 coming up in eight weeks and it will be a good test.