Monday, November 28, 2011

Changing Seasons - by the day.

Sunset here in the mountains is now around 5pm. That leaves a short window for outdoor training if you want the warmth of the sun on your body. It's also dangerous on the bike when climbing because often you are heading straight towards the sun and any car coming up behind you is seriously blinded! One great thing about being outside training every day is that you really get to live the complete cycle of the changing seasons.

CO2 works!
Yesterday I woke up feeling very stiff and sore having spent the entire previous day chopping, raking and burning to clear a plot of overgrown land. No body part appeared to have been spared from the trauma. The thought of going out for a workout was really unwelcome. Consistency and bloody mindedness are necessary with training so despite feeling wrecked I pulled the bike out. Amazingly, from the moment I started to pedal everything felt absolutely fine. Very weird! About 3k into the first climb I encountered a young guy walking downhill with his racing bike so I stopped to offer assistance. He had used his spare tube after a puncture but it also had a problem and he had no CO2 cannisters left to inflate with. I offered him my spare tube (actually a new racing one) and then used my CO2 valve for the first time ever. It not only worked but it was so fast in blowing up the tyre that I was completely astonished - it seemed to take about 1 second! Right at that moment Chris Harrop pulled over. He had already covered 40k on his own and by coincidence was just passing at that moment. We carried on together and that made me work harder than I'd intended initially but once again the body had no trouble with a hard workout. Unfortunately the Endomondo app stopped logging data for no apparent reason - and the history had vanished again! I need all the data to be able to chart my TRIMP (TRAining IMPulse) or Training Load as the objective is to maintain the Chronic Training Load at 90 throughout the winter. That will be tough! 

Carbo Fuelling
Oddly enough even though the workout was hard there was no serious tiredness afterwards. All this year I've been wasted by intense workouts - they always have me practically falling asleep an hour after they are over and there is a light headedness that makes concentration on anything productive very difficult if not impossible. It struck me that I'd eaten a heavy meal shortly before this workout - with a pile of potatoes. Perhaps I've simply been in the habit of not fuelling my body sufficiently for the job! I've been trying to reduce carbohydrates to lose weight but for physical performance the exact opposite is necessary. I probably don't get enough sleep either.

First Nocturnal Workout
Tonight I went for a slow 10k run on minimalist shoes. The Achilles tendon was sore for the first kilometre but then all pain disappeared once it was warmed up. I also think that I started out a little too much on the forefoot and the Achilles tendon was letting me know this. When even the first kilometre feels long you know that you are tired! It's rare that I feel like stopping by the first kilometre but this was one of those days. Running is just hard work and tedious when you feel this way. I worked on striking closer to the heels to protect the Achilles tendon and it felt very good. Once again this was done while avoiding reaching ahead by simply flexing the ankles a little on landing. When tired it is really hard to focus on anything physically counter-intuitive at all during effort. It feels strangely more natural running with a midfoot strike than a forefoot strike. It's a bit less bouncy but in some ways that feels more efficient.  After 7k the calves started to become a bit sore but remained manageable. I was very happy to get home. The whole run had been in the dark with a 1 watt LED head torch. It was the first nocturnal workout of the winter.

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