Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Ishmael call me you can

-= Tempting fate =-
Being a literature-geek, I cannot help but read and re-read Moby Dick. However, the complexity of the book makes me realize that I in no way thoroughly know the book. Yet, references to aspects and lessons in the book keep surfacing in everyday life. In fact, I often realize that I need to keep my big mouth shut as soon as I recognize a Moby Dick reference in real life that I do not want to bore the people around me with too much. (I guess I learned my lesson in the pub, when friends kept telling me to shut up about Shakespeare and drink the beers that were still in front of me.)

Yet, there is one Moby Dick reference that struck me some time ago and stuck with me over the last couple of weeks. As it is a running-related reference - I cannot wait to describe it here.

Over the previous years, I have experienced a variety of minor and not so minor injuries. These have had various causes, many of which have in some way to do with training too much or to heavily. At least one occasion was thanks to my own stupidity. Starting in December, I gradually increased the number of weekly K's and have kept up building after having done the race I started preparing for. I am currently testing if I have found my "sweet spot" at approximately 42 K per week.

Looking back at the build up in number of K's, I realized that I have not been injured once in over six months - OK, that's jinxed to sh.t in one sentence. This realization reminded me of chapter 23 in Moby Dick, where Melville describes how the greatest danger resides just off the lee shore, where a ship is in danger of great damage. Being on land - comparable to not running at all - is the safest option (but then, who would want to be safely on land?). Being just out of port - doing a limited number of K's and only just getting your body used to the activity - will cause the most injury. Being out in the gale, away from rocks that might split the hull of the ship - having passed the point where your body needs to get used to doing larger distances - might be safer than taking it slow and going for short runs.

Now I totally understand if you are not up to speed with Moby Dick and/or have trouble following my train of thought. The idea I tried to explain just now is  phrased in slightly different words by an other great character - who approaches Ishmael's greatness in a different type of classic.

“Do. Or do not. There is no try.” Yoda, The Empire Strikes Back 

Obviously this is a totally far-fetched figment of my imagination, but I enjoy relating everyday trivialities to literary classics.

Saturday, 4 April 2015


-= Only my Garmin =-
Last weeks trainings were wet - a medium-heavy shower was a common sight during my runs - so most of the time, I chose to leave my phone at home. The only thing I had with me was my Garmin. It felt very refreshing to not have to drag around a ton of additional gear. No HRM-strap, phone, phone-armband, and headphones. No waiting for Runkeeper to find a satellite fix, no spoken hints telling my my average pace and heart-rate and no music. Though I love Zombies Run Game to bits, it is good to run without the distraction of the full cast of the game in my ears for an hour or somewhat less. With just my Garmin on these runs, I ran empty-handed, and I loved it.

Last week, when I started running with my new Garmin (Fenix 3), I added my MIO strap to my running gear and it still was very minimalistic running.

-= Fenix 3 =-
There are currently some signals (specifically on the Garmin forums and the
DCRainmaker comments pages) that the Fenix 3 is still somewhat inaccurate in
keeping location and pace. This is - in my view - a problem that is common among the latest and greatest gear published by a technology vendor that will be solved with upcoming firmware updates, no doubt. At any rate, it is the best piece of kit I have ever bought for running. Compared to my trusty old Forerunner 205, tracking is spot-on. In addition, the great features of the Forerunner are still there. The not so great features have been thoroughly improved.

With a view on the topic below, I will need to start ignoring the recovery time feature of the watch, as I will not be able to recover for 72 hours from today's run, with a 10 K LSD coming up tomorrow. I take some comfort in the DCRainmaker post, saying that it is recovery time between hard workouts. Tomorrow is a mellow (and even then overstating it) recovery run.

-= Change of schedule =-
Over the last two weeks, I have been doing four runs per week (tomorrow's run completing the two-week streak), rather than my customary three. This new schedule is to test how my body will hold up with doing runs without at least one recovery-day between them. As soon as I will start the marathon schedule - somewhere near the end of September -, I will need to do more than three runs per week, and I like getting used to things early.

My regular runs were on Wednesdays (easy runnings after having brought the young padawan to school), Fridays (a heavy run after having worked hard for a week) and Sundays (always time for a run after a good lie-in). In order to limit the number of evening-runs, my new schedule will consist of runs on Wednesday (daytime), Thursday (evening), Saturday (daytime) and Sunday (daytime). Should this plan come together (and I love it when it does that) this will allow me to prepare for the upcoming 42K run, without it taking over my life completely.

On the four days, I plan to be doing the following runs. Should this not work as well as a prepared schedule, I will follow the schedule instead.

* a short tempo-run (6-8 K),
* a short-ish recovery run (10K),
* an interval run (8-10 K)
* a Long Steady Distance on a Sunday, starting at 10 K (and increasing this as the schedule progresses).

Tomorrow marks the end of the second week I tried this schedule and I am very positive so far. The only slight discomfort I had was in the sides of my calves and that disappeared with a couple of evenings with a cold pack.