Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Boston Build Up - Week 4

With this week leading into christmas it was allways going to be a struggle to get all of my training in. But I managed to do it. The goal after a recovery week was to match my time spent at training pace from week 2. That meant a total of 9h45 I managed to hit that almost exactly. My total millage this week was 126km. 

However because of the Holiday Season madness, and the need to get those last minute presents or supplies for Xmas dinner I only managed one additional run this week. Although in one run I did combine running and picking up a present.

I was also able to start bringing back in some of the higher intensity running in the second half of the week that id dropped during the recovery week to help stave off the niggles id picked up. Whats more my feeling during the runs was much improved, the recovery week certainly did its job.

The next week is not going to be run according to plan. I have a 15k race scheduled for saturday, new years eve. It means ill pull foward my mid week longer runs to give me an extra day to recover. and just do an easy run on the friday. Sunday will probably not have a long run... better a light medium distance recovery run.

My bathroom scales seemed to have given up the ghost, so im floundering in the dark when it comes to figuring out the effect of Xmas on my race weight goals... still plenty of time, but im going to have to start paying closer attention, and perhapes invest in some new scales.

Monday, 19 December 2011

Boston Build Up - Week 3

At the end of last week id planned to continue to increase my volume, and aim to reach 11hrs at a training pace. However by Wednesday it was pretty clear to me that I was pushing too hard, and needed some rest. So i decided to swap thursdays planned 2hr stead Aerobic run for a 30min easy jog. I also took Sunday as a full rest day, partly because of the need for rest, partly because i decided to spend the time with my kids instead.

Its important to listen to your body when its getting tired. Ignoring it and pushing on adhering strictly to the plan for the sake of the plan is a fools game, and eventually leads to disaster through either injury or overtraining. On Wednesday I looked at the feeling notes id given my runs, with the exception of mondays 'nightlife run' Id not really been enjoying things since Sunday. My legs were feeling heavy, and id picked up a little niggle in on my right backside/hip. I decide it was wiser to pull back a little.

I guess its not really surprising. My first week was a substantial increase in volume compared to the weeks before that when i was taking a training break, and then last week I increased the volume again.

My weight hasnt changed radically... partly through my own fault as i subcombed to the seductions of another Marzipan stollen. However the festive season with its butter cookies, mulled wine, and abundance of chocolate surely bears the lions share of the blame.... surely.

Ive been tossing around shoe choices for boston, Id like to decide early so that i can also do plenty of training in the raceday shoe.

Next week I think i should try and repeat the volume from week 2 perhapes with a slightly longer long run on the weekend, although Im not sure that christmas will allow that.

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Review: Brooks Ghost 4 - An Allrounder

I recently obtained a pair of Brooks Ghost 4’s, this time not as part of my test packet. I have done the bulk of my training in several pairs of an earlier version, the Ghost 2. So I was really looking forward to this shoe. The first steps in the new Ghosts are comfortable, however…. I notice that the toe box feels a little restrictive. My toes were still a little swollen from the Röntgenlauf and the tip of the 4th toe was touching the end of the toe box… I decided to take the shoes off and put them on the shelf until I was fully recovered.

A week later when I next put them on, I got that ‘If I want I could go run 20km right now’ feel that I have come to expect from Brook’s shoes. With the swelling gone down my toes were no longer touching the toe box, although the 4th toe is still pretty close. The Shoe feels comfortably springy under foot. The heel seems quite soft when walking on it. I also notice that the tongue and heel cup seem to have a bit more padding than the Ghost 2. The shoe, or more likely the sock liner also appears to have lost a little height under that arch, something that you notice in the Ghost 2.

The Ghost 4 has the Brooks DNA material in the heel and forefoot, so I knew I could expect the shoe to feel firmer when I started running. My first run was the previously mentioned 20km. The Shoe does indeed firm up once you’re running but retainins its flexibility. Personally I try to avoid over striding and coming down hard on my heel, but in a shoe like the Ghost I do still land on my heel, especially after about 10-15km, the shoe transitions really nicely from the heel onto the toe. 

The first run went well, as did the next few runs in the Ghost 4’s. However I cannot help comparing them to the ghost 2’s that Id been using previously, and unfortunately there are a couple of points where in my opinion they are not an improvement.

Firstly there is the weight issue. The Ghost was originally considered a light or at least a lighter trainer. My Ghost 2 weighs in at 306g in a US 9. The Ghost 4 is now up to 320g not really a lot ill agree but in my US13’s the difference is noticeable. The Ghost appears to be bucking the trend of shoes getting lighter. It has consistently put on weight with each new release. I guess the definition of light has also changed and now the Brooks Launch with its 260g better fills the Light Neutral Trainer slot. 
Next is the overlays around the toe box. For me they come up a little too high which then causes that closeness to my 4th toe. In the ghost 2 the overlay is lower and allows the material in the toe box to spread just a little more.

However there are a number of areas where I do think they are better.

The outsole is a big improvement. In the Ghost 2 the forefoot is loosely divided into 3 sections in the Ghost 4 its 4 sections. With a deeper ‘Omega Groove’ cut into the midsole material. This provides even greater flexibility in the forefoot. The heel with its caterpillar crash pads help absorb and isolate the impact during a heel landing better. Although I am a little concerned at the relatively small amount of carbon rubber back there.

The Ghost4 has a good set of reflectors on the heel and another on the toe that the Ghost2 is missing. Anything that improves the safety of running in the dark or at dusk gets a big thumb’s up from me.

The Ghost 4 is an excellent all rounder, It is light and flexible enough to use during faster workouts, whilst robust and stable enough to cater for any amount of long training runs. This versatility has helped the Ghost 4 to a repeat 'Editors Choice' award from Runners World magazine. If you only have one pair of shoes in your closet then the Ghost 4 would be an excellent choice.

The ultimate question in any review is, Knowing what I know now about the shoe, would I go out and buy it again? Unfortunately for the Ghost 4 my answer at the moment is 'no'. The problem for me is that for what I would use the Ghost 4 for there is a slightly better big brother in the Glycerin 9, Ill explain my reasoning in an upcoming post. However that doesn't mean I don't recommend this shoe. For anyone looking for a Neutral Trainer you should consider the Ghost 4. After all, the little points that sway me in favor of the Glycerin 9 might just be the negatives that sway you towards the Ghost 4. 

Run Happy 

Monday, 12 December 2011

Boston Build Up - Week 2

So ive just finished the second week of my Buildup for Boston. Im still in a rampup phase where im building millage. I was much happier with this week, Last week i was a little depressed at the pace i was running at at my various HR training Zones. Last week i felt like i had to keep reducing the effort to get my HR to the right level. This week there were several runs where i found myself having to push harder to get it up to the right level.

The Weather hasnt been all that conducive to running, lots of wind, which when its behind you is great, but it does make for some tough running going the otherway.

The Standout run for me this week was saturday. It was targeted as 90 mins at HR 140, An Easy Aerobic effort. I recorded 1:31 at Avg Hr 139 and i had an average pace of 4:54/km. However I ran this in my Green Silences, and i think hey were responsible for my legs feeling very tired for Sundays Run.

This week Ryan posted a comparision of the elevation profile from Boston and some of the more famous trail Ultra's on his blog... it kind of brings things back into perspective a little, But i still want to sit down and actually compare what hills i have here to train on here against those on the boston course.

This week i managed a 9h45 of running at training pace with two additional recovery runs and a total distance of 142km. Next week i want to extend the longer runs during the week to add another 1h15 to my training time.

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Boston Build Up - Week 1

Well week one is done and dusted. I was itching to get started, and then when i did i found it harder than expected, In no doubt partly because of some loss of fitness as a result of the past 4 weeks where i didnt run much at all, And also almost certainly because of the extra weight im carrying with me. (I blame the early arrival of christmas cookies, cakes and chocolates in the stores )

Still both of those things should come right pretty quickly.

Ive just recently had my HR monitor replaced, so have been able to train using my HR again. I did a Max HR test at the start of the week and came up with 178 although i suspect i could squeeze 1 or 2 more beats out of my ticker. My HR(rest) was 47 on Monday and 45 on friday. It allowed me to calculate my target HR bassed on HRR for the first time... more on that in another post to follow shortly

This week saw me manage 8h30 of running at training effort. My cunning plan sets a weekly target of 12h15. So i need to build up the volume a little. I intend to do this over the next 3 weeks by adding 1h15 to each week, before a step back week between Xmas and NewYears, which will also double as a semi-taper for the New years race ive entered.

It feels good to be back training properly again. My legs handled the return to training pretty well although my calves have been just a little tighter than usual, but i guess that is also to be expected.