Sunday, 24 February 2013

5km challenge: Week 5 and 6

So I thought it best to leave it a couple of weeks before my next update. The weekly trudge was getting dull.

Things have been going well, but still lots to learn. Weeks 5 and 6 were supposed to look like this:

However, because I transferred all these sessions to my handwritten notebook (incorrectly!) several weeks ago, last week I started out and did the first two sessions of week 6 instead of week 5! I did these on Monday and Friday, and perhaps because I jumped ahead a week in the programme, or perhaps the change to a 5 x 5 protocol in the gym which I did on Tuesday and Thursday - by Saturday I was wiped, and I couldn't bring myself to doing the 5km 'hard' session.

I took a day of rest and went to run for 3 hours on the sunday (it was pre-organised and after a day rest I felt good) but by Monday I was starting to feel it. By this point I still hadn't noticed that I was performing the wrong sessions, so went ahead with the 10 x 600m of week seven. Gym on Tuesday and put the missed 5km 'hard' session in on Wednesday. I wanted to do this session as the longer stuff seems an integral feature to the programme. However, I set out to do this on 1.54, and in my rather fatigued state, it was 'v.hard', as opposed to just 'hard'! I held the split and made the set in 19 mins dead (already 10 seconds off my baseline time), but come Thursday, I was exhausted. My 5 x 5 in the gym started BADLY, and I cut the session relatively short.

Lotte somehow managed to make it into work with my HR monitor and so the day after the 5km I had no Ithlete score which would have been interesting, but my restwise was telling me I was down to 60%. I took Friday and Saturday completely off as m Ithlete score was significantly down. But today it was back to normal I felt rested. I managed the 3 x 2km today, but to continue my catalogue of errors I did this with a 4 min rest interval not 3.

So lessons learned?

1) CHECK THE PLAN! I will do week 7 as intended, even though there will be some repetition. I have no intention of squeezing in the missed session now. Although I did think of doing 4 sessions this week (come on - we all know its wrong, but who doesnt think about getting that missed session in somehow!) Obviously it better to do the remaining ones correctly though,  than compromise the general quality of the programme, so I'm glad I've come to my senses!

2) ENSURE THE QUALITY OF THE SESSIONS! This means, not doing the wrong amount of time for a rest interval, and not putting in too much intensity. The last two 3 x 2km sessions I have done have had a near maximal middle piece. This should be sub-maximal. I'm not doing myself any favours and just need to trust the programme. I've already taken 7 seconds off my 2km time from the session at the end of week 3, so the improvements are coming, I just need to hold it together. Likewise, the 5km session was too 'hard'. I will carefully evaluate the aims of each session, and enforce strict HR caps going forward if needs be!

So there we go. Still clocking along, despite a minor wobble in terms of consistency and execution. 6 weeks to go....its all downhill from here! :-)

Week 5 - 5 x 1km at 1.52/500 with 1 min rest
Week 5 - 4 x 1550m at 1.52/500 with 4 min rest

Week 6 - 10 x 600m at 1.52/500 with 1 min rest
Week 6 - 5km on 1.54 - too 'hard'
Week 6 - 3 x 2km - 4 min rest - 1st and 3rd on 1.59/500 and 2nd all out (7.02.9)

Not sure where to take the next 3 weeks....I think I'll of for 1.51/500m, the 2 second jump between week 3 and 4 was hard work. If its too conservative, I can always go harder in week 8! However with the progressive nature of the 5 x 5, recovery is becoming the limiting factor. I have a feeling it will make or break how I get on from here on in!

Saturday, 9 February 2013

5km challenge: Week 4 update

So, before this week, I was somewhat lacking in motivation. I knew this would happen. This week has really just been about getting on with it. But thats one of the great thing about goals - they're great at increasing persistence.

Taking 2 seconds off the splits I used for the first 3 weeks was guided by my final splits from sessions I have done so far. I feel that if I can complete the 1st week of sessions on that split, I can get through the next 2 weeks of each phase (they are only a little longer, and its more of a psychological barrier than physical one).

10 x 500m on 1.52 - 1 min rest

4 x 1250m on 1.52 - 4 mins rest
Initially the 10 x 500m on 1.52 felt too easy and I thought I'd undersold myself. That feeling soon dissipated towards the end of the session though ;-) Again the 4 x 1250m were suitably challenging, but its important to feel that. Its hard to describe, but in subjective terms, working around your threshold (which these sessions are designed to do) should feel something between 'comfortably uncomfortable' and 'quite uncomfortable'. Generally painful is probably a little bit too far above threshold, not in the sense that it won't force a desired adaptation, but spend too long there and you pay for it in increased recovery time.

4500m 'hard' on 1.54

I was considering only doing the 4500m straight session on 1.55 but decided to extend the 2 second decrease in split and go for 1.54.  I'd managed a 1.55.1 split for 5km in my baseline test and know I've been improving so thought it should be ok. Conversely I didn't want it to be too hard, as being in a state to complete the next session of the programme is vital. It was just about right.

Peak Training Effect of all sessions so far - I'm aiming for between 3-4.

It was good to confirm this with my suunto training effect score which I think is a really valuable tool. Every session from the Pete Plan lite 2007 has given me a peak training effect score of between 3 and 4 for every session. Which is 'just about right'. Enough work to create continued physiological change, but not too much to leave extended recovery. If I had kept the splits the same as the first three weeks, it is likely that I wouldn't be doing quite enough work to continue improving. You can see below a bit more precisely what the scores mean.

Suunto Training Effect guide
So onwards I row. Not missed a session yet, and I'm a third of the way there. Consistency is key for me - and as an update - if I extended the 4.5km split I completed today, I'd have taken 15seconds off my 5km time already. Its hugely unlikely I can keep the gains constant, but I'm just going to try to focus on each session and see where it takes me.

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

5km challenge update: Week 3

So its the end of the first 3 week block and it certainly ended well. I found out that when I started to push on the final rep of each set and especially on the paced 2km set I did on Friday, that I had a lot more in the tank than I thought.

5 x 1km with 1 min rest on 1.54
4 x 1500m with 4 min rest on 1.54
3 x 2km with 4 min rest. 1st and 3rd on 1.59 and middle rep sub-maximal 2km piece
I managed to pull out a 7.10.7 middle 2km which is starting to look like a much more reasonable 1.47.6 per 500m split. I've no idea how long the improvement will keep going, or what I will eventually manage come the final test, but I'm interested to find out.

After the session on Friday I spent the weekend in Exmoor with Lotte. We did nearly a 5 hour run on Saturday and a 4 hour walk on Sunday. I rested on Monday as we travelled back, but will probably take 1 more day to recuperate before hitting the next 3 week block of sessions.

Again I may be demonstrating my naivety with regards to what I can or can't achieve, but will be aiming for a 'conservative' or perhaps 'foolhardy' 1.52 per 500m split for the baseline of these next 3 weeks of sessions. :-s