Thursday, 30 September 2010

Media Frenzy

With the cross country season now hotting up, a few bits and pieces have been written about the team this week. In addition to that I found a short video of our home meet at Pier Park a few weeks back. I wasn't racing at that one but will be in a few days time at Willamette, where in addition to the main race there will be a side race also occuring. The 'Internationals', Malde (Norway), Hopkins (England), Kipchumba (Kenya) and I (England) will be racing an American Select Team of Osoro, Dunbar, Cosby and Christmas or Bassett - Osoro is yet to confirm the exact team, he is busy meticulously studying his options. There was a nice little piece on our boys in the newspapers this week after a reporter held an interview with Joash Osoro on his thoughts for the season. I should add Joash that you shouldn't have admitted to needing to call your girlfriend before races, schoolboy error. The winners prize is to be a bought pizza from the losing team, which for Lars and I will be nice considering the debacle of last weekend, see A little message for you American boys -"we are going to destroy you, cheers mates!"

Monday, 27 September 2010

What a Difference Three Days Off Makes

After my last training log, when things were going really well, I had the the achilles setback. However, after some help from the medical staff I have somehow managed to get back into full training after only taking three days off training. I have still taken precautions though, and the work-outs have been a bit easier just to see how the achilles responds to faster paced efforts and in order to not aggravate matters. The weather here is has been all over the place, it seems to be cool and raining one day then really hot the next. First race of the season for most of our varsity team is next weekend at the Charles Bowles invitational over 8k. I can't wait to make my American debut on what it seems is a very fast course. Hopefully, the team and I can produce some good performances for me to talk about next week.

Monday 20th September
9:30AM: 35:00 (5.0mi, 7:00mi). After getting my achilles taped up by the medical staff i tested it out on the roads. It was odd for the first mile or so running with my foot being restricted from flexing but it seemed to do the trick. i didn't have a single pain throughout and was able to complete the morning run at the usual pace.
15:19PM: 81:59 (12mi). Ran in the forest on Lief with Cody, who's ankle was also sore after twisting it on the trails yesterday. Lief is the flatter of the trails on in the forest and despite it being muddy from the rain of the weekend, it was relatively good under foot. Didn't feel a pain until 11mi when I turned it slightly and then when going uphill near the end. But all in all the achilles was good, and its good to be running properly again.

Tuesday 21st September
9:05AM: 34:05 (5mi, 6:49/mi). Getting used to running with the tape now and it is feeling relatively normal. The only problem is when it is too tight across the top of the foot which gives some soreness on top of the ankle. I figure that if I can keep the routine of heat, ice, physio etc. then things can only get better.
15:37PM: 21:24 w/u (3mi), 7 x 1mile (7.38mi), 19:25 c/d (2.63mi). Initially I was going to do a tempo on my own while the team did their 8 by a mile workout at Westmoreland. But, I realised I would probably run too hard so set off with one of the slower groups in the mile repeats and then worked my way up from there. So, on some of the repeats I didn't get the full minute recovery, which was fine as they were at a slower pace than normal. Mile reps were 5:38, 5:27, 5:28, 5:26, 5:07, 4:57, 4:54. Was nice to get back into some race pace stuff at the end of the workout with the boys I would have been with if I was sure of my achilles. Didn't feel any pain throughout which is a good sign that I can run at race pace with the tape and not have any problems.

Wednesday 22nd September
12:10PM: 1:39:23 (15.0mi, 6:38/mi). Had to run solo because of class and went out to where a few of us did a tempo last week and was looking to loop back to campus. But, after 7 and a half miles I realised I wasn't going to find the loop so had to double back and ran slightly longer than I had wanted. Legs were shot towards the end probably due to the fact that my legs were suffering from the increased pace yesterday. It was also hot by the time I ran which didn't help matters on the way back.

Thursday 23rd September
9:30AM: 42:00 (6mi). Morning run on the roads with Lars, who has made a fantasy football team for all four of us football fans on the team.
14:59PM: 75:13 (11mi,6:50/mi). Easy run with the team on the sloo loop which was the loop I was meant to do yesterday. I realised that I had turned the wrong way yesterday and that is why I couldn't find the way back to campus. Rich had taped the foot a little tight so was getting some stiffness on top of the foot which was a bit annoying.

Friday 24th September
9:38AM: 34:43 (5mi, 6:57/mi). Easy solo morning run, was going to do the workout this morning but coach said that a freshman couldn't make practice so could I do the tempo with him in the afternoon. This meant only having a few hours rest in between but I suppose I could do with some company.
13:37PM: 22:30 w/u(3mi), 47:58 (9mi tempo, 5:19/mi), 23:24 c/d(3mi). Mile splits 5:13, 5:28, 5:26, 5:21, 5:23, 5:27, 5:14, 5:16, 5:07. Nice workout, was really hot and Craig Hopkins, Michael Young a freshman, and myself were the only ones doing it as the rest of the team were doing 1k hill repeats. There was no point risking my achilles doing that sort of workout so opted for a flat, road tempo. The route is basically in a cycle lane and goes out 3 miles from coaches house past uni to a pub then turn back, then repeat the first 3 miles again. Started out a little quick, although I think that is due to the first mile being gradually downhill and probably why mile six was one of the slowest. Ran as a group for five miles, when Young tried to push the pace although this lasted for less than a minute before he fell back, he was only doing six miles. Craig had a tie a shoelace at the turn of mile six so also fell back and I tried to push the pace for the last three. It was nice to be in racing flats again and feeling no pain!

Saturday 25th September
9:48AM: 31:26 (4.5mi, 7:00/mi) Tired, and legs felt terrible for the entire run, went a bit later as I realised once I had left the house that I hadn't checked the Ipswich score. So had to go find a computer on campus to go look at the result before I could set off.
16:46PM: 71:28 (10mi) Easy run with housemates to Pier Park, couple of loops, then back to campus. Roasting hot day for this time of year, nice to know that back home its freezing so I wont complain. Legs a million times better than this morning, don't know how as I had been shopping for most of the day.

Sunday 26th September
9:00am: 2:10:00 (18.5mi). Usual Sunday run at the forest, but it had been raining all morning so it was pretty muddy on the trails. The rest of the group call the run 19 miles but I only needed 18 and a half for 120 so ill call it that. Achilles was ok, top of foot a bit sore from my poor attempt at taping it myself.

Total Weekly Mileage: 120mi - Probably a little excessive, but I was just taking each day as it came and things added up. I'm a runner who doesn't like to miss the training that I have planned and after losing some runs last week wasn't going to sacrifice any this week. Anyway, it didn't seem to cause any problems so with an easier week next week, hopefully can then put in the mileage again before the bigger races come.

I found a video of the race from last year which shows it is a mixture of grass and pavement, while also showing some dodgy American pre-race motivational techniques!

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Injury Update

After my last blog on Thursday night things took a turn for the worse. I went out on Friday morning for an easy jog to see how the Achilles had reacted over night, the jog turned out to be quarter of a mile long. The pain wasn't overly intense but the fact that I could feel it tightening up every foot strike was enough for me to call it a day. I went to see Rich our x-country trainer (physio for those in England) who pointed out that the Achilles creaked every time I flexed it. This he explained was bad, a sign of Achilles tendonitis (or something similar to that it was a bit more technical), and that I shouldn't run on it till this went away completely. Consequently, I was told to take three days off running and to come in for treatment each day.

As painful as it was to take three days off - the most I have taken off since February when I was in Australia, it seems to have worked (fingers crossed!) Basically I have a routine before and after every run which goes like this: Heat up the Achilles with heat pads, ultrasound the area for five minutes, tape the area and then go on a run. Come back stretch everywhere but not the Achilles, use the foam roller, stim machine (seen in the picture at the top, basically the wires attach to two pads which are stuck on the area of injury) for 20 mins with ice, then either put my foot in an ice bucket or go in the ice pool (exactly the same to the one in the video below). This has enabled me to complete a full week of running so far and even do a session of sorts on Tuesday in which I finished with 2 miles of 4'55 or 8k race pace, which is a good sign it is getting better. I will continue to do this for the next week or so leading up to the Willamette race. A full training blog will hopefully go up on Sunday night, and I intend to regularly update my training on this day in the future.

Friday, 17 September 2010

Full Update of Training in Portland to date

Below is the training I have completed in the US to date (bit of an essay sorry). So far, so good, and I am enjoying my running and can't wait to race in October. The course I am doing isn't so great, simply because I really can't be bothered with school work after promising myself I would never write another essay after my dissertation in 2009. But, it has to be done if I want to run out here, so I'm persevering with it.

The facilities are top-class and we have access to everything you need, ice baths, physio, massage, shoes, kit the lot. Most days the team runs in the forest which is three miles from campus and is a training paradise for distance runners. It has miles upon miles of trails and gravel track through the middle which is ideal for tempo runs. I have been stretching twice a day for over thirty minutes after having the 'tightest hamstrings in the US' to add to my tightest hamstrings in the UK award � things are slowly improving.

The weather has been good so far, the main difference from England (Lincoln in particular) is the lack of wind here. I don't think I have noticed it in any of my runs so far; however Portland is renowned for its rain, which is on its way. The main races are in late October and early November and after being ranked 8th in the pre-season NCAA Div I polls things are looking good!

Friday 27th August
14:26PM: 16:38 w/u (2mi), 20:59 (4mi) 1 min race pace, 1 min steady.7:21 (1mi) c/d. Did the run at Fernhill Park, which has one little hill in it. Pace was around 4'50s for the minute on and 5'30 to 5'40 on the minute off. Legs felt a little heavy so only did 20 mins worth where as the rest of the team did 25mins. Coach didn't want me going to hard as I only flew in last night and am still feeling the effects.

Saturday 28th August
14:54PM: 75 mins (10.6mi, 7:00/mi). Easy run with my new housemates Trevor Dunbar, Clif Campbell, Cody Wells and freshman Scott Fauble. Did what is called the 'shannigans' loop I think (no idea why its called that), which passes the Adidas US headquarters and goes down to the railway tracks and then back to campus, it was nice and warm a welcome change from the UK.

Sunday 29th August
9:58AM: 2:04:50 (18.5mi). Long run in the forest with the team, I am reliably told that the route is between 18 and 19 miles and is definitely more near 19 in my eyes. It involves quite a few climbs on single track trails and although it was pretty firm under foot, it apparently gets soft in the winter. I managed to fall over on a root and have a pretty badly grazed hip to show, although it's nice to know i wasn't the first to fall, after Craig did the other week, and most definitely won't be the last.

Total Weekly Mileage: 65-70mi, can't remember what I did in the days before I came out! Hopefully can get four good weeks of solid mileage before my first race in October.

Monday 30th August
2:30PM: 80 mins (12mi). Garmin wasn't charged as I had been doing lots of other things in the day. Had a pretty rough day as was feeling homesick as I couldn't access the internet and hadn't set up my US phone yet. Was meant to do a double day but missed the morning run because I wanted to make sure I had stuff sorted so I could speak to people back home. Coach reassured me that this was the right thing to be doing and was a massive help in making me feel better. Just ran solo out to Pier Park, where we do our home cross country meet in a few weeks, did a few loops and ran back to campus.

Tuesday 31st August
8:28AM: 37:08 (5.51mi, 6:45/mi). Nice easy morning run on my own out onto the bridge which goes to Forest park and then back to Campus. Great views of the City in the distance and Mt. Hood, felt good and legs starting to feel better after the long flight out.
15:42PM: 19:37 w/u (2.7mi), 8 x 1 cruise miles (1min rec) (8.3mi), 17:30 c/d (2.5mi). Mile splits were 5.02, 5.10, 5.08, 5.06, 5.06, 5.09, 5.06, 5.06. Felt very good in the session had a group of five consisting of myself, Craig Hopkins (my English 'mate'), Lars (Norwegian), Cosby and Bassett. We were the second group after Joash, Dunbar and Alf were running the miles in around 5.00 � 5.05. Coach just wanted us to run controlled around 5.10 pace, but we went slightly quicker. Ran at Westmoreland Park which is flat on soft grass and loops round a pond, weather was pretty poor though much like England.

Wednesday 1st September
10:18AM: 90:01 (13.5mi) Did the first five miles with Dunbar and then carried on to do the rest. Picked up the pace after I hit the road and just looped round Lombard Street and back to campus. Nice and controlled legs a little tired from the workout but nothing to bad.
18:02PM: 40:00 (5.5mi) Really easy run with Craig only wanted to do four or five but we didn't really know where we were going. Did a loop of a little park which was pretty rubbish so just went onto Lombard street and back to campus.

Thursday 2nd September
8:42AM: 35:01 (5.2mi, 6:45/mi) Ran solo on the road on the lombard loop, felt good.
14:59PM: 92:18 (13.3mi) Ran out to the forest with quite a few of the team some doubled back who were just going for ten. Myself, Joash, Lars and Dunbar did a loop in the forest and then headed back to campus. Tough on the legs as it involved a few climbs which Ill have to get used to!

Friday 3rd September
7:07AM: 70:00 (10.0mi, 7:00/mi). Did longer in the morning as we were going to watch some of the team run at the OSU invitational in the afternoon. Ran with Joash and Craig and ran easy on the tracks to pier park and then did a loop before going back to campus.
16:39PM: 35:13 (5.1mi, 6:54/mi). Ran loops of the cross country course at Corvallis, Oregon with Joash and Craig before watching the team place second behind Oregon. We didn't run any of our top 8 runners and ran a lot of the second year people. My housemate Clif Campbell had a pretty solid run out and was our best finisher in 3rd. Nice to get a feel for the way cross country works out here although it was just a small meet. The course was flat and very good for running fast, hopefully the rain comes and makes things a bit tougher which will suit me more, but I cant wait to race now.

Saturday 4th September
9:30AM: 24:15 w/u (3.2mi) inc 3 mins at 5'30 pace, 10 x hill loop at Vancouver (6.8mi), 23:45 c/d (3mi). A few of us who didn't race went up north of Portland to Vancouver park to do a workout on a surface which is more like the national cross course. Reps were 1.43, 1.43, 1.41, 1.41, 1.40, 1.38, 1.38, 1.41, 1.41, 1.38. Between the reps we had about 2.45 jog (6'45 pace) recovery. So we ran pretty consistently I started off quite steady running with Lars and Bassett and Craig, but worked up and passed Alf to run with Joash and Dunbar. Pleased with how it felt and I am starting to feel a lot stronger. Team barbeque in the evening which got a bit messy for some people (who I won't name!) but a good laugh.

Sunday 5th September
10:03AM: 2:08:48 (18.5mi) same route as last week but we went a little slower although it felt about the same amount of effort because of the workout yesterday. Ran with Lars, Geiger, Olberding and Kilberg (an ex-Pilot who has run 28:20) as some of the others wanted to go shorter. Nice to do these long runs off the road on some softer ground although I can't say I'm overly delighted with the amount of hills involved.

Total Weekly Mileage: 115 miles. Good solid first week, with two good sessions in it. Hopefully can carry this on and do 120 mpw for the next three before easing down for the Willamette race.

Monday 6th September
7:45AM: 81:00 (12mi). Ran solo out to Forest Park and did a few miles in there and then ran back to campus. Felt nice and controlled was meant to be meeting some of the lads at 7am but I slept in.

Tuesday 7th September
9:31AM: 34:15 (5mi, 6:51/mi). Solo on the Lombard loop legs felt good ahead of the session.
15:06PM: 26:22 w/u (3.8mi) inc 3 mins at 5'30 pace. 8 x 1 mile in Pier Park with 2 mins jog rec (9mi), 24:36 c/d (3.3mi). Reps were 4.58, 5.01, 4.58, 5.03, 5.05, 5.04, 5.04, 4.59. Very good workout despite the torrential rain which meant you couldn't really see where you were going on the first two reps and that's probably why we ran too hard early on. The aim was to run them at 5.05s so ran slightly quicker but felt good and ran with Cosby, Lars, Hopkins and two freshman Fauble and D.P. The group of Alf, Joash and Dunbar ran slower than we did so pretty pleased at how things are going. The loop is not flat either and has a few little climbs in it and combined with being soft underfoot because of the rain made things tough.

Wednesday 8th September
7:07AM: 92:11 (13.5mi) ran the first ten with Joash on the shannigans loop, and then carried on doing a little loop on the roads. Felt quite tired after we picked up the pace and a bit tight from the hills on the workout yesterday.
17:48PM: 34:13 (5.09mi, 6:44/mi) Usual five mile Lombard loop and just kept things nice and easy.

Thursday 9th September
9:01AM: 33:35 (5.0mi, 6:43/mi). Solo on the Lombard loop legs feel good again and felt really controlled.
15:08PM: 70:00 (10.0mi, 7:00/mi). Ran with the team to Pier park and did a few loops before coming back to campus. Ran nice and easy because a few are racing tomorrow and was nice on the legs to do such an easy pace with a big group.

Friday 10th September
10:02AM: 82:00 + strides (13mi). Solo to the forest and had to do a few out and backs in there as part of it was closed due to some work being done.
15:28PM: 37:00 (5mi) Ran really easy with the team during their warm up and then with some freshman who were cooling down after a workout. The team won the meet, our home meet, and Joash was impressive running 24:40ish for the 5miles without breaking a sweat. Craig also ran well to finish third and is getting fitter as the weeks go by.

Saturday 11th September
9:23AM: 22:17 w/u (3mi), 800 at 5'25 pace then 10 x 1k (400 rec), 17:41 c/d (2.2mi). Reps were 3.00, 3.00, 3.01, 2.56, 2.55, 2.54, 2.53, 2.49, 2.49, 2.49. Very pleased with the workout the idea before was to run all the reps controlled at 3min pace but Dunbar was looking to run three at 3min, three at 2:55s then four at 2:50s. So, a few of us followed suit and worked through the gears. Weird to be on the track at this stage but Coach wanted to get some speed in the legs and get the legs used to turning over at a quicker pace.
17:28PM: 30:11 (4.5mi, 6:43/mi). Nice little shakeout on the roads to get some of the stiffness out of the legs.

Sunday 12th September
10:01AM: 2:06:33 (18.5mi). Same route as the last two weeks and ran with Cosby, Geiger, Lars, Hopkins and Garcia. Lars and I both struggled a bit as the legs were still a little tired from the hard workout the day before, but got it done.

Total Weekly Mileage: 122 Miles. Record week, but legs are feeling good and no ill effects from the increased mileage. The fact that both workouts were completed to a decent standard also shows that its not having a detrimental effect on my running.

Monday 13th September
7:48AM: 73:44 (11.0mi, 6:42/mi). Solo run and went out with the intention of doing five or six but with having class later I decided to just get it done and felt surprisingly good the further I went.
15:00 PM: 43:30 inc strides (6.0mi). Easy run before class with Geiger and Frerker who were doing ten. Finished up with some strides on the football pitches outside the Chiles centre.

Tuesday 14th September
8:00AM: 36:00 (5mi). Easy morning run with Lars along the tracks and back to campus.
15:28PM: 21:36 w/u (3mi), 40:48 (8mi tempo, 5:06/mi), 20:00 c/d (2.5mi). mile splits were 5.12, 5.11, 5.08, 5.06, 5.06, 5.06, 4:57, 4:57. Good tempo out and back on a cycle path with a few of the team. I picked up the wrong flats so had to do the workout in trainers and despite the heat ran very well. Went out with Joash and Alf for first half, but Alf pulled up with a tight knee. Then I stuck on Joash till the last mile when he dropped me by about 10 secs.

Wednesday 15th September
7:13AM: 90:52 (14.07mi, 6:27/mi) Joash didn't turn up to the locker room so I ended up doing a solo run out to where we did the workout yesterday and back along a cycle path. Right IT Band was a bit tight but other than that things felt good. Nice to get the run done early so could relax the rest of the day.

Thursday 16th September
8:03AM: 49:37 (7.16mi, 6:55/mi) Easy run with Clif, was only going to do six but thought I would keep Clif company for another mile as he was doing twelve. Felt my Achilles tighten as I went down one of the curbs but didn't really give me any problems.
15:19PM: 80:26 (11.5mi) Run with the team in the forest. Achilles was sore from the word go but didn't get any worse so stuck with it. Went to see the trainer after practice who did some ultrasound and iced it and he said it should be ok to run on just got to keep an eye on it. It's just one of those things that happens when you land awkwardly or swerve round a car it can just get irritated. Fingers crossed it won't mess up my training.

Below should be a video from Flotrack of Forest Park, where we do most of our easy running:

Track and Field Videos on Flotrack


Monday, 6 September 2010

First few weeks of American life

Will add more when I have time, but have been here just over a week and completed my first full week of training last week. Here is it in basic form:

Mon 3:30PM: 80 mins (12mi)

Tues 9:00AM: 38 mins (5.5mi)
3:00PM: 8 x 1 mile (1 min walk/jog rec) average 5:07s, 13.5mi total.

Weds 10:30AM: 90 mins (13.5mi)
6:00PM: 40 mins (5.5mi)

Thurs am: 35 mins (5.2mi)
pm: 93 mins (13.3mi)

Fri 7:10am: 70 mins (10mi)
4:00pm: 35 mins (5mi)

Sat 10am: 3.3mi w/u, hill loop x 10 (1.41 avg, 6.7mi total), 3 mi c/d.
pm: team bbq

Sun 10am: 2:09 in the forest on the trails (18.5mi)

Total Weekly Mileage: 115 mi