With the extended base phase done I am now looking at the addition of hilly tempo efforts done on trails and in terrain to my schedule. These high intensity sessions will complement the slower running that has dominated my training for the past 10 weeks and will still be a big part of my training right up to WOC.
The Australia-New Zealand Elite Test Match over the long Queen’s Birthday weekend has given me a chance to gauge my fitness at this clear midpoint in this training block. I attribute my strong performances primarily to 1 factor, consistency, which I have achieved through 3 different methods.
Firstly, I have reduced my weekly rate of progression and modified my progression pattern. Previously my training has progressed with 4-week cycle of 3 progressively harder weeks and 1 recovery week. This is a common progression pattern, but I have now abandoned that in favour of a smoother long term progression which smooths out these fluctuations between overload and recovery. My weekly progression has averaged 5% for most of this block, reduced to 4% last week, and will continue to reduce. This is compared to around 10% (but with 1 in 4 weeks being an easier “recovery” week) in previous training programs. I suspect that 3 weeks with a 10% increase per week as seen in my previous training is enough to cause me to train harder that I should giving my level of injury resistance, and so a smoother progression could be desirable to prevent these peaks.
Thirdly I have been working a lot on my running mechanics with Sports Lab starting with pelvis stabilisation and then moving into foot placement. We have done a number of analysis sessions using their 2-camera set up to view my running and assess the improvements. Comments from my training partners who are used to seeing my bum bouncing along have also provided encouraging feedback – and without me even posing the question, which brings more reliability to their comments. A major advantage of working with Sports Lab was finally seeing a physio who finally explained core activation and how to recruit my deeper abs properly. I can’t believe I saw so many physios who told me to do more core strength work without explaining how tricky it is to activate the deeper of these many muscles. All I got from years of core was a 6 pack! Now I have been doing a new core routine with lower load, more precision, and a lot of thinking to get exactly the right muscles to turn on at the right time. I have been doing this with Sports Lab for 6 months now and for the first time in 5 years I have seen any improvement in my pelvis stability, despite the hours I have put into it.
So overall, a successful year so far in terms of my development as a runner, especially the past 10 weeks, and this gives much needed confidence that perhaps I can break this barrier I have found myself stumbling on every year.