Training on the Knife Edge

A lot of exciting improvements have happened in the last 3 months but one thing has stayed the same; my body’s tendency to develop tendonitis.

With the exception of 2 overload weeks, I have been running only 4 times per week and seen substantial benefits in my running speed and endurance with my 1km interval times coming down to an average of 2:59 in recent sessions, an improvement of about 3% on the ceiling I have been bumping against for years, and times on longer races such as Tussock Traverse improving by an even greater margin of around 4%. I expect all my training paces have improved by a similar margin but haven’t done any tests to reassess them yet. So this is exciting with Oceania Orienteering Champs coming up, and very encouraging for my new training strategy, where I ditched the commonly used 4-week mesocycles and opted for a smoother, less disruptive progression prioritising injury resistance and consistency throughout the training block. As usual though, I have used cycling to add volume to my training load not achievable in my 4 weekly runs.

“…less disruptive progression prioritising injury resistance and consistency…”

I have continued to work closely with Sports Lab to help manage my body in response to 3 main issues; a peroneal tendonitis which has been heckling me for almost a year, a hamstring tendonitis which has come and gone for years and a patella tracking issue which made a lively comeback over summer after a yearlong hiatus. Getting to the root causes of these issues has not been straight forward, and constantly tests my perseverance, but I’m happy to have strung together 3 months of consistency and I have been rewarded with some encouraging race results. I’ve continued to use light strength and condition to work on pelvis stabilisation and myofascial release and stretching to keep muscles as tension free as possible. This marks another paradigm shift, similar to that of my approach to managing training volume, and I now I do strength and conditioning to increase the load bearing capacity of key tendons, and not to increase the muscular strength of the muscles. The exercises are not revolutionarily different but the change in mind set leads to different intensities and frequencies.

“…I do strength and conditioning to increase the load bearing capacity of key tendons.”

I’ve also played around a lot with my diet over the past year. This field of interest started a few years ago but I’ve finally committed to making the changes I concluded are best for me and the environment. By reducing the size of my dinners I’ve lost 3kgs in 6 months, which I wasn’t even sure was possible, but this is very noticeable and now most of my pants don’t fit me! I expect this has had a significant contribution to my increased speed across all distances. I’ve also upped my intake of unsaturated fats and used “train low” strategies for long runs for over a year now. I’ve also learned a great deal about farming of livestock and I’ve minimised foods that come from the most environmentally damaging and ethically troubling sources. This is still a work in progress and I’ll continue to be very cautious about making changes.

So it all sounds very good on paper, and despite a few close calls during this block, I’ve never let an injury reach a self-perpetuating level. Maybe I got to every potential disaster just in time, by making it back to the car just in time or luckily having a massage with Sports Lab booked for the next morning. Whatever the case I’m thrilled with the progress and optimistic that my training methods are a significant part in my recent success.

If you are interested in my training methods and want to learn more or want to try one of my training plans I would love to work with you. I’m developing a number of services and building up a small group of clients is proving to be extremely rewarding. I’m not sure where all this will lead but it’s exciting and I have no intention to slow down my involvement in other runners and the wider community.

Love a good pain face

Love a good pain face

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