Snakes and ladders again

The good news is that I have recovered from the peculiar illness that has troubled me for almost four weeks.  During the past three days my symptoms have been diminishing rapidly with each passing day.  Two days ago, I did a gentle Pilates session and yesterday I went for a short, easy cycle ride, without adverse effects.  By this evening the only remaining traces of the illness were mild constriction of my upper airways (peak flow 270 litres/min compared with my usual 520-550 litres/min) and very mild diffuse musculo-skeletal aches.  I decided it was time to return to running.  Before I set out I tested my heart rate versus power on the elliptical cross trainer.  To avoid stressing myself, I did not go beyond 200 watts.  As you can see from the chart, there has been a fairly dramatic deterioration in my fitness.  Heart rate today about 11 beats higher at each level of power output, compared with 6th June.

 HRvPower_Post_Illness_Jul09

I then went for an easy 3 Km run in the woods.  After a warm up at gradually increasing pace, I timed myself over the middle Km, which I ran at a comfortable pace in the mid-aerobic zone.  I was pleased to find that this comfortable pace was 5:05 per Km and average heart rate was 133.  I then slackened the pace to a jog for the final Km.  Although I felt tired at the end, it was great to be out running in the woods again. 

The chart of heart rate v power provides graphic evidence of how rapidly fitness is lost, but in view of the severity of my illness, I was expecting at least this much deterioration, so I was neither surprised nor disappointed.  The interesting question is how quickly can I recover to my level of fitness in early June.  It took 4 weeks to lose this much fitness.  I hope I can recover to my pre-illness level by the end of summer, but  it would probably be counter-productive to push myself too hard.  I anticipate that I am going to need a few weeks of convalescence.

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6 Responses to “Snakes and ladders again”

  1. RICKS RUNNING Says:

    Hi canute,
    ITS GOOD NEWS THAT YOUR ABLE TO RUN IN THE FRESH AIR AGAIN.
    Thanks once again for your comments on running form and power cranks.
    One point on short stride and increased impact, I think the amount of impact created by a runner most vary a great deal depending on how reactive the athlete is to landing.
    Many runners simply leave there foot out front to come crashing down to the ground, the reactive runner starts to bring their foot back at the speed of the ground moving under them then first touches down lightly on the ball of the foot before taking the full weight over the whole of the foot.
    Also running tall seems to help you float over the road with less impact and keeping the jump stage low also reduces impact!.
    What was really interesting was a scientific study that found the more padding in the shoe then the less reactive was the runner in dealing with the impact! Infact the most cushioned shoes caused the greatest impact and bare foot running created the least!
    Another thing I’ve found quite useful is to concentrate on lifting my knee slightly instead of concentration on landing, this seems to give a feeling of lightness!
    On the power cranks, like you say the most important thing with running is adapting to the stress of the impact of running, I know this only to well as I spent 10 years cycle racing before I started running, it took my a long time to adapt to full weight bearing exercise and even 7 time TOUR DE FRANCE winner Lance Amstrong had many problems as he trained for the New York marathon!
    What would be interesting would be a scientific report on comparing impact forces between elite runners and average runners.

  2. Ewen Says:

    That’s good news Canute. I’ve noticed the same thing after having so many days off in the past 4 weeks – HR much higher than before. Today for example, an RS value of 824 on a course where I’m usually down around the 700 mark.

    Enjoy your running for the rest of summer. My guess is you’d have a good chance of regaining the fitness with 4-6 weeks of uninterrupted training.

  3. RICKS RUNNING Says:

    found this on ‘younger legs’ website
    LINK: If you’ve got some time, this is a terrific interview with Peter Snell on all things running and training related.

  4. RICKS RUNNING Says:

    http://www.fitnessintuition.com/images/peter_snell.pdf

  5. RICKS RUNNING Says:

    And heres an interesting book on running biomechanics
    http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=V245RiDrrxwC&pg=PA41&lpg=PA41&dq=stride+length+and+effect+of+landing+impact&source=bl&ots=I2hmupluXN&sig=Grb7EGQ8b8AlYv_Kf2ADVD7S8a4&hl=en&ei=pFFXSqu5M4PMjAfE7tnNDA&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=8

  6. canute1 Says:

    Rick, Thanks for these referecnes. The book edited by John Hawley looks very interesting , though some of the material is at odds with the teachings of several modern running gurus. In particular the evidence presented in chapter 3 that shoes are beneficial in reducing shock appears to is at odds with the teachings of the Pose school , which emphasizes minimal footwear. Unfortunately, the force plate data presented in that chapter are for a heel-striker. I would love to see force plate data for a mid-foot or fore-foot striker. However, there appears to be minimal enthusiasm among Pose experts to produce such force plate data, so the question remains unresolved. As a mid-foot striker who also happens to have mild but potentially painful deformities of my feet, my own experience suggests that shoes do have a significant protective effect, and I do not use minimalist shoes

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