Sunday, March 16, 2014

Training Camp - First Impressions

Success in distance running comes mainly out of consistency and gradual increase of volume and quality. As I go through my relatively short experience in distance running, the time has come for me to add another logical step - dedicating my vacation to a training camp. I found the 2:09 events simply by writing spring running training camp in Google. I liked the description, program and location so I decided to sign up for it. The owner of the company is Mike Gratton who actually won London marathon in 1983!

First morning - gorgeous view from my room :)

Day at the camp

We would head out for an easy run at 8 am in the morning, unless it is a day of long run. The easy run would be anything between 3 to 6 miles depending on what you want to do. Great advantage is having runners of all capabilities, you basically never run alone. For me,  I just have to be careful not to go out too fast for those easy runs (as I did yesterday) in order to be able to power strong throug the afternoon session... Great thing is the swimming pool that is actually too cold to swim in but perfect to dip in your legs for quicker recovery after each session. I also take advantage of having more time to Compex my tight knee regularly. Quick shower and then breakfast it is! YUM!

It not only running and fun all the time, one has to work. 
But I am grateful to be able to be here and squeeze in the work - thank God for the internet :)

Then there is free time, where I would work on my computer, eat light lunch and try to squeeze in a little nap before the afternoon session. Yesterday I realized that I should probably check out the beach. I did beautiful barefoot walk in the sand and little bit in the sea as well which is actually great way to engage the little muscles in your feet properly. 

At 3 pm we would have session of Pilates, yoga or strides and technique. And 4 pm comes with the afternoon session. As I have my training plan laid out from The Coach, I would tweak the afternoon session so it matches my training. There are many roads and nice trails around and there is also a track and then a cross country "track" - something I have never seen before which is actually pretty cool! 1.2 miles (almost 2 km) of trail going little up and down. Pretty convenient as you can have your drinks and gear stashed and do not need to carry anything around.

In the evening we would have different lectures on marathon training, injury prevention etc. Usually going out for a dinner afterwards. There was big pizza dinner of all the participants on Friday night, fortunately they also had very good steak on that place to suite my Paleo nutrition needs :) 

Yummy tuna steak and veggies from Saturday night dinner!

I realized my races are actually getting quite close, especially the Prague half that is just a week after I come back from this training camp. So I need to test drive my nutrition and gear. I am using Generation UCAN to fuel my runs and fell in love with the Nike Lunaracer3 that I got shipped just one day before arriving here!

Nike Flyknit Trainer (left) and Lunaracer3 (right)

Today's program was different as it is the long run day, where we head out at 7:30. Most of the guys here are going for the London marathon in April, so this was their last big long run. Compared to me, this week was an easier week after the big mileage last week. So "only" a half marathon for me today. We ran little less then 4 miles to a loop that has little less than 3 miles, so everyone can choose their distance. I did the loop twice so together with the 4 miles back it totaled for a half marathon. I was very happy with my paces averaging 7:50 min/mile (4:46 min/km) including 50 s stop where I forgot to stop my Garmin :) The great thing is that there is a van at the beginning of the loop, so you can get your drinks and fuel easily. The loop is actually pretty challenging with quite some hill as you can see on the Garmin activity detail.

Test riding the nutrition :)

I had a chia seed "pudding" (basically chia seeds soaked in water) and a banana like 50 minutes before the run. And one and half scoops of Generation UCAN (the protein added variety) just 20 minutes prior my run. This kept me very comfortably fueled for the whole run of 1 hour and 43 minutes without bonking afterwards! Wow I am getting to the point of only water no fuel for the half marathon which is great because I can avoid the stomach issues this way.

Recovering, treating my knee

As I mentioned there is the great dip your legs in the pool after each run thing. And I also use my Compex Runner very regularly, which I don't have enough time for in the normal busy days. I don't step correctly on my right foot and we are working towards a proper form and correction with my physio therapist and The Coach (precise stability and activation exercise before each run). As it is changing the knee tends to get sore no tight and using Compex Acute tendinitis program really helps me a lot!

2nd phase of the training - the Compex "Long run optimization" program ... it gives your muscles extra work out without the excessive pounding and cardio stress :)

My training here so far

PM: afternoon session on a treadmill in a hotel near Lisbon airport (I had 5 hour overlay there)

AM: easy morning run (6+ miles)
PM: pilates

AM: "easy" morning run (5.7 miles)
PM: form and stride session
PM: 2 km + 4 x 1 km (4.25 miles - was supposed to do 4 x 3 km at the pace, but simply couldn't - I blame the fact that I was running it on a slight incline and did not adjust the pace)
PM: steady easy run (4 miles)

AM: longish run alternating 8:02 and 7:38 min/mile paces for each 5 km - adjusted to the terrain (13.1 miles)

I am for another barefoot walk at the beach now! :o) 

What was your Sunday long run / race? Tell me all about it!

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