Monday, December 07, 2015

Successfully avoiding the excesses of an American diet

I've been back in Australia since Thursday afternoon and feeling recovered enough now to get back into the running routine. We enjoyed a wonderful holiday (just short of six weeks), but man, the typical American food on offer was hard work. So much meat; so much cheese; so sweet and salty; so big! Possessing a sweet tooth, I also enjoyed more than my fair share of desserts, including the wonderful key lime pies of the south. I'm also taking a while to catch up on blog reading (computer time was limited in the U.S.), so please excuse my slackness in that area.

So, what is my physical state after such a long holiday with minimal running (and no cycling)? Not too bad is the short answer, but the actual statistics reveal the brutal truth: race fitness does decline, if ever so slowly, when one cuts back on training. The legs may feel fresh and your body energetic, but you run slower. 'Use it or lose it' is a true adage when it comes to running and a good bank of aerobic fitness only lasts so long.

What exercise did I do? Well, over 41 days I ran on 22 occasions — an average of 23k per week (supplemented by lots of easy walking). Prior to the holiday my 'normal' training routine was around 50k per week of running and 160 to 200k per week of cycling. Leading up to my good 10k in Melbourne I raced the Tuggeranong Parkrun in 22:41 at an average heart rate of 144, feeling pretty happy with my race. On Saturday 5 December I raced the same course (similar conditions) in 24:12 at an average heart rate of 148 (maximum of 158 — very close to my actual maximum of 162). Ouch! My legs felt good and fresh but I was huffing and puffing like the Chattanooga Choo Choo pulling out of Baltimore Station.

As the year draws to an end, I hope the few readers of this blog are doing well. Enjoy your running and don't over indulge in key lime pies! See ya'all in 2016.
Unusually mild (14C) for my run in Central Park on 26 November. Way too hot for ice skating!
Central Park NYC as the sun sets. Love it!
Walking over the Brooklyn Bridge the previous afternoon. Beautiful!


Blogger Mark Watson said...

Welcome back Ewen. Things have sure been quiet in your absence. I missed you! Just a couple of things might convince me to visit the US. Competing somewhere near my prime in a Boston marathon and a slice of key lime pie as described by Wikipedia ... "lime juice, egg yolks, and sweetened condensed milk in a buttery pie crust". Yummy!

2:08 pm  
Blogger Ewen said...

Thanks Mark! You're a gentleman for saying that. When you eventually run Boston, hold off on the key lime pie until after the race ;-)

5:00 pm  
Blogger TokyoRacer said...

Six weeks, wow, you're a lucky guy! Glad you had a great time in the old US of A.

8:03 pm  
Blogger Thomas said...

Welcome back Ewen.

I need to avoid the states by the looks of it. With my notorious sweet tooth I'd balloon to XXL size in no time at all.

2:44 am  
Blogger Ewen said...

Very lucky Bob - most Aussie workers enjoy very generous leave and long service leave provisions. Love travelling in the US - so diverse.

Thanks Thomas - I was thinking of you every time I asked for the dessert menu ;-) Pumpkin cheesecake (with ice cream) was also a favourite. Mmmm!

9:38 am  
Blogger strewth said...

Great to have you back with us Ewen. I can't believe you only gained 2kilos with all that key lime pie on offer! That will come off in the first week now that you are back into training. If it were me I would have gained 5kilos and taken 5 weeks to lose it! Sounds like an amazing adventure. It's such an amazingly huge and diverse country.

10:50 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Welcome back. Having recently had a couple of months out of training myself, though without the consolation of key lime pie, I can empathise with the loss of fitness, though I remind myself that most of the loss is transient , while at least some of the benefits of rest are long lasting. And your 24:12 parkrun was not too shabby in the circumstances

12:23 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm glad to find your blog again after not running at all for many months and also eating plenty of generous servings of fattening stuff... It will be good to read your non-vacation updates:)

5:12 am  
Blogger Ewen said...

Thanks Ruth. I'm not worried about the extra kgs - in fact, they probably helped to keep me warm in Buffalo ;-) Yes, love travelling in the US - so much fun.

Thanks for your welcome Canute. That's so true about the benefits of rest - the most underrated piece in the training jigsaw puzzle.

Thanks Anna - same here re your blog. Good to see you up and running again.

7:47 am  
Blogger Mark Watson said...

Merry Christmas Ewen, my trusted, loyal and devoted friend. Have a great day tomorrow. Already looking forward to your first report out on the road in 2016.

8:48 pm  
Blogger trailblazer777 said...

Happy new Year! Lime pies and Pumpkin Cheesecake!! will have to get to the USA again one day if I ever get access to annual leave again... I also have over-indulged since Melbourne...but come 2016 its time to get serious again.... Good job on making the most of the opportunity to see different parts of the US of A. Did you get onto the Appalachian Trail?

8:35 pm  
Blogger Ewen said...

Thanks Mark - that's a kind thing to say! BTW, I only read your blog 'cause it's a great read - no devotion at all ;-)

Hi TB, yes, do it again when you can, even if that's many years down the track. Yep, walked about 400 metres of the Appalachian Trail and a bit of the bridge that was featured in the Robert Redford movie A Walk in the Woods. Beautiful country up there.

4:08 pm  

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