Sunday, March 06, 2016

Starting from square two (beats square one)

Not long after writing my last blog post I had a fall at home which (long story short) resulted in seven nights at Canberra Hospital and a break from my professional running career. I'm expecting to get the 'all-clear' from the neurologist to resume exercise (and driving!) this coming Tuesday, but in advance of that, I've begun to run again. I feel too good not to run!

This past week I've been doing short runs and bike rides, limited (fortuitously perhaps) by a lingering Aussie heat-wave. I've been staying at Mum's in Wagga and this past week have been completing runs of 3 to 5k — usually point-to-point, which gives me a 3 to 5k warm-down walk back home. Does one really need warming down in 35 degree heat?

I've been 'running by feel', with no heart rate monitor, just the Garmin's splits to ponder over afterwards. My feelings have been pretty good. I feel like I'm pushing off the ground well and moving smoothly with few discernible muscular niggles. Natural pace has been between 5:15 and 5:30 per kilometre, which happens to be that training sweet spot a little slower than half-marathon race-pace.

I call this post 'starting from square two' as I haven't had that much time off. So far in 2016 I've averaged 40k per week of running (plus cycling) and after the fall had 18 days off exercise before resuming with a short 2k jog. Square one would be starting again after 3 months off. You don't really want to go there! Reminds you of the difficulty all beginning runners face. If you happen to be a beginning runner, might I suggest slowly building up to continuous runs of 30 minutes. Start with alternating walks and jogs. When you reach 30 minutes, try and repeat that as many days a week as possible. And think about doing some cycling. Cycling is fun, gentle and rest periods (when you coast downhill) are built in.

I plan to do some cyclo-cross racing in Canberra this coming season. Good fun!


Blogger TokyoRacer said...

Unfortunate setback, but glad you're back running again. Hope you'll be racing again soon.

3:19 pm  
Blogger Janene said...

Glad to know you are feeling so good. Square 2 does sound like a better place to be. Here's hoping you reached that sub22 goal for 2016 :-)

3:43 pm  
Blogger Jog Blog said...

Good to see you're back blogging & to hear you're making a come back to run training.

Be smart - ie, do less rather than more - & take your cues from both your mind & your body. There's no hurry.

Hope to catch up for coffee soon.

8:13 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm glad you're running again, Ewen! Square two sounds definitely more manageable than square one!:)

9:04 am  
Blogger Ewen said...

Thanks Bob. My plan is to ease back into racing with the Parkrun 5k when I feel up to it.

Yes Janene - square two rocks! Sub-22 seems a mile away at the moment (well, at least half a k). Hope to be chasing you down there virtually in 2016.

Liz, I reckon I've been the smartest ever with this particular return to running in the mind and body listening stakes.

Thanks Anna. My 'square two' tip is to know how much you can wait before starting on square two. Some elite Kenyan runners were famous for having a month off post racing season, but I guess they had a larger base to jump down to square two - or probably square three in their case.

11:17 am  
Anonymous Raina said...

Everything sounds good except that you and I both know that there is no such thing as running by feel when you wear a garmin :-)

7:43 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Its good that you are blogging and running again. I hope the re-building of your fitness proceeds steadily

10:50 am  
Blogger Mark Watson said...

Mate, for crying out loud look after yourself. Who'll be left to post a comment on my blog if you're out of commission? That amount of time in hospital sounds like a nasty fall. I certainly hope it was more of a precautionary measure than one of necessity. Anyway take good care of yourself Ewen. PS put that Garmin back on. What on earth are you thinking!

2:31 pm  
Blogger Ewen said...

You've got me there Raina - I have snuck a look at the Garmin when it beeps after every km. Sorry about that! However, I haven't had heart-rate data, which has been quite liberating.

Thanks Canute. Taking it very carefully and gradually, which is always the best method. Nothing comes fast in distance running - that's why it's such a challenge.

Yeah Mark - perhaps I could write out 100 generic comments in advance and email them to you ;-) Canberra Hospital is excellent and they take every precaution where possible head injuries are concerned, therefore my longish stay. I was enjoying the care and food, so perhaps why they got rid of me in the end.
Some great news this afternoon, with the all-clear from the neurologist - he said my brain is in excellent condition (considering how much thought I make it give to running and cycling ;-)

8:34 pm  
Blogger Janene said...

Yay :-) glad to see the neurologist's report. Back to all that brain hard work ;-)

8:42 pm  
Blogger Ewen said...

Thanks J. At least the brain doesn't get overworked like it did in the 'good old days' when we had to work out k or 400m splits in our head :-)

9:05 pm  
Blogger strewth said...

It was fantastic to catch up with you in the weekend Ewen. I'm delighted about the neurologist report. Definitely knew you had an excellent brain - look at the friends you chose! :)

1:17 pm  
Blogger Scott Brown said...

If you start PBing within the next year I'm going to ask you nicely to crack me over the head!

10:30 pm  
Blogger Ewen said...

Thanks Ruth - that's a well known test of brain function. Thanks!

Good one Scott. All runners could do with a crack over the head at some time ;-)

8:37 am  

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