Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Twelve hours for the first time

On 7 March, 2008, I completed my longest training run ever: 72.2 kilometres in 12 hours. This is my third-greatest distance. It is the longest distance that I’ve run barefoot. And, at twelve hours, this is the maximum duration that I intend to train.

But only in terms of time. Over the next 8 months, until I take part in the next Sri Chinmoy 24-hour challenge in Auckland on the 1st and 2nd of November, I’ll want to repeat such 12-hour sessions every two or three weeks. I’ll want to increase the distance by reducing the ratio between walking and running.

I do my training at Logan Park. There’s a ‘C’ loop that I run, a there-and-back cycle that avoids the back unpaved stretch – from the end of the pavement outside Logan Park High School, to the corner of Harbour Terrace and Dundas Street. I think of each leg as a mile (though it’s slightly longer) and each triple length is almost exactly 5 kilometres (5007 metres).

I started the run-walk at about 6.30 in the morning, and finished at the same time in the afternoon. Previously, I ran further at a time – a whole leg out of each three. This time I ran less, but more often: every ‘downhill’ stretch (about 700 metres) from the school down to the corner.

Each loop took me an average of between 33 and 34 minutes (range 32-36). It was an easy schedule to maintain. I developed some mild discomfort in the muscles of the pelvic girdle (a maximum of 4 on a scale of 0-10) and to a lesser degree in the soles of my feet (3 out of 10). Muscle fatigue is what gets you in the end. The breathing is fine. The energy is fine.

Old injuries make themselves known. At 20 kilometres I passed through an iliotibial patch, and at 40 kilometres my tendonitis reoccurred. But it is a psychological game rather than a physiological one. When you pull back slightly so do the symptoms.

I believe that I over-strained to make up time while walking. I was only intending to better the 60 kilometres that I ran in 9.25 a few weeks ago, but when I appeared to be on target for a 6-kilometres-per-hour pace I couldn’t help myself.

Next time, to better my distance (say 75), I shall simply run for more of the time; on the next run I’ll do both downhill stretches – at total of 1200 out of 3300 or 4/11, but I’ll relax more when walking. I’ll aim for a cycle time of 31 minutes, and then 30 for the time after that. I’ll also stretch. I’m developing a series of 10-second stretches that I’ll rotate, one of six every ten to 15 minutes.

Incidents that made the day memorable: a fire-drill at the school; a cold and dark start (I should have worn those gloves); fun and games at the Student Centre toilet (when I struggled to fit a new roll); and standing on a piece of glass and having to extract it with a needle just before the 50 kilometre mark.

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