The last 4months was extremely difficult in case of health. I wrote it in a blogpost before, that I accumulated more injuries and sickness during this short period than in the last 5 years. Injured myself like 5 times and got sick 3 times. Outside of nutrition, lifestyle can be a cause of this too. Overtraining and overliving actually. It is difficult to grasp overliving, but too many things to do in a too compressed time, has its stress on the body. I am talking about 5am painting, 8am training, 9am cleaning and preparing food. 10am to 22pm work + Commute. 22 – 23, eat, wash the dishes, prepare the stuff for next day, Read for 10 to 15minutes, bang sleep. Repeat. Then forget to pay the taxes in time due to bank issues and paying penalties for the bank and for the tax office. Then puncture the car and have to change 4 tires as they are very used up….. Grind Grind Grind
I count work and life into training. I try to mobilise and stretch all day long on days I don’t run. Despite that I ride 12hour days as a messenger, I still do a strength and conditioning routine at least once a week, but often 3 times. The thing is, that I try exercising while doing other things, so dedicated training hours can be limited. Doing some light yoga and easy mobility while the coffee is brewing. Walking to the bathroom with a dynamic flexibility toe touch motion. Anytime I go down to throw the trash away, I do calf stretches on the stairs and perform an isometric squat for 30 to 60sec when up.
Can you see how living can derail your plans if you let it ? Don’t f…..n let it ! Adjust, get pliable, acclimate, adapt. I followed my training plan for almost 3months but the last 5 to 6 weeks got messed up so I changed up things and trained differently.
The goal of training is to get better. Not necessarily faster on a particular workout or to run longer and longer distance. My first step was to ditch the freckin’ GPS watch. I just went out and did the work. The Timex watch with it’s simplicity is a great piece of work. On the run, in like 15 seconds, I can set up 4minute intervals with 2min rest for instance. I never look at my watch. It beeps I run, it beeps I stop. I did off-road interval sessions between to designated trees, where my warming up finished.
This freedom is important as when you dressed up like Santa in three layers of clothing. Your speed suffers, but your effort doesn’t ! I had to disassociate performance from speed and pace. Performance became effort. Confidence became consistency. Developing power is even easier when heavier. You’ll have greater effect on the body. Uphill accelerations, longer sprints and low to medium length climbing endurance sets became a friend of mine. Setting up a parcour of 6 sharp switchbacks with 2 x 4 bumps and one final climb, totalling about 4minutes of work, was my specific training. I can run 3:10 1000s, but the fastest kilometre here never dropped under 4:15. I repeated this doing intervals and up to 20 minute tempo runs here.
My weekend long run was changing but mainly remained the same 2 x 20min tempo with 4min break or 4 x 10min tempo+ with 2.5 minutes break.
I used my GPS watch one single time for dedicated road kilometre intervals. I think I ran 3:28s four times with 3minutes of break.
I also went for recovery runs with no watch. My only goal was to not break form and nose breathing. After about 20minutes I decided to go for a small loop of high turnover fun-run, or call it a day. 4 months ago I stopped jogging ! No messing around for the sake of running. I love running, so I want to do it properly and enjoy every moment of it. No jogging around ! Easy running means proper form and structure too.
At the end I came out quiet right and with no problems what so ever. However 9days before I had a serious food poisoning. I probably touched something infected. Two days of vomiting and feeling bad. Third day, like nothing ever happened.
Just 6days before my first event however, I developed a slip-disk or a displaced rib, I don’t know. I did an easy interval set of 400s on 1:22 with 45sec recovery. I wanted to do 12, but cut it short to 8 because it was too hard on the lungs in the extreme cold. The day I had some tingling in my left leg and next morning I started having sharp back-pain.
I mobilised, stretched, rolled, massaged and did everything in my possession. I don’t take any medication ever, nor numbing creams. I doubled up on CBD for the night and took one with my morning coffee. It become slightly better, but still extremely painful.
The race went well, After 35minutes of warming up, we hit the trails. It was in Correns. Got third place and was just happy to survive the event with no further injuries.
I kept up with the mobility and stretching. I cut back the bike messenger work by one day basically. Instead of 62 hours I worked only 50. It is still a lot and it was cold, but tried relaxing and not going mad on the streets. I had one single medium session with 10minutes cross country tempo + a set of sprints going into a sharp turn uphill. Prior to each rep I added 6 to 8 lunges. It gave me a big boost and a lot of fatigue fever. Messed up again, but my back pain disappeared.
I had 3 days to get my legs back to normal. That means constant stretching, constant mobility, 2 big foam rolling set every day and herbal massage in the evenings and morning.
The night before the race I went out for a 10minute jog. Actually I planned 5minutes of tempo and 5 diagonals to keep the legs fresh, but had to go around to do the shopping during the day and also slept in to recover better. I called it off as the night before I am not gonna do sprints. Either ways, I felt springy, fresh and very energetic. Good sings ! Wake up in the morning. Back pain. I mean difficulty to walk. Difficulty to talk and breathe. Difficulty to turn, twist, or to move. Allez, no excuses ! Hit the mobility, yoga and stretching. 90minutes. 7 to 8:30. Coffee and two medjool dates, 10 spirulina tablets and 20mg of CBD.
In the car, box breathing and sipping on a salty sparkling water. Arrived and got race bib. Easy local warming up, then 45minutes of jogging and accelerations. Sounds long, but I needed that.
The race went out flat out so fast, that I did not know what to expect. My mental game changed a lot during the last couple of years. I did not gave up, but told to myself: I am freckin’ fit as a leopard. They might be 10 years younger and run 4minutes faster for a 10km, but this is my race. It needs specific preparation. 1km into the race, they already slowed down. The initial sand part drained their legs, then the running on the marble with slippery shoes gave an extra fatigue component to the quads. We hit again a long sandy beach before the first small climb of about 50m. I took over and went for it. I thought to myself, noooo, it is too early. My specificity is finishing fast on road, non technical douchegrade downhills. My fastest 10km is only 35, but I can pull off sub 3min pace on those descents if had to. Not here. I trashed my legs and even had to hike up 2 sections of roots. The runner behind was catching up. Fortunately we had a couple of those fast downhill sections and I could distance myself. Unfortunately the 3 race distances met and crowding became a big issue. Anytime I could put on 40 to 50meters of advantage, I lost it in turns, on stairs and so. We arrived to the famous, Palais de Festivals, where the Cannes Film Festival is held and again, runners jogging with the selfie stick in the non-lit corridors, blocking my way all the way to the finish line. We are like 1minute away and the 2nd is just 2meters behind me. I have no air, cannot breathe, but had to shout, “excusez moi, attention, sur la droit, passe a ton gauche” . Fortunately there was a flatter turn section at the end, but in the windows I saw the reflection of the second suffering guerrier ! I accelerated, he slightly caught up on the last set of stairs, but my final sprint was an all out effort to bleed it all out there ! I finished 9 seconds front of him. He was pursuing me from the time I took over the first place at the 2km mark and he never gave up from that time. Well done ! Actually he was the second place last year, so he was greatly motivated to find the highest podium spot in 2019.
Now the time is for recovery and healing. I have two frozen toes on my left foot. The tissue is constantly inflamed and it hurts as hell. Last year it took me 2months till it totally healed. I went up too high in the mountains with the bike and had no shoe cover for the long descent. This year it is from work and instead of on one toe, it is on two. It is 4th grade frostbite, causing just pain, swelling, redness and skin pealing, no blisters or blackening. Last year I had no blisters but blackening under the skin and a very swollen pinky. So I am glad that this 4 months are over and can restart again from zero, till the next competitions come up.