Thursday, May 29, 2008

Test Conconi

I am in mood of experiments and explorations on different ways to train
and/or monitor the fitness. So it was time for a Conconi Test.
About the Conconi Test in general, well, it is enough to "google' the
term. One you go on a track with a HR monitor, you later have to trace
the data on a Excel file chart and make some educated guess on the
deflection point.
The test itself has been criticized as non conclusive measurement of the
real AT speed, but anyway my main purpose was to trace a curve of the
speed at different efforts (HR) to compare later in the season to
monitor the progress.

I never did this test in my life except for some failed attempt about 20
years ago while I was a cyclist... so it was also a practical discover
of a concept that has been around since the 80s.
I got really spoiled to find out the one of the function of the Polar
RS800 HRM is the "automatic"Conconi Test.
No need to manage the data in Excel, just do the test and get the report
from the Polar SW !!!

Conditions were "less than ideal": Temperature 27C, Humidity 95%, wet
track for the rain of the night.
I opted for 400m steps of speed increment and it was pretty tricky to
mantain a speed for the full lap and most of all to increase the speed
at every lap only of few seconds. The first lap was in 1'50", than
jumped straight to 1'40"... I need more practice.

The results is here in the chart. I may believe that the AT speed of
15,3kmh is maybe quite accurate based on my personal perception of the
effort. Obviously I am just back from injury and the weather was awful,
so there is a margin of improvement...
I want to try the same test on a treadmill to standardize the weather
conditions and get more accurate on the speed increase step. That would
be for next week....

Friday, May 23, 2008

running Index @23May

The Polar RS800sd has an interesting function called "Running Index": basically is kind of indicator of the level of "performance" during a workout, based on the HR and speed.
Higher speed during a run at a lower HR gives you a higher index. It is supposed to mimic a Vo2max level, but I do not take it for granted...
more info on the Polar website.
Anyway in the long term it is a useful indicator of the level of fitness, especially looking at the trend, rather than the actual value of a single workout.
Well, anyway the chart speaks for itself. At the best of my form (January-March) I was around 77-80 for most of the runs. Now I dropped at 70 (at the best), a value similar to the same period of last year.
With index 80, I was running at easy effort at 4'-4'05"/km and the feeling was fantastic. Index 70 is more a kind of struggling already at 4'20" and feeling comfortable at 4'30"...
To restore the right fitness I have anyway a secret weapon ready to be deployed .... (WAIT FOR NEXT POST FOR MORE DETAILS)

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

come-back: week #1

Last week I did managed 25km in 3 session.
The plan is to run 50/60k this week, 70km next week and make the whole month of June around 70/80km weekly to rump up later to 100km+ in July/August (running 100km in the Summer heat is already a considerable achievement)

I buy into the suggestion of a reader about taking very gradual approach to building up distance.
I dot not think to be particularly injury prone: in 25 years of competitive sports, I have been blocked "seriously" only for 4 times:
- in 1989 (at the time I was a "Under 23" cyclist, I got a serious case of Chondromalacia that took several months to heal
- in 1999, a strong back pain (caused by too much driving ... 2500km in a single leg with a small car)
- in 2006, some calf tightness/ tendinitis, due to sudden increase of mileage
- another small tendinitis in 2007, always for sudden increase of mileage
- this time, I guess due to the increase in mileage after the CNY holiday.
So it is really negligible occurrence in such a long span of time.

Unfortunately I have the right leg that is 1,5cm shorter than the left, and also bow knees. This put most of the stress on the left leg (all the injuries described before were on the left leg).
Somehow we must accept that Mother Nature does not make everyone "perfect" for running ...

Friday, May 16, 2008


this post is more a kind of self-encouragement, because as a runner I am a bit at the low end of motivation right now.

Yesterday I resume running after 15 days of further stops. I really wanted the injury at the leg to get settled once for all and now everything seems OK, even if I would maybe need some more physiotherapy and massage to relax the muscles further.

In front of me I have 3 months without races (the HK running season is over because of the heat), temperature already around 30C/90F and the need to restore a good aerobic base after 2 months of poor/no training.
So it looks pretty daunting perspective: since I live in China (8 years) I struggled a lot to go through the summer season. I can not stand the heat and humidity.
Basically for many years I simply did not run at all for 4 months at least, preferring instead cycling and swimming. Last year I did managed to run maybe 40/50km weekly and it did give much better results once the running season resumed.
This year I really want to run around 70/90km weekly during Summer, in order to have a much better starting fitness once I can resume the real training in September/October.
Readers are authorized to scold me whenever I fails to reach the 70k weekly target

By the way, for the leg injury I got some good benefit from KinesioTaping, practiced by a good physiotherapist in Poland (Dr Andrzej K. in Rybnik).
Look at the job done on my leg (called cross taping) (the different colors were only to give some "visual effect").
The tapes are a Japanese stuff produced by Nitto Denko. European website is with Online sales in preparation.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

broken hopes

outside is a sunny day, dry, temperature 9C rising to 15C by mid-day.
It would be the perfect setting for running, but the Krakow Marathon will not see me at the start this year.

Since I arrived in Poland, all my "test runs" gave a negative results: after 10k the pain in the leg comes out again and I can not imagine to run 42k in such conditions. So I gave up and just take the whole holiday as a "DNR" in the log.
It is really depressing because last week I thought to be already ok, but evidently incresing the workload was the wrong choice.
So now I am just staring out of the window, wondering how long it will take to be back to normal...