Wednesday 29 March 2017

Week 14 - Don't do this at home

This weekend I ran Danish Spring even though I was sick, and I have considered a lot how I should write about this subject. However, when starting this weekly training-updates I said that I would be as honest and open as possible, so here comes the uncensored story.

This week was supposed to be the last of three weeks with many competitions, increased intensity and reduced volume. Danish Spring was also supposed to be a test of where I stand compared to the best, as the startlists included some of the best orienteers in the world.  Unfortunately I got sick on Tuesday night and it didn't look promising towards Fridays Sprint. It wasn't too bad, though, and I didn't have fever, just a sore throat, a blocked nose and some headache. I have tried this many times and know by experience how to react suitably in this situation. On Thursday I was feeling a bit more fresh even though the throat was still sore, and I went for an easy evening-jog, as I have done other times on day two of the cold. I was of course not feeling perfect, but the feeling was ok, and the heart rate was normal in this speed, which supported that it was "only" a local infection/virus in my respiratory system.

On Friday it was again a little better, not so sore throat anymore, but still blocked nose and headache. I went to Danish Spring, and I decided that if I would feel ok on the warm-up, I would run the sprint full speed, as it was short. It was and I did. It is not the first time I have competed like this (maybe in more important competitions), and sometimes I can compete on normal level and sometimes I am not 100%. Most importantly is that I was pretty sure that competing wouldn't make me more sick, but maybe delay the recovery a bit, and I considered that I could live with that. I was not feeling physically like normal on the sprint and I was tired all the way, but I wasn't feeling any worse afterwards. 

The next morning my throat wasn't sore anymore, but I had started coughing, which is normally the last (and longest) step, when I have a cold. Again I took the decision on the warm-up to the middle-distance if I should run or not, and again I decided to run. The feeling was a bit similar to the sprint and I didn't feel like I could push as hard as normally, especially on the last half of the race. The result, however, convinced me that I was still running fast even though I wasn't feeling like it.  

On Sundays longdistance I was aiming for a stabil performance, and I thought that the little slower speed but for a long time would suit me better, as I had been struggling with the maximum intensity the last two days. Still I had to slow down a little bit from my normal longdistance-speed to be sure that my energy would last all the way. I found "the right" speed for me that day and had a satisfying race and result.

Overall I am happy that I took the decision of running the competitions at Danish Spring even though it would have been with less risk not to. However, if I should have been given advise to another runner having a cold, I would have advised not to run and to be patient and not taken any risk. I ran because I know by experience when it's ok to run and when it's not. I didn't feel like I was taking a risk, because I was constantly aware of the symptoms and trying to be honest to myself of how I was feeling and if I was ready to compete. I don't think I could have done that 5-10 years ago, though.
The results were good but of course not as good as it could have been if I had been 100% ready physically. Still I'm satisfied with my technical performances and that I was capable of staying focused even though it would have been easy to focus too much on the physical feelings. 

The sprint-result was the worst of the three, but the results reflects what I have been training during the winter. Very little sprinttraining and not much training in the sprint-speed. This has been intended though, and this three weeks competition-period has kickstarted the next phase of the season, which is 6 weeks of basic-training before out test-races in Estonia and the World Cup in Finland in the middle/end of May. This basic-training will, however, consist of less training/running-hours than during the winter and more high/maximum-intensity training. I will also start to do significantly more sprinttraining from now on towards WOC as a part of this intensified training.
By experience, it's important for me that this period of training including a lot of maximum-intensity training, and a lot of sprint-training, doesn't start too early (~3 months before WOC) as it can be tough for me to do for a longer time both physically and mentally. I know that many others (and especially many of the sprint-specialists) train more or less the same all the year, with a lot of sprint-races and maximum speed-trainings. I think this is why I am normally not doing so good results in the early spring, but instead I have succeeded in reaching my top-level when it really counts in summertime. Hopefully it will be the same this year :)  

Wednesday 22 March 2017

Week 15 + some words about my employment beside the sport

In week 15 I became Danish Nightorienteering Champ for the first time as a senior, and it was also announced that beside my aim for more medals, I'm now also leading a new project about ATK (age-related training koncept) in Danish Orienteering Federation.

After I finished my master-thesis in sportsscience in the spring of 2016 I have more or less just been running. In the autumn I was doing some applications of a PhD-project about performance enhancing approaches in orienteering and other endurance sports, but it have been difficult to get funding to the project so far. Somehow all the money go to sportsrelated health-projects and that is not my main interest.
Together with the Sports Manager and National Coach in DOF we decided that meanwhile this uncertain funding-process continues, I will start this new ATK-project up. It's a renewal of a 10-years old successfull project in DOF, and I'm looking forward to work with the development in Danish Orienteering.
The project will consist of a process of writing and publishing a book about all aspects of orienteering from childhood to junior (~8-20 years) and a longer phase of implementation of the content of the book in the clubs and in the educationprogram of coaches in DOF. It will be a very interesting and challenging project, but with my education, comprehensive experiences from a long career and my passion for orienteering, I hope that I can make a change.
We're still in the phase of defining the project, and next up will be some open meetings with the clubs in DOF, the first already this Saturday after the middle-distance at Danish Spring. The next after DM-sprint in April. I really hope that many clubs will use the opportunity to participate in these meetings as we're looking for as many inputs as possible, before starting the writing process. The ATK-project is targeting several of the the challenges and hurdles that the clubs in DOF are facing in their child/youth/junior-training, so hopefully these meetings will enlighten some things we haven't thought of.    
So far the employment with this project also fits well with my training, as I can plan my workload according to the trainingplans, and for me it's good to have something besides my training.
Some days ago I made some statistics about my winter-training so far, as it sometimes can be difficult to see how the training is going in a longer perspective than  a few weeks
The focus this winter has mostly been on high-volume training and running, combined with some high-intensity-training, but not much training with maximal intensity.

This figure shows that I have been training more than ever this winter (11,3%), and that running both in hours and km has been ~20% higher than last winter, which was the winter so far with most training and running. These kind of data is always nice to bring with you into the competition season, and give me confidence, that I'm on the right way to be able to perform well this year. It will be interesting to see if this increase in training and running will make a difference in the beginning of July in Estonia...

Tuesday 14 March 2017

Week 18, 17 and 16 + February summary

First of all I would like to apologize that it has now been quiet on the blog for some weeks, but here come the training-summaries for the last three weeks. Three weeks of different training and also three different small injury-problems.

Week 18: Recovery week after trainingcamp

I was very tired coming back from Spain, and was also afraid of getting getting sick, so I took it quite easy the first days of the week. Unfortunately my right ankle got locked when I made a little twist on a run Tuesday, and I had to adjust my training the coming days, before a chiropractor unlocked it, and it was better immediately. Had a tough trail ½-marathon on Saturday before going on ski-vacation together with my girlfriend and her family in Skeikampen, Norway.

February summary:

Total training: 76 h 58 min (~2 h 45 min / day)

Total running: 56 h 57 min (~2 h / day)
 - Total running: 577 km (~20,6 km / day)

Total strength-training: 10 h 55 min

Total alternative training: 9 h 2 min
 - Crosstrainer-intervals: 1 h 16 min
 - Cross country skiing: 7 h 50 min

Even though the last week of Februay was not totally according to the plan, the total month was really good with a lot of quality training.

Week 17:

All the week I was in Skeikampen, doing cross country skiing and having some vacation. It was a good week of training with a lot of cross country skiing (21 hours and 268 km), but only one running-session (uphill-intervals) and a total of only two high intensity-session, because I injured my calf in the end of the week in a crash, resulting in a deep wound. I was able to do easy skating the last 2 days though so it wasn't a disaster, and the calf got better fast.

Week 18:

The week was supposed to be a tough week, starting a three week period of much high-intensity training and competitions. It was ok to run with my calf-injury in the beginning of the week, and I tried to stick to the original plan, with two high-intensity sessions on Tuesday. Unfortunately this was too much load for my legs, and my front-thighs were overloaded resulting in a sore knee on Wedensday. Apparently the (non-intended) break from running in Norway for 6-7 day was too long for my thighs to be ready for a big (but normal) runningload. I was good to adjust my training for a couple of days, and get some extra treatment on my legs, so I was ready to run the first competitions of the season in the weekend. 

Even though the week was not totally according to the plan, the goal of a lot of high-intensity training, was well completed. 

This week has also been the week since November which have consisted of clearly the most high-intensity training (I-zone 4-6). 2 h 56 min HIT this week compared to max 1 h 48 min HIT in a week earlier this season, marks a clear change in the periodization of my training, and HIT will have much more focus from now on and until WOC. Hopefully this will also give some more speed in the coming weeks of competitions.