14 January 2014

Getting Back Into It

After suffering a serious injury there is always the initial concerns regarding loss of fitness and form, so I was very cautious regarding where I could end up after the rehab phase of my ankle injury.  The end of the year was scheduled to be the beginning of my base building phase of training, a time I was aiming to develop endurance, strength and focus on my technique in preparation for the upcoming 2014 season.  Now it was to be a time of focus, to focus on my recovery and complete my rehabilitation in the quickest and most efficient way possible.

So the plan that I had been given by Mark at Bathurst Physio was fast tracked and aimed towards repairing my ankle in time for Buffalo Sky Camp in mid January and the chance of racing at the Sydney Trail Series at Manly Dam the week before.  It was to involve gradual progressions of stretching, movement drills, resistance and the slow introduction of grass running on a day on day off basis.  I was to work from 5km with 50/50 run walk to a 10km run in this manner, focusing on how the ankle responded and if my knee to wall improved I should be able to introduce some trail/hill running at the completion of the 10km run.

The rehab plan basically looked like this;

5km 50/50  •  Day Off  •  5km 75/25  •  Day Off  •  5km  •  Day Off  •  6km  •  Day Off  •  7km  •  Day Off  •  8km  •  Day Off  •  9km  • Day Off  •  10km.

I was doing a series of other movements daily, things such as calf raises, straight leg calf stretches (gastroc), bend knee calf stretches (soleus), elastic band work, calf raises, walking patterns, balance beam, bosu ball, hopping, landing on foam mats, calf raises, wobble board and did I mention calf raises.  I was spending around 30min plus a day focusing on my rehab.

Second run back into training
On the last visit to the physio I was given the all clear to resume training, hills, trails, back to back days and the introduction of some technical stuff by the end of the year.  From that point my focus shifted back to the bigger picture of getting the body, mind and spirit ready for the year ahead.  I had been focusing so much on the short term and it was now time to broaden my view.  I started with back to back 10 mile hilly fire trail runs, this gave me an indication of where I was and what I needed to do.  I had been riding alot to maintain as much as possible and this had been beneficial, it did not however have the same bang as running so I was a little ginger on the ups and downs.

With school holidays just beginning I was lucky to have a big period of time to get some quality training in.  I have been following the plan that I had developed with Brendan and utilised doubles to allow my km count to build up without taking that much from the tank or causing any problems upon return.  I can not make up lost time, that is impossible and flirts with danger, I just need to maximise what I do and benefit as much as possible through proper recovery and planning.  My main aim was to have "key runs" that I would use over the summer period.

At Narrowneck with Benny, Hamish and Wayne
I started these "key runs" with a Narrowneck out and back, 26km and 1000m plus elevation gain, a relatively simple run and one I had done before.  I went out with Brendan, Wayne, Hamish and Ben, not bad company really, all sub 3 marathon runners, and one Olympian.  I attempted to hold onto Brendan and Benny for as long as possible, this was about 5km and then they slowly drifted away getting about 5min on me by the end of the plateau, I was happy with this but knew I had to get back and it was a tougher run back than it was out! So I ran home, slowly but I made it back, it was tough going but a needed and valuable run.

Early on at STS sitting in 4th here.
Another "key run" occurred at Hassans with Bren and UE.  Another 25km with 1000m plus climbing, but this had single track and some proper ascents and descents to complete.  I thought if I could push my ankle on the downs in particular I would be ready to run at Manly in the STS.  I completed this run strongly, running well across the 2hrs and worked well on the ups and pushed the downs, nearly too far as I had a near miss on one downhill track! I left this run with the needed confidence to tackle Manly Dam and its flowing single track and newly included loop section in the manner I expect of myself when I race.

The STS was successful, Kel and I had travelled down early to mark the course the day before and camp out to look after the gear at the dam,  this allowed for a few extra minutes sleep and little bit on convenience on the race morning.  I ran well within myself, finding a comfortable effort level and finished off in a steady manner, coming in 3rd in a tick over 1hr 40min, I was gifted a spot on the podium after the leader Dave Byrne had a navigational issue, but that's all part of racing.

The Start of the STS at Manly Dam, I managed a podium with a 3rd place.
The next fortnight has a few more important events on the calendar, Sky Camp from 17-19 January and Knapsack 6hr Solo on Australia Day being the stand outs.  These are the last major "key runs" in my build phase and I am looking most forward to hitting them head on.  

The last drop into the finish at STS, pretty happy.
Sky Camp at Bright will be a massive weekend and I am so excited to be down in the mountains for a few days.  I will be able to get out on the Buffalo Stampede Ultra course and begin my race planning properly based on my take on the track.  I will be paying particular attention to the climbs, both up and down, and what sections are runable, etc. from this I will formulate my tactics and refine my training accordingly.  It will also be good to get into the camp atmosphere and challenge others while training, something I miss out on being in Bathurst at times and I will also have two great coaches in Brendan Davies and Hanny Allston at my disposal which will be great.  Kel and I are both going, so it will be good to get away with her for a bit and I am looking forward to the time we will have together over the few days. I plan on doing a more detailed blog on Sky Camp next week.

Unfortunately for Kel her stress injury in her foot has been a pain in the butt and is taking longer than expected to mend. She has been very committed in what could only be described as a crap situation, cross training daily in the gym and aiming to get back to running as soon as possible.  She is slowing building up again and it looks as though at camp she will be able to do the base amount of k's each day, and she will benefit from this training.  Her goals are shifting as a result of her injury but I am sure by the time June has passed she will have achieved all she has set out in the first half of 2014.

Some numbers since the all clear has been given to shed a light on what I have been doing.  This time last year I was happy knocking 100km weeks out with around 1500-2000m of elevation, its fair to say this requires an up in difficulty if I am to continue progressing the way I aim to.
Progress Summary Report for WesGibson981 21/12/13 - 14/1/14
Count:40 Activities
Distance:489.07 km
Time:40:36:39 h:m:s
Elevation Gain:8,752 m
Calories:31,947 C
Avg Speed:12.1 km/h
Avg HR:144 bpm
Avg Distance:12.23 km
Avg Time:1:00:55 h:m:s
Avg Elevation Gain:237 m
Looking down to the valley from Mt Buffalo

Up to Mt Buffalo
Better not forget this, the gain and loss is massive.

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