Update on run progress and medicine effects
I started a run plan back in November where I was planning to run 6 days per week based upon a hybrid plan of several suggestions I found on slowtwitch. Unfortunately I pulled a calf muscle only about 8 weeks into the plan and I had to take quite a bit of time off in order to fully recover. It was frustrating b/c the plan really seemed to be working and I was making great progress. I was on the verge of the best run fitness of my life after only 8 weeks.
So, I definitely wanted to jump back in and follow the program again. I was finally able near the beginning of this year and I’m now about 10 weeks in. My previous progress (as you can see in the graph below) was pretty much all lost. However, I did ramp up quickly early on and I’ve stayed above my previous achievements nearly the whole time, so while I didn’t pick up where I left off, I definitely didn’t completely lose all my previous gains.
Here is the updated graph. Each data point represents an aggregate of my I/O for that full week. For I/O, I actually us O/I 🙂 It’s average velocity (in mph) divided by my average heart rate. By aggregating the weeks data, I hope to be able to smooth out some of the natural ebb and flow of the good and bad days. Of course you’ll see that there are some weeks I go up and some I go down, but the trendline shows that the general trend is still upward to date.
Things I’ve learned:
1. To be patient. Progress comes very slowly. There have been times when I go backwards for 2 weeks or more. It’s painful to put in all that work and think that you were better two weeks ago than you are today. But, that’s just part of the natural ups and downs of endurance training (at least for me).
2. Sudafed kills my efficiency. Week 8 started well, but then I noticed I was getting really stuffed up and I decided I had to do something about it. I took Sudafed for 2 days. When I realized how it was affecting my heart rate, I quit taking it. Those two runs are the reason for the drastic drop on week 8. The two runs while I was on Sudafed had the worst ratios of any runs this year. Two days after taking it, my runs were right back in line with where they had been before even though I was still stuffed up. So, it wasn’t the sickness that was to blame. It was the medicine. I researched this and didn’t find a whole lot except that some people tend to think it’s an ergogenic aid and it has been tested for its performance gains. It is even banned by the IOC. I know for certain it did not help me and most of the studies (link) I can find on it seem to refute its ability to aid an athlete as well. In fact one of the studies says, “if pseudoephedrine has no effect on performance, WADA may want to reconsider the inclusion of this over-the-counter drug on their banned substance list in the future.” However, there are some studies that suggest it does help (link). All in all, each individual most likely responds uniquely, so your mileage may vary. In general, be careful what you take if you are near race time. It could affect you in more ways that you know.
3. It feels really good to see my progress and that’s what keeps me going. The runs aren’t particularly exciting or tough, but finishing the workout and putting the numbers into the computer to see what that run does to the chart and trends is what I look forward to. I spend most of the time on the runs actually looking at the live averages and estimating where I will end on the chart. It’s amazing to me that I haven’t done this all along so that I can chart my progress. I look forward to being able to do the same thing on my bike workouts soon.