I’m not sure exactly how to start this so I guess I will just start with what has happened to me over the last couple of years and how that has changed the current training plan.
My last couple of years, well really actually my last 5 years, since mid 2005 have been extremely frustrating and personally very disappointing. Although in that time there have been some highlights; I have won a national title and had some great races in Europe and the USA. As yet I haven’t even come close to achieving what my coach (David Chisholm, who is also my dad), the people who work closely with myself believe I am capable of running.
The main cause of this has been a series of either minor very badly times injuries that have caused me to miss a few major races or disrupted my preparation but still allowed me to get in very good blocks of base training just prevented racing up to what training would indicate. Or more recently major injuries that have impacted on my ability to get in a good training block and racing.
The vast majority of my injuries have been a result of an informed gamble. As deadlines for teams and qualifications were approaching I discussed with my medical support staff the likelihood of niggles or recovering minor injuries holding up to increased training or racing and was often given fairly good odds of making it through and coming out the other side in one piece, so I let my desire to represent Australia at major championships get the better of me and took the gamble even though experience and my better judgment told me not to. Unfortunately not once did I win the gamble. I have no-one to blame for this but me as in the decision is mine and no-one else’s.
So as a result my coach and I have sat down and made adjustments to my training and the way we are going to approach it we have identified (or hope we have) the physiological causes of my injuries and modified my training program. The biggest modification is that of the number of Km’s I do. Looking back at the patterns of injuries my last few more serious injuries have come within 3 or 4 weeks of 120km plus weeks even after slow gradual increase in Km’s. To keep the Km’s down I am no longer doing morning runs but will do bike sessions and pool sessions (I have done a lot of this over the last few years keeping fit in times of injury and seems to keep me fairly fit) in the morning along with the normal core and gym work this way I will still get my Cardiovascular benefit but limit the Km’s and also get the recovery benefits of the bike and pool.
The other major change I will mention now is that I have made the decision to change my focus from trying to make teams and meet the deadlines associated with these to running as fast as I believe I am capable of running, and if I do the teams will come as a result. The main reason for this is to prevent me trying to push through niggles thus making me feel okay about taking a few days or even a week or so to let a niggle resolve before loading it up. Missing 1 week is better than missing a month or 3 down the track.
I have just started to put this plan into effect as I slowly build back into full training after a second stint of Achilles tendonopathy on the right side has finally fully settled I’ve now been back training for 8 weeks (minus 2 weeks for a slight secondary niggle) and all is going well and am happy with how well I maintained my fitness with all the cross training. So we will see if this new plan can provide the balance we have been looking for.
My actual running training over the build up has been fairly simple as I built back up. Lately I’ve been doing fartlek every 2nd day and a steady 40-50min on the in between days for about 70-80km a week and the last few weeks have started adding a bit more structure and intensity doing essentially my normal sessions for base period just a bit slower with lower volume. I should start doing full sessions next week if all keeps going to plan.