|Last night's slam ball exercises|
Monday was not a great start - only 15.64km covered. Tuesday made up for that a bit - 25.23km covered. Wednesday consisted of a 6.25km run to work and then a run around the airport with some of my colleagues, which was 15.5km. That made 21.75km in total by the time I left work, but things were not over yet. Wednesday night is as some of you know, group coached running session night with Hillseeker Fitness. I was having some problems with my ITB band on Tuesday and Wednesday, and I half considered skipping the class. What I found on Wednesday lunchtime though was that a run actually helped to loosen things up and didn't make it any worse.
Why am I getting ITB problems now and not before when I was running 100km a week for several consecutive months earlier in the year may you ask. I think the problem is caused by a lack of stretching. I am really lax at spending time stretching after my runs, and I am currently running 2 or 3 times per day, so that is not good practise at all. I am definitely going to have to make more effort on the stretching front.
Negrita was home alone all day on Wednesday, so the only way I could go to Jeff's class was if she came with me. He agreed that I could bring her along, and I pre-cleared it with 2 of the people in the class who are afraid of dogs. Now the problem with Negrita is that she barks a lot, and I knew that she would bark like crazy with all the other runners around me and all the other dogs off lead on the sports fields next to the Saalsporthalle. She usually tends to stop barking once she is tired out though, so it was perfect that Jeff had planned a pinwheel session (essentially a hard intervals session).
I held Negrita while Jeff did a mental toughness exercise and a box breathing exercise, so that she would not bark. Then it was time for the pinwheel. This if you recall consists of multiple spokes and the group splits into smaller groups, each small group being assigned a spoke. You run hard to the end of the spoke and then easy back to the centre. Then you rotate clockwise to cover the next spoke and so on. After 6 minutes Jeff told us to switch so that we ran easy out to the end of the spoke and then hard back to the centre. Then he reversed things one final time, and that was the end of the exercise.
The other runners in the class were very impressed just how fast Negrita was considering her small stature. She is more suited to steady state running than intervals though, and after sprinting along 8 spokes she was hot and bothered and needed a rest. I tied her to a post at the centre of the pinwheel and continued the exercise by myself.
To round the session off, Jeff got us doing some core exercises. We did 3 sets in total, each set consisting of 1 minute of slam ball throws, 1 minute of sit-up work with a curved pad under our backs (to help isolate the abs apparently) and 1 minute of single leg raises in a plank position. A slam ball is a little like a medicine ball, except that it is designed to be able to handle hard impacts. In our case we had to lift the slam ball over our head and throw it down onto the ground in front of us as hard and as fast as possible. It is a form of plyometric training. I found the sit-ups much harder with the pad under my back, which Jeff explained means that I am normally using my hip flexors too much to help me up.
When I finished the session I felt a little sick and had to take 5 minutes to recover my senses. It has been a tough week, but there are only a few more weeks like this to go and then I will have to start easing back ready for the big race. By the end of last night I had covered 68.12km so far this week. Then I ran to work today via Zurich Central (9.26km) and I will be running again in a short while, once I have taken a quick power nap.