So, I’ve just finished my guinea pig trial and all repeat testing completed. A truly enjoyable and eye-opening experience. I have learned so much from the 12 weeks, not just about lifting weights but also about my own body. I’ve discovered that I can include supplemental training with my running schedule without much impact on weekly mileage. Long miles and steady pace runs are possible without feeling too fatigued.
On Tuesday, I was back in the Performance Lab for a repeat of running economy, VO2max, and lactate threshold testing. Being honest, I was somewhat nervous about this even though it wasn’t my research. I have become so invested in what this trial has opened my eyes to that I wanted to prove the hypothesis myself. However, when you have a running test that isn’t a race, all you can do is run until the test is complete.
On Friday it was back to the Performance Gym for a repeat of the strength tests. Recall I started out at an 80kg back squat for my one-rep max at the beginning of this trial. A couple of week’s ago I broke past a magic number that my brother (a rather serious lifter in his younger days) had told me would be a great result. The 137.5kg (300lb+) mark had been my sole focus since Christmas (the plate sizes in the gym wouldn’t give me a 136kg option to reach 300lb more precisely).
Stepping under the bar for a repeat of the one-rep max test had me wondering just where this was going to go. It stood to reason that dropping from a 5-rep set at 137.5kg to a one-rep max would see some gain but I honestly didn’t expect what happened. I topped out at 157.5kg without trying for 160kg – my knees were seemingly on the edge and not worth attempting a bigger lift.
One word: “transformative”. With all the testing completed, that’s how I said farewell to Mark. The results will arrive in the coming weeks and I’ll get to see just what has changed. Some things such as the one-rep max are obvious, instant results. However, ego aside they mean very little in terms of what I really want to know: How much of an impact has all this had on my running economy?
For the next number of weeks I’m going to be like a kid awaiting Santa Claus! My running feels noticeably stronger and more connected since about halfway through the trial. How much of that is just in my head has yet to be determined. I’m training to make a difference but that doesn’t mean that I am. My mentality will not influence the tests nor make the sensors read in my favour. I just have to sit tight and hope that this is all pointing towards something I want to be true.
Testing completed, I am now on my own. I finalised the training calendar that I drafted earlier in the year (subject to tweaks of course). Advice from Mark helped me to line up sensible weight sessions against the high mileage I was proposing. So, on my own but also armed with all the tools I need to continue this experiment. The Oregano Project is fleeing the nest and into the unknown. I will run several marathon distances by the end of the year but I anticipate nothing else as of yet. I may still fall flat on my face, embarrassed, and no better off. Although, trying something new to see what you can learn from it, is never a complete failure. Here we go!