The Titan Probe by Brandon Q. Morris. Sequel to The Enceladus Mission, old-fashioned hard SF with some good tech stuff. Thought it was a bit better than the first volume in terms of the relationships involved, but a bit less original in terms of its ideas. Still, a good series, fun light reading for hard SF fans.
What I'm Reading 2
Finally decided to bite the bullet and read the hardcore running bible Daniels' Running Formula by Jack Daniels. (No, not that one). (Partly because I was getting bored looking for free online training plans and fighting them either paywalled or aimed at absolute beginners).
Daniels is a serious researcher who has done a lot of work on VO2-max, also a practical running coach, and Olympic gold medallist in the Pentathlon. The book is half aimed at runners and half aimed at other running coaches, with lots of tips on how to get the best out of your athletes.
The book has some moderately technical information with plenty of graphs of performance. While I've been doing it for a while, this is the first thing I've read that clearly explained why easy running is so important:
E running does a good job of developing the heart muscle, since the maximum force of each stroke of the heart is reached when the heart rate is at about 60 percent of maximum. As you run faster, the heart rate and the amount of blood pumped with each heartbeat (referred to as stroke volume) both increase, but stroke volume increases minimally. So, fairly easy running is a good developer of the heart muscle, and although it doesn't feel as ifn you are working very hard, your heart is.The book has detailed training plans for a wide variety of races with a variety of approaches. However it only goes up to marathon distance, there isn't much detail on ultra-marathons at all. He also thinks that you should not train for more than two and a half hours even if you're a slow marathon runner: he thinks the 20-ish mile training runs that other coaches recommend for marathoners should only apply to fast runners who can get them done within that time.
Another benefit of E running is an increase in vascularization (opening of more tiny blood vessels that feed the exercising muscles) and the development of characteristics of the muscles themselves that are involved in running. Even during E running, your heart is delivering a good amount of blood and oxygen to the exercising muscles, and these muscles respond by making changes in the muscle fibers that allow the muscles to accept more oxygen and convert more fuel into energy in a given period. In fact, many of the benefits gained as a result of this process are a function of time spent stressing the muscle fibers.
There are also tables where you can look up your level based on race results and decide what an Easy, Marathon, Threshold, Interval and Repetition pace are for you. There are similar tools for this online though.
He also has a fair amount of general advice for running. Daniels advocates a cautious approach with plenty of rest and slow but steady improvements. Amongst his tips are: race the first two-thirds of a race with your head and the last third with your heart, stay at a level for for weeks before increasing stress.
Overall I liked this book a lot: it was great to have all this stuff in one place. However it might be a bit too technical for some, and most of the information is widely available though scattered.
What I'm Watching
Saw Joker at the cinema. Pretty good film: intense atmosphere and I thought it did well at walking the fine line between having sympathy for the protagonist without actually approving of him.
It would be good if the Joker could at some point actually be funny, but that seems to have been strictly forbidden for the last few films for some reason: I think they're a bit too scared of undermining him as a villain.
Trying to carry out three week recovery plan after my ultra. Week 2 is a lot easier as I can run on my old schedule, but only easy runs from 30 to 60 minutes. That's about all I can handle anyway as I still have some muscle pain even from those runs.
Also trying to try out some minimalist shoes (Vibram KSOs) as you need a lot of time to adapt so I thought the recovery weeks with not much running would be a good chance. They feel good to wear around the house and walking is fine, but running on hard surfaces feels very uncomfortable, and I can't get to any soft surfaces without going quite a way over hard ones. In retrospect would have been easier to do this in summer where I can see where I'm treading on morning runs.
Pics. Space to roam.
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