Dan Mulhare Column: Black-out a reminder to ease up

I’ve been suffering with a calf niggle for a few months now, and although some days it’s fine out here and I can do the training I want to, other days it limits what I can do, which is frustrating to say the least. Last week I gave a typical weekly training program. I’m getting some good work done, but it’s not the ideal training I want to be doing.

I’ve been suffering with a calf niggle for a few months now, and although some days it’s fine out here and I can do the training I want to, other days it limits what I can do, which is frustrating to say the least. Last week I gave a typical weekly training program. I’m getting some good work done, but it’s not the ideal training I want to be doing.

If I can’t do the kind of track session I want to do and I can’t do any really fast runs, I’m left with just the Poly Poly (Easy Easy) runs to do. Again that’s not really exciting. To overcome the boredom of these easy runs I’ve been adding in quite a lot of extra work.

The easy running I do just acts as a warm up for a bike session or an Aqua Jogging session in the pool. The last week has seen me run twice or three times a day, but nothing impressive, and each of those runs is followed by either a bike or pool session or both.

I’m not a sports scientist, I’m a Civil Engineer, so I don’t know a huge amount about the how the body reacts to different training sessions. I know when I feel good and I know when I feel bad and I know when I’m tired. I’m fairly old school when it comes to running training, basically I think if you want to run fast in races you have to run fast in training, fairly primitive but it has served me well thus far.

Not being able to run fast in training means I can’t get my Heart Rate up high enough to get a cardio workout done. Hammering it on the bike allows me to get my Heart Rate up but doesn’t mimic a running action, so it’s not ideal. Aqua Jogging does mimic a running action, but no matter how fast I try to Aqua Jog Run I can’t get my Heart Rate up.

This means that each day I have to do three different session, just to get the benefits of a medium to fast paced run. This means that I’m training a lot. Some days I can spend up to eight hours training, that included all the stretching and flexibility work I also have to do.

With all that training comes some side effects – no prizes for guessing that you’d be tired if you were training for 6,7 or 8 hours a day. Well I’m trying my best to get fit while remaining healthy for this summer’s track season, and this is what it takes.

Unfortunately for me all the training has caught up with me, and without giving myself the correct rest I needed, I just tried to plough through the workload. A few days ago after four very heavy days of training in a row, I had a little set back.

I was walking through my house and completely blacked out - lights out, knocked out, fainted - whatever you want to call it, I was on the floor, but not before I collapsed onto a wooden table and some chairs on my way down.

I can’t remember seeing anything, but I do remember hearing and feeling what was happening. It was a strange experience, and the first time I have blacked out. Unfortunately for me I hit my left rib cage on our wooden dining table. It is fairly sturdy, and I also managed to hit my face just about my right eye on something on the way down.

Fortunately for me, my house mate was in, and heard all the noise and came to see what had happened. Again, because I was out I don’t really know what actually happened, but Myles told me I was out for a little over a minute, or that’s what he thinks, he didn’t stop and clock it.

After feeling myself hit the table followed by landing on the floor, I just remember him picking me up off the floor, and sitting me down.

Immediately after I came too, I felt a little off, not overly dizzy but certainly something didn’t feel right. After an hour or so I began to feel myself again. The result of the whole incident has left me with badly bruised ribs. I’ve been to see the Physio and he doesn’t think they are fractured, but if the pain doesn’t go away in the next few days I’ll get a scan on them.

The pain in my ribs has meant that I can’t take deep breaths, which again is hindering my training and not really allowing me to do what I would like to. I’ve had to get strapping on the rib cage, to stop it from expanding and to reduce the pain. Hopefully within a week I’ll be back to normal.

Coming to Kenya for 13 weeks allows me to have some setbacks, although it would be much better if I didn’t have any, and still get some great training done. It takes at least two weeks to acclimatize properly and so if I was only here for 4 or 5 weeks, the whole trip could have been wasted because of one little accident.

When the European Cross Country championships were on in Dublin in 2009, Mo Farah finished 2nd, to a drug cheat, but he ran himself unconscious. When he crossed the finish line he collapsed and had to be taken away to receive oxygen. Ciaran O’Lionaird, an Irish athlete who will be competing at the Olympics this year, had to receive oxygen after the European Cross Country Championships in 2010 in Portugal shortly after he crossed the finishing line.

Although it might seem strange, it’s not all that uncommon for middle and long distance athletes to run themselves into exhaustion, to the point where even their own body can’t help them recover. Perhaps my blacking out was a warning sign to take an easy few days. I guess I won’t know, but I’ll remember it, at least until the pain in my ribs goes away.