I'm wondering if anybody has had experience with a dramatic seasonal drop in performance like the one I seem to have every year. This year I've gone from running 8:01 indoors in (solid race and even splits) to 14:09 outdoors (last 4 laps: :68, :69, :70, :71) to 14:32 two days ago (1st lap at :65 and slowing every lap to :74s by the end). The week before the 14:09 was one of my best weeks of training ever and the 2 months since my 8:01 were my most consistant ever and I thought I was ready to run low 13:50s if not under 13:50. A few days before the race though I started to feel really sluggish, especially on my easy runs. I thought maybe I didn't taper enough so I cut my mileage back over the past couple of weeks in order to freshen up a bit. The week after the 14:09 felt terrible (I felt like I was running in sand on all my runs) but at the end of the week (5 days before the 14:32) I ran my best set of km repeats ever. The next couple of days were just easy runs and I felt like I was running in sand again. Warming up for the race though I felt incredible. My legs were fresh and my strides felt effortless. But a couple laps into the race my body flooded with lactic acid and no matter how much I tried to relax I just kept getting slower. The pattern seems to be that I feel great on any workout in which I'm not building up a lot of lactic acid (or the recoveries are enough to clear the lactic out before the next repeat) and feel terrible on anything sustained/aerobic.
I had allergy induced asthma in the late 90s and had to use an inhaler to control my wheezing at this time of the year but since I haven't had a problem with that since then I've attributed my seaonal drops in performance to other factors such as stressful exam periods or over-training. However, I never seem to have this problem at any other time of the year. I didn't race last years track season but here are my times from the previous two (for the same 2 early season races and all 4 races dying hard): 2003 - 14:07, 14:48
2004 - 14:07, 14:22
Because of these performances I've often made the decision to back off on my mileage to freshen up, but this has often come at the expense of ruining my later season distance performances (although I have often gone on to run prs at 800 and 1500 as a result). If these poor performances are due to allergies do I need to back off or should I just suffer through this period and pretend I'm training at altitude? Also, does anybody have any advice on how I can overcome this situation?
p.s. My other allegy symptoms include itchy skin and eyes but I never have a runny nose.
Thanks in advance for any advice.