Archive | March, 2017

When I Find Myself In Times Of Trouble…

27 Mar

This was a really mixed week. It started well: 5 miles steady on Monday. I took my rest day on Tuesday as I had run 7 days straight and didn’t want to overdo things. I was also tired & dehydrated after a fairly long day in court and reluctant to cancel my evening plans. All well and good, except Wednesday was an even longer and more tiring day in court, so that I got back to Bristol at 7pm, with an orchestra meeting to attend at 8pm. Oops. I ran 3 miles home, inhaled some cheese on toast and went to the 2 hour meeting.

Consequently, I was pretty tired on Thursday. I had another early start for court but decided I wanted to still try and race that evening. It was a beautiful evening:20170323_181650.jpg

But fairly breezy.  I did a 4 mile warm up and felt so-so.  I gave the race my best, but just had no energy. I ended up detached from a group and working alone into a bitter wind and frankly gave up a bit. I just about dipped under 32 min, which is horribly slow for 5 miles. The only saving grace is my legs didn’t feel too bad afterwards, although I was pretty cross with myself!

The next day I ran 11 miles steady then had a pretty brutal sports massage. My quads were very, VERY tender the next day. I spent the Saturday morning/early afternoon interviewing prospective trainee barristers and then did 13 miles. The quads did eventually loosen up … Just!

And so to Sunday. To give my legs some chance, I did my 20 miles in the afternoon, making the most of the extra afternoon daylight! It wasn’t great, pace wise, but for my first >20 mile run in almost 2 months due to the injury layoff it was just a relief to finally have one under my belt. I was lucky enough to have a lovely 3 course meal ready for me afterwards. T is firmly of the view that hungry, hardworking runners should be fed properly: bless him.

64 miles for the week. 4 weeks to go. Current state of mind: 50% positive, 50% negative.


Whenever the moon and stars are set / Whenever the wind is high…

19 Mar

So, this week saw a return to ‘normal’ training.  Hurrah!  Monday was very straightforward: a rest day.  Having run 6 days in a row the preceding Tuesday-Sunday, this seemed like a sensible precaution.  On Tuesday I did 10 miles steady before work.  It was supposed to be split into 6 in the morning and 4 in the evening, but as I had evening plans that was a no-go.  On Wednesday I did 10 miles before work again, but this time: it included some faster running!  For the first time since the Wokingham Half, pretty much…  I broke myself in gently, doing just under 1 mile of fast running and then just over a quarter of a mile easy running, and repeated this 4 times.  The pace for the fast stuff wasn’t amazing by any stretch of the imagination (more like marathon pace than 10k pace, when I’d usually aim to do faster running at half marathon pace as a minimum, and ideally 10k pace), but it was nice to feel that I can at least try to push my body a bit again.  And not have it break down!

On Thursday work nearly delayed play, but I managed to squeeze 12 miles in fairly late on.  It wasn’t the best of runs, as I was pretty tired and dehydrated (I had a 3 hour meeting in which there wasn’t a moment to grab any water earlier in the day), but it was done.  It was a nice illustration of the compromises you have to make when you fit training in around demanding work: all of the running training guides would tell you to postpone your run to another day when that happens.  But in fairness that’s because they don’t have a realisation that on Friday they will be in court all day, with a rehearsal in the evening, and so only time to do an easy 5 mile run (which was the case for me).  By the time I got out for said run on Friday the wind was starting to pick up. It was a sign of things to come!

On Saturday I did 13 miles with 6 sets of the nearly-1-mile-fast-plus-just-over-400m-easy I’d done on Wednesday.  Although the schedule said to do 15 miles steady, this was my compromise.  Again, I could only really hit marathon pace, although I think this was more to do with the wind, which had really picked up by this point.  Although I was notionally running around a square, it felt like a nearly perpetual head wind.  Bleurgh. Perhaps best considered a resistance training session. In the afternoon I did some more playing, ahead of an amazing concert that evening.  I fell in love with Tchaikovsky’s 6th Symphony when I was a teenager, and over 20 years on I still adore it.  Combined with Mozart’s Magic Flute Overture and Rachmaninov’s 3rd Piano Concerto it was a spine-tingling evening – celebrated with beer afterwards, naturally 🙂

And so to today.  It was still really windy today.  Because I didn’t want to risk pushing the Achilles too much I opted for a flat-ish route for my 18 miler (although wasn’t sore yesterday, it came on very suddenly last time, and so I’m being cautious).  This meant loops.  6 of them.  I’m not sure if the wind really was getting stronger through the run or if it was just my legs getting more tired, or both.  But there were several times when I was nearly brought to a standstill.  More resistance training, I guess…

So, that brought up 68 miles for the week: territory I haven’t seen for over a month!  The legs do feel tired, but there is nothing sore which shouldn’t be, so the cautious optimism remains.  I’m just hoping the weather is kinder to me next week…

Three Quarters Of The Way There

12 Mar

This week saw a tentative return to semi-normal training.  After a rest day on Monday (I was in Swansea that morning, which had meant a very early start!) I ran 10 miles on Tuesday, 5 miles on Wednesday, 12 miles on Thursday, 5 miles on Friday, 8 miles on Saturday and 15 miles today, so bring up 55 miles for the week, so about what my schedule says I should run in a recovery week.  My schedule said to run 69 miles this week, so I was a little short of that, but the good news is that my legs feel ok and I don’t feel completely unfit.  Fingers crossed I can now get 4 weeks of full miles with some quality sessions included.  Although I was supposed to be doing the Bath Half Marathon today, it wasn’t worth the risk to my Achilles of running 13.1 miles in lightweight racing shoes, including 2 short, sharp hills, so I opted for the 15 miles steady instead.  It’s all a bit close to the wire, but there is still a chance of a reasonable time at London, even if it may not be the stretch target I had in mind at the outset of this training block!

The Green, Green … Shoots of Recovery

5 Mar


So, last Sunday saw me pretty gloomy, as the previous day I had tried to run and failed, pretty badly.

This Sunday sees me cautiously optimistic.  On Monday I didn’t run, nor did I have time to go the gym, as I was out of the house at 6am and working until about 11pm.  I did squeeze in some core and glute work, but that was the extent of my efforts.  I was up at 6.30am on Tuesday to squeeze in my core and glute work then go to the gym for half an hour, before a full day in court followed by a meeting and then a 3 hour orchestra rehearsal.  I guess that might count as very, very gentle cross-training?  The positives were that walking wasn’t painful, so on Wednesday morning I tried a run.  Nothing bold: just flat loops of just under 1 mile near my home so that if I started to feel any pain I could bail out easily and stop.  Amazingly, given how quickly the pain had started on Saturday, there was no pain this time.  I went to the gym for an hour afterwards and so I guess that was like doing a total of 12-13 miles on the basis each hour in the gym is probably equivalent to about 8 miles.

Thursday, I risked 6 miles, still doing my little loops (7 of them).  Still no pain.  On Friday I did 30 minutes in the gym in the morning and then 7 miles that afternoon.  I did a less flat route that day, although I did pick the less steep hills to and from the Downs.  It wasn’t the most beautiful of afternoons, but there is nothing like a period of enforced time off running to make you appreciate even a simple 7 mile run on a drizzly afternoon.

And so to the weekend.  I continued my very careful progress and ran 8 miles followed by an hour on the cross-trainer on Saturday and then 9 miles followed by an hour on the cross-trainer on Sunday.

So that means 35 miles run (about 50% of my planned mileage) and 4 hours on the cross-trainer, which is about 30 miles or thereabouts.  That means just under 65 miles, which is about what the schedule said.  My plan is to try and do about 75% of my mileage next week, supplemented by some gym work.  I’ll still have to take things a day at a time, because if the calf starts to feel tight, or the adductor causes problems, I’ll have to be wise.  It’s too early now to say how the last 2 weeks will affect London, which is 7 weeks away.  Fingers crossed I can still get 4 big weeks in ahead of the race and then taper for 2 weeks.  It’s not time to abandon hope yet, but it’s too early to be sure.  I just have to remember that in 2013 I overcame a torn calf at a similar stage in my build up to still achieve my sub-3 target.