Archive | November, 2017

Oops, I Did It Again…

26 Nov

This week started ok. My legs were a bit tired, but I did 6 miles easy on Monday and then 11 miles including my club session on Tuesday. The pace for the session was a fraction slower than I’d have preferred, but I’d started cautiously to ensure I looked after the hamstring/glute I’d tweaked the previous week. My 5 mile run to work the next morning was certainly a lot more comfortable than last week’s Wednesday morning effort!

On Thursday I did 7 miles steady before having a long overdue massage. As I had suspected, the left hamstring/glute were pretty tight and painful, but I walked out feeling that I was finally moving much more freely again. It did tighten up a little that evening but after some stretching felt ok, and I was able to do 15 miles pretty comfortably on Friday.

I wanted to keep Saturday free because I was travelling up to London for the National Pupillage Fair (pupillage is the final part of a barrister’s training, and most barristers’ chambers offer pupillages. This fair is where we go to charm students into applying to us!). The train up was rammed (sorry, in train speak “full and standing”), and unfortunately when there was a very hard jolt, I felt the left glute/hammie tighten again: exactly the sort of spasm which caused the problem a week and a half before. Damn! Saturday ended up being pretty hectic and I didn’t squeeze in the decent stretching session I should have done.

All of that sets the ground for today: the Sri Chinmoy 10k in Battersea Park. It was very cold, which didn’t help, and wearing leggings might have looked after my tight muscles better than shorts. I’ll never know! I didn’t have any significant pain warming up, although could feel the hamstring was tight. At the 5km point I tried to lift the pace a little and felt the familiar catch of pain in the glute/hamstring insertion point. It was quite clear I couldn’t run with a full length stride, so took advantage of a multi lap course to drop out and jog back to my accommodation. I’ve done some stretching, and I’ll do a bit more stretching/foam rolling/sitting on a tennis ball later. Fingers crossed it will settle quickly: I need to start marathon training soon!


Quiet Sleep And A Sweet Dream When The Long Trick’s Over

19 Nov

Another 60 mile week: it’s becoming quite a habit again!

It started with a rest day, which let the legs freshen up a little before my club session on Tuesday.  It was a big session: 8 x 4 mins off 1 minute recovery.  Unfortunately part way through the session (which was on grass/mud), I slipped a little, and did feel my left hamstring/glute tighten a little.  I was able to finish the session at an ok pace, but it was a bit tight over the following few days.  As a consequence, I restricted myself to easy jogs on Wednesday (6 miles), Thursday (7 miles) and Friday (6 miles).  It also made sense to do that because I had rehearsals on Wednesday and Friday for my concert on Saturday – and I was finishing off what ultimately became an 8 day case over the first 4 days, and was beginning to feel pretty emotionally drained.

I had a bit of a lie-in on Saturday, and although I still felt a bit tired, my legs felt rather better and so I set off for 12 miles, including 20 sets of 1 minute faster, 1 minute slower.  In the afternoon I had a rehearsal and then the concert.  I’d not known the Walton Cello Concerto before we started rehearsals, but I am now a total convert.  I was blown away by the piece, and by how brilliantly fellow orchestra member Jane played it.  It was followed by Mahler’s First Symphony, which I’ve always loved, ever since I first played it the best part of 25 years ago.  Although I think I can play it rather better now – a bit of bluffing may have gone on at the back of the second violins back in the early 90s!  All in all, it was an absolutely amazing evening, and we were all buzzing afterwards.  Post concert beers were definitely called for, and very much enjoyed as we dissected the concert to our heart’s content.  It meant a rather late night, followed by a lazy morning.  I eventually headed off for my long run late morning, and although the pace (8.26s) was by no means great, it was a lovely sunny day to be out there enjoying the autumnal colours.  And in a rare treat, no need to work this afternoon.  Bliss.

Let Others Hail the Rising Sun: I Bow To That Whose Course Is Run

12 Nov

A bumper edition to cover the last two weeks!

I started last week with a 3 day trial in Worcester.  It’s an annoying sort of distance from home: 2.5-3 hours of travelling each day is enough to really eat into your time but kind of close enough that a hotel feels a bit extravagant. However, I opted for extravagance (well, a mid-budget chain hotel…), because I had a sneaking suspicion that if I didn’t I’d end up doing extremely long days and struggling to fit everything in.  I made the most of the hotel and the clocks having changed to get some daylight runs in: 6 miles on Monday (when it was extremely cold, although beautiful to run along the river/canal with the sun rising and everything a bit frosty), 8 miles on Tuesday (milder, thank goodness) and 10 miles on Wednesday (making the most of not having to be at court until 10am!).  However, I didn’t leave Worcester until 5pm, and had just enough time to grab my violin and a snack to get to my orchestra rehearsal.  I think I sat down about 15 seconds before we started to tune up…  I was knackered on Thursday, so took it as a rest day, and focused on having a nice evening with T at the theatre (War Horse: loved it!).  On Friday I just did 6 easy miles after a long day at work.  By Saturday it was time to do the tougher session I’d had half a mind to do on Thursday or Friday, but had put off as I wasn’t feeling great.  It was 6 x c. 1 mile with about 3 mins jog recovery.  It’s never easy, and without company I struggled a bit in the last few. However, my complete exhaustion for the rest of the day told me that – even if the times were a bit slower than I wanted, around current half-marathon pace rather than half-marathon pb pace, as I’d hoped – I’d definitely put the right amount of effort in!  A nice lazy afternoon on the sofa doing my book club homework was the perfect recovery.  On Sunday I had a long orchestra rehearsal (10-5) and so did my 18 mile run afterwards. I was a bit tired, and also a bit stiff. I probably should have done some stretching or yoga in the morning, or at least gone for a walk at lunchtime.  For whatever reason, the run was a bit of a trudge, and I only just dipped under 8.30m/m.  The last 3 or 4 miles I was definitely running on empty, and was rather pleased to collapse in front of a tasty dinner prepared by T.  Although I love cooking, it’s now kind of hard to imagine how I coped when I had to cook for myself after every training session…

And so to this week. I was starting a 10 day trial on the Monday, and definitely didn’t have the energy to get up early to run that morning after my long run/trudge the night before.  I then had an orchestra meeting that evening, so it was my rest day by default rather than design.  I did force myself to get up on Tuesday morning and fit 6 miles in ahead of my day in court, because I had a 3 hour rehearsal that evening.  It was a fantastic rehearsal, however: music and running help me switch off from the stresses of work in very different ways.  We were playing a beautiful programme for the concert we ultimately performed on Armistice Day: Butterworth’s A Shropshire Lad, Elgar’s Cello Concerto and Vaughan Williams’ London Symphony.  The Elgar was also a cathartic release after receiving the sad news that a classmate from school had passed away.  Too young; too soon.

On Wednesday I had another rehearsal (different orchestra: next week’s concert!), and managed 7 miles beforehand, although I probably only had time for 6.  Once again I arrived just as we were tuning up!  On Thursday, for the first time in ages, I made it to my club session, and was very glad I did. Although I’d been hitting some reasonable times when training alone, having a pack to chase makes an enormous difference.  By way of example, the last time I did some 1km reps, I managed 3.54 per km.  On Thursday we did 2km reps, and although my first one was 7.50 (so 3.55/km), my second was 7.40 (or 3.50/km) and my third was 7.35 (or 3.37.5/km).  What a difference a group makes!  I was really pleased to finally hit 38 minute 10km pace again.  It’s been a while.

My legs were pretty tired on Friday, but we had a non-sitting day in my trial, and so I made the most of the chance to get a midweek run done in daylight, and ground out 11 miles on a fairly hilly route. Once again I was only just under 8.30s, but it was a tough route and I could definitely feel the session in my legs.  Yesterday morning I ran a steady 9 miles at 8.20s, ahead of a rehearsal and then the Armistice Day concert.  It was an amazing concert to play, to a pretty big audience, although hard work on the arms and brain.

That simply left my long run to be done this morning.  I cheerfully informed T that the rain had gone, and headed off to cover 18 miles.  About an hour in, the heavens opened.  And the rain very quickly turned to hail.  I was already regretting not bringing gloves, and this seemed like the nail in the coffin to my run without popping home (just a few hills away…) to get some gloves.  Thankfully, the heavy shower left as quickly as it arrived, and after about 15 minutes the feeling began to return to my hands. The last hour was really quite pleasant, and the pace was much better than last weekend: 8.13s.  Still not fast, but it goes to show what an enormous difference it makes to be rested, and running in daylight.  It’s one of the reasons I try very hard not to get too bogged down in paces for long/steady runs, because so many things can affect how you run, and mine can vary by as much as 30s/mile from one week to the next!

So, that’s seen two weeks of 60 miles.  I definitely haven’t done that much mileage since March.  It feels like the pace is gradually coming back, and that – although it’s a long way off – I’m building a good foundation for London 2018.