Archive | February, 2018

The Past Is A Foreign Country; They Do Things Differently There

11 Feb

Ah, the joys of social media.  Reminders keep on popping up in my Facebook feed, reminding me that around this time last year I was able to do an extra-long long run, getting all the way to Wales and back, or that I did the Wokingham Half Marathon around this time most years, or that I had a bit of a grumble about a recovery run (presumably 5 or 6 miles) being in tough conditions on tired legs.  The days of 55-70 mile weeks feel a long way off, and they are.  Here’s how this week panned out:

Monday.  A day of rest.  I was pretty tired from all the travelling over the weekend and had a longish day in court, followed by working until gone 9pm.

Tuesday.  Out of the door by 6.45am for a 4 mile run.  No walking.  Just 4 miles straight.  It was cold, it was dark, I was restricted to doing mindless short loops to avoid any hills, but it was 4 miles straight.  First time in 3.5 weeks.  In a lot of ways, it marked real progress.  After working so late the night before, it was nice to get a proper evening with T.

Wednesday I ran 4 miles in the evening.  It felt pretty ok, and the pace (8.17m/m) was better than the previous day’s (8.29m/m).  I trusted the ankle a bit more, and didn’t feel quite so tentative.

Thursday I went to the gym for an hour before work.  30 minutes on the bike, including some HITT stuff to raise the heart rate a bit and get the legs turning over fast (10s hard, 10s easy every 3rd minute) and then 30 minutes on the adaptive motion trainer (bit like a cross-trainer, but feels a little closer to running).  It was lucky I did go to the gym in the morning, because I was working until gone 11pm.  Dinner was pizza al desko.  Everyone’s favourite…

Friday I went for a swim (15 minutes) and then tried 30 minutes of aqua jogging in the teaching pool, which was empty.  It’s apparently 4 feet in the shallows, which works for me, because at not much over 5 feet that means only my head was really above water (I’ve bought an aqua-jogging belt, but didn’t have it with me).  Having belatedly watched some Youtube videos, I’m not sure my technique was textbook, although frankly there doesn’t seem to be a consensus on quite a few things, but it definitely made my legs and arms work hard.

Saturday I did my third 4 mile run of the week.  The weather was a bit grim, but the pace was a further improvement (8.11m/m) and the ankle felt pretty good.  Swimming/aqua-jogging seems to help the ankle: I guess it’s the movement coupled with the support from the water.  Or perhaps it’s the coolness of the water.  Or all of the above.

Today I did my fourth 4 mile run of the week.  I’m delighted to say I maxed out pace-wise and broke the 8m/m barrier.  Storming!  And the ankle felt ok.  I think I could have done another mile or 2, but I’d rather finish a run feeling I could do another mile or 2 than push things too much at this stage.

And so this week I’ve done 16 miles.  In normal marathon training my second longest run of the week would be 15 miles, which is why that blogger who used to knock out 55-70 miles without a thought seems like a slightly alien creature just at the moment.  Realistically, it’ll be a case of adding a mile or 2 to my daily runs each week over the coming weeks.  Perhaps I’ll add some strides to some runs in a couple of weeks’ time and introduce some very gentle speed-work once I’m comfortably running 30-40 miles per week without trouble, with a view to returning to racing in April/May (only shorter distances).  When a runner is injured it’s pretty common to have a phase of denial, followed by acceptance.  I’m in the acceptance phase now, and if I do a marathon this year, it’ll be in the autumn, if at all.  With some weaknesses remaining in my glute and my ankle on the left-hand side, I really need to get those fixed before I contemplate the sort of mileage and intensity that I used to run, otherwise I’ll be adding my knee to that list before you know it!


Patience Is A Virtue

4 Feb

Well, I’m sure patience is a virtue, and I’m having to learn it!  After my walk/run on Sunday I headed off to Heathrow to fly out to Barcelona, and then on to Girona to see a friend (J) who now lives out there.  Back when I’d planned this it was going to be part of a peak mileage week and I was going to make the most of the beautiful trails around Girona to get some decent runs in, in daylight and sunshine.  I had to change that a bit, and settled for a decent hike in the hills on Monday, which the ankle seemed to cope ok with, and then walk/runs on Tuesday and Wednesday.  On Tuesday I covered 5 miles and on Wednesday I covered 5.75 miles.  I should probably confess that Wednesday was only supposed to be 5 miles again, but – as is so often the case – having confidently said I now knew the 5 mile loop, I went wrong twice, covering an extra 0.75 miles.  Still, at least I know I can cover that distance, too!  On Tuesday I was still doing 1 minute walking to every 1-1.5 minutes of running, but on Wednesday I cut the walk breaks back to 45 seconds, and the ankle seemed ok with that.  I was also lucky enough to be able to have a sports massage on Wednesday, so I really was very well cared for every which way!

On Thursday I caught the train up to Brussels (via Paris), to catch up with another friend.  It’s fair to say that Girona beats Brussels hands-down for weather, but it is also a lovely city, and it was great to see J again (J2?  I only visited friends whose names began with J on this trip!).  I did a 5.5 mile run/walk on Friday (cutting the walk segments back to 30s within each 1/4 mile section) and then 4.75 miles on Saturday.  I was also doing quite a lot of walking as a tourist, and so overall it was a really positive progression in terms of recovery.

I travelled back last night arriving home rather late, and then went to the gym this morning.  I still don’t think I should push things too much with the ankle (especially now there’s no plan to try and get fit quickly for the London Marathon), and so the general plan is to run no more than consecutive days and then do a swim or gym session on the third day.  Hopefully I can now do easy runs of 5 miles this coming week, as the 30s breaks suggest the ankle could manage that.  I’ll review at the end of the week and see what progression might or might not be possible after that!

I’ll finish with a few holiday snaps.  Not really running related, but pretty/funny!

Brussels ‘dog’

Beautiful Brussels architecture – a little more cultured!

Girona city walls

Towards the end of the hike in Girona