Archive | December, 2019

Driving Home For Christmas…

29 Dec

On Monday I started my holiday-time with a steady 5 mile run.  My legs were pretty tired, so I kept the pace very steady.  I then had a day pottering around picking up bits and pieces we needed for gifts.

On Tuesday (Christmas Eve) I meant to do a medium-long run, but the weather was a bit grim, so I postponed that to the following morning, and opted for an hour (7.5 miles) with some strides in there.  I was pleased at how my foot and ankle felt afterwards, though: no pain 🙂

On Wednesday (Christmas Day), I slightly regretted my decision the previous day, as I had to be out of the door in the dark if I was to get a 10 mile run done in time for us to be in London for noon.  But once I’d got the first few miles out of the way, and the sun began to creep up over the horizon, I realised how lucky I was to be out and about: it was a clear, crisp morning, with just the slightest dusting of frost.  The roads were pretty much empty, and so the usual background hum of the city traffic was silent.  I could hear the monkeys calling for their breakfast in the zoo!  After a quick shower and breakfast (and then opening our presents to each other, which we almost forgot to do!), T and I then went to spend the day with T’s family.  It was a lovely, relaxing day, just as it should be: plenty of food, nice drinks, and great company.

On Thursday (Boxing Day), I’d opted for a rest day so that I didn’t have to pack running kit and sneak out early.  After breakfast T and I headed over to spend the day with my family.  It was the first time we’d all been together since my birthday in the summer, and so great to see everyone.  We made it home early evening, and were welcomed by the cats, although it could have been cupboard love (they do like their cat sitter, too, possibly for the same reason!).

On Friday I did another 10 mile run, but this time with the luxury of daylight all the way.  On Saturday, it was another 7.5 miles with strides (bit of a theme here).  Again, my legs felt fine afterwards (although I could really notice that they’d had to do faster running again: whatever fast-twitch fibres my endurance runner’s legs possess have been taking it easy during the recent lay-off, that much is clear).

Today, it was 15 miles steady.  My legs felt pretty tired by the end of it, but it was nice to note from my Garmin data that I’d covered 55 miles this week and (drum roll) 2,002 this year: for the first time since 2016 I’ve actually covered more than 2,000 miles in a calendar year (with 2 more runs to go)!  It may still be chicken-feed compared to the peak years, when I was doing 2 full marathon campaigns and easily covering 2,500, but it’s an encouraging sign. Edit: the memory plays funny tricks on you. Re-reading previous blog posts, it seems I covered well over 2,000 miles in 2017, it’s just last year that was very low (1,640). But because 2017’s mileage was so much lower than 2016’s, I now misremember it as terrible. When in fact, I’d bite your hand off to have simply equalled it this year! Ah well, maybe my 2020 resolution is to check before blogging…


The End Of Term

22 Dec

I’d planned this as a cut-back week, but with my first bit of gentle quality work included.  That meant 5 miles on Monday, 6 miles on Tuesday including some strides, 6 miles on Wednesday, a rest on Thursday, 6 miles with some strides on Friday, 8 miles on Saturday and 14 miles today: a total of 45 for the week.

The strides went ok: I wore my lightweight trainers for the first time in weeks, and the foot was ok, albeit a bit tired afterwards.  My calves also let me know it was a while since they’d had to do faster running in less protective shoes!

Friday was my last day in work for 2 weeks.  It’s fair to say I was ready for a break, and am looking forward to a chance to run, to do strength and conditioning work daily, to stretch daily, to play my violin, to read, and generally to catch up on the things which often have to be jettisoned when pressures of work require it.

On The Road Again?

15 Dec

I started the week with a 6 mile recovery run, and then took a rest day on Tuesday. I’d not slept well and was feeling really flat, and so having seen quite how grim the weather was, it was an easy decision to take! It wasn’t a totally running-free day, though, as I had dinner with some clubmates and finally caught up on everyone’s news: that’s what you really miss when you can’t go to club training!

On Wednesday evening I did another easy 6 miles as, late in the day, I found out we had no judge for our hearing the next day, so I’d be able to get a decent length daylight run in. Although what was good news for my running was horrible news for lay clients who now have to wait who knows how long to have their hearing…

So, Thursday saw 11 steady miles completed, plus some work-related reading and of course going to vote. My foot was a little tired because of running twice only about 14 hours apart, and the rain was grim, but a daylight run is a treat at this time of year!

Friday was an easy 6 miles (with the foot much improved for 24 hours’ rest) and Saturday was 8 miles “steady”: although at times the only way to move forwards was to up the effort on a very windy day! I finished the week with 13 miles today. It was 4 laps of the Downs, and the first 2 were a bit wet and breezy, but the last 2 were rather pleasant. So, that’s 50 miles for the week. Almost base marathon mileage! All steady, all on the flat, and all in supportive shoes with orthotics, but also all pretty much pain free. Progress. But also not a time to be greedy: it’s about running well by 26th April, not 26th December!

Some Steps In The Right Direction

8 Dec

I started the week with a 6 mile plod.  My legs felt a bit tired and the foot was ok, but not great.  I had an early start on Tuesday, so took that as my rest day, and squeezed 5 miles in on Wednesday morning.  My cunning plan to run each morning was then disrupted by an urgent hearing to cover on Thursday in Newport, so I ran that evening instead.  I’d been feeling a bit tired and flat for most of the week and it wasn’t the best run, but hey, it was 7 miles on a week day for the first time since my foot went ping, so I tried to take the positives.  On Friday I wasn’t in court and so ran 7 miles at lunchtime to try and give the foot a slightly longer recovery, but not run in the evening as had our work Christmas party then.  (I know, the 6th of December feels a bit early, but there it is.)

I felt a tad delicate on Saturday, but did 8 miles at a surprisingly ok pace.  Otherwise, bar a bit of food shopping, I didn’t achieve a huge amount (other than completing my London marathon entry):

This morning I felt rather more sprightly, and so did 12 miles.  It was pretty windy out there, so doing loops was probably the best option there was, but it did mean that I started to dread the windiest parts of the loop as they approached!

45 miles for the week.  Getting there.

In terms of London marathon training, I’ve decided it’s more realistic to do a 12 week build up, which means starting ‘real’ marathon training well into January, so that I can spend the next month and a bit focusing on re-building my aerobic base as best I can (this means plenty of steady miles and then adding some strides 2 or 3 times a week) and doing plenty of strength and conditioning so that my body is as strong as possible before I start the more intensive training.  Although in some ways I’d rather do a longer build-up for London, I’ve got to be realistic that I’m not in a position to start doing 55-70 miles a week including speedwork in 2 weeks’ time, which is what my more typical 18 week build-up would require.

Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life?

1 Dec

A fortnight has flown by.  Last week was pretty busy.  From a running point of view it started well enough, with a gentle 5 miles on Monday morning, but then things seemed to go a bit downhill.  The foot was pretty sore, so I rested it on Tuesday and then tried a gentle run on Wednesday, but that was little better, so I bailed at 3.5 miles and came home.  I rested it again on Thursday, and finally felt able to run (carefully!) on Friday.  6 miles was ok.  I ran another 6 miles on Saturday and then 10 on Sunday.  I identified that I think the issue was that I’d done quite a lot of walking to and from orchestra rehearsals in trainers, but without bothering to put my orthotics in (orthotics are inserts which help support your feet: mine were suggested after a run of injuries in 2004, and I’ve done most of my running using them since then.  I’ve had flat feet my whole life, much to the despair of my ballet teacher when I was little.  I was constantly told “don’t roll”, as my barely noticeable arches touched the floor!).  It turns out that whatever part of my foot is sore and feeling overworked at the moment works harder if I don’t wear my orthotics.  In happier news, it was worth walking to and from all those rehearsals, because the concert (Mahler 7) was amazing.  Everything clicked.  I was in the zone, immersed in the music, playing without fear.  Dare I say it, a brilliant concert is (at least for me) even better than a brilliant race.

This week has been a bit better (partly helped by orthotics, partly helped by frozen peas).  I rested on Monday and then ran 6 miles on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday mornings (I was in Bristol Monday-Wednesday, which always helps, and then had an afternoon hearing on Thursday).  I couldn’t run Friday morning as I had to be in Taunton by 9am, and there are limits to quite how early I can get up.  Plus at the moment the other thing which seems to help the foot is some very careful stretching and strengthening, plus a full round of glute activation work, all done just before the run, which means I need at least 30 minutes to cover all of that before I can run.  Skip it and I know it!  I therefore had to run in the evening, and that meant clipping on the head torch.  I don’t enjoy running with a head torch, and I spent most of the run fretting about uneven pavements and shortening my stride cautiously as a result.  A slow 6 miles plodded.  Saturday morning I went out for another 6 miles in clear daylight and a bracing wind.  The foot was just about ok off a short recovery (overnight), but it’s clear that ideally it has the best part of 24 hours between runs at the moment.  It had that ahead of today’s 11 miles, and felt all the better for it.  That brought up 41 miles for the week (and yesterday’s run brought up 147 miles for November).  Compared to the 3 months which preceded it, that’s low (I’d had the rarity of 3 consecutive months where I’d run over 200 miles per month), but it’s still better than March, June and July this year, and I’m still on course to run my highest yearly total since 2017, so I’m going to look at the bigger picture.  And think of the bigger picture in terms of where my focus lies.  Which reminds me, I must get that London Marathon Championships Entry sorted.