Friday, 6 December 2013

No Escaping The Injury-Bullet

Since my last blog we've now entered the month of December, and change is afoot! 

I'm a winter-buff through and through; I just love it - and more especially the cold temperatures and snow. Yet when I woke up on Wednesday morning for my first interval session of the month, it was warm - too warm in fact!

I'd decided to take a couple of days off running after the 28k Ridgeway run. The knees were still a little achy, but I hauled my arse out of bed at 5:50am ready for some interval training. I layered up and headed out only to find 20 minutes later I was starting to strip! It was warm - very warm, and it was frustrating.

My interval training was based on 500m intervals between Wash Common and Newbury College:
  • 1km warm up
  • 1 x 500m Zone 2 and 1 x 500m Zone 5 (6 times)
  • 500m cool down

I felt really comfortable with this session, and kept to within the zones. I have to thank my watch for that! It certainly felt more comfortable than when I tried it a couple of months' back. Does this mean I am improving? 

On Thursday I did some hill training. This involved (after an initial warm-up) running up and down the Wash Water / Wash Common Hill at a slow pace (Zone 3 up and Zone 2 down) followed by a cool down.

I like this training session. It's relatively easy and gets me used to running up steep hills whilst trying to control my HR and not allowing me to "burn out" at the top.

It is now Friday evening and the above text was written on Thursday morning - things are now changing!

A number of things have happened over the past 24 hours that have changed my approach to the rest of the year and my training for the marathon.

Firstly is my bloody knees. You'll have no doubt read elsewhere in this blog that I severely damaged my right knee a couple of years' ago. I've never really recovered 100% and I am always weary about the knees when running - especially when descending. I've gone through a pretty rigorous 6 months of running and they have held up fine. However the Wildman Race really hurt my knees and, since that race, I've not been happy. I've been able to run (I ran the two Ridgeway runs!), but to be honest they never felt quite right after the runs. This week I did the above training and the knees seemed fine; however today my left knee has been painful. It's the knee cap. I suspect it's nothing too serious; it's probably the tough pounding the Wildman Race gave my legs. It was a brutal trail run, and my legs suffered badly. 

I was scheduled to run the sequel to Wildman, the Mudman Race, tomorrow morning. This would have been another tough 15km trail run through the army grounds near Camberley. However, after dodging the injury-bullet for 6 months, it eventually caught up with me - I'm pulling out of the race tomorrow. I need to take some time out and rest the knee. I'm therefore not planning on running for at least the next 4 -5 days and then see how it goes.

I'm really gutted, because unlike the Wildman Race, the Mudman Race looked like fun. Less hills and great trail run. However I need to think about the bigger picture - and that bigger picture are the 3 marathons and one ultra-marathon next year. I'm also gutted because I was just starting to get to grips with my heart rate during training!

Talking of marathons and training  - I attended a talk last night by Gobi. For those who don't know, Gobi (nickname) is a running coach who really knows his stuff (and has the experience to prove it). He held a talk for a number of Newbury Runners who were planning on running a marathon next year. What he told us was fascinating. I knew that training was a serious commitment, but it was reiterated last night. 

I wasn't quite sure if the plan I was following was correct. I chatted to Gobi tonight and he made suggestions for improvement. These tips are critical if I want to succeed. I've learned so much in the past 24hrs. I'm going into these challenges with my eyes most definitely wide open!

So there we have it. I've come to the end of my races for 2013. It's been a hectic and fun time!

What remains is for me to rest my left knee and, hopefully on the 16 December, my formal training plan will kick in. In the meantime I can make tweaks to the plan to ensure it is the right one for me.

Fingers crossed that my next blog says the knee is better and that I am running again!

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