Friday, 14 August 2015

Taking the rough with the smooth

I'm nursing a niggle again so it's a few (I hope just a few) days of no running. It would also seem to be a few days of being permanently starving and eating almost all the time!

It's frustrating to have got a niggle just when running was going so well, but these things do happen so it's a good time to do a bit of reflecting and learning. Time to look back over my 'training' (term used very loosely!), diary. It's not a regimented, systematic thing full of tables. I record what I've done each day in terms of runs and cross training, how I've felt and any other little bits of information I feel the need to jot down, maybe who I ran with, where I went; in the case of karate useful drills, things I can see I really need to practice.

It was a salutary lesson that bit of reading and shows I should review things more regularly, the more so because me and running have got so close rather than because a plan says I have to. My mileage had dropped right off April/May to about 90-100 a month what with feeling tired, having a niggle (similar one to what I have now interestingly) and racing hard a couple of times. June the miles went up to just over 140 and July 151. This month so far I've managed around 60 most of which have been off-road and included one hard, fast, mostly off-road race:

Redway Runners inaugural Beat the Barge 5 mile race. I was 1st lady and 3rd overall

It also showed up that my days off usually include some kind of cross-training, either a long walk or (more often) 2 hours hard karate training so I don't really have rest days. So although I have been running really well the jump in miles over the summer was possibly a bit much. There hasn't really been a transition to off-road running either, just straight into lots and lots of tough terrain. This is where I need to take care with the 'just take off and go run somewhere lovely' way I've been doing things. It could be easy to do too much/ too hard running and not notice until I wake up one day with a horrid niggle or sustain an over-use injury.

So the off-road stuff is highlighting I need to do some more strengthening work on hips/ hamstrings/glutes especially on my left side. And more stretching. I can see lots of scribbled, underlined notes reminding me to get back to regular yoga practise! Probably it would be sensible to back off the mileage (and intensity) a bit for a couple of weeks or so then start marathon training to gradually build back up.

The only catch with that last bit is week of 7th September I have a race every day! It's the Tour of MK and then on the Sunday I'm off with quite a few club members to run the Bacchus Half. Whilst I can't possibly give every race my all (and the Bacchus isn't a terribly serious 13.1 from what I can tell) I don't want to be useless. And put me at a start line and I can't help but let the adrenaline carry me along. Maybe I'll go for the 2 cross country runs and treat everything else as easy/ recovery.

Whatever happens, this autumn and winter is going to be a steep learning curve and I must be prepared to accept things going wrong or not to plan. Last winter wasn't so bad- because all of running was so new to me I had no real expectations. This time round I need to keep reminding myself that really it's all new to me again- it's my first marathon and that's so different to anything else I've done I shouldn't load myself with expectation. Sure based on my half times I might want to aim for around 3hr 30 but actually just getting round will be a success. And anyway, it's a step to things I really really want to do-  this year has been the Year of the Unexpected, next year I hope to make Year of the Ultra...

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