Sunday, 15 February 2009

Cut back time

Last week went well. I made it to the gym on Sunday as planned and did 30 minutes on the cross trainer as well as at least one set of twenty reps on each of the lower leg weights machines.

The following day the slight soreness in the quads had all but gone, though a hint of fatigue remained. That was lucky as it allowed my ravenous predilection for unnecessary worry to feast upon a fresh injury niggle - pain on the inside of my left kneecap.

Fortunately this had dissapeared by Tuesday allowing me to have my first run with the Abbey Runners. According to my schedule I was due to do only 2 very, very slow miles but the slowest group with Abbey ran for an hour at 10 minute mile pace. The pace was right but the rather easy maths told me I'd be doing somewhat more than 2 miles.

We ran down into Headingley, towards Meanwood and back to Adel via Far Headingley. Essentially 3 miles downhill on the way out and 3 miles uphill on the way back. For the first half I took it easy, enjoying the steady decline and feeling this was exactly the sort of easy run I needed. As soon as we turned for a long uphill drag on the way back I couldn't help but speed up. I don't know if it was the long forgotten experience of running with other people that allowed some subconscious sense of competition to manifest itself or whether I simply felt fairly bouyant but I swiftly made my way past a few others to run just behind the lead pair, where I stayed until we got back to Adel.

That turned the easy 6 miles into something more like a light tempo run (in marathon terms) but it was enjoyable and overall felt easy. I did decide to take the precaution of switching Thursday's scheduled run with Tuesday's though.

No ill effects on Wednesday and first thing Thursday I did 3 miles along the canal.

Friday meant the day where I relax the diet a bit before the next day's long run. It was also the day where I picked up my overdue orthotics. Reading the blurb with them it stated that I should wear for only an hour on day one, increasing by 30 minutes each day, and that I would experience pain from them for up to 6 weeks. Once I could wear for a day I could start running in them but only for 10 minutes - increasing by 15 each run. I've worn them for much of today and yesterday afternoon - no pain and they feel very comfortable. I think the painful groundwork was probably done with the old ones so I'll try and do 6 miles in them Tuesday.

I didn't feel quite as 'up for it' as the previous week when I set off on Saturday morning for the LSR though I was pleased to note the ice had pretty much gone. As per usual I set off deliberately slowly and plodded the first 5 miles and then speeded up just slightly for the next 2. I hoped for an average speed of 10:17 per mile but the usual mental arithmetic told me I'd need to run only a little over 10:00 for the remaining 11 miles to realise that. It seemed unlikely.

Fortunately an unwitting seventy year old pacemaker was to come to the rescue. I'd stopped at the 7 mile mark by Salt's Mill to consume my first gel and a few mouthfuls of water and was joined by an aged but lithe and sprightly chap training for his umpteenth marathon in London. We set off together and chatted for a little over a mile at which point his route left my own. I had been surprised when the Garmin told me we'd been running at 9:43 pace for the first mile together and without undue difficulty maintained a similar pace for the next 10 miles, ranging from a slowest mile of 9:45 to a fastest of 9:12. That brought the run's average down to 9:58.

No ill effects (aside from a range of large but painless blisters on each toe on my left foot) and a cold bath and donning some recently rediscovered Skins recovery tights ensured I stayed feeling good through the day and today I feel pretty fresh - no great fatigue or stiffness.

Another trip to the gym provided the answer to the previous week's knee pain. It wasn't running related at all. It seems that when I use the machine to train my adductors (or is it Abductors?) my muscles are comfortable doing sets of 20 with pretty much the full stack of weights but my ligaments and/or tendons aren't so strong meaning I got a short sharp bout of pain at the end of the second set. Thankfully that seems to have since cleared.

This week is another cut back week - just 3 x 6 mile runs. To be here and pain free is really heartening and I feel very confident of Paris. If there are any niggles this week should allow them to settle and also allow the muscle adaptation to complete. Then its 3 more heavy weeks before the 3 week taper. Next run is Tuesday and back out with Abbey again.

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