The two 'proper' runs I've done in the last 3 weeks (as opposed to the jogs with Bethan) both proved to be really tough but a rest day on Monday, cutting back on the cardio intensity at the gym and a few days off from running seemed to have left my legs feeling fresher and the sustained core stability work seems to be pushing the groin pain away.
So when I set off with the notion of doing a normal or easy run of six to seven miles yesterday I felt pretty good but didn't intend to push myself: it would be a test in itself - especially for the groin.
As I headed out along the canal side I felt pretty good and when I glanced at my watch after a couple of minutes I was surprised that I was running just below eight minute mile pace. Somehow my gait felt easy and the effort less than that pace would imply (the opposite of the last two runs) so I decided to carry on like this for as long as it felt good.
By halfway I had slight soreness in the right calf but that wore off soon after and I was able to keep the core muscles engaged pretty much throughout. In the last mile or two it felt harder work and I was having to give occasional reminders to myself about maintaining cadence but the run had become the sort of test I really wanted but hadn't dared to set out for - something close to a tempo run.
Mile splits were fairly even at:
Slight uphill at the start, up a 2 rise set of locks on the way out (the ones above - the very same), down them on the way back and downhill for last 20 metres or so. Beyond that pretty much flat if occasionally uneven.
Minor stiffness in the calves yesterday evening and this morning but nothing major - I just need to get a massage at some point to loosen them up properly - and most importantly at all no groin pain.
This leaves me thinking I could run a PB at Birchwood on Sunday but having made the decision not to race I'm actually reassured that I've had a moderately tough run this week and done OK. I'll still limit the long run on Sunday to 8-10 miles as distance wise I've no longer races for nearly 8 weeks and can afford that additional caution. Then next week it'll be more back to normal in terms of running.
Most importantly of all I'll keep up with the core stability exercises!