Sunday, 10 October 2010

From hero to zero: a tale of two runs

Last week's run was great and in a doomed bid to re-create it I opted to run the same route today; but everything that went so well last week went badly this.

From the outset my legs felt a bit dead, no spring in them, and this seemed to effect my gait so that I ran quite flat footed rather than the more fluid feeling forefoot.

Despite that (or perhaps because of it?) I had to push myself a little more and at 6 miles, as I reached the reservoir, I was averaging 8:16 a mile but after that the wheels fell off a bit.

The first problem was technical rather than physical though. I could feel that the flat reservoir path was naturally making me pick the speed up a bit but when the Garmin beeped for 7 miles I was shocked to see it displaying 9:19 for the previous mile. I knew it was wrong but it was a bit disheartening all the same. When I later uploaded the data I realised the Garmin lost signal at one point where the path follows a narrow inlet for about 0.2 miles so it recorded the elapsed time but not the distance. It was the same for last week.

Physically the problems came from mile 8. At the end of this mile there is a steep 0.25 miles rising up from the reservoir and I found that draining particularly as I began to feel the heat from the relentless Indian summer sun.

I stopped briefly to buy a drink from a shop which lifted me for a mile or so but after that everything just felt hard work: my legs felt dead, I felt tired and I could tell both feet were blistering painfully. The latter were particularly painful whenever I had to stop to open/close a gate or cross the very busy roads. Ouch. I really had to push myself to keep going or to maintain pace.

By the time I finished I was 10s a mile faster than the previous week but it was draining stuff in the last few miles.

With hindsight I think the issues were:

  1. Whilst I drank a good deal yesterday and this morning I did get quite dehydrated. It was far warmer than I expected and I really needed to get some water in me long before the 9th mile.
  2. I've really neglected any sort of stretching and strengthening of late and by the feel of my achilles after the run I suspect my calves were extremely tight and that it was this that effected the gait and left my legs feeling unresponsive at the start and dead by the end.
  3. I shouldn't have got blisters - usual shoes and socks - so these must have been the result of the altered gait.

So, plenty to work on.

Overall it just wasn't so much fun. The park was crowded with clueless pedestrians and their dogs and/or children blocking the paths and many of the trails were similar. The roads were busy and difficult to cross and the weather relentlessly warm and sunny. Last week everything felt really fluent even the last couple of tiring miles but this week was the opposite.

Comparative mile splits from the last two weeks were (last week first):

8:27 8:13

8:46 8:02

8:44 8:32

8:19 8:27

8:28 8:06

8:30 8:24

9:35 9:19

9:09 9:13

8:32 8:20

8:54 8:37

8:40 8:33

8:51 9:00

8:29 8:41

8:02 8:28

Still, I'm sure it'll have made me stronger and I feel better for having done it.


Alison @ Running From, Running To said...

It's the toughest miles that make us strongest.

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