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training plans – changing plans

Having signed up for my next half marathon a couple of weeks ago, I hunted out a training plan and got to it. I opted for the my asics plan which is very easy to use – you put in a current time for a distance, put in the date of your event and what your training commitment is (3 or 4 times a week, easy, medium or hard effort) and it gives you a calendar of training runs which gradually increase in distance and intensity. Logging runs is straightforward and it lets you know how you’re progressing towards your overall plan.

So far, so good. However, only into week 3 and I started to notice that my foot hurt. Again. I have spent most of the last year nursing my achilles and calf through their various bursts of drama and it was clear that, regardless of how slowly this program was pushing me on, it was too fast for my temperamental foot. It wasn’t the speed – that was definitely kept low but the distance it pushed me to was a bit too much, too soon.

Instead of pushing through it or giving up totally, I’ve changed plans and, so far, have noticed my foot calm back down again. I’m back using Jeff Galloway‘s training plan with planned run/walk. I used this while getting ready for the Maui half marathon in January so I know that it works for me. Most importantly, it feels flexible. I know that, technically, all plans are flexible as you do as much or as little as you want but I have a tendency to do things because it says to. A perfect example was my run on Tuesday where I kept pushing on even though I didn’t feel like running and I was tired and my foot was hurting and I wasn’t enjoying it. Any one of those factors should have been enough to stop me but, once I’d seen that I had to run 7km, I had to run 7km.

With Jeff’s plan, I don’t feel I have to stick to times or paces so I end up running a lot more on ‘feel’. Tonight’s run was magical – lots of bits where it felt completely smooth and almost effortless (almost!) and any pain was fleeting and fixed by throwing in an extra walk break. I know it’s a long road ahead – will keep you updated on how I travel along it 🙂

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on your marks. get set. GO!

I’ve signed up for my next half marathon. You may (or may not!) be surprised by the fact that I think I’m just as excited and nervous about it as my first one. I know I can cover the distance but I’m already putting pressure on myself to do better, even just by a little bit. A little bit quicker, a little bit stronger, a little bit more confident.

I started my training plan tonight and am sorry to say that my achilles is already making its presence felt. Other than that, I felt good and strong, managing to run 4km with 2/1 run/walk intervals. It’s amazing how rubbish you can feel after a long day of work, only to have that feeling completely reversed by a refreshing run out in the great outdoors.

It does help that I got to play with my new toy – my Petzl headlamp which I got a little while ago. Makes night running so easy – I absolutely love it! I turned it off for the pic so I didn’t blind you all 🙂

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Selfies in the dark are somewhat more flattering than those in the daylight!

What to do when running isn’t an option

I’ve managed a couple of runs this week but wasn’t impressed as my achilles gave me grief both during and after both runs. It was doing so well during the first half the year but obviously hasn’t coped well as my mileage has built, no matter how slowly. And while I know I need to take a break to let it heal, that thought causes me a huge deal of stress. Running is certainly important for my physical health but a lot more important for my mental health – it’s my stress release & something I look forward to, no matter how tired or how long my day has been. What will I do if I don’t run?

In searching for solutions, I’ve dragged my bike out of the garage, cleaned it up and replaced the inner tubes to get back to working order. Despite it not being used for 8 years, it looks to be in ok shape (with just the odd spot of rust here and there – probably as many on the bike as on me!). I used to love riding my bike as a kid but have always hated it as an adult so my hopes aren’t high but I have to remember that I never liked running either and have clearly had a huge attitude change about that.

Would love to hear about anyone else who has been reluctantly forced into another sport or leisure pursuit but ended up loving it – I need all the motivation I can get!

my week in running – a creaky tendon and a new challenge

I pulled up a bit sore after last week’s Run for the kids but not in a muscular kind of way. Regular blog readers would know that I have had problems with my achilles for about a year now which come and go. This week, it flared in a big way and saw me hobbling around at work on Monday like an old lady. I was really gutted as it hasn’t been more than a pesky niggle for a long time. By Wednesday it was starting to settle back down again but I rested it for the week anyway. Not only that, but I’ve started back with my calf strengthening, eccentric heel drop exercises (that I should have been doing all along) in an effort to get it back under control.

On Saturday, it felt good enough to test it out at parkrun and I decided to set myself a bit of a challenge too. I’ve always adopted a run-walk approach and have been quite happy with that but a niggling voice in the back of my head has recently started to ask ‘why’? I wondered if, deep down, I run-walk because I’m scared of failing if I just try to run. So I set myself the challenge of running as far as I could before I felt the need to walk. To my astonishment, I made it 3km before even thinking about walking. The last 2km, I did my usual run-walk intervals but felt pretty good and proud of myself crossing the line. I’m still a fan of the run-walk approach but feel like I’ve got options now and aren’t just doing it because I can’t just run. And, foot willing, it’s given me something new to aim for in my runs this week.