parkrun #25 & a reminder that ‘This girl can’

I was back at my home parkrun this morning after a few weeks trekking the countryside and visiting some parkruns interstate and it was lovely to be home. The weather was typically Geelong-like – a bit nippy and overcast but perfectly suited for running without heat or glare.

Having completed Melbourne marathon 10km last weekend and done no running all week, I didn’t really have a plan for today, just wanted to get out and run which is what I did. For only the second time ever (yes, ever), I ran 5km without walking. Same as last time, my overall time was slower than when I run/walk (which I find hilarious) but I felt really good, extremely happy and not at all as exhausted as I thought I would.

It is a funny thing – this need I have to occasionally cut out walk breaks. They’re something I put in consciously, as per Jeff Galloway‘s program, to help me manage my dodgy achilles and push my distances out. However I also like to run it all every now and then to prove to myself that I can. It allows me to prove to myself (and the doubts that live in my head) that I run/walk because I choose to, not because I have to.

So, another successful parkrun done and halfway to my 50 milestone.

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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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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.

when things don’t go according to plan

I know my tag line for my blog is that I’m not running towards anything but that isn’t strictly true. Like many runners, I’m the sort of person who signs up for events months in advance so that I have a goal to work to and, usually, this strategy has worked out ok for me. I don’t usually feel pressure, just like the idea of having a goal and planning my way to reach it.

Earlier this year, I signed up to run the Maui Oceanfront half marathon in January. It will be the first time I’ve planned a holiday around a race, the first race I’ve had to fly in for and my first half marathon so it’s a pretty big deal. As well as the fact that, around the same time, I’m celebrating one of those ‘decade’ milestone birthdays that always make one contemplative.

The first 8 weeks of my half marathon training plan (adapted from Jeff Galloway‘s fabulous plans) was going perfectly, right up until my second injury for the year. The last 2 weeks have pretty much been a write off with me managing a total of about 15km over that time – nothing like the planned training.

So here’s the thing – I’ve planned races before then been unable to run through illness, lack of training or life, generally, getting in the way. And I’ve always been ok with that. Ultimately, I love running and do it for fun, not to compete or finish a set schedule of events. But this one feels different. I’m worried that the stakes feel a little high – what if I get injured again? What if I don’t manage to get back into the training and can’t cover the distance? I know I still get an awesome Hawaiian holiday out of it but will the disappointment be more because of the build up?

Perhaps I’m just stressing too much. I’ve got 12 weeks to go so there is still time to build my fitness back up. I think my goal has just changed – it’s now to get to the start line uninjured and take it from there.

How have you bounced back into training for an event after injury? What have been your ‘pinnacle’ running events?