The past couple of weeks of training have seen some ups and downs. Lets start with the positives…
I’ve been trying to get back into the regular habit of running the local Park Run. Its just down the road, a nice distance and most importantly great fun. When I’m running child free (more often now that Guildford has a Sunday junior park run) and not chasing a PB, my main focus is simply to beat my daughters teacher! Not always the easiest thing, as his PB for the course is roughly the same as mine, and he’s more of a Park Run regular. Since the New Year, I’ve managed to catch him up, and pip him to the post within the last mile or so. Last weekend I decided to try a different tactic and lined up more to the front of the starting line. It was hard, especially with cold wet conditions, but I pushed myself that bit harder, and was pleased with a finishing time of around 21:45 (not a PB, but nice to sneak back under 22 mins again which I haven’t done for a while). More importantly I finished with a nice 30 secs buffer over my rival!
Slightly amending the plan to more suit my needs, last weekends long run saw me at last hitting half-marathon distance again; run at a nice steady 8 min mile pace. This weekend the long run increased to 15 miles. Once again starting off too quick, but as I felt ok, I decided rather than slowing, to see how far I could keep the pace going, always aware that I could decrease down to a more comfortable level. In the end I managed just over 5 miles at planned marathon pace, only slowing slightly when I hit a couple of hills, finishing with an average of just under 7.40min/mile pace. Very pleasing, and a real confidence booster, certainly the best run I’ve had for a few months.
With my knee still causing a few problems, and still having it strapped for runs, at long last decided to pay a visit to the physio (probably really should have done this a few weeks ago). After much prodding and poking and not to get to technical, it would seem that the muscles which stretch down from the quads over the knee are not happy. More than likely aggravated in Disney during the Dopey Challenge (due to high mileage), and not given the chance to fully rest and recover before I threw them back into marathon training. The good news is that it’s manageable. Lots of stretches and exercises to complete (squats, lunges, box jumps etc.) and probably best to keep it strapped whilst running (I’m experimenting with KT tape this week). I also need to decrease the number of weekly runs to just 1 short, 1 medium and 1 long, using the additional sessions for more strength training. The affected muscle is slow reacting which explains why it hurts more after I run, rather than when I’m running. Additional my quad muscle is having to work harder to support the knee, which explains why I’ve felt like I’m loosing ‘power’ in the second half of long runs.
Now I haven’t completely given up on a 3:15 time, but with only 8 weeks or so to Brighton I need to be realistic. The focus at the moment is simply to make it to the starting line and be able to run the full 26.2 miles. Beyond that I think we’ll just see what happens.