Battling Back

Posted on: 06 May 2012

When I wrote my last blog entry in September last year, I said that I was in the last chance saloon running wise. There'd been a steady decline in mileage since I'd started running in 2009 (538 miles in 2009, 318 in 2010, 192 in 2011). In the last 5 months of 2011 I managed 17 runs for a total of only 44 miles. My calves were both prone to strains, all of my last 3 races ending with pulled muscles. The running bug was still burning within me but it really wasn't much fun.

I decided to rest from running from mid-November and start afresh in the new year. I'd like to write that I spent the time analysing my running gait, getting expert opinion on my calves, and dutifully performing leg and core strengthening exercises while cross-training to maintain some level of fitness. The truth is, I just rested.

By the time the new year round (the older I get, the quicker this seems to occur...), I'd formulated a plan. Back to basics, back to what I did in 2009. I was out running on the 1st January for 1.5 miles at ... wait for it ... 12:15 /mile pace. January went to plan: 27 miles in 14 runs and February was going well too, the weekly mileage up in double figures when I picked up a hip-flexor strain. No running for two weeks was disappointing but I'd probably just increased my mileage a little too quickly.

I was back running in March but very frustrated when I hurt my back - I just woke up one morning and could barely walk. Another week off and I have to say one or two doubts started to creep in. But thankfully I was running again by the last week in March ... and I haven't stopped since.

April was really good. 50 miles completed (I've only previously run 50 or more in a month 6 times in 3 years!), I've introduced some tempo runs, and I'm now totalling 13 miles a week. My fitness has come on leaps and bounds. My first two mile run in January was at 10:45 /mile pace, average HR 158, max HR 171. My last 2 mile run was at 10:08 /mile pace, average HR 147, max HR 155.

I'm hoping to run the 3 Yateley 10K races in June, July, and August. The aim is to complete the races injury free and try to get under 60 minutes. If I can manage that, I'll think about what next ... the desire to run a marathon is still there ... all I'm doing at the moment is taking some small steps towards that goal.

Enjoy your running!

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