I get knocked down…

Posted on: 03 Aug 2017

…but I get up again.  Cheesey 90s pop song perhaps (it randomly came up on my iPod in shuffle mode the other day!) but it neatly sums up how I’m feeling about marathon training at the moment.

The 24-week improver programme I’m following is divided into four chunks and the third chunk comes to a close this week.  The intensity has ramped up recently, with a big jump from 20 to 30 miles per week and then 36 for this week.  At the start of block four it will ease off again, before building to a maximum of 41.

I’m enjoying the variety, but my body is not thanking me for it.  Neither is that troublesome right thigh which I damaged way back in February. 

Last week it flared up yet again.  Partly my fault – I’d been running hard because there were some 10k tempo runs on the schedule (mid to high 7min/miles).  I was also tight for time on my Sunday morning long run. 

I had to be home by 9am so my wife could go to work and I could get my daughter to her swimming lesson.  Therefore instead of marathon pace or slower, I set off on a 14 mile long run doing 8min/miles and stressing about the clock.  All was OK up to mile eight, but then the throbbing began.

I stopped to stretch it out and it actually subsided quite quickly (hopefully a positive-ish sign).  Then it returned at 11 miles, so I changed my route slightly and got home a mile earlier (just over 13 in total).

I was frustrated and annoyed.  Firstly coming up short on target mileage always bugs me.  It shouldn’t, but it does (I’m told I have perfectionist tendencies, so that probably explains it!).  But to know those adductor muscles are STILL playing up, despite the physio and the week off and the endless stretch routines…  Well, I was starting to think stuff it and let’s pull out of Birmingham.

But as the song says, you have to take the setbacks and get back up again.  I started this week determined to slow the pace, but go the distance.  Tuesday was a six mile long run and it went smoothly.  Today was actually my long run (I’ve re-jigged it from Sunday because of plans for the weekend) – 16 miles from home to the office.

It meant a very early 6am start so I would have time to get showered and changed at the other end before work.  The weather wasn’t great (persistent drizzle) but at least it was cool.  Heavily strapped and wreaking of Deep Heat, I set off at an easy marathon pace and kept it going for the next two and a half hours. 

And no injury woes this time.  Sure, it was a bit sore at the finish (and still is) but no seizing up and no sharp, painful twinges.  I ended up bang on four hour marathon pace too, which is the ultimate goal of this exercise and has given me a nice confidence boost.

There’s no way this injury is going to heal properly without considerable rest.  I can see that.  But equally, I think I can find a way to manage it until after October.  Moreover, I’m still motivated and, as most of us know, that’s an essential part of any training programme and subsequent race attempt.


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