I can’t believe it’s more than a month since I ran in Glasgow. In some ways its feels like it was just yesterday but in other ways it feels like a lifetime ago.
The 5 weeks since the race have not been the best. I enjoyed some down time straight after the race and didn’t do a spot of exercise for 2 weeks to make sure that I was fully recovered both mentally and physically.
Two weeks after the race I plodded round my local Parkrun. I expected to feel a bit achy and unfit and boy was I not wrong! With regards to the injury, the Achilles was tight and a little uncomfortable but not painful – good news!
The following week I eased my way back into training cross training every morning and doing some short runs (4/5 miles) every evening. Slowly I started to get my running legs back and by the weekend I was even getting down to a decent pace.
Mind you, my abuse of the 24 hour food hall in Glasgow was really telling so much so that whilst out on a small ‘training run’ with my 5 years old nephew he asked me why my legs and belly wobbled when I ran! What’s the saying? From the mouths of babes…
Unfortunately, as training continued to build back up my body started to get more and more unhappy and let me know by developing aches and pains all over. The injured Achilles wasn’t too bad and seems to be recovering well but the rest of my body – the left Achilles, the right ITB/hip flexor/TFL and most importantly the LUNGS were starting to protest.
I struggled on for a week hoping that things would work their way out and the body would start feeling good again but it never and I made the decision to stop running again and increase the cross training and also get back in the pool for some pool running. You know it’s bad when you turn to pool running!!
So these last few days I have not ran a step but bashed the life out of my cross trainer and ‘ran’ many lengths of the local pool. Both of these are mind-numbingly boring but are the next best thing to actual running when you are injured. The one good thing about the cross trainer is that it is in my dining room so I don’t have to travel to the gym to use it and I can just pop on an episode (or 2 or 3) of Breaking Bad on the iPad and get on with it.
Pool running is a little closer to actual running than the cross trainer but it is honestly the most boring activity in the whole world! At least on the cross trainer I can watch things on the iPad, you can’t do that in a pool. In the pool I always end up playing ‘how long till I look at a clock’. It’s never very long but feels like a lifetime. Somehow as soon as you put the pool running float around your waist all concept of time changes and a second turns into a minute, a minute into an hour and an hour into a day. ‘Running’ for an hour takes what seems a lifetime!
The good thing is though, as it is none impact you can work really hard and do a session almost every day. The last few days I have been doing sessions consisting of a 10-15minute warm up then hard efforts of 20x30seconds with 20seconds recovery then a 10-15minute warm down. This week I plan on adding some pyramid sessions in, doing things like 4 sets of 30secs/60secs/90secs/180secs/90secs/60secs/30secs all with 30seconds recovery.
Most of you are probably thinking that 20 and 30seconds recovery isn’t very much, especially after a 2minute rep. But in the pool you need to make sure that your heart rate doesn’t drop too much between reps. You won’t hit heart rates as high as when training on land as your body is being partially supported by the water so to get the best out of the session you need to keep the recoveries really short and the heart rate as high as possible.
As well as doing the pool running and cross trainer sessions I will also be doing some runs on an evening. I’ve found that running first thing on a morning is not agreeing with my body as it isn’t warmed up enough and still quite stiff. So delaying my runs until the evening will allow my body to wake up, stretch and iron out any ‘kinks’ and stiffness built up over night. As I slowly build the runs up again I will start to drop the pool running sessions. I know I said that this is closer to actual running than the cross trainer, but it is costing me a fortune to keep using the local pool every day! The mixture of physio/massage and using the pool could very quickly have me bankrupt!
Whilst I don’t really have any future race plans as yet, I do hope to run the Great North Run next weekend. I don’t plan to race it, just run in with the masses and experience the ‘other side’ of the event. I imagine it will be a completely different experience running with the masses as opposed to running with the elite women where the chances are that I end up running the whole way by myself. I’m going full hog on the whole experience and getting the Metro through with friends, waiting in the pens and even going to shout a few ‘Oggy, Oggy, Oggy’s’ in the underpasses! I’m even contemplating carrying my phone and taking a few selfies along the way! I’m really looking forward to it. It’s good to have some fun and remind myself the true essence of the event and running in general. If that doesn’t reignite my love for the sport then nothing will.
Nice blog Aly, again it is good to hear you say things that are good advice for lesser mortals, e.g. Aqua running is a good alternative when injured. Enjoy the GNR, we will be looking out for you on the bridges over the central motorway.
take your time aly and keep well xxx