“Your only limit is you…”
A huge thank you must go to everyone that supported my fundraising for The British Lung Foundation. The phenomenal sum of £2890.27 was the final total raised. I am beyond overwhelmed by everyone’s kindness and generosity. It will go such a long way to helping those with lung conditions and I can’t wait to support this fantastic charity again in the future.
Post- London Marathon Recovery
It is well recommended (even by the likes of Paula!) that one should take a little recovery to rest following racing a marathon…I can’t begin to imagine why! So who am I to argue?
Recovery varies from a couple of days to a couple of weeks of doing very little in terms of training volume or harder sessions to ensure the body (and mind) has enough time to rest, recover, recuperate and repair from the run that was.
I know that my build up to the Autumn series of majors; Berlin, Chicago and New York is going to be rather busy to say the least. With just two weeks between Berlin and Chicago and then NYC only four weeks later, I know I have to be careful to ensure I am fully rested and injury free before building up again… a luxury I don’t have later in the year. Post- London recovery focused on some very gentle cross training (yoga and swimming) and not much else. Instead, I thought it would be wise to invest my time in getting to the bottom of what had really been causing that frustrating niggle leading in to my taper as well as working on writing a new training programme for the build up to the Berlin in September.
Having not had a bio-mechanics analysis since I bought my first pair of runners 7 years ago, an up-to-date assessment was in order. The Treatment Hub where I go for regular Physiotherapy and Sports Massage offers free gait analysis and assessment.
The report suggested a slight leg length discrepancy, explaining why niggles I have picked up only ever appear on one side, along with over pronation in one foot and supination in the other. A pair of custom insoles were recommended to help correct the problem and I try, try, tried to get used to them but after breaking them in, patiently and carefully building up the distance, blisters galore and what felt like trying to lift blocks of lead with every stride (most likely from the adaptations being made to my muscles from what had been my natural running style) I had to take them out. I just couldn’t get any pace in my legs. I took the advice on board about going up a size in my running shoes which has greatly helped my long suffering toe nails (too much information, I know!) but I’m not entirely convinced that the orthotics were fully needed in the first place. My theory, albeit possibly wrong, is that tightness in my hips and muscles further North were contributing to the issues South of my ankles!
With the slight (OK, more than slight) disappointment of my VLM finishing time, given how hard I felt I had trained and still chasing the longer term goal of breaking that illusive 4 hours in the marathon, I decided to look in to recruiting the help of a coach. I met Tom Craggs, Running With Us, at the Team Breath British Lung Foundation training day back in January. He coaches beginners right up to elite level athletes and is a coaching consultant for some of the UK’s biggest sports brands. After briefly sharing my plans and a chat about my training history and longer term goals he agreed that he thought he could help me with the upcoming Majors challenge and to progress my running overall. I feel very excited and lucky to have his expertise and encouragement and I’m thoroughly enjoying the variety of sessions and new focus that working with a coach is giving me.
This past block of Summer training, though slightly shorter in terms of time for building up for the average marathon has included a few races. Though these were not ‘A’ races, they were good fun all the same and it’s always a nice change to get some training runs in with some company.
Kilmarnock 10K- 10th June 2017
Organised by Kilmarnock Harriers and Athletics Club, I had a great time in Ayrshire for the ‘Roon the Toon’ 10K road race. Having only been back training for a couple of weeks, this would be the longest run in the legs post VLM so it wasn’t really a day for chasing a personal best. I enjoyed the route, the weather was kind and all in all it was a really well organised event. The added bonus of receiving a delicious ‘10K’ empire biscuit in the goody bag alongside my medal and finishers t-shirt at the end definitely earned the race some extra kudos in my rating!
Clyde Stride Ultra Marathon Relay-15th July 2017
The Clyde Stride Ultra Marathon is a race that follows the route of the River Clyde some 40 miles along the walkway, starting in Partick, Glasgow and finishing in New Lanark. My brother was taking on the full Stride, whilst I opted for the slightly less demanding 10 mile leg of the relay with some of my buddies from my running club, Clyderunners.
It’s always a popular day out among the local running community and is well supported by our club, from those running or gleeing…thanks for the support Bees!
The late addition of a second Clyderunners team made for some healthy competition between Clyde A aka Team Sparkle Motion and Clyde B. I was running for Team A, leg 3; Strathclyde Park to Maudslie, a route that passes through the pretty trails of Baron Haugh Nature Reserve and the slightly less scenic ‘Coo Field’. Not being very accustomed to trail running just yet, I am always slightly more cautious (code for slow) on these tracks from fear of rolling my ankle or something else equally disastrous if I were to miss my footing.
A fantastic day out, the Stride is local, friendly, superbly well organised and awe-inspiring from the sights of the ‘Ultra Dafties’ on the course. The chase was on between the club teams and my pals running the first and second legs got me a great head start which I managed to hold on to…just!
Not being overly competitive (believe that if you like!), Alan and Grant were demonstrating their usual, friendly rivalry as they were both set to take on the glory leg for our club teams and so the final result came down to a toughly contested final leg. Both gents had a great run but it was Grant that crossed the line in spectacular style, heel kicking the air just one minute before Alan, giving our team, Team Sparkle Motion the victory.
After the excitement of the relay came to a close, attention turned to the Solo Runners. Our club had two solo runners participating and I was massively proud to see my brother, Gordon, crossing the line strong to complete his second ultra distance race after a race of two halves with spells of what can only be described as being slightly ‘off-colour’. Our buddy Martin also finished strong after battling an injury in the build up to race day. Well done folks…outstanding running!
Aberfeldy 70.3 Triathlon Relay- Half Marathon- 20th August 2017
You can’t run a personal best on every run, so during this race, I followed this advice to the letter…I ran a personal worst!
For some reason, I had a shocker of a day from beginning to end. I couldn’t keep my legs going, I wore the wrong kit, I wasn’t tapering, it was a hillier than expected course… I could go on making excuses, truth is I just didn’t run well… for whatever the reason. I was rather grumpy with myself, well with my performance at the end of the race but I’m actually really glad I had a horrible run as it taught me some valuable lessons at this crucial early stage in the build up to what will be some high volume training.
Berlin Marathon 2017
Race week is here and the countdown to #beatberlin42 is on. I can’t wait to visit Germany for the first time. Hopefully there will be a time for a little sightseeing amongst the excitement of the marathon agenda. All going well I should have some shiney new medal bling to share in my next update!
Wish me viel Glück! 🇩🇪