Posts Tagged ‘Sore Calves


marathon training – weeks 5 & 6

Type “Marathon” and “Mental” into Google and you are faced with page after page on how crucial mental preparation is and how your state of mind can affect performance. This past couple of weeks have been a testament to that as I found out that my job was to be made redundant. After the initial discussion at how the position was “at risk”, I did not feel as bad as I had expected. Redundancy seems to have become an occupational hazard and, having been through the whole process before, felt that I knew what to expect.
The hardest part was after the second consultation when I was told that it was a done deal and that I was now on my notice period. Suddenly it all became very real and enormously disheartening.
Obviously, moping around feeling pissed off and angry is not perhaps the best mindset. I began to think that there was perhaps no point in continuing to train for the Berlin Marathon… after all, it was a pointless thing to do. I probably wouldn’t even be able to pay my airfare and accomodation so, really, what was the point??
After a very black 24 hours where everything annoyed me, things got back into perspective. I would train and I would be ready for the Berlin Marathon. And I’d use my training as both a catharsis and an inspiration.
This little revelation coincided with a ramping up of the distances… the training regime goes through a series of increases in distance then dropping back before increasing again. I am now midway on that upward curve. The long run of week 5 was 23kms… Week 6’s long run was 25km. This coming weekend, I have 27kms to look forward to. What should come as no surprise however is that each distance feels tough. I, perhaps foolishly, thought that as the training progresses, the runs would feel easier. This is not the case because of the steady increases… you are always pushing just a little further, or just a little faster. And if the long runs are not getting longer, then the intervals and tempo runs are getting tougher.
Sunday’s 25km was hard as this was, for the first time during this training, when the sun had come out and the temperature had crept up. Looking back at the figures on the Garmin, the pace during the last few kms dropped off quite radically as I really began to tire and the temperature increased. I am still well inside the target times for my long runs but the margin is getting slimmer all the time.
So, with some “Gardening Leave” from work on the horizon, I am hoping that I can spend the next few weeks at least hunting down a new job, training and enjoying the Summer. If I haven’t found anything by September then I shall really start to worry, but for now…
Soundtrack to this post: Sly And The Family Stone – If You Want Me To Stay


juneathon day 15: drizzle

And a return to running. A day in the office followed by a train journey home left me feeling sluggish. I knew that, once home, if I spent too long in the house, it’s great big comfortable tentacles would warmly embrace me and it would be tough to get back out. So a quick “hello” to the family, an espresso and change into running gear and Vibrams and I was out the door. I didn’t want to have to think too much about the route so did the riverside loop I did 2 days ago but in the opposite direction. Feet, ankles and calves have begun to protest a little louder now that we are fifteen days into Juneathon and even yesterday’s cycle was not without it’s twinges. It takes a little while to warm up to a reasonable pace, but once I hit my stride, the aches and pains subside.
It drizzled all the way round the 11.03kms which made it difficult to see as my glasses effectively misted over. So much so that I hardly recognised Simon running in the opposite direction until I was almost about to run into him. We had a quick chat and then we were back on our respective runs. Today’s run felt like a “contractual obligation”… I just needed to get out and get it done. But it’s done now and we’re halfway through.
So, at the half way point-
Running in VFF’s – 102kms
Cycling – 158kms
Total – 260kms


up and up

Midweek, I dug out the VFF’s and set off for a little early morning 5k run. No problem, I hear you mutter but, as I haven’t used the VFF’s for a number of months (too cold/slippery for something so minimal), my calves and right ankle were complaining after a couple of km and I decided to forego Fridays planned 10k evening plod as the calves were still tender. Which left only my Sunday Long Run… and the last big run before the Wokingham Half Marathon.
A few runners I know think it is weird that I have the desire to “run the distance before I run the distance” – but basically I will run an equal distance to that of the upcoming event as a training run a few weeks before I actually attempt the race. I have never seen this in any training regime and it is probably medically and biomechanically foolish but I find it helps boost confidence. In my mind, I know that I can complete the distance and can use that as a stick to beat myself with motivation on race day. Adding insult to injury, I had in my head a route – a route that I had cycled last year with Hauling My Carcass as part of our “preparation” for the London To Brighton Cycle Ride. I remember this portion of the route being approximately 12-15 miles with a couple of hills so I thought it over Saturday evening and decided that I would get up on Sunday and tackle it.
The first few kms were hard but familiar as I followed my normal routes and begun to warm up. At little over 5k, rather than begin the loop back home, I veered off and so began the succession of long, slow hills. And suddenly the footpaths disappeared leaving me to run in the road with cars racing past just inches from my elbows.
The hills went on for so long that they began to feel normal, like it had always been this much of a slog to run. The upside to this was that as soon as the ground levelled out, I felt like it was taking no effort at all to propel myself. Running downhill felt like I was positively flying. The last few kilometres, although flat, were mentally hard and made harder by coming up half a kilometre short of my intended Half Marathon Distance so an annoying little loop was tagged on the end. It wasn’t fast (2:14:13) but there were some impromptu stops to dive out of the way of oncoming traffic or work out where I was in relation to the route I should have been taking and the length of the inclines (some were 2-3kms long) meant that I arrived home tired but reasonably pleased with what I acheived.

Fortunately, that afternoon was SonNumberOnes birthday party so the rest of the day was spent “refuelling” on fruit juice and birthday cake.

Soundtrack to this post: The Jim Jones Revue – Elemental


national diversity week

I Know You Got Sole – A Few Short Bursts – Say Hello Wave Goodbye

It’s not really… I just made it up. But if it were, I think I may have inadvertantly participated.

The beginning of the week saw me dip my toes in the murky waters of minimal footwear / barefoot running. I received a few comments on the blog (more that I normally get) that seems to indicate that there are a few others out there who are “barefoot curious”, just beginning to experiment or fully fledged barefoot runners. A little trawl of the internet will also throw up many opposing viewpoints – from the zealous “Everyone should throw away their shoes now!” to the equally extreme “running barefoot is insanity!”.

I did my first Audiofuel Pyramid Interval session early Thursday morning and was pleasantly surprised. I tackled the 180 Max Pyramid and enjoyed it. The final bit at 180bpm was hard going but not impossible. I’ve used Audiofuel on longer runs before and enjoyed it but do not use it on a regular basis as I like to mix up the music I listen to keep my mind occupied. For an interval session, however, I found it worked really well. As you are running for perhaps 25 minutes, it is very easy to stay focussed on running to the beat for short bursts. It also gives you something to keep you going. When I have done intervals before, it has always been running a set distance or set amount of time, which does allow you to slack off if you are feeling weary or to extend the periods between intervals. With the session from Audiofuel, the beat keeps you going and the instructions let you know how long you have left to run / rest so I found it very helpful.

This morning, being Sunday, was long run morning so decided on a 10 mile out and back route along the canal. I set off, run along the canal towpath for 8.3 kms, turn round and come back the way I came. Nothing could be simpler… Unfortunately, I think a combination of barefoot running and interval sessions has taken it’s toll and after 10km (ish), my right calf was feeling very tight and uncomfortable. And here is the downside of running a straight out and back route… I was still 6kms from home whichever route I decided to take, so the only course of action was to have a little walk, find a suitable tree stump and have a little stretch of the offending calf and push on with the final 6km. Subsequently, it wasn’t the fastest 10 miles I’ve ever covered but does make me feel a little better about tackling longer distances. I’ve the Royal Parks Half Marathon in October and know that if I don’t start putting in some miles now, it’ll creep upon me and I’l have to cram in the distances in the few weeks before the race.

So assuming the calf sorts itself out in the next day or so, I plan to attempt another “minimal footwear experiment” on Tuesday.

Finally, whilst out running today. I was struck by the amount of runners that ignore each other when out running. I always try to acknowledge other runners but usually only about half reciprocate. What’s wrong with a little camaraderie, eh? Even a polite nod of acknowledgement… acknowledgement that there is someone running towards you with the same determination and the same goal, to get out and run and get better at it. And don’t try and say that you are so “in the zone” that you didn’t notice them running towards you as it just won’t work… Maybe I should start some sort of Facebook group or a renegade runners collective who will smile and wave at every runner they see…. Hmmmm! Brothers and Sisters, who is with me??!!!

Soundtrack to this post:Alton Ellis – I’m Still In Love With You, Girl


time off for good behaviour

Back To Normal? – Meh! – The Running Bug Drug

After Juneathon, I thought I’d take a few days off from running and allow my body to repair itself a little bit. I’d hoped that I would stop feeling so tired, hungry and thirsty all the time and that some of the aches and pains that I’d accumulated over the month (and that I’d gotten used to) would slip away. I was really happy having run every day for a month and was looking forward to not having to.

But a very strange thing happened. I did stop feeling hungry and thirsty all the time and some of the twinges did subside but after a day of not running I began to feel strangely disinterested.
In everything.
I seemed to have lost my energy. My get up and go had got up and gone. And I couldn’t even summon the enthusiasm to do anything about it.

By the Friday evening, I’d decided that maybe I needed to get exercising again but didn’t want to run as I felt my “running muscles” still needed to recover. Maybe a cycle would do the trick…. so a 12 mile round trip on the fixie was done. Hmmm… a little better. But still feeling a bit “flat”. So I gave it another day and then tried some weights. Hmmm… Still not great! Odd though as throughout Juneathon, I had looked forward to the time where I could mix it up a bit and trade a run for a ride on the bike or free weights.

So yesterday, with the opportunity to work from home, I took the chance to go out for a cheeky 10.8kms at lunchtime and after the initial protests from the legs (NOOOOoooooooo… not this running thing again!!!!!), it all felt very easy. Once back home and showered and fed, I felt like my mood had lifted. I was CURED!!!

I suspect that my body had become used to the exercise every day, the increased exertion and the endorphins chemical reactions that go on when you run and I’d gorged on those for 30 days and then suddenly stopped. And the sudden change of routine, the free time, the lack of having to rush to run and blog… Perhaps Highway Kind has the right idea with his 30 Days In July. Maybe relaxing the rules about blogging but continuing to do exercise every day is the way to avoid the Post Juneathon Blues and slip slowly back to normality.

Soundtrack to this post: Just Drifting – Psychic TV


oooooh… someone’s tired!

The Miserable Old Git has arrived. Yesterday, after the Anniversary Barbecue, I sat there feeling full. And Sleepy. And inexplicably grumpy.
An early night (10pm) was cancelled out by being woken at 5.30am this morning by SonNumberTwo asking if it was “time to get up yet?”. This obviously did nothing to improve my mood first thing this morning and a slow and dull day at work was the icing on the cake. So by the time I got home, and for the first time this month, I thought “What is the point. I’m tired. My legs hurt. I’d much rather just sit down, have something to eat and watch the football”.
However, a little while before this years Juneathon began, I promised myself I would run each day throughout June. And I haven’t done 23 consecutive days running to pack it in with only six runs remaining. So I made a deal with myself that I’d run just 5kms and then I could “sit down, have something to eat and watch the football”. 5.55kms later, I’m a little less grumpy and incredibly glad I didn’t give in.

Juneathon so far: Run – 159.32kms / Cycle – 116.34kms



This could be a first for me. I went out for a run (5.6kms) at a not-very-fast-because-I-seem-to-be-gathering-aches-at-an-alarming-rate kind of pace (33mins). I then returned to my house and spent longer tending to said aches and pains than I did actually running.

Some stretches, a few resistance exercises with a gigantic rubber band thing recommended by a sports injury therapist, a good going over the thighs and calves with a vibrating, heated massagey thing and I am now sitting here in a very fetching pair of compression calf guards.

Still, that’s the end of the second week and tomorrow marks the half way point. Which means I just have to get through the same again and Juneathon is done.

I feel much better now but as soon as I’d finished this evening’s run, I felt wretched. But a bit of TLC, some food and a relax on the sofa and I’ll be fine. Honest.

Juneathon so far: Run – 92.35kms / Cycle – 28.9kms

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