Thursday, 23 January 2014

Manchester Marathon Build up Weeks 5, 6,7 and 8

Blogging has been a little bit sporadic so far in 2014 and so far a mixed bag of success in terms of running.   I wouldn't say the wheels have fallen off the marathon training but this is a testing time!

Week 5 - 61 miles with some great runs to see in the new year.  First run of 2014 was a 10 mile effort at a nice steady 6-27 per mile and I finished the week with a solid 16 miler which included 13 miles at marathon pace. 

Week 6 - Started to notice a few aches and pains around my hip/buttock area and although this didn't stop me from running it was a constant reminder of the fine line between injury and the feeling of flying along effortlessly.   Most of the runs this week were along the lines of an easy start to get the body moving, good middle section putting some great efforts and intervals in followed by a cool down/post run stretch.  Unfortunately what I ignored was the post run aches and pains that crossed the line from "normal" to " a bit unusual" to just doesn't feel right".   It all came to a head after an 11 mile steady run when the dark passenger known as Sciatica decided to invade my running world.  Since then he has been a constant pain in the backside.  

Week 7 - Just five runs this week.   Only one more than around 5km and no runs pain free!  An early visit to the physio seemed to pinpoint the issue to a bit of irritation around the hamstring insertion point.  Nothing major but enough to make running unenjoyable and that feeling of going out and wondering am I going to complete this run. 

Week 8 - still niggling on so far this week and another visit to the physio.   Things are easing up a little bit and Ive managed a few easy runs.  The problem is the unpredictability of irritation on the sciatic nerve.    In my mind I have set myself the nominal target of the 1st February to be rid of the sciatic irritation and to be back running normally and pain free. 

The Internet is a wonderful thing and can provide illustrative advice on all aspects of injuries, running and rehabilitation.   That said you really cant beat a prod around by someone who knows what to look for.  My last physio session really seemed to have pinpointed the source of the problem and Ive got a few simple exercises to do which seem to be making a difference. 

The question of "how do I stay fit" or "how do I avoid fitness loss" is usually in the forefront of our minds.  I think I'm no different to most runners in that non running/cross training just doesn't quite cut it!    Ive tried swimming, cross trainer, elliptical and cycling.   The most sensible way to keep fit is to recreate the action of running without the stress and impact of running so it will be off to the pool over the next few days for a spot of aqua jogging.    Time for those funny looks from the lunchtime swimming brigade!  "I can swim you know I just like running more!"

My new training partners!

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Manchester Marathon Build Up Week 4

Week 4 of the build up allowed a little bit of flexibility with no quality sessions planned just mileage as and when the festivities allowed.   As it ended up it was a decent week with 72 miles bagged.   Put in a couple of runs with some efforts but generally all runs were fairly steady and consistent.

The wind has dominated much of the week and been a bit of a nuisance.  Its the weather most runners dislike most but at least it offers the opportunity sometimes to work hard into the wind and then feel the benefit out of the wind.

Saturdays run was an out and back effort in the end not quite at tempo more an aerobic run.  With the first half into the wind it provided an opportunity to come back with the wind behind me and "tune" into marathon pace on the return.  Job done and just the long Sunday run to complete a decent mileage week.

Sundays long run was a 20 mile run with the last three at marathon pace.  This was the first of my marathon pace efforts and I consciously kept the first 16 miles easy and closer to 7 minute miling.  Really pleased to manage three miles at marathon pace at the end with room for a warm down mile to complete the 20.

For those who enjoy the Marathon Talk podcast the interview with American running legend Pete Pfitzinger was my recovery run accompaniment this week.  Pfitzinger adopts the long runs with marathon pace finishes and that has been a feature of my training in my last few marathons.  Another key element that Pfitzinger advocates is the use of strides over 100m or so repeated up to 10 times.  I've yet to get into these so this may be a new year resolution in the making along with the usual eating better, training harder, racing more craftily etc.

So...stats for the week.

Total Miles:  72
Longest Run: 20
Ave Speed: 9 miles per hour
Key Session:  20 miles with last three at marathon pace
Weeks until Manchester Marathon:  14
Next Race:  Helsby Half Marathon

and yes I did train on Christmas Day!