Wednesday, 30 April 2014

The reality check of all reality checks

Apart from the LiRF training course on Sunday, I hadnt actually run since the last Plums run. I'd rested Thursday through to Saturday and didnt exactly do a lot on Sunday and rested again on Monday. So 4 rest days in 5 is pretty good for me. You only have to look at the training I've done over the last two years to realise that I train 4/5 times a week with a max of 2/3 rest days. 

So I'd decided that as soon as I got in from work on Tuesday night, I'd go for a run.  Somewhere in the region of 8-9 miles, a few laps of Danson Park then a gentle jog back home.

I have to admit my legs didnt feel anywhere near 100% before I ran but they felt more than well enough to pound the roads as per usual.

Done some gentle stretching beforehand, concentrating on my hamstrings as my Physio told me to do some weeks ago now.

Then I hit the road.  I felt ok through the first mile, a conservative 9:11 as my warm up and then the plan was to run somewhere between 8:45-8:50 min/mile pace for the rest of the run, something which I dont normally have to think about doing.  Its natural.  My HR should be around 150-152bpm and all would be well.

It didnt go like that!

The second mile was ok.  It heads slightly downhill alongside the A2 so its not exactly difficult to keep with the pace along there.  Halfway along the A2 section and just after the second mile, the downward slope flattens out and starts climbing again, albeit very gently but I could feel my legs struggling.  This was unusual.  I'd run that section countless times before and for some reason I just didnt feel right.

At the end of the path, it breaks away from the A2 and back into the suburbs.  Into Danson Lane and downhill to my old school Bexley Grammar and into Danson Park at around 2.75 miles.  I was fried.  I felt like I was blowing out of my backside just to keep the pace under 9 min/mile pace on a downhill stretch.  My HR was up around 160bpm.  Much higher than normal.   Before Paris, I'd done a 30 min interval session and my average HR for the session was 152bpm so running at 160bpm sets off some alarm bells in the head.

I went on to do 1 lap of the Park Run course but at the end of the second climb, I decided to take the short cut and run the road from the main gates to the car park and back down to Danson Lane.

As soon as the Garmin hit 6.2 miles (10k), I stopped.  I walked just over a mile home.

I my legs felt heavier than they did when I crossed the finish line in Paris.
It was a struggle to walk home.

WTF is happening to me?...

Check out the calendar for the last 3 and a bit weeks below (click to expand!)


  • Marathon was on Sun 6th.
  • Gentle recovery run on Mon 7th.
  • Medium length bike ride with Rich and hit the wall on Tues 8th (probably my biggest mistake in recovery and took me a good few days to get over).
  • 8.5 mile run on Mon 14th followed by Gym.  I noted then that my HR was higher than it should have been for the pace I was running.
  • Back in the Gym on Wed 16th to see Chandra and sort out the next phase of the building blocks.  A gentle 2 mile run to the Gym then 2.5km on the treadmill.
  • A slow gentle run with Izzy on Fri 18th.  HR nearing normal again.
  • Plums Sunday 10 miler on Sun 20th followed by an off roader of 7 miles 24hrs later.  The 10 was slow and gentle, the 7 was a slow pace and felt hard.
  • My last club run on Wed 23rd.  It felt brutal to me and felt awful afterwards.
  • Then last nights run.
Count the blank days.  12 rest days. (excluding the course content on Sun 27th)

I'll be honest, I really dont think I've over done it.  There have been months and months where I've only had one or maybe two rest days in a week.  I feel I've made a conscious effort to cut back my training but maybe I havent done it enough.

I've been told that 2 weeks complete rest after a marathon is normal.  But then is it really?  I've got friends that have run 3 marathons in 3 days and then run the next weekend.

So what next?

I guess I'm in need of a rest.  I know my parents and brother were suffering with a virus which were affecting them just before the marathon and after and maybe, just maybe, I've got it now.

It would certainly explain why my average HR is up on an easy pace run which wouldnt normally be touching the sides.

As I write this on Wednesday lunchtime, things really havent improved overnight.

The half mile walk to the station this morning felt like a struggle.  You know you're tired/knackered/f*cked (use as appropriate) when your legs feel like they are in need of a gel within 5 mins of being out of the front door.  Time to go back to being sensible again.  I've had my 3 week blowout, now its time to watch what I'm putting into this athlete's engine.  One thing is for sure, the way my legs feel right now, they ache more now than they did after the marathon.  It really is time for a rest.

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