After the last disasterous run, I decided I needed a break. I felt fatigued more than I had ever felt before.
So thats exactly what I done.
As you can see from the May 2014 calendar, my last run was on 29th April then I didnt actually run again until 7th May.
I didnt feel great in the immediate 4 days and my legs didnt stop aching properly until Saturday morning. Yes, thats right, I'd ran a 10k in not a particularly quick time and here I was taking almost 4 days to recover. A month ago, I was running a marathon and then running a gentle 5k cool down the next day and then getting on a bike and cycling almost 50 miles...although I realise that was probably my downfall.
So anyway, back to the present.
4 days off from everything you can imagine in the aftermath of the 10k disaster then I made a start on the gardening. When I say gardening, there's an awful lot of gardening to do over the next couple of months and I'm counting it as my strength training.
Operation Green Fingers 2014 is my new DIY project. Now I've got the inside of my home sorted out, its about time I got the garden and garage sorted. That means a full back to basics job. Replace the garden fence and add a gate to make the garden secure from the main road, install a long overdue garage door after clearing the garage of all my decorating junk over the last four years. Then of course digging up the lawn so it can be relaid and then I'll have a blank canvas to work with.
Its has been absolutely back breaking work so far which has seen my hamstrings ache for England as when digging and shoveling, your body is stuck in a squatting position...and trust me, after digging up a complete lawn (even though its only a 36ft x 20ft garden), its enough to make your hamstrings feel alien.
Check out the Operation Greenfingers photos here
So 4 days of complete rest then an hour in the garden, followed by a 6hr day in the garden (an absolute killer) then another 90 minutes the day after led me into my first run since the rest, the Wednesday night club run.
I cant say I felt particularly great...
It was my first time "leading" the medium pace group. I have to say, I found it a lot harder than I usually would have done. My legs felt heavy and my HR was still higher than I felt it would have been usually. I got through it though but felt very tired at the end.
Then I ran again on Saturday morning. The plan was to go and do my first ever Park Run on Saturday but despite setting the alarm for 7:30, I didnt wake up until gone 9:00 so I'd missed the start. Knowing my parents were heading to mine for 11am to help in the Garden while I went to watch Izzy compete in the Meapa Gymnastics club Invitational competition, I knew I didnt have a big window so got changed and set off on a 10k. Out up Welling Way, a quick loop round Eltham Park before cutting back down the A2 and then back past Danson Park and looped back home.
Again, I didnt feel great. However, I didnt have breakfast before the run and I also had another 2 odd hours of digging in my hamstrings from the night before. Not ideal preparation and the legs felt stiff before I hit the road. Not too much to panic about but the HR was still higher than I expected for a run of that pace.
Almost 36 hours later, after Izzy had gone home for the weekend, I decided enough was enough and it was time to take the training up a level again. I'm happiest when I'm working my socks off.
Not ideal preparation for this though. From 9am through to 12noon, I'd been carrying heavy garden and garage rubbish and was filling a 6 yard skip. Plenty of effort on the body, including smashing up the old fibreglass bath with a Sledge Hammer. Not for the feint hearted
I felt reasonably good going out the front door. The plan was to run around 2 laps of the local block (somewhere between 10-15 mins) to warm up before hitting 3 reps of Shooters Hill and then depending how I was feeling after that, do a bit of a call down.
I have to say that although I didnt run my quickest up Shooters Hill (looking back at previous Strava segment data), I felt reasonably good. Second time up I was feeling a little queasy and the third and final time up I was actually enjoying it. On the way back down the last time, I allowed my legs to open up a bit and just run my natural pace down rather than try and hold back and keep the HR down. By the time I hit the bottom of the hill, I felt so good I decided to carry on running at the same pace. With the 0.75 mile descent and then the following 2.25 miles afterwards, that is without doubt the best I've felt during a run since Paris. Although my average pace for the run was 9:19 min/mile pace, my average HR of 155bpm seemed much more apt for the session I'd run. I felt so pleased. Its nice to know the speed is still actually there, it just needs some coaxing out. I'd spent so many months marathon training and running at 9:30 min/mile pace in preparation, it has felt all my runs have been a struggle since but maybe this just highlights the need to build regular intervals into my training, whether I'm training for an event or not.
As I write this at Monday lunchtime, my legs feel a little tired today. Only the 14.5 miles in two days but thats enough for the time being. I'll be doing some more work in the garden tonight then may just do a gentle session tomorrow night before running with the club on Wednesday. I'm so pleased I felt much more like my normal self last night and I'm feeling much better today as a result. Long may this trend continue.