Running has a way of keeping you humble. Last Sunday I ran just shy of 10 hilly miles at a really comfortable pace and felt amazing, last Tuesday I headed out with Charlie and the Westin team for a gentle 5km and within moments my calf had seized up. It was like there was a block wedged in there and I ended up having to walk a good portion of the run. Of course my ego took a pounding. There is nothing worse than being invited to a launch event because you are a runner and not being able to run. You feel like a total fraud and your ego really takes a pounding. I found myself wanting to scream ‘I can run, I can run’, but I pushed it aside (which took everything I had) and did the sensible thing, walked it out and jogged lightly - with just over two months until The Speed Project I can’t take risks with my body.
Texting with my coaches we decided I’d rest up and go for acupuncture as soon as possible. Acupuncture is something I’d been curious about for a long time, I knew loads of people who’d found it really beneficial and weirdly I was pretty excited to get some pins stuck in me! I was warned at the outset that acupuncture is a bit like marmite - you’re either in to it or you’re not. I’m in to it. With the exception of one sticky point in my ankle (loads of scar tissue from previous injuries and the needle just wouldn’t go in) the whole process was totally painless and so relaxing that I fell asleep! Plus it really eased up the discomfort in my calf. On the advice of the therapist Tracy I took the next 48 hours off, rested up and then tested my leg with 20 minutes on soft muddle trails on Friday. My legs were a little stiff, but no more that they’d normally be after a few days off, and I think the combination of acupuncture, rest and foam rolling/glut activation before I ran really did the trick. So much so by Sunday I smashed out over 8 miles without any problems beyond heavy legs. Winning.
My focus for this week was CONSISTENCY. Training consistently, consistently eating well and getting consistent rest alongside listening to my body and adapting where I need to. This week I really feel like I did that. No I didn’t do much training in the conventional sense, but I did listen to my body consistently and gave it what it needed, which I think is just as (if not more) important.
Friday - REST DAY
Saturday - over an hour of intervals on the treadmill - a touch but enjoyable session, but I had a little niggle (I had to swap out my trainers because my usual ones were too muddy to wear in the gym!)
Sunday - 10 easy hilly miles which felt tough at points (expected due to the hills, but also because my fuelling wasn’t on point), but overall it was awesome!
Monday - REST DAY - it was Mike’s birthday so we hung out all day
Tuesday - 8 miles pottering around town with Doris and a run with RunWestin London City - this is where all the problems started, my calves haven’t felt this tight in a LONG time.
Wednesday - 2 gentle miles with Doris to my acupuncture appointment (on the advice of my therapist we got the tube home - the beauty of having a folding bike!)
Thursday - REST DAY
Friday - two easy test miles on soft muddy trails - my legs felt heavy, but no worse than they would normally feel after a few days off
Saturday - REST DAY - so tired today! In part it was the wine I drank on Friday night, but I’d also been having a few post-concussion side-effects so was mega lethargic. Literally spent all day in a heap.
Sunday - 8.5 easy miles on flat which felt good. It was a little stop start (I had to run errands, literally ran in to Superdrug to pick up vitamins!), but overall I was pretty happy with it. I spent the evening unwinding with a beautiful yoga nidra class at Fierce Grace Brixton.
Each week I like to set out my focus for the next week. Reflecting on the problems I’ve had with my calves RECOVERY is going to be this week’s focus. Being able to recover between legs is going to be key when I’m out in the desert, so I’m going to be hitting up all the experts I know for advice and really working on looking after my body so it can recover as efficiently as possible.
Are you curious about how I’m training for the Speed Project? Is there anything you’d like to know? Let me know in the comments and I will see what I can do! In the meantime, you can read all my posts about this adventure here.
* I am an ambassador for Fierce Grace Brixton, but all opinions are my own.
** I was invited along to the launch of RunWESTIN London City, but all opinions are my own
*** images Alex Dixon Photography