Marathon Training Week 11 – A Polar Vortex

After a rigorous last few weeks culminating in a 20 mile run home just the day before, I will still scheduled to go on with a 40 minute easy run on Monday evening. As sore as I felt I really wanted to continue ahead with preparations. However the only running I eventually did, thanks to some busy housework required in the event of one of my daughter’s getting scarlet fever, was a dash down to the local textile recycling bank in the early hours of Tuesday morning, where I legitimately started off with about four bags and a backpack full of old baby clothes, paused my Garmin upon reaching the bank, and after dispensing, running around a bit more until I clocked just over a mile. I did 1.12 miles in the end in 8:52. Despite my existing aches from the 20 miles done just over 24 hours before, I had to get out and do some form of running just to loosen up.

That was to be the only running I did until Wednesday, when I got back on the wagon and in a run home from work, did my usual commute in around 39 minutes, covering 4.87 miles. I decided then to stick to the rest of the week’s plan, which given the recent rigours of building up to marathon distance, was a welcome sojourn from the usual chase for high mileage. Thursday: 20 minutes; Friday: 15 minutes.

I intended to go out Thursday evening after my twins had gone to sleep, but in the end it was not until 10:40pm when I was ready to go out of the door.  I really needed a kick by this point – I was tired, having underslept the night before, it was raining, and I just needed an extra push to get on with it. So I got my earphones, loaded up Spotify on my phone, and ran to my fitness playlist – a mixture of dance, hip hop, rock, hardcore and metal (in no particular order). I got the opening bars of the Prodigy’s ‘Warrior Dance’ to begin and its pumping tune was the perfect fillip to get me on my way. Closing down with the opening bars of the eight minute, fourty six seconds of the full-length version of Faithless’ ‘Insomnia’, it should feel appropriate that my third late night run of the week should conclude as the words ‘I never sleep’ were uttered. That can be taken numerous ways, for right now my running feels like it refuses to sleep, the only thing perhaps less so than I actually do.

But then that was to be proven wrong when of all the things to strike me down, it was the 15 minute run. I’ve no idea what happened, although re-tying my shoelaces might have had something to do with it, but around five minutes into the run, it started to ache a little in the top and side of my left foot, just in front of my ankle. This quickly built and by about halfway I was in discomfort and having to go around the remainder of the route just to get back home. When I got the sock off and examined things, it looked as though initially my foot had swollen on top, pain coarsing around to the underside, and it was difficult to walk around without being reasonably ginger on my left foot.

And so that ended training for the week. My long run – a half marathon route at race pace – was scrapped and I am now forced to consider resting myself whilst juggling with the prospect of being maybe slightly undercooked when it comes to the marathon on Sunday April 19th. At least I had the nous not to get up that morning to go off and make things worse. Instead I had a dig through my Great Run bags for sample packets and came across one called Polar Frost, which did the trick in terms of easing the pain prior to a wedding reception I attended later that Saturday.

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As of right now the injury appears to be in the base of my foot, to the outside, and no pain on top – this bears more resemblance to plantar fasciitis than tendonitis or whatever of any kind. Though I haven’t seen a doctor yet and nor have I attempted to self-diagnose – what I need is to stretch and work the muscle and give myself as much time to rest as possible. That’s difficult when part of your commute involves a walk, when you have to take your kids places and when life is going ten to the dozen. But at least as I return to work this week I will have chance sat at my desk to get some aid to the foot. My next run wasn’t scheduled until Tuesday 17th with a long run of 21 fairly flat miles on Sunday. These are both looking unlikely at this stage. I must try not to panic about my training and hope that whatever it is I’ve done, it’s not too serious and like my previous achilles injury. I’ve every reason to remain optimistic and while Friday was a bit of an ‘oh s***’ moment, I know I’ve got the belief in place and support in various places to know that I’ll still be toeing the start line in just under five weeks. Until then, running is quite figuratively on Deep Freeze!

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