Friday, 22 July 2011

Snowdonia Marathon Training Week 1

To say that my first week of training for the Snowdonia Marathon was a complete disaster would be slightly over dramatic. However, it was certainly not encouraging. My week began as normal with me trying to fit short runs in around my lengthy work shifts. I did four miles on the Tuesday which was tough after my week of not running because of a holiday. My legs felt fresh throughout but my lungs rebelled a bit and I was left puffing after even the smallest of ascents. The two three milers I did in my lunch breaks at work went without a hitch and by Friday I was confident that my body had gotten over my week off. I was certainly not at the fitness level that I had a month ago but my legs and lungs were getting used to running again. Then it all went a bit tits up.

On Saturday I was feeling a bit tired so it wasn't until the evening when I got out the door for some hilly ten miles. I prefer running in the evening when it's summer. It is cooler and the roads are less busy. I packed my head torch and headed of into the sunset. I felt really unfit over the first few miles but soon settled into a sedate pace and started to enjoy the lovely, still views over the Conwy valley. My route took me to the village of Rowen along darkening country roads. Even when I am just running along the roads around here I am constantly amazed at how beautiful it is and how I didn't really notice before I started to run.

I ran at a very slow pace and even walked some of the steeper ascents. I was having too much fun for this to become hard work. At about the halfway point I started to notice some pain in my left knee. Nothing too serious but it was particularly uncomfortable on the uphills. It wasn't too painful and I finished the run without giving it too much more thought. Now, my knee problems have been well documented and moaned about but I am pretty used to dealing with. When the "runner's knee" problem occasionally pops up I make sure it gets iced and then rest it for the remainder of the day. Usually, by the next morning it is fine and I carry on as normal. On a few occasions I have to wait until the day after before doing any running. I don't particularly mind this problem. It is my body's way of telling me that I am doing a bit too much and should probably lie down on the couch for a bit, preferably with an iced bun or four. I am fine with this. I have always been very good at lying down and eating.

This time was different though. By the next morning I could hardly walk. Visually there seemed nothing wrong with the knee. There had been no sudden worsening of the problem during the run. I was a bit confused as to why it was so painful. Anyway, I contented myself with a day of rest which was only interrupted by a painful excursion to the supermarket. I used to think that hobbling around civilians with a bandaged running injury made you look tough and weathered. Now I think it just makes you look like a crazy person. Like the tramps who visit supermarkets just to shout at the home baking section.

Unfortunately, the next morning arrived and I was still in a considerable amount of pain. This was the point where I got all miserable. I was in my first week of marathon training and had been beaten by a 10 mile jog. If this continues I'll be lucky if I... moan moan moan moan moan. I then remembered that this is "the new me". I'll run when I can, both physically and mentally. There is always a sensible reason for these things. 10 miles was obviously too much so next week my long run will be eight miles and I shall build from there. There is no shame in this. It is better that I get injured now rather than a week before the marathon as happened last year. I just have to be patient and build up the mileage a little more slowly.

To other matters. I have retrieved my bike from the family home with an eye to doing some mountain biking. I am hoping that this will strengthen my quads and knees and help prevent any further injuries in that area. It currently has a flat tyre and I am a little unsure of what to do about this. I haven't changed a bike tyre since I was a wee lad. I think I need to change my inner tube or something. And I need to buy a pump. And a tyre repair kit. And a helmet. I am starting to remember why I enjoy the simplicity of running. Still, a replacement knee or a knee repair kit would be pretty handy right now.

On equipment, I bought a small Camelbak backpack thingy. I have a similar Raidlight pack which is great for long mountain runs but is a bit over the top for road running. On the flip side, my water bottle doesn't have the capacity for runs over about 10 miles. The Camelbak holds the middle ground perfectly. It is great for those longish runs and holds all the bits and bobs I need. I'm rather pleased with this purchase especially as it was cheap, like the budgie.

On nutrition, my gall bladder and I have realised that Quavers do not cause the excruciating pain that other crisps seem to. I very much like crisps and haven't eaten any in months. As a result, I have bought 28 packets from the shop and intend to eat a packet with every meal, including breakfast. I am still being a (sort of) vegetarian which is helping with my stomach woes. This is good because meat suddenly seems to cost far too much. Rather save my money for beer. I wonder if I could put beer in the Camelbak bag, then as my knee pain increased I could count on the pain relieving qualities of some ale. Probably wouldn't work. Too fizzy.


Post a Comment