Wednesday, 28 September 2011

It's Not All Bad

Right then. It’s all gone to buggery over the past month and a half. I am not going to be able to run the Snowdonia Marathon. This is not bad luck and although it is my body that has broken, it is my mind that allowed it to. Once again, I am painfully reminded that I have to do better to be better.

In my last post I diagnosed the problem and offered solutions. These solutions still stand but I was way off on my time frame for recovery. I immediately took a week off from training and then set out on a slow six mile run. This almost crippled me. So, I thought, I’ll take another week off. I then went out for a very slow run only to be confronted with the same pain. I had to admit to myself then that the recovery time for this was going to be much longer. The 20 milers in the pipeline for September and early October were simply not going to be possible. As a result neither would running a marathon be sensible.

I have to be pragmatic. There will be plenty more marathons to run and Snowdon certainly isn’t going anywhere. The focus is on getting my knee back to strength. I prescribed two whole weeks free from any running and then two more weeks of very small amounts with plenty of rest periods, stretching and physiotherapy. I amapproaching the end of this month of rehab and despite being less fit than my sofa, I have been moving without any pain or discomfort.

The dreaded training plan spreadsheet and Garmin watch have made their return. I am using the Garmin to make sure that I am not running too fast. I also want to track and monitor my progress to ensure that any successes and mistakes are clearly identified. I have used the spreadsheet to make sure that my weekly mileage increases sensibly. By calculating the percentage increase from one week to the next I can make sure that this doesn’t exceed 10%. This will mean I can build up my base fitness whilst trying to keep the knee problem in check. Every four weeks or so, I have set ‘easy weeks’ where the mileage and effort level are decreased. The emphasis on the first part of my training is rest. My focus is always running up something or on the longer runs. I have a habit of not doing some of the shorter recovery runs as I find them boring. This has to change. I am using a heart rate monitor to make sure that my effort level in these recovery runs is kept down. There is no such thing as over training, just under resting.

Once again, failure is met with a plan. Just got to dust myself off and carry on running. I hate the fact that I have to reintroduce science, plans and schedules back into my running. I don’t run because I want to follow a plan. I run because I enjoy it. It’s horrible to be confined by all that nonsense. However, it’s the only way to get back to health without making the same mistakes as before. Once I get the fitness and strength back in my legs I might feel confident enough to ditch all the science stuff.

I have bigger and better plans for next year which I’ll talk about later. Nevertheless, I have to get healthy and strong if those dreams are going to be realised.