Here is my first update of what I hope will be an epic year of running, starting with January’s scores on the doors:
All in all, January was a really solid body of work that started with a somewhat out-of-body, jet-lagged run experience and sickness near the beginning of the month and was frustratingly curtailed by an untimely and currently unspecified foot injury near the end of the month, with lots of really great running in the middle.
My primary focus in January was to continue on with the base building I’ve been doing these past few months. I’ve been mainly running by feel, not worrying too much about pace or intensity – running fast when I want to, and dialling things back when that’s what my legs or lungs are telling me do. Mainly I’ve just been having fun, getting out, putting some miles in the bank and digging the foundations for when the real work begins.
I’ve set a goal of ‘running the year’ in terms of total miles, which requires an average of at least 42 miles per week, or 168 miles per month to hit the 2,019 mile target. I really want to run ‘more’. It’s hard to argue with the benefit this will bring in terms of overall fitness, endurance and marathon readiness, and ultimately more miles should better prepare me for one of my medium-term goals which is to step up to run an ultra distance.
I just need to be smart about it – specifically when I bring speed and strength workouts into the mix, and remember to run the bulk of these miles within my ‘easy’ pace range. Easier said than done when you’re caught up in the thick of training for a race, but for me I think it’s critical that I take real care with upping my mileage if I’m going to avoid succumbing to more injuries.
So, about that odd start, and frustrating end to the month. Let’s start at the start.
I spent the Christmas and New Year holidays back home with family and friends in Blighty and, as is my habit, I suffered from the usual sleepless long flight home, followed by jet-lagged, interrupted nights of sleep. With virtually no sleep in 48 hours, I probably should have bagged my 12-miler in favor of a nap on the couch, but it was Sunday, and Sundays are run days where I come from.
It’s a little odd going out running when you’re not ‘all there’. I mean I’ve been on many runs when I’ve been just a little off the pace, a bit fuzzy around the edges, but usually, the endorphins kick in enough to wake me up and get me through. This time though I was in full space cadet mode the whole run, a fact fully confirmed when I ran into the woods and passed a couple of, erm, Milk-maids?, Little Bo-Peeps?, I don’t know…I mean I had to snap a quick pic on the run to prove to myself when I got home that I wasn’t actually hallucinating. Not your everyday sighting when out racking up the miles but each to their own.
Anyway, I finished up the run, got home, and after some post-run refuelling promptly got really, really, sick (not at all the way I wanted to lose those excess Christmas pounds). I ended up spending the next 24hrs in bed, missing two run days in the process. Moral of the story? Always go out for your run, no matter how spaced out you are, because if you’re going to get sick, you’re better off puking having got your miles in first.
As for the frustrating finish, having made up for lost time during the month, I was looking forward to finishing January strong and racking up some bonus miles along the way – a bit of cushion towards my annual goal if you will. Well, that didn’t happen. I got a mystery foot pain around the 29th which got progressively worse during the week forcing me to delve into the depths of my closet for this attractive piece of kit:
I didn’t think too much about it to begin with – like most regular runners, aches and pains come with the territory, and when the pain subsided enough for me to go out for a short run a couple of days later, I thought I was back in business. How wrong can you be? Very wrong in my case because the pain came back in full effect the very next day, finally convincing me that I needed to do what I hate doing, which was to go see the doctor. Tune in next time to find out what he said…
In the meantime – I hope you all got your own 2019 running plans off to a flyer and remember, keep running my friends, because you never know when sickness or injury is going to sit you down.