Sunday, 25 August 2013

7 week marathon programme: Week 2

Off the canal path, for some trail running
on my weekly long run
I can't believe I've got to the end of week 2 already. After 5 months of no running and starting to think I'd never run again, I've got 2 weeks of quality running in.

As I've said in previous posts the idea of such a short programme is to concentrate on the long weekend run and during the week 'tick' over. I kicked off the week on the Tuesday with a 4.25 mile lunchtime run with long time running partner and fellow Loch Ness participant Brian from work.

Brian's been out with a foot injury for some time as well, so it's great we're at a similar level in our fitness and training schedules.

The following evening after work we headed out onto our favorite running patch, the Ash ranges. Such an amazing place to run with a lot of variation of trails and hills.

We went just over 8 miles. This was a real test for my ankle. I had planned not to run on the trails for a while due to the uneven terrain. The last thing I wanted to do was turn my ankle. Half way through the run I must admit the ankle was aching a lot. I began to think the worse but after a couple more miles the pain had disappeared. It was all worth it though, a great run in the sunshine on my favourite run.

On the Thursday my ankle was quite stiff, this was a rest day anyway but I had planned to do my long run on the Friday and run into work. I moved the long run to Saturday to give myself a couple of days rest and it paid off.

Found these in Tesco's; a bag of mini Eat Natural bars, ideal to take out on a run.
(i don't do gels no more, rather use real food)
Saturday, 12 miles along the canal, and a total success. The ankle behaved itself ( I felt it a little on the last couple of miles) I did come off the canal and ran a couple of miles on some great trails adjacent to the canal path, it added a little bit of elevation rather than sticking to the flat canal path.

After such a long time out and only 2 weeks of training, I was really pleased with how relatively easy the 12 miles felt.

Next week the long run ramps up to 16 miles, which probably won't feel as easy!

Saturday, 24 August 2013

Ultramarathoners and Marathoners beware?

I stumbled across a very interesting video this morning on YouTube.

Are we over exercising the most important muscle in our body? #runchat

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

7 week marathon programme: Week 1

Good to be back in running gear!
So week 1 is complete. Three, four mile lunchtime runs and a weekend 'long run' of eight miles completed.

When I tweeted and posted my training programme last week, I was surprised by the positive comments by everyone. I thought I was being a little crazy and people would be advising me of looniness. A lot of people had attempted marathons on little training and I felt a lot more with my decision to continue my race training.

Kevin Betts, aka @52marathonman on twitter; a man who run a marathon every week for a year; made the observation that I had lots of weekly 4 mile runs and questioned what these were for. With such a short programme the main objective is to concentrate on the weekend long run.

My 4 mile runs every other day in the week were mainly to keep the body ticking over, get some extra miles in, time on my feet and not too much strain on my recovering ankle.

Natural Fuel
Kevin suggested that I should use these to stress the legs, so to turn these into tempo or hill runs. Wise words from an experienced runner.

Last Sunday I finally came out the comfort zone and started to up the miles. I went for a 8 mile loop that consisted predominately Tarmac with a couple of  miles of canal path. I prefer trail running but didn't want to risk turning my ankle on tree routes etc that you find on the trails, also my marathon will be on the road.


I also added some hills in the run to start to work my body a little harder. The only worry I had was the Tarmac on my ankle. The run went well and I was surprised how comfortable I felt despite the hills. As I'm coming into this marathon on zero fitness, I'm not worrying about running the race particularly fast. I ran London last year at 9 min/mile pace, I would be more than happy to run Loch Ness at 10 min pace, so I was pleased to run these 8 miles comfortably at 8:40 min/mile pace.

I did stop for about 30 seconds to enjoy some natural fuelling and enjoy the blackberries in abundance on the canal path.

The ankles holding up so far, a little achy after the Tarmac but ready to enjoy week 2 :-)

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Mission Impossible - 7 week marathon training

In my last post I made the comment that the body is a wonderful thing when it comes to repairing itself. I was talking about my ankle injury and how after 5 months I’m now going against all advice and starting to run again.

Well call me crazy but I’m now going totally against the running law book. I’m going to still attempt to run my marathon. That’s the marathon in….er….7 weeks’ time!!! I hope the body is truly a wonderful thing

My ankles not 100% but strong enough to run on, and I only have 7 weeks to train. Totally crazy I know, but that’s what I’m doing and I’m excited about taking this on. They say us runners are all crazy after all!

I managed to find some 8 week training plans online which I've looked at to get an idea of what I need to achieve and come up with my own program (see below)

The emphasis for these short program is all concentrated on the long run at the weekend and then ticking over through the week.

Now I’m not totally crazy and I know that I won’t be breaking my PB of 3:58. In fact I would be more than happy to come in under 5 hours.

The Loch Ness Marathon was going to be my ‘A’ list race this year, but my ankle injury soon changed the perspective of this race.

I’m now going into totally relaxed and going there to enjoy the experience and a country I've not been to before.

The 20 mile long run that I’ve got planned will probably end up more of a run/walk exercise, but over the next 7 weeks I’m looking forward to seeing just how wonderful the human body is and what I can personally achieve.

Saturday, 10 August 2013

Official Comeback!

Parkrun 10/08/13 - COMEBACK!

A short post to celebrate my comeback run.

5 months to the day and I've run 3 miles at my local Parkrun, pain free? Not exactly, my ankle felt a little tender at the start of the run but come the last mile I was running pain free.

This has by far been the worst sort of injury I've had to date. I've had Achilles trouble a few years ago. But everyone knows their own body. I could easily spend another 8 weeks making sure the ankle is fully recovered but I'm a strong believer that the body will adapt and strengthen itself within reason.

That's what I did with my Achilles injury there was only so much nursing I could do and there came a point where I just ran through it; never been a problem since. I feel I'm at the stage with this injury. My bodies had 5 months away from running (apart from the odd failed comeback run) its nearly there, but the ankle is now strong enough to slowly return to running and for my body to adapt to that.

The human body is a wonderful thing and will always try to heal itself. I've been to one Physio session, next one due in a couple of weeks, and I've been told not to run till i see the consultant in October....but the rule book is going out the window!

I need to get my body back used to doing what I want it to do, and that's not standing on a wobble board.

Immediate plan of action? 3 miles every other day for the next couple of weeks and see where we go from there. 

Sometimes the best advice comes from listening from inside yourself.

Friday, 2 August 2013

High ankle sprain injury

So I finally know the extent of my injury, which is good but makes for a horror read. 

After finally getting to see the foot specialist at the hospital a few weeks back the diagnosis was this:
  • Rupture of the Anterior Talofibular ligament (ligament runs from talus, ankle bone, to fibular, outside bone in the lower leg)
  • Damage to Calcaneofibular ligament (ligament that runs from the heel bone to the outside bone in your lower leg)
  • Also damage to Deltoid ligament - name for 3 ligaments on the medial side of your ankle - Anterior Tibiotalar lig, Tibiocalcaneal lig, Posterior Tibiotalar lig and Tibionavicular ligament.
  • Also damage to Spring Ligament - another name for the Calcaneonavicular lig - it is found on the underside of the foot between the heel bone and another bone called the Navicular.
(Thank you Osteopath Helen at Finefettle for giving the explanations on the above).

Image from eorthopod website

As well as learning the full damage of my injury, I was also told not to run till my next consultants meeting which is early October, this will mean I will have been away from running for a full 6 months!

No more running means no more marathon. My 3rd marathon in Loch Ness, Scotland, due to take place at the end of September and one I had been really looking forward to, is not going to happen. I'd booked the flight and everything so a real disappointment. I may still go and support my friend running.

The last two weeks I have spent in Spain in a small town called Castalla...a town surrounded by mountains, it would have been perfect for my marathon training but alas, it was not to be.

Castalla, Spain...lamdscape made for running.

I returned home this week and today had my first Physio appointment at the hospital.

The good news is that I'm healing nicely and I think the Physio was surprised I was not feeling more pain as he twisted away at my ankle.

I was given a few exercises (lunges, heel raises and some theraband workouts) to see me through the next few weeks until I go back for some more intensive work on the ankle.

I made a short Instagram video of the theraband exercises here:

It would appear the physio chose the right career in physiotherapy rather than art!

It's been tough getting through the months but there definitely seems to be some light at the end of the tunnel and the ankle feels like its getting stronger. I've missed the whole of spring and summer so looks like I'll be back training in the dark and cold....but I can't wait!

Thursday, 1 August 2013

AfterShokz Sports M2 open ear sport headphones

As my injury hell continues, it's been a great chance to catch up on product reviews on the blog.

Today's review is for the AfterShokz Sportz M2 open ear sport headphones.


Where these headphones differ to what we are all used to, is that the ear piece sits in front of the ear rather than in the ear. The benefit here is that as well as listening to your music while exercising you can also hear everything going on around you also, oncoming traffic etc. So can everyone on my commute to work on the canal path, GO AND BUY THESE NOW!!! It's so frustrating trying to pass people on the narrow path whether I'm cycling or running and they are plugged into their own little world without a care or thought to anyone around them!!!.....Sorry, moan over back to the review!

So how does this all work I hear you ask? Well the headphones use bone conduction technology. The sound transfers to the inner ear via through the cheekbone rather than through the ear. Clever stuff!

Does it work? Yep, perfectly. The sound is good enough; ok its not at the very top end of sound quality, but plenty good enough while exercising and at the same time you are aware of everything going on around you.

As well as lightweight, most importantly they are sweat and water resistant, and feature an on/off switch, volume control, an in-line mic, a micro USB charging port (yes they need to be charged once in a while, the only downside) and a 3.5mm gold plated standard connector that fits most smart phones and tablets. It also comes with a water repellent storage box and a lifetime warranty.
The head-strap sits around and behind the head which is comfortable and although I shouldn't of with my injured ankle; when I did sneak out for a short run to try the headphones they stayed in place nicely.
£69.95 seems to be the RRP on most sites, and I would recommend to anyone who exercises outdoors. I wouldn't recommend for using at home, as they do bleed quite a lot of sound, so a little annoying for anyone sitting near you.