Monday, 2 November 2015

Coldplay sang

"Nobody said it was easy
No one ever said it would be this hard
Oh take me back to the start"

Some days that's how I feel.

I found, even at week 12, I had so many little niggles and aches, I just wondered if it's worth it.

The Book says "think of this as taking up a new sport".  Well, does that mean I need to put in another 10,000 hours (10 years) to perfect it?  Of course not, but sometimes it feels like it!

It's all my fault.  A bit like a recovering addict, I've fallen off the wagon a few times, and every time I do, it feels like starting from the start.  The falls, in my case, have been that one session, or that parkrun, or that race, where I've thought "oh, I'll just test myself" or "I must be ready by now".  But I haven't been, and I'm left feeling like a bag of spanners.

The latest lapse was a parkrun, 9 days ago (19 mins).  I pushed hard in the second half because I felt good.  But it left me with aches in the feet, ankles, legs and hips for at least 5 days. 

However, Everything's Not Lost (last track, Parachutes)!!

I took 4 days off running, completely, and all the niggles have gone, save the subtlest of what feels like bruising under the heels.  I'm walking down stairs looking straight ahead, not looking like a crab.  I ran Eastleigh parkrun (grassy, hilly, 5km) on Saturday in bare feet (24 mins).  I waited all afternoon for the pain to kick in, but it never came.  I ran off road today in Merrell Gloves, and it felt great.

So this is my promise to me:  No more speed of any kind, until the muscles, tendons, and ligaments are ready to take it. 

But I do want to acknowledge that I've been at this for 12+ weeks now.  So I am going to start running every day, strictly 20 mins max (more likely 15 mins), at a very steady pace.  Off road where possible.  I'll listen to my body, and at the first sign of a niggle, take the day off.

I will behave!

I had an email from Keith (thanks Keith!).  12 weeks in, Keith gave me these balancing exercises to try.  Keith's exercise in blue, my results in black, below.

KEITH: A couple of ideas to experiment with. You only need to get the balance right now. And possibly experiment with the cadence to find what's comfortable.

KEITH: (a) Run along and feel the heels landing in front of you for 4 or 5 landings (heel strike)  (b)now switch and feel the toes landing way behind you for 4 or 5 landings (c) now try for a whole-foot landing - so you have decelerated, accelerated, gone at constant speed. Repeat a few times with the feet going less in front and less behind until you can subtly feel yourself precisely balancing

MY RESULT: The deliberate extending brought back memories of a heel striking past!  As you would expect, brought about a deceleration.
Then switching to toe landing, behind the hips brought about scuffing of the shoes upon landing, but apart from that, did not feel that unnatural. Moving the landing so far back also required some leaning forward with the hips, but I could start to feel what you mean by balance.
Bringing the feet back under the hips felt comfortable. And then I was able to move slightly back and forward with the landing, and interestingly, I think that the balance point is possibly a few millimetres behind where I have been landing the past few weeks. But we're talking millimetres here!!

KEITH: While running raise the back heel slightly and feel an acceleration. then raise the back heel less and feel the deceleration. This too is a balancing exercise.

MY RESULT: I was raising the heel, then dropping the heel, to feel the acceleration and deceleration. I could easily feel the effects here! I know you're not suggesting that the runner raises heels to accelerate, rather that the runner leans forward from the hips. But it was interesting nonetheless. Again, the balance point was clear. I think I'd already had a go at this one, without realising, because of when I was filming at the track on Friday, a the UK National Jumps Coach (happened to be at the track) pointed out that he thought I was raising the heel too much - he was right - I was accentuating the movement for the camera!

KEITH: Wile running fast start lifting the knees slightly you should feel a deceleration - now stop lifting them - this too is a balancing exercise.

MY RESULT: Not as successful as the other two experiments, but I ache a bit today so never quite got up to what you or I might call "fast"! But I did notice that it brought on what you might call "prancing". And also the deceleration you talk of.