My running week – drop the dead donkey

Been doing a lot of mileage the past few weeks, upping it gradually. By my timetable I did 46.8 last week, although Strava says it was 48.8 (because it tracks Mon to Sun rather than my apparently eccentric Sat to Fri). Either way, I have been pushing it. And getting away with it by and large, because I have not been too fatigued and nor have I become fed up with it.

Right up to yesterday’s quite frankly herculean effort of 13.2 undulating, windy, multi-terrain miles.

I must admit, I found parts of that a bit of a drag. I’m simply not a dragging kind of guy – nine miles for me has always been “long”. I also had a flirtation with injury.

No doubt I will have the attention of all true runners now. No runner wants an injury, but we are all morbidly fascinated by them. Am I right? Doesn’t it make us feel all warm and cosy and blessed to know that it’s not us with that plantar fascitis, that it’s someone less fortunate who picked up that patellar tendonitis? There but for the grace of the running gods, my friend. They hit us all with their thunderbolts in the end. Luckily for me, mine seems to have been a glancing blow.

My legs felt a bit rickety yesterday’s long run, but I couldn’t put my finger on anything specific. This morning I could – the back of my right knee. It was hard to locate the epicentre at first but by mid-morning I knew it was my upper calf, right around the knee crease. The danged thing was stiff, although it loosened up with walking. Later on I did some calf stretching and that helped. I noticed the other one was stiff too, although not in pain.

Now, I may have mentioned I got some new shoes – Brooks PureFlow. They are great, and have a 3mm drop from heel to toe (as opposed to the 10-12 of trad trainers). They also have decent cushioning to the fore, which seems to be helping my temperamental big toe no end. But the absence of that big heel wedge has left a void beneath my heel, with my achilles and calves picking up the slack. This lends itself to the midfoot-centric way I run, but I have to acknowledge that all these years of wearing shoes with a bigger heel-to-toe drop have left my achilles shortened and my calves weakened. I tried to ease myself into it by wearing the Merrell All-Out Rush (6mm drop) more regularly for a few weeks, but I reckon I should have been more cautious still. And defo used something more wedgy for that mammoth long run.

But hey – we learn. And I got off easy.

Planning another attack on my local parkrun this Saturday. I have done eight so far at my local event and I have course PBd at each one. Can I make it 9? Can I beat 19:55?

Tune in Sunday to find out.

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