6 December 2016 2 Comments

Finishing with a whimper

Throughout October I had been a model of consistency, running every day of the month. Once the days darkened into November things took a different turn. With a target to hit of 5,000km cycling for the year I thought I’d better jump on my bike to have any hope of meeting it. It was a bit of a shock to be turning pedals after a month off but I soon got back into the swing of things. A brief stop was caused by a mild reaction to the flu jab which left me under the weather for a couple of days, but the the wheels properly came off mid month in the shape of a nasty cold which stopped all exercise for 4 days. Still, a month total of 435km could have been worse. Running mileage, in contrast, fell off a cliff. In October I’d sent a new distance record of 279km. In November I managed the princely total of 65km.

Unusually for me I’d signed up for a half marathon at the beginning of December. I was hoping to take advantage of all that running and set a decent time. With that in mind I decided to tweak my top end pace by doing some speed work in the week before the race. Big mistake. Even though I felt fully recovered from any lingering lurgy, I hadn’t done any speed work for ages – Ironman training at my level favours strength and endurance work. The inevitable happened, and on the 18th rep of a 20 sprint series I felt my right hamstring twinge. I stopped immediately, walked home and went into injury recovery mode with ibuprofen and ice. Trouble was I only had 4 days to recover.

Race day dawned a beautiful still and crisp late autumn day. Perfect conditions for running. I signed in with plenty of time because I knew that I would need to do a proper warm up. The previous night I’d done a long stretching session and the hamstring felt ok, but as soon as a started to inject even a modicum of pace into my warm up I could feel it pulling. I knew that I might get away with it if I jogged around really slowly but there was no way my leg would survive at running anywhere near normal pace, let alone the 1:45 pace that I aspired to. Reluctantly, I returned to race HQ and turned in my number.

So October’s Lancaster Trail Half turned out to be my last race of the year as it had been for the last 3 years. My thoughts now turn to 2017. Another Ironman? Ironman UK would be the obvious one. Having raced on the new course this year I could have a go at a new pb. Alternatives are hard to pick. Ironman Mallorca has slipped off the calendar. Ironman Weymouth seems that it was a one off event and the race is only offering the 70.3 format next year. This is a shame as the bike course is superb and I would have enjoyed a crack at the full full distance race having done the 70.3 this year. Barcelona has sold out – maybe this is the race for 2018. This leaves the new Ironman race in Emilia Romagna, Italy as the only open late season Ironman in Europe. Hmm, I need to make a decision.

But before that, I need to write my season review for 2016…

Lancaster trail 2016 3



2 Responses to “Finishing with a whimper”

  1. Ben 5 January 2017 at 12:51 pm #

    Out of curiosity how long do you usually need to allow for a full recovery from this type of injury? I’ve had a few calf injuries over the last year and tend to try and run again after a week or so after the initial pain/tension seems to have gone only for the injury to reoccur again, and ultimately I then need to take at least 2 weeks off (just from running – I can usually still cycle and swim) for a full recovery. I think like a lot of runners I make the mistake of trying to rush back too quickly, especially if there is an event looming which I’m signed up for, but I would be interested to learn how long others allow for recovery…


  2. John 5 January 2017 at 1:10 pm #

    Thanks for the comment, Ben.

    Having had a fair share of hamstring tweaks over the years I can say that they usually take around 3 weeks for me. Like you I can carry on cycling, although swimming sometimes causes issues especially in the early days. So in the first week I’ll do nothing except cycle, then do ice, stretch and ibuprofen as regularly as I can. After that I’ll ease myself back into the running if it feels up to it, but very easy pace stuff until all symptoms are completely clear.

    Calf injuries are a different issue altogether. I find that massage can help a great deal. Also find that a good warm up is essential including lunges, hopping and bouncing. Incorporating some plyometrics into my training has massively helped in terms of injury prevention as it strengthens all your muscles. Here’s an example: http://running.competitor.com/2014/03/training/the-10-minute-plyometric-workout-for-runners_26184


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