18 April 2017 1 Comment

Running Problems

Lancasterduathlon3

A rare pic of me enjoying running in 2017

2016 was the strongest running year I’ve had since staring triathlon 14 years ago. I ran 1,302km over the course of the year and smashed my Ironman marathon best at Ironman UK. I also managed something that I never have before, and that was to run every day for a whole month, notching up 272km as I went. I also shattered my monthly elevation record as I completed the Strava Mont Blanc Challenge (4800m of ascent in one month), completed the toughest trail run I’ve ever done in the Howgills and did another couple of trail half marathons besides. All in all it could not have gone much better.

The contrast with this year could not be more complete. By this date last year I had notched up 360km of running. This included 5 half marathons in training and the Grizedale Trail Half. This year, the longest run I have managed is 3 runs of 15km length or more (and 2 of those were in the first week of the year!) and I’ve yet to reach 200km in total distance. Any thought of beating my previous year’s record mileage has already gone out of the window and I’m going to have to work quite hard to get to 1,000km.

The reason for this lack of performance is quite difficult to pin down but one thing I have noticed this year is that I have suffered a series of niggly injuries: tight calves, bruised ligaments in my foot and a sore achilles tendon. After most runs I have felt my calf muscles to be really tight – not an unusual phenomenon for me, but this year has been noticeably worse. Ten days ago I went over on my ankle on a pothole damaging the ligaments in my right foot and after returning to running yesterday I now have a very sore left achilles – possibly due to protecting my right foot for a week. It’s altogether very frustrating.

I suspect that the running problems are a direct result of the improvement in my cycling. I’m closing in on 2,000km on the bike for the year already, almost 500km further than this time last year (which was already a record year by recent standards) and I’ve been working hard doing hill reps and power work. It’s definitely paying off as I feel stronger on the bike than anytime since 2012. I can tell this because most of my tougher Strava segment records date from 2012 and I’ve started to knock a few of these down already (it’s still only April). What I have singularly failed to do, though, is to keep up my stretching and injury prevention routines and I think it is this, coupled with the extra load on the cycle, that is causing the problem with my running. I think I’m underestimating the impact that cycling has on my leg muscles.

I’m 54 this year, and it’s tempting to think that age might be catching up with me, but after the strongest year running since the halcyon days of my marathon running (over 30 years ago – 5 marathons, pb 3:21) I don’t see why this should be the case. I think it’s more a question of balance, and realising that if you are going to push 1 of the 3 triathlon disciplines harder than normal then it may have consequences for the other 2. So, it’s a few more days rest from running again, but besides the cycling and swimming it is most definitely a return to stretching and injury prevention plyometric exercises for running again.

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One Response to “Running Problems”

  1. Ben 19 April 2017 at 9:17 pm #

    A good read, hope the injuries are short lived!

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