Delayed update

So much for more regular updates to my blog on my progress. This is mostly because I don’t really feel like I’ve made much progress. Right after my last post I had an issue that I hadn’t had for a few months – a swollen right ankle (not the ankle affected by the Achilles tendonitis). No real damage and it disappeared after a couple of days, but it gave me enough of a scare to slow down a bit.

The good news is that I’m able to run between 4 and 6 miles without too much pain (I definitely feel it in the Achilles, so progress on recovery is slow), but I’m only running 3 days a week.

I’m visiting a Sports Medicine doctor on the 24th to check in on progress and see what needs to happen next, but in the meantime I’ll be running on vacation in England so will hopefully post about some scenic runs.

Very little running (and the benefits of Skinners)

When the doctor advised me not to run for a couple of weeks he also told me that he knew I would run anyway. It turns out that other things got in the way and I haven’t really had time to run anyway. Over the last 2 weeks I have run twice – today, and 9 days ago.

One thing I noted in my last post was that I was finding it easier to run pain-free in Skinners, and last week I ran about 4 miles (admittedly slowly) with no pain at all. Since I’d had a long break, I wanted to get out again today (the first chance I’ve had to run since then due to other commitments and work travel). As it was way below freezing I thought my feet would be cold in the Skinners, so I put on my trusty Merrell Trail Gloves. Within a quarter of a mile I had to turn around to come home and change – my left Achilles was hurting again. After giving it some thought, I put this setback down to having danced the evening away at my work holiday party last night.

A quick change into the Skinners and I was off down the road again, and things were better. I ran just over 3 miles, and had minimal aches and pains throughout.

I know I’ve still got a long way to go, but I’m hoping that the dancing won’t cause too much of a setback. I’ll be out on the Halfbike again this weekend as that hasn’t caused me any issues while I’ve been working through this.

The image below gives a good overview of the skinners – I found I have to wear them with socks but that isn’t a problem, and I’ve got to get used to running on rough surfaces on them, but they seem to be working out very well for me, and have been great to use when travelling as they take up so little space in a suitcase. At the moment this seems to be the only thing I can wear when running, so I’m very thankful I have them.

 

Sidelined

It could be argued that maybe the title of this post relates to this blog. After all, it does seem to fit with so few posts this year.

Unfortunately though, the “sideline” is about me and running. It’s been a strange year with all sorts of issues, both running-related and not.

Now I just have to plan the slow crawl back, hopefully in time for spring races. The doctor has told me to take some time off and to go to a physical therapist.

I’ve already limited my running, and I had already started to work more on strength and stretching, so the recommendation isn’t much different.

I’m going to try to hold myself to writing about progress on this blog. It could be an interesting journey back to running as much as I want to.

I suspect that some minor issue earlier in the year has caused a slight change in gait, which in turn has caused more issues. My calf muscles are tighter than they have ever been and there has been an impact on other muscles in my ankles from that. Interestingly, I’ve found that barefoot running is much easier and causes fewer issues for me than even wearing my minimalist shoes. Luckily, I also now have some Skinners socks. I will have to write a review of those soon (very soon).

Runner’s World Half and Festival

I had so much fun at this event last year that I’m back again this year to do the hat-trick again (5k, 10k and half). As I’ve been running less, my plan was just to take it slow and enjoy, but there’s something about being in that atmosphere that pushes you on, so this morning I ran the 5k and 10k faster than I intended.

Last week I ran a 5k and a 10k but over 2 days. Last week’s times were 20:31, and 42:22 respectively (which got me 2nd place overall, and 1st in age group respectively). Not my fastest times by far, but far for the amount of running I’ve been doing.

Today I managed a 20:23 5k, and 43:17 10k (an hour or so after the 5k), and got myself 2nd place in age group in the 10k (4th in the 5k).

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Tomorrow I will definitely be taking it easy in the half.

 

Catch up

The title of this blog posts combines a reference to my lack of blog activity as well as my running in general.

The first of my goals this year was going to be tough – breaking the 19 minute barrier in a 5k. With last June’s Lager Run giving me a 19:15, I was hopeful that I could maybe break that time this year. My preparation, while not perfect, was not too bad. Thanks to RVRR speed sessions throughout the spring that pushed me hard, I felt relatively fast. However, I wasn’t backing that up with anywhere near the number of miles I was running a year ago, and ultimately I think what I gained in speed I lost in stamina and my 5k times have largely remained static this year.

For comparison:
May: Highland Park 5k 2014: 19:27, 2013: 19:28
Jun: Presidents Cup 5k 2014: 19:41, 2013: 19:41
Jun: Lager Run 5k 2014: 19:32, 2013: 19:15

So, what comes next? The other goal for the year is the half marathon and for that I need to increase my mileage and I’ve started doing that already to some extent, but I still need to get out and run more often.

Alongside this, I have decided to work on my core strength and flexibility. This is something I believe helped last year so I’m hoping I can work hard enough to gain those benefits again.