Thursday, 18 October 2007

The Hard Way

My dad used always tell me when I was young that there was and easy and hard way to do things - the lesson being that I tended to choose the hard way. This attitude appears to have transferred to my running - I'd rather test myself to near destruction to get feedback on my fitness as opposed to waiting until race day when I really need to pull out all the stops. After Sunday's poor run I took things easy. My calves felt fine Monday and Tuesday. I went to the track on Tuesday evening with the intention of doing an easy warmup and if that went ok to ease up the pace - if there was any sign of tightness I would ease off the gas and revert to gentle running. The warmup mile went fine, no niggles - so I eased up the pace and went for interval pace (06:00 to 06:10 min/mile) I completed 1 lap in lane 3 (416m in 1;32 = 05:56 pace) but eased off as I felt the onset of tightness in my left calf - certainly an improvement since Sunday but more to go. I eased back into an easy pace and completed 5 miles in total. The most discomfort I had came from heartburn ( I had a large lunch and big dessert in the middle of the day, something I'm not used to - I'd want to get my diet sorted in the run up to the marathon) This evening I decided to give one final go at an interval session, if the legs were up to it, still 11 days out from the marathon so recovery should not be an issue. I decided to stay away from the track because if I had to revert to easy running i'd prefer to run on the road. I intended to run a loop of 11.4 miles with some fast intervals/fartleks, calves permitting. I wouldn't have the track to guide my pace but I didn't mind. I warmed up over a mile and stretched, no problems. I continued at a reasonably brisk pace covering another 2 plus miles before reaching the straight road where I would commence the fast legs. I felt like one of those energetic puppies released from its lead - full of energy and rearing to go - my pace was certainly under 08:00 mins/mile. Unfortunately I was soon to discover that I shared some other traits prevalent in young canines - no sense. I eased up the pace to interval speed over a set distance (measured on Google Earth later). The pace was hard but comfortable and there was no trouble with my calves - I did fell a slight tightness when I eased up towards the end and thought of completing the remainder of the run at an easy pace - the interval measured 1,320m in 05:03 (6:10 pace - right on target). I jogged on for another 500m or so, until the lure of speed came back to me and I went for another shorter interval - again the pace was hard but comfortable and I was aware of a slight tightness in my right calf - "better not risk it - this is my last interval". As I approached the end - 20 m to go - the tightness got worst and I eased up and stretched. The second interval measured 920m in 03:32 (06:12 pace). The tightness in my left calf did not ease so I did a u-turn and headed for home - "Should have went to the track - at least I could have stopped and went home". The pace certainly was much slower on the return leg and my left calf is fairly stiff as I write this post. In a weird sort of way I am happy I did the run as I got my need for feedback on my performance out of the way and I can now recover over the next 11 days - no more recklessness, I promise. Tue - 5.05 Miles in 41:36 (08:14 pace @ 131 HR) with 0.26 miles @ 05:56 Thur - 10.4 Miles in 1:22:19 (07:55 pace @ 144 HR) Out in 07:11 pace & back in 08:38 pace)


  1. Lucky! With no recklessness before the marathon you should be OK. At least it gives you confidence about your speed, and the endurance was put away long ago.

  2. confidence can go a long ways, as long as everything is all recovered and happy come race day :) Now really enjoy that taper!