Sunday, 6 October 2013

The Aftermath

Things have been very quite on the running front since Connemara. Recovery went pretty well - starting with a 3+ mile walk (of sorts) in Connemara National Park the morning after the race. My first run, 10 days after the event, was slow but reasonably trouble free.

A few months back I had signed up for one of the company relay teams in the Dublin City Triathlon on 24th August (14 days after Connemara). My job was to run the 4km final leg of the supersprint. I didn't give it much thought until a few days before the event when I was heading out on my second Connemara recovery run and decided to run a "tempo" mile to see what I would be capable of. While I didn't push myself to the limit I still gave it a good effort and finished the mile a few seconds on the wrong side of my 7 minute target - essentially knocking 50 to 60 seconds off what I would have been capable of before Connemara - no more that I expected really. Come race day however, lined up alongside Brendan in the "relay pen" with a number pinned to my chest, the competitive juices started to flow. Brendan got about a minutes head start on me and managed to add 8 seconds to his lead by the time I crossed the finish line, covering the 4 k in about 16:30, not the best recovery from a 100 miler and sure enough I felt a bit of tightness in my right calf over the last 500m.

A hilly 15+ mile long run a week later exposed the weakness in my right leg a bit further with a tightness in my Achilles developing from midway through the run - the hills will expose an weakness in your Achilles. I was reduced to limping for the rest of the day and a week off running. A 9 mile run the following weekend and another day of limping dictated that a longer period of rest was required - typically an Achilles injury takes 6 to 8 weeks to recover from as opposed to the 2 to 3 required for a muscle injury - something to do with the reduced blood flow/access to tendons to effect a repair compared to the relatively accessible capillary rich muscles.

The further layoff didn't bother me too much as I reckon I had my work done for the year and my only targets were "social" races or pacing gigs. A proper rest is probably what my body needed anyway. A few weekends on the bike an a gradual return to running culminated in a 15 mile run @ 7:59 pace on grass today (between 2 miles of walking) with no lingering issues. So hopefully I can ramp it up over the next two weeks to pace 3:20 in Dublin on October 28th - what's the opposite of taper?

Thanks for all the kind comments (on and off line) over the last two months following the death of Cliona - like my running it has been a slow recovery - funny how the body and mind sometimes synchronise.


  1. Interesting - I've had similar issues with my Achilles following Connemara, though in my case the Achilles had given my troubles even before the race, and it did not come as a great surprise that running 100 miles on it did not improve things.

    See you in Dublin!

  2. Reverse taper! I seem to always be in reverse taper mode. Good 4k race and 15 miler. You're coming back well. 3:20 for the marathon will be a solid test though. Nothing you can't handle.