Friday, November 07, 2008

Taking Stock

With the marathon almost two weeks behind us, I have recovered from all the usual immediate ailments like stiff calves or quads, but some things have stayed with me. My left hamstring still hurts; that’s no surprise, it has been hurting since the Connemara Ultra in April, and I didn’t think that abusing it for 26 miles would be a cure. It’s rather annoying though; it doesn’t just hurt when I’m running, the pain is there all the time. Stretching does temporarily alleviate the discomfort somewhat, which at least forces me to stretch regularly. Maybe I should be more worried about the problem than I am, but the fact is that I have run on it at all speeds and distances, from 30 seconds all-out intervals to a 3:05 marathon, and it never got any worse. It’s just “something” I can’t get rid of. I’ll probably get some more massage in the next few weeks, but nobody in Killorglin offers a sports massage (not that I would expect it in a small place like that) and driving to Killarney after work has provided too many scheduling headaches to make it worthwhile, as I found out in spring.

The other area that has flared up is my right heel. I’ve had that pain in my left heel since April and finally managed to get on top of it after massaging it rigorously twice a day, but since the marathon the right heel started acting up in the same way. I’ve started massaging that as well, and I’m already experiencing some noticeable improvements. Unfortunately, massaging my hamstring doesn’t work in the same way. It might if I actually knew what I was doing, who knows. Maybe I should invest in a foam roller? It would certainly be cheaper than a regular trip to the massage centre (not as relaxing, though).

I’m still running nothing but slow 5-milers, and I’m already getting bored of them. I did set the alarm for 6 miles this morning, but Maia had a bad night, and when Maia has a bad night then Daddy has a bad night, and I opted for 10 more minutes of a warm bed. In fact I had woken at 5am with a fearsome storm howling outside and decided to skip the run. By 6:40 it seemed much better, and I went out anyway. It did cross my mind that I’m a nutcase to go running in those conditions when the next marathon is still half a year away, but I figured I’d better get used to running in the wind and rain again, because if this winter is anything like the last two, there will be plenty of that to come. As it turned out, the conditions were not half as bad as feared.

I was tempted to ignore the 80% HR training threshold. I know that my pace will come down eventually as I’m recovering from the marathon, but so far I’m only plodding along at 8:20 pace, and I’m already wondering if those slow and short runs are doing anything for me. In a rare moment of sanity I did figure out that I should give the low HR training a little more time. But if I'm already impatient after just one week, the next few weeks might become taxing.

6 Nov
5 miles, 42:05, 8:25 pace, HR 147
7 Nov
am: 5 miles, 41:35, 8:19 pace, HR 145
pm: 5 miles, 40:20, 8:04 pace, HR 149


  1. Hamstring problems can hang around for months and months. The only thing I would suggest is a strengthening program for the hamstrings - there's plenty of info on the net - exercises you can do that don't involve weights.

  2. The ankle isn't a heel spur problem? That would be a worry. I suffered 6 months of a bad knee in 2007 that turned out to be tight hips and a curled in big toe. I now stretch religiously and tape the toe - It works - No injuries for 12 months and 2000 miles & 3 marathons. I also have an icing regime that helps with niggles - the icing as you sit watching TV makes it easy.

  3. I love the foam roller. It works wonders getting the tight spots out. Go for it!

  4. Since when was a massage when there's something wrong relaxing?! Those things hurt like hell - I'm fairly sure they even hurt when there's nothing actually wrong and just a few knots hanging about the place.

  5. Yes, those hammy issues last forever don't they. A year later mine still ache and I continue to 'forget' to stretch. Maybe Ewen is right...will look into that.

  6. There are some good things in the BRAIN TRAINING BOOK. and they are the core training and how to improve your running style, even better is the EVOLUTION RUNNING dvd which shows the right and wrong way to run, There say you can knock 2 mins per hour off your RACE times just by learning proper technique! ie sub 3 hours on your currant fitness.....

  7. I have a similar niggle in my left hamstring since Amsterdam - but unlike you I'm thinking of slowing down for the next few months with no speedwork at all.

  8. A massage does sound a bit more relaxing than the foam roller, but I hear a lot of good reports from Michelle and other who use the foam roller. Try to enjoy the easy runs. I know you will start kicking things up again soon.

  9. Thomas,
    Yes there is a 100k in my future - at PacRim in March. The same place I did my 50 miler. One mile loops, flat. It's a 24 hour race, so no cut offs. Whoo-hoo!