Thursday, July 08, 2010

No Taper

Even though I have done 26+ mile training runs before, at the beginning of the week I was getting worried about the state of my legs. My right achilles hurt. My left hamstring hurt a lot. Then my left shins gave an acute pain. Niamh suggested it might be shin splints (where the heck did she pick up that term?), but I didn’t think so, it was too close to the ankle. I wore ankle straps for Tuesday’s run, but they probably were not necessary, and the problem has not re-occurred. But my left calf muscle is very, very sore in one particular spot, and if I make the wrong movement, it starts cramping.

All of these problems do not really bother me when I’m running, only in the intervening times (maybe I should run for 24 hours a day then. Ok, maybe not). Actually, the achilles tends to be a bit sore for the first mile of each run, and then I completely forget about it.

Anyway, time is the best healer, and with 36 hours to go until the marathon, I’m feeling better. All of the issues are still there, but they all seem to be receding. There is nothing magic about the marathon distance, and if you run it slowly enough you make it through even if you’re not rested and tapered. Nobody knows that better than the guys from the 32-marathon challenge, who have just completed their 7th marathon in a row, and yet they’re still only at the beginning.

The weather forecast is getting worse by the minute, a few days ago it didn’t seem too bad but now they are all predicting various amounts of rain. Then again, it won’t be any worse than the Cork marathon a month ago. Right now I’m really looking forward to this, despite all the niggles and tiredness.

As for my most recent training, I ran 15 miles on Tuesday around Caragh Lake. The legs were incredibly stiff and tired early on, so I ran a few fast strides to loosen them up, which seemed to work. I was quite tired over the last 2 miles, which is not a great sign for Saturday, but I’ll manage.

6 very slow miles followed on Wednesday, but the HR was a good bit higher than what I would have expected for such a slow run. It had me worried, but today’s (Thursday) run was a tad faster but with a lower HR, so things are moving in the right direction. My guess is I was tired from Tuesday's run (as well as last week's mileage). I know this is not a taper, but I always intended to train through that marathon.

I will take Saturday as a marker how I’m coping with long distance training runs. There will have to be a lot more of them before Dingle, and the feedback from Saturday will serve as a good indicator how I can handle the long miles.
6 Jul
15 miles, 1:58:47, 7:55 pace, HR 149
7 Jul
6.1 miles, 52:02, 8:32 pace, HR 140
8 Jul
8 miles, 1:06:09, 8:16 pace, HR 139


  1. Tim Crowley and friends demonstrate an effective move for the prevention of calf muscle and Achilles tendon strains.

  2. I like the "run for 24 hours a day" idea. :)

  3. you have Achilles tendinitis in his first stage...
    not to sound too pessimistic, but you would better go for a decent period of rest until the tendon is ok.
    Now that is only at the very beginning, it would not take long... but if you neglect it, then it may take months to recover

  4. Training run, eh? Then no faster than a 3:30 or are you going for a burn and crash strategy? Have fun and hope it stays cool.

  5. Best of luck on your training run. Like Mike i'm interested in your pacing strategy - are you going to run with the boys, which could mean 4hr + pace or are you looking for something faster and more challenging (although I think running slower is more of a challenge for you)

  6. Make sure you take care of that achilles, don't go messing around and letting your ego trump the recovery. That said, good luck with the weekend.

  7. I hope the last few hours go well Thomas. Save the "I is tired" photo for after the race ;)

    And I think you need a BBQ to cook up a nice juicy steak to go with Niamh's vegetarian cooking ;)