Wednesday, June 28, 2017


Why do I have that twinge in the Achilles? Is that my knee starting to hurt again? Why are the legs so heavy? Why are the shoulders so tense?

Because I'm in the middle of taper madness, that's why. Phantom pains all over the place.

And I do miss coffee. There's a little devil on my shoulder telling me that going off caffeine the week before a race doesn't make any difference whatsoever. And you know what? She may well be right. But it's become part of my race preparation these days and a lot of these things are more for the head than the body - which becomes all the more important the longer the race, and a 24 hours race is a damn long one.

Back in November, when I took my loudly complaining body back out onto the roads again, after taking a month off following a disastrous performance at the European champs in Albi, I was wondering if there was any point in trying to get back to international standard. I had been badly overtrained and I would be 47 years old by the time the next championships would come around, and I had serious doubts if I would be able to get back into that sort of shape.

Thanks to MC and his invaluable help, things progressed much better than I could have hoped for. I was still in fairly awful shape around Christmas but then things really took off and my form numbers just shot up like a rocket for several months. It was the biggest improvement in form I had ever seen, and it lasted until late April.

Then I ran the Longford Canal ultra, which went very well, and - unwisely - did a workout 6 days later. The workout itself seemed to go exceptionally well; it was the first time ever I had managed to surprise the coach with my numbers. But the next day my knee was hurting and things went downhill after that. Within a short while my Achilles gave me troubles as well, and we diagnosed it as one of those things that require gentle movement rather than full rest to heal. The Achilles, like all tendons, heals slowly and it took close to 5 weeks to feel mostly back to normal, by which time my numbers had regressed significantly.

It's not all doom and gloom. Eventually they picked up rapidly again and right now I'm pretty happy with my form. It's not what it would have been without that injury, but injuries are part and parcel of running and I have been very lucky over the years to be able to train as consistently as I have.

This will definitely be the ultra race I go into the most rested, no big 100k efforts a few weeks out and no 3:05 marathons (or faster) in the buildup, and chances are my legs will thank me for it, but all will be revealed on Saturday (and Sunday!).

Now it's time to put up the legs, trying not to stress out about the fact that I can't find any of my number belts or that the new shoes that I had ordered 8 weeks ago and intended to wear for the race never arrived. These things will fade into nothing once the race starts, so just relax.

The last few days I just ran a few miles, trying to relax as much as possible and tune into ultra mode. By the looks of it I'm getting better at the shuffle rather quickly.

Bring it on!
26 Jun
5.4 miles, 46:56, 8:41 pace, HR 130
27 Jun
5 miles, 43:09, 8:37 pace, HR 132
28 Jun
4 miles, 35:31, 8:53 pace, HR 125


  1. Good luck Thomas, can't wait for the race report!

  2. Now I now the origin of my pains during taper!. Thanks for that Thomas and best of luck!