Thursday, August 14, 2014

Slowly Gaining Momentum

As Belfast slowly fades into memory, my legs are starting to come round again. The first couple of weeks after a full break are always ever so slightly frustrating but I'm past the worst. However, going on past experience it will take until about November for my legs to feel fully recovered. Until then there are still plenty of slow, stiff miles yet to come.

However, it always helps to add a few workouts, even if the legs don't feel like it. Now, this has to be done carefully and it is very easy to get this wrong, as I learned last year. I started doing regular 7-minute miles when my legs were absolutely not ready for that kind of work until the whole thing came crashing down, I started feeling awful and was rescued by MC's timely intervention. A long period of only easy runs eventually pulled me round.

I'll try and avoid making the same mistakes this time round, but I did notice that following a few faster miles last week (though still very, very measured, there was nothing even remotely approaching 7-minute pace in there), my HR came down quickly the following days. I did a second workout this week in shape of a mountain run up to Windy Gap, which felt a bit like hard work even though I took it as easy as possible. Following that my legs felt surprisingly good, though I haven't entirely ruled out the possibility that I have merely gotten used to running on old, tired, stiff legs.

I have two areas of concern, I have a slight earache and I can feel a little bump that is sore to the touch on the right-hand side of my face, though I only noticed that one when shaving last night. It could be swollen lymph nodes, but I'm not sure. I'm probably fighting some minor infection but as long as the symptoms don't get any worse that they are now there is no reason to worry.

The other area is the tip of my second toe on my left foot. It is sore and the skin is slightly red. I have no idea what's going on, that one is a new one.

I'm reasonably sure neither is going to kill me, so I guess I'll just carry on. I have no idea how I'm going to survive Dingle but after reading Aoife O'Donnell's Badwater report followed by her Connemara 100 report (might only be available on facebook, not sure), two races that happened less than 3 weeks apart (lunatic!), I realised that any further complaints from my side are just pathetic, so I'll stop right here.

11 Aug
10 miles, 1:19:29, 7:55 pace, HR 150
12 Aug
10 miles, 1:19:33, 7:56 pace, HR 143
13 Aug
10+ miles, 1:18:23, 8:52 pace, HR 143
   Windy Gap
14 Aug
10 miles, 1:18:23, 7:50 pace, HR 145


  1. It's great to hear you reporting progress. However, I find it hard to get my head around it taking till November, 3 months is a long time for muscles to rebuild. Is there a chance that your approach to getting back into big mileage at a reasonable pace so quickly is a factor?

    After my West Highland Way Race I had it took me a month to get back into serious training. For two week I did no running, then over week 3 and week 4 I steadily built my runs up from 2 miles in length to 6 miles. All my runs were in the 9:45 to 10:00min/mile range, with my hear rate well below 130 to 140 range.

    I'm now 7 weeks after my big race and have very few lingering issues associated with running a big ultra, the last three weeks I've two tough workouts each week and have found myself recovery really quickly afterwards.

    Could it be my really really gently entry back into training is what has helped me get back to serious training more quickly? Could it be that even your gentle runs are a bit too far and fast to ensure a speedy return?

  2. The 3-4 months estimate is based on past experience. Don't forget that my long ultra was 140 miles compared to your 95, so if you took you about 2 months to feel fully recovered, 3 months for my longer race seems to be perfectly in line.

    It's not as if I'm going to feel crippled until then - I'll fully expect to get through the Dingle 50 miler in decent shape and be able to pace 3:10 in Dublin at the end of October.

  3. After reading that last paragraph I'm thinking I should advise you to harden the F up ;)

    Sounds like you have the recovery plan from these races dialed in pretty well. By the time you're my age you'll be well used to running on tired, stiff legs. All the bloody time!