Tuesday, July 25, 2006

The gradual steps to recovery

I have never been very good at recovering after a race. I tend to wait for a few days, then decide I feel fine, and start racing again. This works ok at first, but a few months later I am left feeling absolutely shattered, dragging my body round events like the Loch Ness Marathon. Last year I had hoped to finish off my racing year by doing the Snowdonia Marathon on the last Sunday of October, then the Dublin marathon the following day. I couldn't do it. My body more or less packed in around the start of October, and I needed to spend the best part of October taking things easy. That was a great disappointment, especially as I had entered both races well in advance.

This year I have decided to do it differently. I promised I would give myself a full 2 week break after the race. Very surprisingly, I kept to my plan. I had also planned to have 2 easy weeks after that, and I have stuck to that plan as well. I ran 15 miles 2 weeks ago, then 21 miles last week. The problem is I feel as though I have put on about 3 stone and have lost every bit of fitness I ever had. This is patent nonsense, of course, but I (like most runners) am not used to these 'easy' training weeks and don't feel very comfortable with them.

I have run 2 more races since the WHW: the jogscotland 5k in Edinburgh, then the Crieff 10k the following Sunday. The 5k was eventful. After 2k I and most of the leading runners (surprisingly I was a leading running that night - it wasn't a very high quality field) followed the marked course. Unfortunately some youngsters had moved the tape, and we ended up in amongst some rare plants in the middle of the Botanic Gardens. Before I knew it I was back at the 2k marker, followed the marked course, and again ended up amongst the same plants. The third time round the organisers had noticed the problem and fixed the tape but all in all it took me about 8 and a half minutes to cover the 3rd kilometre. I finished in 23.53, far and away a personal worst for 5k, but I'm sure I must have run an extra kilometre through the flowers.

The following Sunday I went to Crieff for the 10k. One of the main reason I decided to go was that this will soon be my local race, as we are moving near to there at the end of September. It was a stifling hot day. The race is mostly on trails - the first 3 kms or so goes up a steep hill, then the next 3 km comes back down to the river, the the course follows a river path to the Morrisons School playing fields. Although I was too hot, and my legs were sore, and 2 people overtook me in the last few hundred metres, and my time was just a bit under 44 minutes, I have to say that I absolutely loved this race. It is such a pleasure running on nice paths, rather than being on the road. There is a fantastic buffet at the end, and everyone is so friendly. Well done to all at Strathearn Harriers. I hope to join you after September for some of your Sunday runs.

So, what next? I think I need another goal. At the moment I'm struggling to get in to any serious training. This is partly due to the heat, as I find it really difficult to train in hot conditions, but it is also due to the lack of a target. I thought about the 24 hour track race in London at the beginning of October, but have something else on that weekend so need to give it a miss. Maybe another year.

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