“I stood up… I squatted down, I lifted my left up and then the right. I squatted down again and the repeated the cycle of slightly lifting my left and right leg, I felt like I was doing the most camp version of “the hakka” that the world had ever seen. All of those years of watching girlfriends go through this same ritual, the same dance that I was now doing…. I was now one of them, I was now someone who put on tights…
….running tights, obviously”
So the day had come, after a great Christmas, milestone birthday and New Year of getting smashed and eating like it was the last few minutes of a free buffet, marathon training was finally here and I was looking forward to it. Unlike previous marathon training plans that I’d followed……this time, I thought that it would be best if I actually followed one! I created a plan a few months back and planned to stick to it…but also to flex where required, you never know what’s going to happen and the obvious plan is to not get injured by doing too much too soon, of course, that’s not my style (skip ahead to Wednesday, then Thursday where I prove that this is a lie!).
Monday was day one and like many Mondays ahead of me, my plan is to do an easy(ish) 6 miles with my trusty 6kg backpack on. My thoughts here are to, in the early few weeks, strengthen and build some leg muscles whilst getting some decent mileage in. My backpack theory is that after a number of runs wearing it, when I run without it…it should be waaay easier, surely right!? Anyway, as a present for my 40th birthday (which fell on the 28th December, which obviously you knew *wipes away disappointed tears*) my wonderful family had purchased me a number of running gear items…new lightweight top, new all-weather running jacket and, oh yeah, some running tights. Now, previously I’ve been a bit unsure about these as a garment as they can be a bit revealing. On women, they look great…I couldn’t recommend them any more… but on men, well… it’s like looking at a couple of crème eggs and mini fudge being suffocated in strange spandex water-boarding kind of way! The weird thing about it is though, when you see a male runner wearing a pair of these running tights… you can’t help but look, you really can’t! It’s like a moth to flame, you know you’ll regret it…but yet you still do it!?
So I went through the ritual of putting the tights on (see opening gambit) and they actually felt good, comforting, smooth….elegant, like my skin was being caressed by their new shape-hugging companions (“Man in tights” the new erotic novel by Super Daz coming soon to all good bookshops!). The run its self was straightforward enough, 6miles with backpack (43:55) with the only point of interest being that I had Shakin’ Stevens “What do you wanna make those eyes at me for” on a loop in my head. Must’ve been a subconscious thing about my crème egg selection box being on display!?
Tuesday, progressive run day. Continuing with my theory that “by not wearing a 6kg backpack, running should be easy” then this run should’ve been easy, well…this was not exactly the case. The plan was to do 6miles starting at an easy-ish pace and then look to reduce each subsequent mile time by 15 seconds, this was all driven from my first mile time which was 7:29 (I’ll let you do the maths, or check my Strava feed to figure out the rest). It was a cold night on Tuesday and when it came to the last mile, aka “the beans mile”, I found myself frantically sucking in chilly night air. With about a 1/3 mile to go, I had to slow down as my chest was pounding and this easier not-running-with-a-backpack was proving to be not so easy! Still, I made it to the end within the allocated timing parameters, which I was happy with (this was after the dry wretching).
On Wednesday (this is starting to sound like “Craig David writes a training plan”), I just wanted to do just a nice steady easy run, “I know” I said to myself, “how about we do about 7.5 miles” which, as a steady midweek run, is a typical distance. “….and” I continued, “let’s go and do the hill route, yeah…let’s do that”. As I did my stretches in front of the remaining scenes of Coronation Street, another brainwave dawned upon me “let’s take the 6kg backpack as well!!”.
So with 3 layers of tops on (yeah, I know!), a hat and the backpack I ventured out into the drizzling conditions….. 57mins 11seconds later, I arrive back home blowing heavily, overheated and knackered! Now, those hills are a challenge without the backpack and running them at a pace that was on a par to a glacial shift or Post Office queue was a tad damaging for my motivation …but upon arriving home, the first thing that popped into my head was “I’ll beat that time next Wednesday on that route!”. Don’t ever be dampened by slow progress… progress is progress regardless of the speed.
Now, considering that I’ve worked in IT now for quite some time, when it comes to technology I do appear to be a bit of a Luddite. On Thursday I had sprint session planned, of which I’d created a workout on the Garmin site and downloaded it to my watch. After a 1.5mile warm up, the session kicked in: 100m, 30sec rest, 200m, 90sec rest x10. I gave it some beans on that first 100 and before I knew it my watch was beeping me to say that I’d completed it. I was amazed how quick I’d managed it as I looked at my watch and it said about 7-8secs “Wow” I thought… “Turning 40 must’ve rapidly evolved me into some sort of Christmas gut carrying speed machine” or, and the more likely option, was that something had gone wrong somewhere. So, assuming I hadn’t turned into The Flash, I deleted that batch of times and repeated it again. Smashing the pavement with each step, the 5 short beeps and 1 long beep singled the end of 100meters 7seconds… a new world record! The Olympics in Rio..here I come!”. Yep, turns out that I’d erroneously added an additional set of 60feet prior to the 100meters… which, in comparison, I was actually running quite slow <face palm> doh! Anyway, finally got my session up and running (literally) and realised how out of shape I am at the moment. I started concentrating on form making sure that I had my shoulders back, keeping upright, looking straight ahead…but after 6 reps of this, I’m quite sure that my form was reminiscent of the dance routine from the 80’s Madness hit “one step beyond”. It was a good but tiring session however sound the alarm bells….my calf was now feeling sore!!
So, Friday was a rest day and I figured that it would be sufficient amount of time to “heal my soreness” but I woke up on Friday morning with a tight right calf, and by that I don’t mean that I’d spent the night with a money conscious baby cow with traditional values! I’d put on one of my calf sleeves (under my work trousers, a classy look) to see if it helped, which I think it did a little, then when I got home, I got the thumbs into the problem area hoping that it would be ok for ParkRun the following day. During the night, my son Zach had woken up about 3am so I went to check on him. Despite still wearing the same calf sleeve (that, with boxers, again….a classy look!) the calf still didn’t feel good ☹.
The morning was soon upon me and, whilst still sore I ventured off to Walsall Parkrun and ran a sensibly paced run with Paul (the Rocket) and Iain (21:27). It didn’t feel great when I was running but at the same time, it didn’t seem to get any worse either. After a hot choc with the Shabba contingent (Paul, Loz, Sarah, Chris, Harsh & Ayaaz) all was forgotten and I was already planning my 10mile route for Sunday. I then spent Saturday night in a similar way to that of Friday night which was to get the thumbs and foam roller into the same troublesome area.
I woke up Sunday morning and could feel that my calf was still sore. I walked to the bathroom (w/calf sleeve + boxers) and tried some slow 1 legged squats when I got there (oh, just so you know, I have a killer aim!). Now, like most runners, I found myself in the dilemma when you start to worry about a potential injury… do you ignore it and hope that you can run it off..”its probably nothing, look how manly I am!” or look at the bigger picture and consider that a day off now is probably better than 2 weeks side-lined later. I made the sensible decision of opting for the latter of the 2 choices, which is unlike me really… new year new Daz, an all that jazz… but how long will that last for!
So this brings me to the end of my first training week…. I am injured, not a major injury, could just be a few days out, nothing major, no, no.. all is going to be good……..hmm, but what if its not?? I slowly feel may hand hovering towards the big red panic button….
Injuries – Right Calf (strain)
Motivation – Dented