2015 – a review of an horrible personal running year

“Running should be a lifelong activity. Approach it patiently and intelligently, and it will reward you for a long, long time.”
-Michael Sargent

116 days till the 2016 Virgin Money London marathon

It’s been a pretty disappointing 2015 on the whole with my running. It started after a lazy, gluttonous xmas period with me overweight and a little unfit.  Usually hovering between my ‘race weight’ of 11st 7 lb and 12st I was tipping the scales at 12st 10 lb.  My first test of the year came on sunday January 18th with the Brass Monkey half marathon, in 2014 I ran my PB of 1:21.22 but 2015 there was no chance. Like I said overweight and unfit I only managed a 1:23.12 in fairly icy conditions.  Poor showing but I thought I could push on from here. 

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So the training began for the 2015 Virgin money London marathon and we moved into February. Training had began okay but not great, by mid February the longest run I’d managed was 13mile.  I attempted my first hillsborough parkrun of the year.  Even heavier than before I struggled to 18:45 getting beaten by a few people I wouldn’t normally be beaten by.  I was still confident I could pull it around.  2 weeks later I again ran 18:50 but in poorer conditions.

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March was the key month in the marathon masterplan. I still hadn’t managed a 20 mile run but I had, through Marathontalk won a free place in the vitality north London half. Ideal prep for to London marathon on the 15th.  Flat, well there’s no hills in London is there? I thought a chance to run a close to 80min and set off at the right pace but I was wrong. There IS hills in London,  big and steep ones.  Obviously not expecting this I suffered but on reflection ran well. Finishing in 1:23.57. A week later I finally managed an 18mile.  All good? I thought so.

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Moving into marathon month April I had hoped to push on, run a few 20 milers but on a group training session I pulled my left hamstring after 10 miles.  Truthfully I was struggling anyway. I had been ignoring that hamstring being tight for 9 months.  More in a couple of months but back onto April. This was quickly becoming a poor month but I seized the silver lining of while not being trained I was at least fresh.   Marathon weekend came, I visited the expo and prepared myself for race day.  The plan was to run sub 3hr pace to 20miles then assess how I felt and decide whether to push or drop off and enjoy my last marathon.  20 mile came and slowly but surely I was losing ground on the sub 3 pacer.  Drop off and enjoy then. I made a fatal mistake of taking a gel at 21 miles which resulted in a sprint for the portaloos. I finally finished in 3hr 15 and my marathon career was over. ( obviously you know it’s not really)

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May was mainly about marathon recovery. Very little running but a lot of cycling.   This was possibly what caused what came next, it definitely helped.

By the start of June I was back running a lot more but something wasn’t right, I knew this yet ignored it.  I trained but not great and not well.  The end of the month came the Dam flask relays. One of the highlights of the year. I cycled there up the hilliest way possible, ran okay but had no sprint finish then cycled home.  A couple mornings later I cycled to the track did a short track session then cycled to work.  After work I cycled home and later went to bed.  All good.  No, in the morning when i woke I was in pain, my knee was agony.  I didn’t run again till 7 days later in the Stocksbridge chase 10k. I could feel my knee from a mile or two in but ran well.  42.42 on an hilly course with strong headwinds. 

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4 days later I ran the We Love Manchester 10k but 5k in the knee went and I lost pace.  I limped in through the finish in a very disapointing 38.59. I decided I wouldn’t be racing till I was strong enough to run well.

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This day wasn’t just about me though, not long after it was time for my 3yr old son to do the toddler trot.  His first and I hope the first of many races

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Moving into August I cycled more and more to keep fitness up without straining myself running. This turned out to be a mistake in hindsight. Near the end of the end of the month I saw a physio they call miracle Mike.  He revealed I had no strength in my glutes and hamstring but overdeveloped quads due to the cycling. 

From here on and into September it was about strengthening the weak muscles while ticking over.  Later in the month the pain was nearly gone so I cycled.  BIG MISTAKE!!!!! The pain came back.  ARGHHHHH!!!! Back to strengthening again. 

October was pretty much like September, strengthening while just ticking over at 7.30-8min miles. I made slow progress but I was getting stronger all the same. I went on holiday to majorca for a week and did 2 very satisfying runs while out there. 

Finally in mid November I was strong enough to resume proper training. Unfortunately mid week I got a virus resulting in a coup,etc of days off running.  The end of that week I ran the 3rd of the south Yorkshire xc season, it was nice to be back but unfit as I was it was awfully slow.   Work needed to be done and I had 4 weeks till the next SYXC fixture.

Fast forward 4 weeks and as I said in my last blog post I had improved enough to perform well.

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I was/am still suffering with the virus but I’m training well but still not got the pace back. This has been my lowest yearly running mileage in 6years.  I’m enjoying my xmas while trying to keep the weight down then on January 1st 2016 it’s time for 4 months of training ready for April 24th and the 2016 Virgin money London marathon.  Chocolate is out and so is crisps, beer other non essential foods that don’t provide the right fuel balance for marathon training. One last marathon push,

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Anyway Bye For Now.

You can donate to Mind, my chosen charity I am raising funds for by running the VMLM2016 here.

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