This is every runner’s favourite part of marathon training isn’t it? The period where you begin to wind down ahead of the big day, not at all desperate to run. I’m going for a different approach this year – last big run of 12 miles and doing lots of mobility work hoping that will make a difference in 2 weeks time.
This is not a scientific approach but now looks to be the only approach available to me as I count down to the Paris Marathon. It seems I have recovered from a chest infection only to be greeted by a niggly hamstring and so not much has happened since last week’s 12 mile run.
I went for a short run with a client, who was just back from holiday, and so the pace was slow and just the right intensity for me. I knew I couldn’t have gone any quicker. Any run is a good run!
Another short run with the same PT client and it felt a lot easier so the infection has gone. Yay!
I had a bonus run in the morning as I had a late start and decided to go to a business networking event and thought I’d run across, something that’s worked quite well before but there was one small problem. There didn’t seem to be any sign of anyone around then realised that the event is next week! That was fine and I enjoyed a run home. It was around 2 miles to get there so took the slightly longer route home. It was during that run home that I felt a tightness in my right hamstring, which seemed to stick with me the whole way home. Did some exercises I would typically do but didn’t appear to be making much of difference so wasn’t able to do much at my run club session that night.
Another rest day. I had a busy morning so got some stretching done and a bit of a walk in the afternoon.
Took the decision to volunteer at Parkrun and rest my leg. I was barcode scanning and so managed to squeeze some mobility exercises in while I waited for the runners to come in. Went for a swim in the afternoon and managed to get 800m in so that was all good.
This was interesting as I wanted to be able to get a run in, even if it was just 10k and see how the leg was. Did lots of mobility exercises before I went out and actually felt more nervous than I usually do on race day! I felt my hamstring in the first mile but I wanted to see if it got worse, stayed the same or disappear if I kept on going. I was able to knock out a couple of good miles but then it started to nip then fade away then come back again. I had gone out on my longtime favourite route, the Aberdalgie to Craigend loop. I’ve run this loop for years and it has some stunning views as you come over the brow of the hill and is rather undulating, to say the least! It also has a buzzard perched on a tree within the first mile.
I’ve had a run in with the buzzard before as it nests and raises its young in that area and has been known to swoop down and attack! I know someone who ran this route recently and didn’t see any bird so I thought this might be a good opportunity to revisit the area, especially as the route is literally on our doorstep. I purposely took it easy along the road then spotted the bird. When you’ve been attacked by a buzzard before, you never forget it and avoid the area at all costs! I wasn’t sure whether to turn back and run someplace else or keep going in the hope that the bird was feeling generous. I opted to walk slowly past his tree, keeping my eyes fixed on him the whole time and that seemed to work. I’m not entirely sure what it is about runners that he doesn’t like.
I cut my run short and headed home to complete 10 miles. My hamstring hadn’t eased and I was as frustrated as sore and starting to think ahead to whether I’m going to be able to even complete Paris never mind my target time. When I got home, I grabbed my keys and headed across to my studio so I could film myself running to see if I could see where the problem is coming from. I do this with clients, often in the same position I’m in, so we can have a look at their form and highlight where the niggles they’re getting are coming from. I’ve never done this on myself before. I set my phone up using an app which allows me to slow everything right down and ran. It was this feature that helped me spot the problem. The discomfort I was feeling was coming from my hip & lower back and needed different exercises from the ones I had been doing. I did a few reps of a couple fo different exercises than ran to the camera once more and the level of discomfort I was feeling was now considerably less. Progress!
I now know that I’m going to be working on my own mobility as often as I can, each and every day and mix in some bike work on the days I don’t need the car and try to get a few swims in also. I feel relieved that I have a better idea of helping the issue and I will pay a visit to the physio as well, just to check that there’s nothing else lurking.
How’s your training going? No mishaps or last-minute injury concerns I hope!