Niggly feet and poorly back

Running is a silly game isn’t it. You get yourself all psyched up to go for it and then something puts you out of action again. Hmph. Anyway, as you probably know, my running has been crappy and my calf muscles have been really tight and painful and then my feet have been really really sore… Stretching seemed to help a little to ease things and as I have done more yoga things have generally felt more mobile. So I have been wanting to go out and test my legs and feet but then I hurt my back…

So, I would love to have a good story about my back. You know, how I heroically dragged a small child out of the canal saving it from drowning but yanking my back in the process. Or how I climbed a tree to rescue a poor little stuck kitten and twisted my back in the process. Or…stop it, this will just get ridiculous. I’d even settle for the kind of funny story that can’t really be shared on a blog – well not this sort of blog anyway. But no, I’m afraid my niggly back is as middle class a story as it gets. You see, we ordered a new fancy food processor/mixer thingy. It was delivered and after I had signed for it, I bent down to pick up the box – which wasn’t that heavy but just awkward. Kath had to come and get the box off me because I couldn’t bend and there was a definite twinge in my left lower back into my hip.

So for the last few days, as well as reluctantly admitting that maybe this means I am actually an adult, after all I remember laughing at adults and their temperamental backs, I have been trying to wait patiently for it to get better. I have stretched gently. I have also sat on my arse and whinged of course but I have been relatively sensible. Today it felt quite a bit better but today I so did not want to run. Or do anything for that matter. I wasn’t settled either though. I gave up on an afternoon nap attempt. That might be a first. Eventually Kath decided she was going to go and run so I thought I might as well go too. We didn’t run together but setting off at the same time at least got me out of the house. I tried my Saucony road shoes that I got for Christmas – a good excuse to stay on the road and even bits of the canal.

So in order to try and get some positive running in that isn’t characterised by being in pain or at least very uncomfortable within a few minutes, I kept to 30 second/30 second intervals and went really slowly. I am excited to say I made it 2 miles (downhill and flat mostly) almost completely pain free. My left foot started to niggle a little at just before 2 miles and I wondered whether my calf was a bit tight so at 2 miles I stopped and stretched for a few minutes by a canal bridge. Just as I set off again I heard a ‘plop’ behind me, turned and saw a kingfisher emerge from the water with a little fish. I watched it stop on a branch for a few seconds and then fly off into the distance. I carried on my intervals, interrupted by a quick stop as Kath caught me up and we had a quick chat, until I reached 2.5 miles. I had planned to go a total of 4 but things were now definitely tightening and my feet were starting to be achey so I decided to head for home and walk the last half mile home. My feet were sore when I got home but overall that was so much better.

Wow it’s hard not to get frustrated isn’t it. I’m itching to run (but then can’t be fucked to go out when I can) and I am itching to get the miles ticking over on my #Run1000Miles challenge. It would be nice to be ahead of the curve but that’s not likely to happen any time soon – not until I have sorted tight legs and feet. But, onwards, one little mile at a time if I have to!

Oh and Kingfisher!

Accountability post

I have not been running to a plan at all lately but theoretically my 10k plan starts tomorrow. It’s a plan from a Runners World I think and I like it because it has 3 runs a week on it. I might run more, I might not but experience has shown that when I have a training plan with more than three runs a week I tend to not manage it and end up missing key elements of the plan – like the speed sessions. So with three runs a week – most of the time split into one long, one pace practice or speed and one easy, I am more confident that I can stick to the plan as well as fit in the sessions with RunRight and some yoga.

Kath is in the process of adding a new spreadsheet to our files to track our 2020 miles for the #Run1000Miles challenge. I’m excited about having a blank sheet to work with! If you haven’t heard of this or signed up, do it. Have a look at the Trail Running Magazine website for info and get yourself into the Facebook Group for lots of advice, support and encouragement as well as pictures of stunning landscapes. It doesn’t matter whether you make the 1000 miles or not. It’s a fabulous challenge and I still think that for me it is doable. I managed 500 miles with a rather last minute 7 miles on New Year’s eve in 2017 and then I ran over 800 miles in 2018 and am at just over 500 miles for 2019. So I am again setting my target for 2020 at 1000 miles. I need just a little more consistency.

So really I am writing for accountability – Either tomorrow or Tuesday (tomorrow may be tricky as we have a funeral to go to) I need to get my moomin butt our for 40 – 60 minutes of easy running. Obviously for me that means run/walking. My easy running is basically walking so I shall be giving myself a break and accepting that while earlier this year I could run a long way without walk breaks that is no longer the case and intervals are fine! I also need intervals at the moment because my calf muscles are protesting if I try anything more ambitious that running for about a minute at a time. Which brings me to the next paragraph.

The other thing I really need to and want to do as I head into this training programme is doing all the things that are so easily neglected. I want to keep doing the yoga after running to stretch out everything that is pulling tight. My calves are suffering but I suspect that the cause is really my hamstrings which seem ridiculously tight. And then there’s the strength exercises and sessions with RunRight which I will pick up again mid January when I am back from a workshop in Germany. The sessions that is, the exercises I need to seriously pick up today really – I have been doing some of them some of the time and I was giving myself a break because everything was just so impossible (thanks black pup) but we are now in excuses territory!

So please do keep reminding me to do yoga and exercises, keep asking me about them and holding me accountable. In particular remind me that I want to do them because they make me a better runner. I am actually not at all keen on gym related stuff or on strength work or any of that – except of course I like feeling strong and capable and I totally get that that takes work so I need reminding that while I might not like the process I do like the result and I usually enjoy having done it even if I don’t enjoy doing it. I also say that about running of course so maybe one day I will actually enjoy a strength and conditioning type session while I am doing it rather than just afterwards. Who knows.

Anyway – this coming week I want to tick off

  • 40-60 minutes easy
  • 5-6 x 1 mile at 10k pace with 800m recovery
  • 70-90 minutes long

I’ll let you know how I get on

Training Plans and an Uphill Waddle

I went for a run. It’s run day on the training plan and I actually went for a run. Lately, you see, I have done anything but what it says on whatever plan I’ve been supposedly following. When it said long run I’ve gone short, when it said hills, I’ve just sworn, when it said short run I didn’t go, when it said rest I went long… chaos basically which is fine. In fact I quite like chaos, it adds a surprise element to life.

It’s quite hard to make any real training progress with chaos though, particularly when you’re like me and chaos basically means you don’t do the hard stuff. A little order was called for, not regimented ‘you must do this’ sort of stuff but just following a basic framework. It’s Tuesday and Tuesdays is 45 minute run day. Some Tuesdays have  45 minutes with stuff (like surges or hill repeats etc) but not this one, this one was just ‘easy’. The notion of ‘easy’ running amuses me. Easy pace is basically walking! Anyway. I got home after a good day and couldn’t really be bothered. I hadn’t drunk enough water, drunk too much coffee, eaten too much for lunch and it was hot. But nonetheless I set off.

I kept reminding myself to go slow in the sun and not worry about pace – just plod out the 45 minutes. Enjoy, look around… I puffed my way up the hill then towards the wood, past our Dino and up the slope into the wood. I nearly walked on the slope – I suspect I would have been quicker if I had walked. Down the golf course and along the canal. Bloody hell this was hard. One foot in front of the other. I wanted to stop at the bridge but I wasn’t anywhere near 45 minutes yet. So on I went. Somewhere between the next two bridges I decided that I would plod out 5km and then try and march up the hill home. It’s a steep hill. Almost immediately after I made that decision I started doubting whether I’d make the 5km. I did but it felt like wading through treacle. I was surprised when Strava told me I got a personal best on that last section. It also tells me it was 5km in 39 minutes dead.

Anyway, for the walk home – I went the most direct route – directly up in an almost straight line up a little snicket. I was hot, bothered, slightly dizzy in places and thought I was going to puke. I felt like I kept marching, stopping, marching, stopping but it was probably more like waddle, stop, waddle, stop. I got home. I had ticked the required 45 minutes off the list  – there is some order.

I collapsed on the living room floor and just stayed there a few minutes contemplating life (actually just sweating so much I was surprised not to have left a noticeable wet patch – can your eyeballs sweat?). Then slowly I got myself together and did some fairly random post run yoga – I couldn’t be bothered to get my mat or the iPad to follow an actual sequence so I did my own. My hamstrings are little bitches and totally intent on making my life miserable so they need a good stretch to keep them in check: ‘half monkey’ seems to really work for me for that. I thought my hips had been a bit tight but alternating ‘bridge’ and ‘happy baby’ a few times sorted that. Then I went in search of water (wasn’t hard, Kath had given me a full glass as I walked through the door). In spite of the uphill waddle I now felt pretty good about that outing.

I haven’t really done enough yoga today – I’m trying to do more but let’s take the small victories – I did manage 20 minute morning yoga yesterday which always sounds like such a lovely thing but the morning one on my yoga app is actually quite tough and after moving from downward dog to plank for what felt like the 150th time (ok, 3rd), my arms didn’t work anymore and I face planted. I have therefore settled on a new ambition in life: being able to do that sequence without putting my nose in danger. I also did strength exercises much to the cats’ amusement/bemusement. Ernest stared at me intently as I side-stepped with a resistance band. Actually maybe he just got a bit excited every time I got near the food bowls. Anyway, it’s only Tuesday and I already feel pretty good about exercise for the week. Tomorrow is strength yoga day. Next run on Thursday.