If I’m asked how my running’s been going, I haven’t wanted to sound like a broken record and so, with yet another recent injury setback, I haven’t wanted to talk about running much recently. However, it’s amazing how one track session can change a mood!
After my last blog post, the stitches were in my knee for two weeks and then I needed a few more days to ensure it had healed sufficiently so I could run again. The constant flexing of the knee could have opened up the wound if I’d started running again prematurely. Despite me climbing up the wall at times with frustration at yet another layoff from running, I knew that when I started running again I wanted first and foremost to be trouble-free.
If there’s one positive from the past 18 months of stop-start injury disruption, it’s me trying to be a bit wiser about my approach and this includes lowering my current expectations and not setting rigid goals.
Tarpley 10, which had been a target race, will now be more of a hard training run, which is a shame but having just missed another 3-week period, I must accept I won’t be as competitive as I'd like and adjust my goal for that race accordingly. A blessing from not being in top shape is I’m more comfortable starting off slowly in sessions, long runs and races and trying to get faster throughout – some would say this should always be the mantra whatever your level of fitness, but in a race where you’re going for a finishing place near the front, you are not always in control of the pace or how the race will pan out. Back to the present though and this more cautious approach appears to be working so far.
Knowing last night’s track session was a beast with 6 x 1 mile reps, I took the first one gently as a loosener and warm-up – something I would not have done previously. I then simply wanted to remain strong and consistent throughout and not tail off at all. From reps to 2 to 5, I was in control of my pace only deviating by 4 seconds across the four reps and then managed to go 10 seconds quicker, a 5:35, on the last rep just to go at a quicker pace and a bit more out of my comfort zone. Averaging 5:45/mile for the session was pleasing and a better indicator of where I’m at fitness-wise, compared to running around a muddy cross-country course for example. At the back of my mind I'm very aware that I should be in shape to run 10miles at that pace, but I can only focus on the present. I know I still don’t have the miles in the bank to be really competitive at the Tarpley 10 but I do now at least have a little bit of confidence back.
A couple of 10 - 12 mile road runs on the next two weekends will hopefully add a bit of much-needed endurance before the race, which in turn means missing the Bury XC. As much as I hate missing the club’s main races, I know what I need training-wise right now is running a decent pace on the road, not slogging around a muddy twisty park at a much slower pace.