No not my favourite Peter Andre album, but my attempt at a heroic title for my mundane efforts to get back to fitness. For the whole of January I ran just 15 miles, which is by far the least I have run since around 2012. (I think. Records are a bit sketchy as this was in my pre-Garmin days when I had a Soleus 1.0 to measure my runs, which had no function to download the data; it took a fortnight to get a satellite, the battery only lasted about 2 hours [although I couldn’t run for that long without an hour’s nap in the middle] and was in a hideous yellow akin to radioactive custard which caused young children to cry spontaneously in the street…)
I only actually had 12 days of no exercise after the injury and 24 days of no running in total. The physio said I could use my exercise bike from the first day I saw him but I was only doing fairly gentle 20 minute efforts every two days, coupled with some body weight exercises. The lack of activity coupled with the normal Christmas excess has meant I’m a little too well insulated (even for the cold weather) and my fitness levels have dropped as well. I’m not quite waddling when I run, but I’m not flying about either.
With the glorious greenlight to run again, I was trying to ramp things up slowly without making anything go bang and having to start the process again. I got permission to run for half an hour every 3-4 days, which in practise meant a 30-odd minute run every 3 days (ok fine: 32, then 33, then 35, then 36 and then 38 minutes… I can’t help myself). Luckily my runs are all mostly at MAF pace anyway (which for me is running at a heart rate of around 153 bpm) so I’ve just carried on with that. With my added timber and lower fitness that has meant my comeback runs have been at a fairly gentle pace, as I’ve slotted back into the same level of effort I was used to before Christmas rather than any set speed. Running to my heart rate rather than to a pace has stopped me getting frustrated and pushing too soon. And it’s good for my humility to be overtaken by a ninety year old, on their warm up.
Apart from creaking joints and some sore muscles, which was to be expected with my body adjusting to running again (and being old), everything felt ok. But at the end of a run the weekend before last I had soreness in my knee again, which lasted long after I’d got home (and had a sulk about life being so unfair etc.). So I had to have a few days off to let things settle down, which was frustrating as I was looking to do the opposite and try to get ramp things up and get back to my normal running routine. Nope. So it’s back on the exercise bike (the sweaty git) and doing my exercises, with a strict regime of 30 minutes gentle running every three days. No more, no less, until the joint is happy again and I can get on with it and stop babbling on the internet.
As I mentioned in my last post the down time has been good for planning what I want to achieve this year, and for appreciating running in general. I’ve got a few races booked in (which hopefully I’ll make) and others I want to do, but I’ve also been looking at runs I could do exploring my local area in Medway and especially along the Saxon Shore Way which I run on in training. With all the lovely people sharing their adventures on the internet I can steal routes for my own expeditions with Claire. Gravesend to Higham via the canal paths is on the list, as is a jaunt along the coastal paths between Whitstable and Margate maybe. We shall see. Claire is going really well with her training, so hopefully by the time I’m back to normal she will let me tag along with her on some Explorer runs (trademark pending). The idea of seeing new places is suddenly more appealing than going further or running faster – I must be growing up (or getting old, one of the two).
For now though I’m setting more low key goals; sticking to my rehab plan, not eating or drinking too much and trying not to rot our floorboards with cycling sweat. Not my idea of fun by any means, but it will be worth it in the long run (Ha) to get back out running properly again and enjoying it. I’ll be using that as a mantra over the next few weeks and months I’m sure (It’ll help me get a seat on the train if nothing else). So here’s to the future and looking forward.
Thanks for listening. Adam