It’s 10 weeks until the London Marathon and just 2 weeks until my first real milestone in my training plan – the Brighton Half. My training had been going really well until a couple of weeks ago when a trip to my physio uncovered a strained hip flexor. I hadn’t noticed that anything was wrong, my left hip has always been a bit tighter than my right and it sometimes clicks, but there’s never been any pain. I was quite surprised by his diagnosis and more than a bit frustrated
Two weeks of stretching, foam rolling and no running later and I got the all clear to get back out there again. I had planned out my route – an 11 mile loop along the canal and back through the city. I was excited to get out and see what I could do.
I woke up to clear blue skies and a beautiful crisp winter morning. Perfect running conditions. Breakfast eaten and settled and I was ready to go. So off I set for my long run, one that I planned to take steady at a relaxed and enjoyable pace. I just wanted to build my confidence again before the Brighton Half.
At some point in my training plan for any big race I’ve done I’ve had one of *those* runs. The run where nothing goes to plan and weird things happen that never have before. As I left our flat little did I know that it was going to be one of *those* days.
First of all it was bitterly cold with a biting wind that took my breath away. As an asthmatic I really struggle when the wind is so cold and I struggled to get my breathing under control. My legs wanted to go faster than my lungs could handle. I kept having to slow down to make sure I could breathe and it interrupted my rhythm.
Secondly at a couple of miles in my leggings started to fall down. They have been absolutely fine on other runs but today they decided to head south. I stopped to hitch them up and thought maybe I hadn’t pulled them up enough but no – suddenly these leggings no longer fit. Cue much hitching and re-arranging of clothes for the next few miles.
Thirdly the canal path was really busy with people out and about enjoying the winter sun. I had forgotten how busy the path can be, and how frustrating it is to have to keep dodging cyclists, other runners, dogs on leads, canada geese, dogs off their leads and kids on scooters/tricycles. I struggled to find any rhythm in my running at all for the first 5 miles.
By the time I’d reached the end of the canal path, about 6 miles into my run I was in a proper strop. This was supposed to be my victorious return to running. It was supposed to feel comfortable and relaxing, filling me with confidence for a good performance in a fortnight. Instead I was out of breath and irritable.
But then I turned off the canal and onto the city streets and for a mile and a half everything clicked into place. The street was wide and open with barely any pedestrians, I found my rhythm and just ran. It felt great. Until….
…the leggings which were still fighting to make their way to the floor started to chafe. In a place where you really don’t want things to chafe. I told myself to ignore it, that it would stop but I couldn’t and it didn’t. So when I approached Monument station 8 miles into the run I admitted defeat and jumped on the DLR home, thankful that I’d remembered to bring my Oyster card with me. I decided that I was going to defy this rubbish run, get home and change my leggings and then head out to finish off my miles.
In different leggings than thankfully were happy to stay put I headed back out. But my head and heart weren’t in it, even if my legs might have been. I just wanted the run to be over. So at 9 miles I called it a day and sloped back to the flat massively frustrated.
Showered, stretched and fed and I was able to put things into perspective. I’d managed 9 miles, despite the falling down leggings, the biting wind and the chafing. The week before I’d have been pleased just to be out doing a 5K. My legs still work even after a couple of weeks off running and that’s great news. And following the law of averages I’ve now had my crappy training run and that means the next few should be good.
I’ve also found out that those leggings no longer fit. I know now not to wear them again. I only had to do 8 uncomfortable miles in them – that could have been 13.1 miles and a whole lot more chafing. I really ought to be quite grateful!