Training for 12 Marathons
My training runs in 2016 were going pretty well. I’d managed to get lots of races in and my times were improving again after the Yorkshire marathon in October had zapped me. I almost got under sub 2 hours for the Conwy half in November. I got up to 17 miles at the beginning of December and things were looking great for my first Marathon on January 1st.
Alas I was knocked sideways by a sinus infection and couldn’t run at all for 5 weeks. My first run back was on December 31st and it was 3 miles and it was a struggle. I still could barely breathe. I knew it would be a long way back to recovery.
I spent the whole of January trying to recover properly and trying to up mileage to get myself to marathon distance without compromising injury. Easier said than done when you constantly carry around a cartilage injury. On 10th February I decided to go for my last long run before my first official challenge race on 25th February. I was hoping for more than 22 miles and in the morning packed my bags with enough goodies to last the long hours. It was a very cold day with a wind chill of -1 and snow still lying on the hills. I pushed myself further than I ever have before and managed full marathon distance. I have previously walked during marathons but not during the training, I made myself run the whole way. A real test of the body and mind. Something I haven’t managed in a race yet. However it was my slowest marathon time. My legs felt really good the day after (knees however not so kind) so running slower is a real winner. A time of 4 hours and 44 minutes.
Update 21st February 2017
The following day my knees felt like they had taken a real battering. Hardly surpisingly given I have little cartliage left in my right knee anyway. I was prepared for this so I knew I needed some time to rest and recover. Although I had a 10k race the next day. I was unsure if I shoud do it, my knees were really in a lot of pain. Come the sunday morning it was still hurting to walk but I decided not to waste a race entry (terrible reason to do a race and in hindsight I just should have trusted my instinct). I took part in the Winter Run and took things slowly and despite some knee pain it went ok. Until later in the day the pain seemed to have spread to my hamstring. Oh dear. I spent the next week doing what I should have done, resting and booked in to see the physio.
She told me that my knees were causing all sorts of stress on my calfs, my hamstrings and my other joints. She gave me stretches, told me to foam roll and gave me advice on how to look after myself nutritionally. I really haven't been putting enough protein in. She also told me to test my knees out the following day, so I put in a 6 mile run. It felt niggly still but not too awful. I've rested a couple more days and I plan to run again. My knees feel much fresher and the hamstring pain has disappeared. Fingers crossed. First offical marathon is the end of this week and despite my ups and downs I feel ready to tackle the mud.