The Scribbler

25 January 2011

Tired legs

Filed under: run,training — The Scribbler @ 19:49
Today’s plan was hatched when I was out walking yesterday lunchtime and looking longingly at muddy-legged runners heading back through the woods. A pre-work 10k seemed rather less appealing when the alarm went off and my legs reminded me of last night’s weights session. But I was up, awake and wanted to be running. So hi viz gear on and out of the house along the coast.

I’ll treat the first kilometre as a warm up, just slow and steady. My quads are still tight from my exertions this weekend, and I’m thinking an extra layer on my legs would have been a good idea as the cool breeze hits me off the sea.

Out into the inky blackness and I sense I’m slow. I guess around 10 min mile pace, but refuse to look at my watch. Trying to run at a faster pace for longer will be part of my 12 week triathlon training plan, but that doesn’t start until next week. Today’s about running how I feel and getting a 10k in while I have the chance.

Shaking off a rather restless night, remembering fragments of shattered dreams, I settle and tell myself to stop thinking, just run. I seem to find a better groove from kilometre 2 onwards, but it’s nothing like my my usual speed, even for a long run. The tops of my legs remain stubbornly leaden and I plod on, telling myself that it’s not about the pace today, just the mileage. This must be what marathon training is like.

Bright spots of light punctuate my lonely route. Only a couple of cyclists pass by as I begin to count down bus stops until the half way point. As I turn, I’m heading back towards the sunrise and I make an effort to lift my knees along with my spirit.

The return section always feels like a net downhill and I use this to try and pick up the pace a little. I try to kick myself out of the monotonous plod, first by stretching out my strides, then by speeding up the turnover in my legs. I sense I am favouring my right leg again and try to think through my form, everything aligned, roll through the foot , push off from the back foot. But nothing seems to stick.

Never mind, it’s just running home now. Might as well run it – it’s a long way to walk. I focus on the positives. Breathing’s good, steady, even – well it should be at this speed. My shoulders are back and I’m reasonably relaxed. It’s just my poor legs that are suffering.

Still leaden legged, I feel like I can sense the muscle fibres shrink and tighten. The top of my right leg starts to hurt. A proper sharp pain, not just muscle weariness. I push on a little way, seeing if I can ease it, but it sticks around.

I’m lucky enough not to have run with injury, and I’m not sure what to do. Run it off or slow it down? I have less than 2 miles left to run. I can slow down and jog that, or even jump on a bus if I need to. I ease back a little, telling myself not to panic and my left leg gives a little jolt in a similar place.

I ease up to some nearby benches and stop for a stretch, then try a few tentative paces to see if it’s done the trick. It has. Part of me is cross that I didn’t ease up for a stretch earlier, but this is new territory for me and I must learn my own way.

I run until the watch beeps for 9k and I clock the time at 56 minutes. I already know this isn’t a good benchmark 10k, so I wonder what the value of continuing is, other than to get me home. I run a little further, but my heart’s not in it now, and I think of saving my legs for the rest of the week. A jog, walk shuffle gets me to 9.5k in just under an hour and another jog walk gets me home and into a welcome hot shower.

I’m glum because I haven’t had my adrenaline fix. All that work and no reward. Just grinding out the miles for the sake of it isn’t really what I’m about. Which is why I still won’t put myself through marathon training.

The ouch pain hasn’t lasted, but the top of my legs ache like I’ve run a really tough race. I’m not planning on running again until Saturday, when I hope the short, fast and friendly vibe of parkrun will give me the buzz I didn’t get this morning.

But I’ve said I want to run how I feel. And that’s what I did today. I still got out there and I still ran. And I still enjoyed the cool quiet of the day starting.

I had a good week last week, with lots of training highs, so maybe it’s inevitable I come back down to earth a little. In the great scheme of things it’s neither the good sessions nor bad ones that make a difference over all. It’s the consistency of training that pays off. So that’s just one I’ll chalk up to experience.

I’m off to see my podiatrist for a check up tomorrow, so I’ll get her to check out my niggles before they develop any further.

Stats and stuff
9.56k 59:45
km splits:
1. 06.30
2. 06.10
3. 06.05
4. 06.04
5. 06.08
6. 05.54
7. 06.03
8. 06.10
9. 07.05
10. 03.32

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