Monthly Archives: January 2015

The causes of the taper crazies (and how to get over them)

“It’s just Doctor f’ing Who!!!” I remonstrate with myself as the tears well in an ’emotional’ farewell scene between Amy Pond and the Doctor. Here’s the ‘big and tough’ marathon and ultra runner tearing up at a kids programme! Sheesh!

I’ve got the taper crazies. I’ve got them bad. So much worse than any other race. Mood swings (coupled with a heightened emotional state), phantom pains, bouts of nerves. The lot.

tapering-runner-warningWhat are the taper crazies, really? Basically a collection of psychological and physiological effects brought on by the rapid reduction in exercise level of the taper. And having the crazies can suck. Big time! So, what causes the taper crazies?

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Mud. Glorious mud.

Like the oft quoted “Eskimos have 52 different words for snow”, I think that the people from the Benfleet Running Club, let’s call them ‘Benfleetians’, might have a similar number for mud.

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Last Sunday I ran the Benfleet 15 and I experienced more mud, and different types of mud, than I ever have before. There was sandy mud, clayey mud, silty mud, watery mud (very different to muddy water of which there was also lots), gravelly mud, muddy gravel, rocky mud, slippery mud (the kind that prevents you going uphill), slidey mud (the kind that leaves you sliding sideways down a hill), grassy mud, sticky mud, slurpy mud, shoe-sucking mud, and best of all, muddy mud – that kind of mud that sticks to anything it touches but also soaks through the smallest gaps to fill all the space between your toes. It was mudding awesome! 15 miles of mud-infused hilly trail running overlooking the Thames estuary. What’s not to like?

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It felt great to be racing again, and importantly I finished in pretty good shape. It was a slow and steady race (‘turtle’ being my new nickname), however only having what I would term ‘normal’ soreness afterwards is a big mental boost, showing me that my calf is healed and that with sensible increases in training volume, maintenance of my stretch and strength routine and some good old fashioned healthy eating and rest, I should be OK for Ragnar in two weeks.

Muddy happy!

Muddy happy!

Two. Weeks. Until. Ragnar. Gulp…

Happy running everyone!

Bernie

Get Going, Get Running!

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I might be in the hunt for a new nickname

I think ‘Turtle’ would be appropriate…
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It was another adventure in slow running last night. Due to a physio appointment yesterday afternoon my muscles were still sore from the deep tissue massage. That, coupled with only just getting returning to back-to-back running days, left my legs feeling really tired before I’d even laced up. I tried to push on in the middle of the run and managed to get close to half-marathon pace, but I could tell I was pushing so I wound it back in. Maybe ‘Tortoise’ sounds better?

Speaking of physiotherapy…
Bizarrely, I currently have two physiotherapists who share my treatment. The senior physiotherapist is pretty used to dealing with crazy keen runners, with many marathoners on his books, however due to his busy schedule I can’t get in to see him twice a week. His treatments are pretty aggressive and he trusts what I’m telling him about my response to the treatment. This means he treats me at the edge of what I can handle (yes, I curse and grunt, and even came close to a tear in one particularly heavy session), however the flip-side is that he was happy for me to get back into running when I could do 25 calf raises without pain. Herein lies the problem. The junior physiotherapist had different ideas and wanted me to have another two weeks of treatment before starting calf exercises. Six weeks off exercise for a Grade 1 calf strain? You can see where this is going…

Anyway, long story short – after seeing the senior physio last week I went straight back to running, and when I saw my other physio yesterday, she was obviously put out when she asked if I could walk down stairs without pain and I replied that I had no problems during the four runs I had completed since last seeing her. Sure, she was happy to see my improvement, and did note that my flexibility and strength were much improved since she first saw me, but I couldn’t help feeling that I had somehow hurt her feelings or snubbed her in some way. She was also quite non-committal about me running the Benfleet 15 on Sunday. The response I was hoping for was “You’ve done 5 runs and 40km this week, just take it slow and for the love of God, warm up properly!”. Instead I got “Hmmm. You know your body best…”.

Hmmm, that’s true, but I also know my mind, and it has been prone to gross over-exaggeration of levels of fitness and preparedness in the past. I was hoping for at least some level of objective critique on my actual state of readiness.

So. Tally time:
5 good runs and no pain. Good.
Both physiotherapists have different options. Bad.
But both agree that my recovery is going very well. Good.
And I feel strong. Not fast, but strong. Good.

That’s three out of four – 75/25 for running.

Hmmm.

Oh, who am I kidding! Let’s face it, 75/25 means 100% I’m going to run this race. Peanut butter or not…

Happy running everyone!

Bernie

Get Going, Get Running!

p.s. I think I’ll go with ‘Turtle’. Rolls off the tongue better…

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Good signs

Last night I completed the longest run since my injury – 12km – and the signs were all good. I ran along the canal towpath near my house, and the courtesy markings were a timely reminder for me and my running.
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Bernie returns…

Well I’m back. I think. I’ve had a long break from the blog, a winter vacation after Christmas, and I’ve also returned from injury!

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On the weekend I did two runs. First off was a 5k easy jog to test the calf as part of my run/swim combo. It all went well, with no soreness at the strain site. Everywhere else though – rubbish! As my first run since being injured (and recovering from a bout of bronchitis) it was quite slow, however I really noticed how much of my conditioning I have lost in 4 weeks. Even with some bike riding, swimming and a week’s hard skiing in the Alps to try and keep up the fitness it’s just not the same as running…

On Sunday I had bit of soreness but nothing too bad, so after some stretching and calf raises to test the injury I decided I could do my planned 10k. I took it easy and ran it like a LSD run. I’ve had to learn the hard way over the years how important it is to come back slowly, so I’m making sure to take it easy this time around. Re-injuring my calf by trying to eke out a few seconds of pace would be to repeat previous mistakes stupid. I have a race on Sunday, the Benfleet 15, however I’m only 51/49 for running at this point. I always planned to take this race pretty easy, but even going easy it’ll be a serious test. I need to get a couple more runs under the belt this week before deciding if I’ll race on Sunday. Here’s hoping the calf is good to go!

Happy running everyone!

Bernie

Get Going, Get Running!

On Facebook? ‘Like’ my Facebook page and keep up with my day-to-day happenings, hints, tips and shares
Want to see what/where/how I’m training? View or ‘connect’ with me on my Garmin profile to see what’s been going on
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