This week’s running – 22nd to 28th of June 2015

Feeling under the weather

Hang in there, bud – know how you’re feeling!

This week was unconventional, so it’s pretty short as a result.

You’d better not turn into a cold…

Seemingly out of nowhere, I picked up a sore throat and a bout of lethargy on Monday that forced me to call it a night at 8:30pm! I prayed and prayed it wouldn’t become a full-blown cold and with some luck, I was largely over it come Wednesday.

Dodged a bullet there, and it was most likely my body’s response to the fast 5k, the late night, poor food and half marathon distance training run from the weekend just before.

5x 800m at 5k pace

I delayed this session until I felt like I had a fighting chance of completing it. Once actually out there at Edgbaston Reservoir, it became obvious that conditions were much more challenging than the week prior, with obstacles like head wind on the out reps and high levels of humidity for disruption.

I fell just shy of nailing the 3:45/km pace last week by just the odd second or two on most reps; I knew I’d have made progress if I were to at least equal what came before. The end result wasn’t too bad at all and by comparison, looked to have just beaten last week’s splits by just a smidge in terms of accuracy. I’m hoping the next session will see me hit the target with pinpoint precision!

Here’s the Garmin data for the session.

5k from work

Geese proved to be my antagonist again as I ran home from the office. Iain and I had reasoned that geese preferred the Smethwick stretch of towpath due to fewer passers-by; the repaved towpath out towards Bournville has no doubt boosted the number of users, especially during peak gosling season.

Geese had taken up the entire width of the towpath, requiring quick steps to navigate through. Just as I neared the end of avian congregation, a gosling unexpectedly moved into my path and started chirping away, alerting an overly-aggressive parent to start hissing at me for intruding.

Here’s the Garmin data for this run.

Fit for purpose

This 5k and the 800m rep session and were the only two runs I completed for a total week’s mileage of under 10 miles – not even a third of my normal quota. I think I can be forgiven because it was my stag weekend (expertly organised by Iain). We had great fun shooting the hell out of each other with paintballs, shooting the hell out of clay pigeons with shotguns, and driving the hell out of dirt tracks with dune buggies.

Trying desperately to shoe-horn a mention of the day into this running-focused blog, I just want to take a moment to talk about being fit for purpose. 48 hours later on Monday, my legs were still aching in strange places from the numerous games of paintball; I’m not talking about the impact from the paintballs themselves, but rather muscle aches. With a decent running-base behind me, I was expecting to be able to bear the brunt of the games but I’ve been left with sore quads and knees. I think if I were more of a trail runner and practised more lateral movement (most likely the cause of my knee woes), I’d be aching a lot less right now.

Remember kids, fitness doesn’t necessarily transfer between sports!

Flexiseq Sport

Flexiseq Sport

Will Flexiseq Sport pass the Yellow Runner test?

I was telling Iain recently about how I occasionally receive products to try out and review, and one such example is Flexiseq Sport – a non-medicated pain relief gel.

I’ve tried all manner of gels and creams over the years, especially when I was suffering from near-chronic knee pain due to dodgy running technique. Volterol gel proved to be the most beneficial based on previous experience, though that meant not using it at the same time as other NSAID products like ibuprofen or paracetamol for fear of overdosing. With Flexiseq, one can at least use it along with controlled doses of ibuprofen and paracetamol due to different active ingredients. Another of its billed talents is the ability to replenish the lubricating layer over joints. I was more sceptical of this claim, though was willing to give it a try in the name of sport science.

So, did it actually work? I first trialled it a number of weeks ago after a 5x 800m session on tight and aching calves, and the gel did make a noticeable difference within an hour after application. Like Deep Freeze gel, it also had a slight cooling property to it and was largely odourless. I used it sparingly over the last couple of weeks and I believed it to work as described, coming in quite handy on my sore quads over the last few days!

There’s got to be a catch, right? Well, the fly in this ointment (pun intended) is the eye-watering cost of £19.99 per tube! Granted, it’s a 100g tube so there’s plenty in there, but a comparable 100g tube of Volterol is only £12.99 from Boots and £11.80 from an online only pharmacy. You would have to be incredibly concerned about using medicated gels, or allergic to them, to consider paying an extra £7 for Flexiseq. This is a real shame because it’s always good to have an alternative choice out in the market, but I fear the market won’t tolerate such a high price especially if the benefits aren’t immediately obvious on a crowded pharmacy shelf.

Enough rambling – it’s time for this week’s entry from Mark Remy’s The Runner’s Rule Book:

Scoot through the chute

Don’t clog up the finish line chute if you can help it. Keep moving as best you can. If you’re wearing a timing chip that must be snipped off, follow the same rule that you do with aid station tables: Pass the first one and the second and third ones. Everyone else will clump around them. Keep moving, and approach a volunteer snipper a bit farther down the line.

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