This week’s running – 23rd to 29th of November 2015


Over-use? Wrong shoes? Gypsy curse? You decide.

Eugh. Down, but possibly not out with an injury…

5k from work

I received a few strange looks from colleagues as I left the office in shorts for the recovery run home. Setting foot outside of the building, I regretted not wearing a base layer and given the easy pace, I never really warmed up for a rather unpleasant 3 miles.

For one reason or another, the nicely paved towpath was closed, forcing me to cross over on to the other side that was caked in mud and dead leaves. Yuck!

Here’s the Garmin data for this run.

8 mile canal fartlek

The previous evening, I was speaking with Carl about injury resilience and physiotherapy. Out of nowhere and BAM, my right Achilles tendon started playing up on this fartlek run. The only cause I could think of was the Adidas Adios Boost 2 shoes I wore, which are the lowest heel drop shoes I currently own. Either that or it was down to age-old overuse…

The sensation was a dull feeling of soreness that responded to deep finger presses. Superficially, it didn’t change my running gait or form; I still had the quick pitter-patter cadence and the pain was intermittent in its appearance, with no consistency in how it was triggered.

As somebody who doesn’t often get injured (besides this, the last injury was almost 2 years ago), this is kinda new territory for me. Rest, ice and anti-inflammatories seem to be the recommendations along with some stretching to keep it mobile.

Besides the niggle, it was great to get some faster paces in without any storms or hurricanes to contend with. I didn’t see any other runners out there, which was most odd considering the previous week with Storm Barney appeared to not put anybody off. Cyclists that were present all behaved themselves, too!

Here’s the Garmin data for this run.

4 miles from work

With the towpath still closed, I was once again forced to venture on to the rather grim, unpaved side of the canal. I was almost ankle deep in mud during some sections, no doubt churned up due to the rain and increased footfall from the diversion.

This run home had another purpose…

For weeks, if not months, I see the same homeless guy in Brindley Place as I pass through on all manner of runs. I’ve always wanted to do something for him, but I don’t carry any money when I run, nor do I have any food on me. On Tuesday night’s fartlek run, I saw him again out in the bitter cold and it got to me. Even with heating and a roof over my head, I’ve felt the colder temperatures of late and it was difficult not to think of him in such difficult conditions.

Once I reached home, I dug out an old water-proof North Face coat that no longer fitted me – it was always a little big on me to begin with, even before I started seriously running! It had barely been worn and I wanted it to go to someone that would directly and immediately benefit from it, so off it went into my bag for the next day.

Running through Brindley Place once more, he wasn’t in the place I saw him on Tuesday. I took a chance that he’d be in his normal spot over by Gas Street Basin and The Cube, and as luck would have it, there he was! The coat was a perfect fit and big enough to go over what he was already wearing, which needless to say, wasn’t very much. I stopped to have a chat with Paul for 5 minutes or so and learned that he’d been homeless for a couple of years before I bid him farewell.

Here’s the Garmin data for the run.

Better safe than sorry

That Achilles niggle from Tuesday night’s fartlek run? I decided to listen to my body and take a couple of days off from running, hoping the soreness would subside in time for next week’s 5k PB attack. Achilles tendinitis has a reputation for being notoriously lengthy to recover from due to restricted blood flow – self-massage, stretching and ibuprofen gel became my new best friends in a bid to speed things along.

It’s easy to dish out advice, but oh so hard to follow one’s own recommendations!

Cannon Hill Parkrun


Marshalling at Cannon Hill Parkrun

It was only a few days prior that I was talking about volunteering at Parkrun. With injury in tow, I put Lis’ name and mine forward to marshal at Cannon Hill.

Commiserations were offered when I revealed I was injured. I was quite envious of those running that morning because conditions were pretty much spot on for fast times – the forecasted wind never materialised and the temperature was just right for 5k pace.

One issue both Lis and I observed was that of identifying Parkrunners from those that are just running in the park. We saw two slower women leave the main pack and head out towards the triangle along with some of the sub-20 minute folks (potentially cutting out the 2nd lap). My attempt to run after them and ask if they were part of Parkrun failed miserably and we concluded they appeared sure of what they were doing, so were unlikely to have been with Parkrun – we never did see them again for further confirmation.

Another issue we witnessed was that of the main pack of runners spilling out all over the path just as the front-runners were finishing their second lap. Without a marshal by the old pub to tell runners to keep to the right of the path, the front-runners had to clear their own way and were pretty much screwed out of fast times.

10 canal miles

Prodding and poking my Achilles tendon gave me some hope that any inflammation was temporary. The lower leg was a little stiff, but pain was non-existent to convince me to head out for an easy 10 miles.

With strong winds, cold temperatures and heavy rain forecasted, I unusually wore a base layer vest underneath a long-sleeve top. Stepping outside, I was comfortable for once before having warmed up, though later regretted the attire decision when I couldn’t shift the excess heat.

I felt like Bambi on ice out there, not because there was actually ice on the ground, but because I’d lost a lot of co-ordination from only 2 missed runs (one long, one fast). I kept the first 5 miles easy – between 8 and 9 minute miles. There wasn’t a single peep from my Achilles tendon in terms of soreness; I was cautious not to put too much force through my right leg to further add to the feeling of loss of control.

On the return, I decided to test the tendon out with a single mile at marathon pace; it felt spot-on, and dispelled some of the co-ordination problems by making me focus on my form. We were almost back in business, which was good enough for me!

Here’s the Garmin data for this run.

The Sneyd Striders Christmas Pudding Run

What better way to celebrate side-stepping an injury than to enter a race! Whether I make it to said race is a different matter, but we’ll worry about that at a later date…

I said a number of months ago that a 10 mile race before a half marathon would make for an ideal simulation-come-training run. At the moment, I have a reasonable idea of what I’m capable of, but I’d like a bit more confirmation – fail to prepare and prepare to fail and all that jazz. With this race appearing on the calendar at pretty much the perfect time, it’d be rude not to. The clincher was the Christmas pudding as part of the goodies at the end.

The intention is to run it at target half marathon pace, which is somewhere between 6:30 and 6:32 per mile. The McMillan calculator is suggesting a full-on 10 mile assault would be in the region of 6:25 per mile; my eyes are watering at the thought of sub-20 5k pace for 10 miles!

Right. Time for an entry from Mark Remy’s The Runner’s Rule Book:

When in doubt, wear gloves and a hat

Is it cold out? Wear gloves and a hat.

Is it just chilly? Wear gloves and a hat.

I guarantee you: You will never regret wearing gloves and a hat. Ever. And eventually, you will regret not having them.

Just wear ‘em.


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