A long overdue update and some running ideas to consider…

I listened to a podcast the other day where Coach Brad Hudson was discussing a range of advice for runners.

Below are some key takeaways I am currently considering as I try to return from injury since running the Brampton to Carlisle 10 miler in November last year.

It has been a particularly frustrating time having run what I believe to be a lifetime best race, with 55:37 (only good for 29th place in a fairly stacked field) for 10 miles. I was extremely excited to see that time for 10 miles pointing to capability ranging from 16 minutes low for 5km, comfy sub 34 minutes for 10km and just over 74 minutes for Half Marathon. These are all times I would be proud of and also times I know I can achieve as I move towards 40 in March 2021.

However, I went into the race slightly injured and came out of it very much injured. I don’t regret the decision to race but I do regret the months of neglect and ignorance leading up to the race.

Pinpointing exactly what has been wrong has been difficult.

My right leg has been the key issue with hamstring pain and gluteal, thigh, knee and calf pain as well. So best diagnosis was hamstring tendinopathy and deep gluteal syndrome – very likely sciatic nerve related. I have been working hard on S&C and also started doing Yoga. On the S&C side I’ve rejoined FIT (formerly Smart Fitness) at Regent Centre with a targeted approach to improving core, hamstring and hip strength.

I am starting to turn a corner and hope to build back up to maybe 40ish miles per week run training through February and then see from there. I have acknowledged that I need to be fit and healthy before I can even think about proper training, sessions and race plans etc. I also have a long holiday in April, so don’t want to really rush anything prior to that. Further afield I am looking at Blaydon (June) and the Great North (September). As always I also want to get on the track. I say that every year but just maybe 2020 is the year to crack that. Longer term I am more welcoming of the idea of the marathon.

Anyway, that’s where I am at. I am still here and still working hard on my running.

I felt the podcast with Brad Hudson was useful to think about so here are some key points which may be helpful –

1. Mix things up whether that be shoes, surfaces, hills, flat etc. (I have really neglected this leading up to the injury)

2. Run at different paces to work different systems – have a purpose with every run

3. Set short, medium and long term goals (I haven’t been clear enough in this area the last couple of years. Indeed my Power of 10 shows I’m not competing enough)

4. Understand your optimum heart rate (I take this to mean threshold heart rate, again I have rarely worn a HRM of late but I think I could incorporate it more. I have heart rate data for the November 10 miler and I was operating around 180bpm for 10 miles at approx 5:30 miling. This is important data. My LTHR is probably in the range 175-180bpm)

5. Check cadence- 180-190 steps per minute is optimum. Avoid overstriding (I am woeful in this area. I have always put it down to being tall and long legged but, if unchecked, my cadence can be as low as 164spm on training runs which is far too low)

6. Don’t lose sight of lactate threshold training (I will be bringing back in to my routine as soon as able, starting with approx 20 mins at 4min per km and building from there. This wont be as intense as true threshold effort but as an intro to build confidence is fine. I will also plan a few parkruns at 180bpm and convert to harder VO2 efforts once injury is fully behind me)

7. Consider a 10 day training cycle rather than 7 days with key sessions spread over the longer period (I will adopt a 10 day cycle from now on)

Earlier I mentioned Yoga and I feel this has been a real key to moving my injury forward. After the 10 miler in November I started an hour of directed S&C per week at FIT through December. Although I was seeing some progress it wasn’t enough to really even get back to safely jogging. My right leg just couldn’t support my running gait. Swift walking was just ok. Into January I stepped the S&C up to 2hrs per week and also began a 30 day Yoga schedule (Yoga with Adriene on YouTube for those interested).

This is a daily practice which I have been doing first thing in the morning upon waking and I have found it extremely helpful to work on my core strength, work on flexibility issues and also my breathing – all of which truth be told were woeful.

My intention has been to get injury free and get back to some running. I’ve seen some great improvements and, as well as the daily practice, I’ve also started doing a specific 7 minute Yoga warm up and warm down designed for runners. Too early to say for sure but this really opens up the key areas important for running. I am convinced it’s the right thing to do.

Thanks for reading and hoping to get more regular with my updates and hope to have some race reports soon!