20 January 2010

Down to business

Thankfully, the cold spell is over - it's unusual to have snow on the ground for more than a day or two in central London and it has made training a bit of a trial (along with inflicting my tights on the general population). At the moment, there are a lot of obvious "new year's resolution" runners out, who you can tell are wondering what the hell they've let themselves in for as they battle the snow, ice, cold and general misery...

Now that I have the fear, I'm getting down to the serious stuff. Saturday saw me try to find a hill. This led me to Greenwich Park, where I did laps of the observatory for a while. I was going to run the five miles home too, but I felt a twinge in my foot and so decided to be sensible for a change and just got the train back again. On the positive side, this allowed me to try a banh mi at a stall that I passed, bringing back memories of the 'nam. Sunday saw me run as far as I've managed for ages - my standard 11 mile lap of London along the river, through the parks and back on the canal. I have to step up the mid-week running too - I ran seven miles to Ladbroke Grove last night with 6kg on my back and got a bit of sand experience on Rotten Row. It doesn't quite recreate MdS conditions though - my pack was 10kg too light, the temperature was 40C too cold and the sand was nicely flat and stuck-together.

Oh - and everyone should sign this petition on libel law reform. And give to Haiti *. And go see A Prophet.

* OK - as Walm points out, give money to charity, not Haiti.

11 January 2010

The fear / picturesque East London winter scene

Last week I was concerned about my foot - the first time I had my (dull-as-ditchwater) tendon problem I could barely walk at times. I was worried that things would be the same this time around, resulting in another 5 weeks off running and hence my withdrawal from the MdS. Turns out - having run 23 miles this week - it was more of a twinge. Phew.


Suddenly, I have gone from being scared that I might not be able to run in the event to being terrified at how behind schedule I am. I'm not totally ill-prepared, it's just that I'd have thought I'd be running 30+ miles/week by now. And have worked out what trainers/socks/gaiters/sunglasses/food/drink etc etc I will be taking with me IN LESS THAN THREE MONTHS!

Sometimes it's good to get the fear...

04 January 2010


I had a slightly depressing weekend. This was unexpected - I've been having a very (too?) enjoyable time of late, with plenty of seasonal over-indulgence. Most of what I got up to in the last couple of days has been very enjoyable - I saw the fascinating Pitmen Painters at the National with my mum and brother, drinks on Saturday with Smithy, Lotte, Rick and a heavily pregnant Andi (now a mum) and went up to Bedford on Sunday to see my sister and her family, which was great apart from the attempted poisoning...

The problem was my run on Saturday. Within moments of finishingthe 8 miles, I knew that my peroneal tendon problem had come back - this was the foot pain that kept me from running for 5 weeks after the Marathon du Médoc in September. I am cutting it very fine with my training already, what with that original injury coupled with my 'flu/pneumonia, and the thought of more time out makes me wonder whether I'll make it to Morocco at all at this rate. Only three months to go.

I had a sudden epiphany whilst jogging to the gym this evening though. Incidentally, all non-geeks can stop reading now. Anyway - I have been trying to modify my running style for a while now, focusing on avoiding a heavy heel strike (which is inefficient and I suspect contributed to my patellar tendinopathy a while back) and trying to land with more of a midfoot strike. I think that this, however, puts more strain on my peroneal tendon and 5th metatarsal, hence my new foot problem. It's a relief to have a working theory as to why this is happening and what to do about it. The difficulty now is to balance avoiding more peroneal tendon problems with avoiding more patellar tendon problems. Some might say this is a sign that I shouldn't run the MdS. I say "bah" to them - for now - though I did check the cut-off dates for refunds if I do pull out of the race.

Incidentally, on the off-chance that anyone has read this far and hasn't died of boredom yet, there's an excellent review of running technique on the blog The Science of Sport here.