DIARY: The “easy” road

It has been a busy week catching up with everything after the extended weekend in Munster. Standing at the Ballyhoura race start to run the mountain running training day brought back fond memories of one of my first mountain races which happened on that very course. I remember being midpack somewhere before getting lost with a local runner for twenty minutes in the woods and then finishing joint last. This time local man Tom Blackburn ensured no one got lost in any way and despite the chill wind we had 25 people or so eagerly participating in a 2 hour session.

I had another treatment with Hagen Stroh today and he really brought the pain which I see as a positive because he highlights exactly where my muscles are still unnecessarily tense. “Form follows function” is his mantra and while I have come on in great strides, my movement patterns are still in work in progress.

I can feel this when resuming training. I have now found a way to neutralise and manage the throbbing and irritation in my right ankle all of which is caused from tightness in the right hip and the right calf but I cannot bull-doze through training the way I did last year. Two consecutive weeks of 90km was heartening but my paces are noticeably more conservative than last year and I have to accept building my fitness slower this year. It’s been challenging because of my strange work hours and I’ve found myself doing some runs as late as nine o’clock in the night by torch-light but these have been particularly relaxing.

On the plus side the few times my ankle has gotten sore a few days of easy jogging have put me back into “a happy place” and I have surprised myself by managing 26 days running in a row since I decided to lay low and recover from New Year’s on 1st of January. The way things are going I will not find myself in 80-minute half-marathon shape within 7 weeks, as I simply cannot yet bring the pace and intensity into my aerobic running I had last year when I started with no niggles whatsoever. But this time I am positive that with my new patient approach, I will actually manage to arrive fully trained at a peak event. This has not happened since Snowdon 2009 (and even that was a fluke!) so you could say it is about time…