DIARY: Living like a normal person

You know you’ve seriously let yourself become immersed in running when you find yourself planning what to do for a two week “rest period”. I had decided ahead of the Copenhagen marathon that I would take a 2-week period after where I could “do whatever I wanted”. Failure to do it has often led me into trouble before, but more than anything it seems right to replenish the hunger and desire for competition.

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My day started pretty normal until I found 5 mountain goats in my garden. They claimed not to have been permitted entry into the Brockagh race so I let them off.

It leaves me only six weeks to prepare for Snowdon and get a lot of mountains into my legs but I have a big base of fitness to build onto.Anyway, back to trying to live like a normal person. I thought to myself “you must take time to do some stuff you don’t normally have time for.” The first week nothing happened because I was busy, but I caught up with a lot of writing.

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Sunny days in Wicklow, rare but so precious!

But for the second week I had put a plan together a) meet a friend for a casual chat and b) go to the cinema with a mate (before you ask, we watched “Avengers Assemble”, after all, I’m an intellectual). Sitting around Monday shooting the breeze with my Danish friend Per, it dawned on me that it had been roughly five months since I’d done that. It had been longer since I went to the cinema. I’m not complaining, because I run because that’s what I like to do, but it shows how far a runners life can become from that of “a normal person”.

Hiking!

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Me at Cullentragh cairn

Normally walking up a hill is seen as a bit of a failure but whenever I’m not running, I enjoy the odd hike as it’s an excuse to get back out on the mountains especially on fine days such as those we enjoyed this weekend.

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Aoife on her way to St. Saviours Church late in the walk

Aoife and I went up the direct route to Derrybawn before heading over to Cullentragh, always a favourite top of mine, if not very famous, heading off south before taking the “old road” back onto the Green Road and following that back to Glendalough. It turned out to be a nice 12km walk and the descent on the old road was a really pleasant grassy trail.

The biggest revelation during the hike was the realisation that when walking uphill fast, even on the steepest slopes, I felt nothing in my calves. They have traditionally been stiff, sore or both on almost any type of climb done at pace or at least I would “feel them working”. I’ve seen the same in my running so the changes in movement pattern is starting to take my calves fully out of the equation. That’s why all the talk of natural running and barefoot running causing “sore calves” and “needing calf strengthening” is a load of nonsense. They are sore because they are being used inappropriately and strengthening them with calf raises and similar drills just makes this problem even worse and accentuates the incorrect movement pattern you already have.

Warming up for it

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While I have taken it really easy over the last few weeks and not done too much of anything physical, I haven’t entirely slackened off and since the weather was fantastic Aoife and I decided to do some of Tony’s drills outside for a change bringing the weighted bars and the Reebok step which are the key accessories (you don’t really need anything else and you barely need that). It brought a whole new dimension to it. Suppose it makes sense to do natural movement drills in nature!

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Ok, so that’s not a weighted bar but a broom handle. It’s not a Greek God either! (it is a natural movement drill, however!)

Right, that’s enough midnight rambling, in two days I begin my “normal” training again (with a few twists). Looking forward to it and that’s the way it should be.

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