I haven’t blogged since my failed attempt at May Day Triathlon as I’ve not really known what to say. For the most part of this year, training has either not happened or has been frustratingly bad which, combined with a number of stressful events in my personal life, has resulted in not really being able to make head nor tail of anything.
My legs hurt with every run I did. No amount of rest, foam rolling or stretching was making any difference. Even the sports massages I had, whilst loosening my muscles, didn’t have the effect I would have expected.
About three months ago, at a time that I was moving house, a month into a new job, receiving divorce paperwork and struggling to do much training, let alone finding a routine to encompass my new locations, I lost any bit of control of my life that I thought I still had.
A trip to a very understanding doctor, encouraged by a very supportive group of people, resulted in the prescription of antidepressants, closely followed by the acknowledgement and acceptance that I shouldn’t have come off them last time, or at least not at soon as I did.
Gradually things started to feel more manageable. I could function on a daily basis without feeling completely exhausted and was able to do more than the bare minimum. The bare minimum being to get up and go to work.
I was still struggling with the training but in the bigger scheme of things, the important thing was that I was feeling better in myself and I felt strangely content with the belief that my desire to want to train would return in its own good time.
Which it did. Although it took a shocking experience and an even worse photo from Endure in June to make me really realise just how much work I had to do and the only way to do this was to work on the basics and create a strong foundation on which to build my fitness and eventually speed.
I knew the importance of a strong core, I used to explain it to people on a daily basis as a Personal Trainer but I hadn’t realised how bad mine had become (which shouldn’t really have been a surprise seeing as I didn’t train it). I knew the principles of core training but I didn’t know the specifics for running beyond the need for dynamic exercises performed on my feet.
I spent several hours watching and reading videos and articles by James Dunne from Kinetic Revolution (@KineticRev), who talks a lot of sense and has a very similar view on training that I have/used to use with my clients. I put together a very simple but proving effective core/hip stability routine from his advice and exercise ideas that I have now been doing for the last 6 weeks.
I have kept my mileage low and begun reintroducing the track interval and hill training at reduced levels, building up based on how I react/recover to the previous session. None of my sessions are over an hour, averaging just 45 minutes but each one has a purpose and is planned in advance.
Since the triathlon debacle I did enter another one in an attempt to put my bike demons behind me but bottled that one too and made the decision to not enter any more this year. I am not writing off the triathlons, I just don’t see the point in giving myself unnecessary pressure at the moment. I have instead transferred my multisport interest to the Aquathon (swim/run) which has encouraged me to swim more regularly which is also good cross training for the running. I have also really enjoyed the last three aquathlon races I’ve done, which is one more triathlon than I’ve managed!
I raced a 500m/5k aquathlon last night and (at the time) did the 5k in my second quickest time this year on an undulating course. That was superceded by a slightly quicker Parkrun this morning, albeit on a flat course and feeling much harder than yesterday. I was, however, very pleased with the way it went. Trying to focus on form, I ran to how I felt but kept an eye on the pace to reassure myself that it was OK to be finding it tough because I was running well.
In fact, I managed a perfectly paced negative split run…it didn’t feel this even at the time but I felt stronger and more stable than I have for a long time which hopefully means the sensible approach of returning to fitness is working. It am still two minutes off my 5k PB but I suspect this will come down in good time if I continue to focus on the basics and listen to my body.
I currently don’t have any races booked in for the rest of the year so I can assess how the next month or so goes and then pick what I want to do based on what will boost my confidence rather than just complete so hopefully the next blog will be a report of continued progress and with a race in mind.