I am an idiot at times.
Not always but quite often.
When we last left it I had finished a half marathon over trails and was nursing some sore calf muscles.
Since then I have continued to run fairly regularly, at times running to work and back, in order to average maybe about 5-8 miles a day. On top of this I have also struggled through another half marathon over trail (the same route as before) with my friends Geoff and Nick.
First thing to talk about, running with friends...
Some people really enjoy it. I sometimes struggle with it. I understand the communal nature and the fact that running with friends gives a social aspect and can help pull you along when you run, sometimes though I struggle to shake the feeling that if I need to stop and recover that I am letting my mates down. Plus sometimes I like to zone out and run almost zen like. Though running with friends is to be encouraged I think, for support and help and just someone to talk to on a longer run.
So all my negative thoughts aside the main thing about running with friends is the fact that talking helps you to run at a steady pace and control your breathing. The best thing about running with friends is that if you get hurt or have an injury (like my sore calf) they will stop and let you stretch out.
In my case they won't leave you and will stay and physically stretch you in order to help you out. There is also the fact that they may know more exercises and stretches to help you out.
This was the case on my recent run with Geoff and Nick. Never once did they complain about me having to stop because of my injury. Never once did they consider leaving me and finishing the run (which they both could easily have done in a much quicker time). And both were on hand with much needed energy bars and stretching advice (and painkillers) to help me through the run so that I could finish too.
Plus Geoff bought me a post run beer (IPA excellent stuff).
Speaking of injuries my own calf injury seems to have gotten worse. I think I need now to be realistic about my recovery. Rather than just plowing through and trying to run through the injury I need to be active on my recovery more. Working on stretches and strengthening the muscle groups involved. From what I can see crunches and calf raises seem to be the order of the day.
I also think I will be giving the minimalist running a little bit of a miss for a while. Especially as I think my current injury stems from that.
Which is no good 2 weeks before the half-marathon.
Which is what I am running now (got my registration sorted out).
The worst thing about my calf injury is that shorter distances seem to be beyond me at the moment. Which is very frustrating. It also brings me on to phone apps.
For a while I have been using Strava as my phone app of choice. It seems brilliant and I have no issue with it.
Firstly on really long runs my battery drains very quickly. Something I have combated by purchasing a spare battery from eBay (but then smartphones don't seem to last long anyway).
Secondly the challenges, I know I don't have to enter or pay attention to them but I can't help myself. I also can't help trying to constantly go faster. Also my exercise regime has shifted now and is much more active than it has been in a while.
I have gone from 2-3 runs a week averaging about 3 miles a run to running 4-5 runs over 7 miles.
Strava is great for runs and challenging yourself and record keeping (though there is some criticism about it promoting reckless cycling by people trying to get KOM's on stages). However what I need now is something that can start providing more training. Specifically when it comes to food. I don't think my diet currently provides enough calories to help me recover from my exercises. After all I am not trying to loose weight just get fitter.
I have 3 apps that I am looking to use while I decide on the best one.
Currently looking the best is RunKeeper (it also has very good reviews on line and training plans).
I am also looking at MapMyRun (which allows the logging of food as well) and MapMyTracks (which has an endurance app for very long events).
I will let you know how my recovery goes and also how my app trials work out.