Hello one and all (all 4 of you).
I haven't written in a while (as documented here) but I have kept running. I haven't managed to increase my distances as much as I had originally planned but I have improved my times and my general fitness and stamina are much, much better. Which is always a good thing.
Plus I have entered a few races.
I have also made it through 4-5 months without an injury (if you exclude a few bruised toenails). I have however destroyed two pairs of trainers. By destroyed I mean the grip has been well and truly eroded and now they are a lot similar to running on the plimsolls when I gave that ago.
Which kind of, sort of, brings me to what this post is about.
I have been running, and getting better and refining how I strike the ground. I know that my back is much straighter now - less collapsing as I get tired - and my feet are kept below my body more.
I am also consciously trying to keep my number of steps high and my stride length low. This is very useful for trail running and also seems to help me go further without feeling completely shattered.
So all is looking rosey in the running world of Chris.
So what is bugging me. Surely all I have to do now is work on speed and increase the distances I cover so my body gets more used to it (same as going from 1 - 8 miles as going from 26 - 50).
In short I have plateaued.
In the last two weeks I have also injured my knee.
This occurred on a lovely sunny day up Bluebell Hill in Kent. I went for a nice run with Geoff and Nick the Meerkat. Unfortunately little did Geoff and I know but the hills up that area were slick mud from the rains. This made the initial pad out from the car park pretty treacherous underfoot. Unfortunately this culminated a few miles into the run with my slipping and - for once - actually falling over. In the process I managed to twist and land heavily on my knee. Although at the start it didn't hurt by the end of the run it was shooting pain into me and causing my great discomfort.
Awesome. The first few days following walking was sore but eventually my knee eased up and by the end of the week I was back running about.
Nothing major. I went for a run Christmas Eve Eve with Geoff, Dave and Nick the Meerkat. 8 miles nothing major, bit of fun trail and it wasn't until the end of the run that the knee began to hurt. OK so maybe a little more damaged than I originally thought but within a day (again) the pain had mostly subsided and movement was fully restored.
Which lead me to my boxing day run. I decided to go for a longer run than I have in a while. In fact I wandered 25 km in total. A distance I haven't covered since the trail marathon in September.
Here is the crux of it. I could have run further, fitness wise and slotting into my running I could have run much more.
However my knee began to ache towards the 20 km total. However instead of the sharp pangs of pain I was expecting my right hamstring began to tighten up. This I felt slowed me considerably towards home, however a later inspection of 1 km splits showed that the slowing down occurred long before the tightening of the hamstring.
Yesterday evening and today a secondary pain has been playing itself out. My Achilles feel like they have been stretched so much that now they are 'whipping' and 'popping' back in place every time I flex my foot with weight on it.
Which leads me to the dilemma I am looking to solve. Fitness wise I know that I can do more, but can my joints do it?
This is something that I think I need to work on. I may even lace up the old plimsolls and try running on a more minimalist sole to achieve this...