Thursday, February 16, 2012


      With 4 weeks to go to the W2C 50, I resumed proper training last week. Small 10k runs and lots of strength work. Its not ideal as I should have been doing very long training runs once a week but both my physio and coach had advised me against this as it was too risky due to my calf strains. Every time I get a small twinge whilst running I think its about to happen again, its a bit stressful but thats how I feel. Helen has been pulling and probing and smoothing out all the scar tissue and Paddy has insisted on less running. I focus on weights and stretches to build my legs and core muscles and cycling tabata's to keep me fit whilst avoiding unneccessary stress on the muscles. Its all quite technical and measured however at some point I knew I would have  to go for a 'long run' including hills and as time is running out it had to be soon.....this is not quite how I had envisaged my prep for the Way to Cool but I have had to adapt as best I can.  I've been averaging only 40k per week when it should have been at least double that. I really am totally in the dark on how all this will pan out on race day......still, just got to get on with it.
          Anyway at the end of last week I did my first longish run of 24 k and though it all went well, I was worried the whole time. This week I did a few more 20+ k runs and had a few nasty falls accompanied by strange shooting pains in my legs. You don't know whether to ignore them and soldier on or stop and take it confusing. I guess I will just keep ramping it up whilst closely monitoring any ill effects. If I can get my fitness level back up then Paddy and I will need to discuss how to taper for the race because I won't have much time to prepare.
       Its been freezing cold here in France, as it has in the whole of Europe, so its my full winter running gear, hats, gloves, special warm running tops and long slinky black tights. I hardly ever see another runner but the other day ( at about - 10 degrees ) a guy appeared out of nowhere waring identical gear to mine and we kind of nodded to each other in that kind of mutual respect, tough guy way,.......blissfully ignoring the fact that we both looked like a couple of Russian ballet dancers !.......male ones I hasten to add. And then later on I encountered a female runner, who completely ignored me. A guy could get a complex.
       Finally after many months of trying, my S-Caps finally arrived. Its impossible to get them in France and so John in California kindly offered to buy some locally and ship them over.......Now what am I going on about? An S-cap is not some trendy beach, go faster head gear, its a tiny capsule full of sodium and potassium. Actually there is a lot more to it than that but I don't want to bore you, they were developed by ultra runners for ultra runners and their main function is to prevent Hyponatremia and cramps by giving the body the required amount of electrolytes during very long now you know.
       Although I love running through the forests and mountains its not all fun. Training for any big event has its ups and downs and it can be hard, tiring and relentless. I am constantly told 'Oh you do it for the runners high'. This really is a bizarre statement as it implies that every run is easy and I'm on a permanent 'trip'. Unfortunately this is not the case; I have previously posted that I have never had a runners high in 1000's of hours of running, (maybe I'm doing it wrong), the truth is sometimes its great and sometimes its very, very hard. On the hard days I focus on the goal and on the easy days I concentrate an getting a good suntan :)
        INJURY ALERT.......I was just about to post this blog but this morning I was 20 minutes into a run and BANG! my sixth calf strain. No warning at all in fact I was feeling great at the time.......Its 3 weeks to go to the Way to Cool 50 k and right now I'm lost for words, a first for me.


  1. Oh no! I´d stay off the weight work!!!
    Keep calm, keep warm and think positive.

  2. Keep at it, Mate-Just trust yourself and stay focussed. By the way, I get a 'Runner's High' every time I lace them up...Fantastic! Jamie.

  3. Its a funny old world. I get a runners high when I run to Sainsburys to get a chocolate bar!!!!
    and I havent got a bit of calf strain.
    Take care Phil and do what you think is right.

  4. Thanks for all the suggestions both here and on email. Time to regroup.

  5. Oh dear, I am sorry about your injury and to hear you feel somewhat flat.....
    I wouldn't have a clue what to advise you! My guess is that you will do what you will do, whatever....
    However, I laughed at your remark....
    'we kind of nodded to each other in that kind of mutual respect, tough guy way'........ very amusing...

  6. What you have really needed all is time is for Rory the Marathoner who Always Gets Lost to decree his ultimatum. Yes, I am talking about myself in the 3rd person.
    First off, if you're not enjoying training, words from Paddy himself: Remember, whilst you're doing it other people are contemplating it. I personally enjoy it more when it's difficult anyway, it allows me to feel like Rocky training in the snow.
    For your calf, have you tried dynamic stretching to warm up? If not, it could be from the way your foot is hitting the ground, perhaps your lower legs don't appreciate the Tarahumara Phil style. And most importantly, green drink it to the max, eat lots of food to recover (this is my excuse for shameless binges), take your mankini off and just get on with it.