After quite a big year (for me) of goal-oriented exercise, I took October off to give the body a break. When I say off, I still did 9 hours of training, but this is compared to 25-29 hours /month average since April (well, excluding major race months where taper and recovery brought it down to 15hrs). A particularly good jaunt was a 3 hour run in the Mournes with 3 friends on the most perfect day. It was only a week after the Causeway Ultra and my heart was racing over 180 bpm carrying heavy legs the whole way up Binnian. An expeditious start that quickened us to glorious panoramas, and thereafter relaxed slightly. I really enjoyed the technical flow of the Brandy Pad until I rolled my ankle, but at least it allowed me to join my already-injured friend for the walk back down to the car.
Prompted by the ankle and a mystery acute shoulder pain I also booked my first appointment with a physio. Thankfully, by the time the appointment came around, these new problems had resolved and we could look at my general queries and a niggling hip problem I’ve had from June. Yes, my left leg is longer but only a little bit. My upper right glute is comparatively less-developed, and my right hip is less stable. We also reached a compromise that my shoulders are somewhat naturally rounded, but I could align them a bit better (I knew this from Tai Chi standing but have been rather lapse at my practice). I have some exercises to do. I really need to work on my Tai Chi again…it’s good for all these things.
After a week or so my appetite became reset and it was much easier to consume an amount appropriate to my lower activity levels, including a few 16-24hr fasts. I suffer a lag both ways, and although I won’t be eating anabolically during this training cycle I struggle at first to remember to eat for tomorrow’s energy and get the protein in for recovery. I have put on a kilo, but I’m not worried unless it continues to creep up… the knees really don’t like it and it’s hard to shift when training at the same time.
November has come around all too soon. I started the month and kick-starting the training regime by applying for the 2013 West Highland Way race, and running the 26Extreme Stormont estate night race. The month recuperating clearly did me good as I came 8th out of 70 runners and took 5 minutes off my previous best on the course, coming in at 39:07! The fatigue on the hills just didn’t appear as before and I deployed the psycho-sprint early for some great racing with some of the other guys. A really fun event that I always enjoy (when I get a chance off work).
Otherwise, I’m building up to a 30+ weekly mileage (50km+), which will have me running 5-6 days a week. It will mostly be slow and steady before Christmas (the bulk of it flat on a 6km each-way commute), but it will eventually be spiced up by intervals and tempo work, and the occasional mountain run on a Sunday. Already I am noticing lower heart-rate than the start of the summer, and I don’t want to lose it all and start from the beginning like January 2012. Some calisthenics wouldn’t go amiss either.
December will bring news of WHW success (or not) and I can start planning the key races and training for next year. What plans are you working on for next year?