The Physio and I

Its coming up to a year when I entered a hall filled with tables and stands from various companies who gave away free samples of their drinks, gels, socks all in the vain hope you would buy in to their brand loyalty. I quickly skipped past these tables to fail leaving the building with the knowledge that I had not signed up to any year-long deals or emptied my wallet of cash in order to buy the latest in cooling fabric technology or lycra curing tights to ease any muscle aches and pains. No what had happened is my eye caught that of a woman behind a table for a physio practice.

I had for many months been trying to find somewhere that did sport massage as all the forums and mags were shouting from the roof tops how good a deep tissue massage was and it should be part of your training sitting along side your hill, speed, tempo and long runs. I began to talk to said woman about it being my first marathon and how training had gone only to be signed up to a 50% off session. Well I thought, I could always not attend, but then again I would properly need a good rub down afterwards and even then it’s one session.

As we all know I was in pain for the next week. DOMS had struck with vengeance, except it was not so much delayed as ‘You’ve finished? Right lads let make him suffer. Legs, refuse to move and if you do make sure he knows about it’ It was with this that I had managed to climb out of bed and get to my physios table. When he had finished he asked me about mobility and said he could get me to touch my toes, and that a good runner as good mobility and he could help me with this. 

Before I knew it I was attending every month. Now while I get on with my physio, and would say we are friends. I ask him about his house his bought and we chat about running, latest food, exercise studies I feel I am trapped. I don’t feel like I can end the relationship. A little like when people see a councilor or a shrink… Its only those with the power and not the client who know when it is time to finish. After all why would they inform you that you no longer need to attend, that’s basically them giving up work and if they can see you are getting better they have the power to slow down the treatment and drag it out for as long as they like. 

The trouble is, I enjoy it and feel it has helped. As well as being a physio he has also helped me to move better, giving me advice and work outs to strengthen parts of my body that I have neglected, but the biggest part is that he has nipped issue in the butt before they began. Several times I would complain of niggles and within minutes he would be on the scene and instructing me to do exercise X and sure enough within days the niggle was gone. 

I have also seen a vast improvement in my times. When I started seeing him, my PB for 10K was 55, and for the half it was 1:49. They now sit at 40 minutes and 1:35. I find that for my marathon this Sunday, the one where it all began I will be smashing a large chunk of time off.

So while I will be sad to let him go, and have often felt trapped in his clutches, almost like a smoker is addicted to the evil temptress of nicotine, without him I feel my running this year would have ben a very different story. 

To echo the forums and mags, having a physio really is as important to your training as all the other elements. 

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Three Weeks Tomorrow.

Tomorrow will be Sunday and in three weeks, I will be racing the Manchester Marathon and I am shitting it.

Training has not been good. But next week I will be doing a nice temp run in Langdale with some good hill walking before I begin to taper and spend those extra hours where I would have been running to concentrate on core and do some cross training.

I need to squeeze one long run in again and maybe doing a 15 miler at speed just to convince myself that I am ready.

Oh well off to what has been distracting me and preventing me training the way I wanted to. Thats right Work.

Just When you Start to Doubt

Well a couple of blogs ago I mentioned that I was turning my efforts to the 10K as my training for the Marathon has fallen behind schedule a little.

Even with this knowledge I still need to get my long runs in, if I am to even complete the course. My little mind had decided that the dream of getting a sub 3.30 or 3.45 was out of the question and I should just concentrate on finishing and invest my time and efforts into my 10K training to get a new PB and hopefully a sub 40.

However today on my long run of over 21 miles, and I will be the first to hold my hand up and say from mile 18/19 I was wanting to quit. I found that I had run a very fast good run. If I was to run as fast as that on the day it would see me come in at 3:40:22. So basically my mind is now back on the idea of trying to get a sub 3:45.

I have excuses why today was a little hard. Not enough sleep this week. Not enough carb loading. Too much booze in the week. Way to many chocolates and not a good pre race meal. All of these can be changed and with a month to go what better place than to start now.

I also quite enjoyed the run, and I’m sure that having a crowd of people cheering me on will also make me forgot about any pain that my quads are complaining about.

Right now for food and sleep.

Change of Plan

It’s always good to have a plan B. Lets face it what kind of General would you be if you didn’t have a ‘Plan B’ even shouting the orders to ‘retreat’ is a kind of Plan B.

I once read a book. I have since read several others, but none of the others offer the information to explain the subject of this blog. Sure I could try to use the plot of Jurassic Park except they were not clever enough to have a Plan B as they thought everything would be okay and that was like me on my first Marathon. Hang on, wait a minute… I have just referenced another book to explain my point.

The point is, that in the book I was reading all about Marathons the runner talked about some advice he got from a coach. That tiny bit of advice as seen the way I train and think about races completely change. Within the advice the coach offered, she said always have three times in your head.

Simple really. It explains where I have gone wrong. My first Marathon was like many other people’s. I dreamed of getting around the course within the golden four hours. I didn’t even think about any other times and so when my Garmin read 3:30 at 18 miles I knew I had blown it and with it my sense of caring. I was now just going to finish. At the Manchester 10K when I wanted to break my PB, and saw with a Kilometre to go that this was not going to happen I just slowed down to my Sunday run pace. Time only mattered if it was better than the last.

However when I ran my latest half. I had three times. Sub 1:30, Sub 1:35 and 1:40. The latter I knew I could achieve. When I saw I was not going to do a Sub 1:30 my determination and energy went in to obtaining the 1:35, which as we know paid off. Without these three times in my head I think I may have just slowed and crossed in rather disappointing but still respectful 1:45.

So what has this got to do with my ‘Plan B’ well my marathon , which I have coming up has three times. To break the four-hour time, followed by 3:45 or really trying my luck 3:30. However my training has been a little lax, and my long runs have only been lengthy in terms of the time between me getting my trainers on and running. Not to beat my self up, I would like to say I have done two long runs of 20 miles, and one of 16. But that is not enough and with todays run of a little sneaky speedy 10K and speed session I decided that I should concentrate my efforts on chasing a new 10K PB of sub 40 or a sub 35 and just be happy to complete the marathon course. As long as I come in within 4:15 it will be a new PB and I should be happy with that.

I said to my friend after Snowdon that I would never doing the distance again, but with me going to New Zealand and Manchester being my first, I just had to race it again and while I enjoying running long, I must admit that I think my distance wis the half. I enjoy the way it is long but also fast. 26.2 miles just seems nothing more that a long time on your feet which you have to pace correctly.

So with only five weeks to go, I think I will start on my 10K training and sneak in some long runs just so I can complete the last Marathon I will possibly run in the UK.

My Dad Often Asks…

When I do return to the nest which hand on heart is not as many times as I could but since I got my car is more than the Christmas visit that I use to grace my parents with, my father would often ask me a question. This may be the first subject on the card, or it may be slipped in at some juncture during the days events.

I have never and will never answer the question and that is because I can’t. I’ve tried to detail the answer in a blog but failed. The failure haunts me every time I go to write a new entry as it sits in the drafts section waiting to be completed and finally published.

The question is not to be compared to one of life’s mysteries or indeed a question you want to shy away from. The question is pure and simple. The question is ‘What has been your best race?’

‘Best Race’ In terms of what. Personal Best, crowd, scenery, atmosphere, achievement. I have run many a race and find it hard to answer. I trouble with answering the question of what my favourite distance is.

The only way I could answer it is if I was to break it down. After all the Manchester 10K would be number one, as it was my first race and I enjoyed the atmosphere and passion of everyone who watches and participates. Plus the added bonus is it’s in my back yard. However the Conwy Half scores highly as it always see’s me smash my PB for the distance and starts under the gaze of my favourite castle in Wales and also takes me up the Orme. (Oo-er missus). But then Snowdon Marathon would come top as the crowd support was immense and I was under the careful scrutiny of my beloved mountain range the entire time. But the Liverpool Half would have to score a mention as I don’t think there has been a course which has carried support for the entire length. Manchester Marathon as it was my first for that distance and if I was to award the number one spot to Manchester for that reason then ‘The Great North’ would have to sit alongside it as that was my first half, with the added bonus I crossed one of my top 5 bridges and saw 6 others. It’s also on every runners bucket list as a must do race which I can now tick off.

So the simple question that my dad fields me every time I return to the Scott household may seem like a harmless innocent inquiry  but the boundaries and categories on what makes a good race are so far apart.

That question is about to get harder to answer as I am about to race again in Wales, what seems like the home of PB’s but in a race which if I run well could see it be catapulted to the top spot knocking Manchester and Conwy clear out of sight. For tomorrow is ‘The Island Race’

It’s 13.1 miles my favourite distance. It is taking place in Wales which followers of the blog do not need to be told is my favourite country. It’s taking place on Anglesey which is one of my favourite Islands (and there are others) and starts by running over The Menai Bridge which you guessed it joins the Tyne Bridge in my top five. Did I also mention I run around a castle which is also found in my top five castle list and I will be able to see the mountain ranges of Snowdonia. So all I need is for it to be a good course, a good time, and wonderful weather and I think finally I may be able to answer the question ‘What has been your favourite race’ Well until I run another event that is.

But even with all those ticks might see me choose to run it again but to answer the question is not just about, course, crowd, scenery, or even performance. It’s about how you feel. Every race has seen me run and become over powered by different emotions. Manchester Marathon has me believe I was going to die, I wanted out as the pain was too bad but the thought that only 1% of the world will ever run this distance spurred me on. Bangor 10K saw me run with passion as I crossed the line in shearing heat and almost a state of exhaustion. Snowdon taught me to pace and race well to cross the line for the first time feeling I had more to give, Manchester is the simple joy of running with people in their prime and those who entered in a drunken bet. King Johns Road on the Great North was only completed when the thought of those people who sponsored me and the way their kind contributions would help the Cancer Charity Christies to carry on their work allowed me to push on through my pain to reach the euphoria that is the ‘Runner High’.

So the very notion that I could answer the question is ridiculous. Every race, even a bad one will always be the best as I will be rewarded with the best drug in the world. That feeling of knowing you have pushed your body to the extremes and have survived.

A letter

To Thomas,

I know you enjoy it and you read all the mags and articles on that world wide web thingy. I even know you have that race coming up and that you are determined to break some PB in a couple of months time. But I do beg you to listen to me.

I enjoyed the two weeks off that I had and really enjoyed taking it easy but you must remember I am not a car. I can’t be started up and driven long distances, I need to warm up and get back in the game.

After this week, and I will be the first to admit the mileage is very little and the work load has been on the small scale but I am feeling it. Feeling so much that come Sunday I may refuse to play ball at the start line and if I do play along I may throw in the towel in the last 400 meters.

So if you don’t want a DNF on you record then may I suggest you spend the next two days giving me a rest. Giving me some TLC. It’s all well and good running long and hard and doing hills and speed work but like you I need time to recover and the harder you train the longer I need.

Off course you are able to help in this matter. Some more protein, seeds, nuts, fruit. Less bad fat and chocolate. Plenty of stretching after the runs. At least half an hour. You use to be so good at your warm downs now you seem to think a poxey five minutes with the foam roller will suffice. Well have I got news for you… It won’t.

Like a car I need the correct fuel and maintenance. If you spend time looking after me I will perform and keep on performing for many years to come. I’ve shown my worth in the past… Looking how your PB’s keep being smashed. Look how far I have carried you. The speed I have travelled.

So please take note. I’m tired, and I really don’t want us to fall out over this as I know how happy you get when pounding the streets. But you won’t be happy when I can’t carry you forward and get an injury.

I hear from Left and Right Foot that you treated them to some new socks and trainers. They pass on their gratitude. Now if you can only show me the same respect and give me some rest. The miles I am use too. The new training scheme of hills and speed is something I need to get use to, and this needs time. Heart and Lung do their best, but over the years I’ve adapted to long distance and need time to adjust. And I’m not just talking about in training. Recovery is when I grow and repair myself and at the moment you are refusing to give me that time.

So I beg of you Thomas. Please surrender the trainers until Sunday and allow me and your body to recover.

Thank you for your time

Your’s

Legs.

 

 

The Long and Short Of It

I fell into running a couple of years ago and always had a goal to increase my distance. Two marathons down and a third in training I am loosing perspective on the running game. Not fallen out or even become disillusioned just we don’t seem to be getting on.

When I went to increase my runs from the 5 or 6 kilometre mark to that of 10K and then to ten miles when I was in training for the Great North I was enjoying myself. Even only a couple of months ago I would joke that a 10K would be something I would nip out to do before breakfast. Truth known I rarely run before breakfast.

I enjoyed the long runs and found it a pleasure that the 6 miles that I had trained to run was something that was really quite painless and getting past ten miles was now the target. This has gone on and on and as I try to train for my third marathon I really can’t be bothered.

I will wake and think ‘Nah forget it’. The trouble is while I’m out running I enjoy it. But I only enjoy it if its short. Well, I say short, I’m talking under ten miles. This is off course an issue with  Marathon training as I need to be pushing another eight or ten miles on top of the ones I am still enjoying. I think the trouble was the weather as I as many other runners ran for the gym rather than quite literally hit the icy pavements.

It was while I was in the gym I decided that long running on a machine was dull and therefore I should give the old interval HIIT sessions ago. A month on and I am enjoying these workouts more, far more. I prefer running fast and short than slow and long.

So what is to be done. Friends have suggested to take time off, which can’t happen as I don’t have the time what with the marathon being in 3 months.

I’m hoping some new routes and some runs with people will ignite the flame that I held for long distance running.

I certainly hope it will do the trick, otherwise I will be hitting that wall very hard.