Training Highs Injury Low

Being new to running, (I completed my first super sprint triathlon and 5k run last year) the thought of ever looking forward to a run or training or making my way around a wet and windy common was not something I had encountered and was certainly not something I expected.

However, when I took on the challenge of completing the London Marathon I knew that I would need to run far more often that I had ever run before and would probably rack up more miles in that training than I had completed in the rest of my life combined. I am following the Zen Labs 26.2 miles app. This builds you up to a marathon using interval running. I was just at the phase moving up from 3 minute running 2 minute walking to 4 minute running 2 minute walking, even more excitedly I was expecting delivery of my new toy, the Garmin 910xt Triathlon edition. Another piece of kit added to my cupboard of sports equipment that seemed like it was the most essential thing I needed to buy, right now, to help in my running goals.

Anyway, I was at the end of week 4, a long run, aiming for an hour of running at 3/2 intervals. The plan was to do a coastal run, to help with visual stimulation, to keep it interesting. So arriving at Crosby Beach, next to the stunning “Another Place” by Anthony Gormley I set off, all going well, Spotify, Strava and Zen Labs all up and running and the phone battery looking like it will easily last the whole distance. The run took me down streets and along beaches I had never seen before, a mix of tarmac, pavements and trail paths. At halfway I felt good and turned for the return journey knowing that when I made it to the beaches the wind that had been slightly with me on the way would be a different proposition on the way back.

When I got back to the beach with just 15 minutes of running left I was hit with what felt like a wall of wind, so strong I had to turn sideways to breathe properly. Still I carried on, my pace slowly slightly but still progressing well.

I completed the run, through the wind, rain and dodging seagulls, the phone and essential apps had all lasted the distance and tracked the route, run and times perfectly. Indeed Strava notifying me that I had got the second best time on the Crosby gate to gate run. It was only after further investigation I found that it was the second best time this year and the run had only been logged three times this year. Two of those being me, one going out and the other heading back. Still I took that as a moral victory.

After the run, I felt very good, feeling like the marathon training effort was having an effect, no cramping as I had suffered previously, it felt like I could have run longer and possibly a bit quicker on the interval schedule I was on but I was looking forward to the next run. I did however feel like I had some slight bruising on my Achilles, something I put down to wearing an ankle strap for the first time on a run this distance.

The next training run was scheduled for Monday, the first of the 4/2 interval sessions, lasting about 40 minutes and aiming for about 5.5 kms. It was raining and cold, but I was really looking forward to it. The apps were fired up, the warm up complete and the run completed. Again feeling good, even the Achilles had calmed down after some stretching and the first 5 minutes running. That was until the end of the run. After the cool down and walk around the pain started again, this time no ankle strap to blame.

I have a physio appointment booked to confirm it, but it looks like it is an Achilles issue, probably due to overuse and will require 2 to 3 weeks of no running. This has come as a much bigger disappointment that I could ever have expected. Clearly for someone coming from where I was an injury was going to occur at some point in the marathon training cycle, so better it happen early than just before the event. But, with the encouraging signs of the other training runs, the move up to a new interval session and Strava showing my pace and times improving it really has felt like a big disappointment that the training has been halted.

I will then be looking for suggestions for cross training, things not to aggravate the injury but trying to keep up the fitness and to keep other injuries at bay until I can get going with the London Marathon training again.

The even bigger kick in the teeth about all of this, is that after waiting a week for the Garmin 910 to turn up, it arrives the very day that I speak to the physio and she advises taking rest and not running. I cannot even face opening it, such will be the torment of it sitting in the box and me knowing that it will be at least two weeks before I can fire it up and try to work out how to use it properly.