It’s been a few weeks since my last Marathon Training Diary entry and, in that time, I’ve been doing exactly what running expert Kieran Alger told me to do back in mid-November…. focusing on time-on-feet.
I’ve also taken Kieran’s advice about keeping my heart rate down and running at a comfortable pace.
I even started running with a chest heart rate monitor; an old Polar one which died on the second long run I took it out for and has not come back to life.
I’m not too worried though as my shiny new Apple Watch Ultra was only 2-3bpm on average different from the supposedly-more-accurate chest strap, so I’m happy to just use that going forward.
I’ve done a few 100 minute+ runs now - all around the 14-15k mark - and it has massively helped what Kieran described as “building an engine”.
In fact, I even said to my wife last week, “I reckon I could go out and do a marathon now.”
What a fool I was. Firstly, for thinking that and secondly, for going out running on icy roads.
The slip-slidy nature of part of that run is, I’m pretty sure, what has caused my first (and hopefully last) training injury.
I’ve got a strain in my hip flexor (I’d never heard of that but pretty sure that’s what it is after Googling “bit between top of leg and waist.”)
It’s nothing major, just a dull ache but, after standing in the sub-freezing temperatures watching football at the weekend, it seized up a bit and was really quite painful.
It felt better today though so I, probably stupidly, attempted a gentle 5k to test it out.
I gave up after 2. It’s not intense pain at all but I can just feel I’m doing more harm than good trying to run on it.
It’s not all doom and gloom though; as I’ve mentioned before, most marathon training plans are 16 weeks. And I’ll have 16 weeks exactly before London in the New Year.
However, while it’s tempting to just put my feet up and eat, drink and be merry over Christmas, that would mean throwing away a lot of the hard work I’ve put in over the last couple of months.
“You basically need to do damage limitation until you can run properly again,” he told me. “The worst thing to do is train and make it worse.”
“Just try and stay moderately active so you stay on top of your cardio fitness over Christmas. A bit of walking, a bit of light exercise biking and some stretching and mobility.
“The main thing for somebody at your point of training is keeping the consistency going. If you get used to not doing some form of activity, especially over Christmas, it can be a lot harder to get back on it.”
I’ll try and “get back on it” before Christmas but, if I do feel it hurting, I’ll definitely keep Tom’s “damaged limitation” warning in mind.
How we test