Sports Massage, Stretches and a Last Minute Half Marathon

Week 18 – Peak Phase
w/c 16.09.2019
Recommended mileage: 60 miles
Actual mileage: 35.2 miles

On paper, this was to be the toughest week of the training programme.

The final ‘Peak Session’ with a recommended mileage of 60 miles, after which, I would start to taper.

I woke up Monday morning feeling exhausted. The boys had slept through, I’d had a decent nights sleep but yet I was tired, lethargic and drained of energy. My legs were heavy, my knee ached and the thought of running another mile filled me with dread.

I had plans to go into the Birmingham office in the morning but traffic had built up on my road due to an incident on the M42. Instead, I worked out of my home office to catch up on a few emails and print some documents I needed for work, only to find the printer had run out of ink – great! Bromsgrove town centre is just over a mile away and although half of me was tempted to jump in the car, I reluctantly grabbed my running trainers and had a slow, steady jog into town. In fairness, the slow 2 miles acted as a bit of a recovery run and I felt the benefit in my legs almost immediately.

I’d booked a sports massage on Tuesday with GD Health in Redditch. I’ve been going there on and off for the past 3 years and find it really helps with recovery. Luckily for me, they do evening appointments and I managed to secure a last minute appointment after work. The sessions last for about 45 minutes and as I can testify, if you leave it too long between sessions, it bloody hurts! You think a foam roller is bad? Then you’ve never had a sports massage!

Prior to the massage, we’d discussed my knee pain and after an initial assessment, it was confirmed that the route of the problem was down to tight quads putting too much pressure on the patella. I was given some stretches to do which would alleviate the pain and felt reassured that the injury was muscle related rather than a more serious knee issue.

I woke up Wednesday morning feeling instantly refreshed. My knee was still aching but the legs felt a lot lighter. I dropped the boys off at before school club, stretched then headed into the office. I usually leave it 48 hours after a sports massage but as it was a 60 mile week, I decided to go for a short run post work. I stayed local and did an enjoyable yet hilly 4 miler on fresh legs.

Average Pace: 08:51 min mile

Elevation Gain: 236 ft
Mile 1 – 09:23, Mile 2 – 08:51, Mile 3 – 08:48, Mile 4 – 08:24, Mile 5 – 08:39

Thursday night was club run but once again I sacrificed this for a solo run up the Lickey Hills. I miss club runs. I miss the people and the social side of running in a large group but I’m also aware of the need to replicate race conditions in training. I needed to be running up and down hills on trails as opposed to tarmac and canals.

I’d planned to run my normal 10k loop twice, covering approximately 1700 ft and elevation and using my head torch to light the trails. Again, useful training for LiaD. I left at 6:30 pm and enjoyed a steady 12 mile run in and around the hills.

Average Pace:11:24 min mile

Elevation Gain: 1,683 ft
Mile 1 – 11:37, Mile 2 – 09:45, Mile 3 – 12:12, Mile 4 – 09:29, Mile 5 – 09:37, Mile 6 – 12:18, Mile 7 – 13:13, Mile 8 – 12:39, Mile 9 – 12:25, Mile 10 – 10:12, Mile 11 – 11:49, Mile 12 – 11:58

Sunset over the Lickey Hills

I find it eerie yet relaxing running at night

Birmingham City Centre

I worked from home on Friday and went for a short 4 mile run after swimming with the boys. I’d missed last weeks session so I was looking forward to seeing how they’d progressed. I wasn’t disappointed.

Average Pace:8:40 min mile

Elevation Gain: 230 ft
Mile 1 – 9:07, Mile 2 – 8:41, Mile 3 – 8:37, Mile 4 – 8:14 

I had scheduled to do another 18 miles up the Malvern Hills on Saturday but as it happens, I got offered a place at Trailffest Half Marathon in Wales from a club mate who was unfortunately injured. It’s a race that’s always been on my bucket list but I’d never actually got round to doing it. It didn’t disappoint and turned out to be one of my favourite races of the year – you can read the full race report here…

I’d also scheduled to do another long run on the Sunday, either a 20 miler around Kings Heath with some club mates or a local hilly race in the Wasely Hills; the Wasely Wobbler. As it transpires, I did neither as I overslept! I was physically exhausted all day Sunday so I put it down as a rest day and wrote it off!

I’ll get out next weekend for my final long run before I taper.

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