Saturday, 28 January 2012

here we go ...

The trip to the physio provided some excellent news.  The stress fracture to my left calcaneous has fully healed now and the achilles tendinosis in the same leg is well under control.  So much that it's now easier to get fitter than it is to relapse ... so long as I keep up the good work regarding rehab.

That's ice, exercises and being sensible.

Elsewhere in the news congratulations to Lizzy Hawker who was recently awarded the title 'athlete of the year 2011' by the IAU.  Mainly because of her outstanding run in Llandudno at the Commonwealth Championships where she set a new world best performance (24 hr road) of 247.076 km (153.526 miles).

The fourth issue of Nordic Ultra e-magazine is now available.  Another good read, see for yourself on their website.

Yesterday Keir came home from school with the news that he and some other students have been selected to visit Auschwitz concentration camp in May as part of their history A level course.  That will be an amazing experience for him and I know he'll get a lot out of that trip.  It now seems very likely that he'll be going to either Queen's University, Belfast or Ulster University from next September ... so long as he gets the required grades in the summer's exams.  We all know he's capable but it's just a question of proving it to the examiner.

Wednesday, 25 January 2012


Well ... the big day is tomorrow.  My final appointment at the physio (all being well).  Everything seems to be OK with the ankle and running this week has been consistently at the 100% level.

Looking forward to proper training again and planning a few races for the future.

Saturday, 21 January 2012

mixed scores this week

Last Sunday was a bad running day.  The 40 minute outing could only be given a score of 95% which was a backward step after previous runs had been almost 100%.  Very disappointing.  Since then however things have improved every day and the last two days saw the 50 minute runs both given a perfect score of 100%.

Feeling good now as we head into a new week and hopefully things will continue to be 'perfect'.  Of course the cycling and weight training has been continuing as usual and has hardly been affected by the injury.

The weather hasn't been quite a s cold over the past few days but I was interested to read an article about running in cold weather on the Sweat Science website (in brief) and on The Globe And Mail website (in full).

It seems that to avoid cold fingers ... wear a balaclava.  I haven't seen one of those in Yorkshire since the 1970s though.

Maybe a hat will suffice.

Saturday, 14 January 2012

newspaper article ... weather ... good news

Well ... all was good at the physio last Wednesday and I'm now able to run continuously for about 40 minutes and gradually increase that to 60 minutes over the next two weeks or so.  The ankle has been feeling better by the day and now I have no problems at all although I am still icing the area three times a day and will continue doing so until the end of January.

Then I'll gradually phase that out along with the eccentric stretching exercises although the latter will take about six more months.

The time I spent with Lee Sobot and a photographer (Bruce Rollinson) on Tuesday was very enjoyable and productive.  Their work appeared in today's Yorkshire Evening Post.  The article can also be read on that newspapers website - here.

Also this week the weather here has been very strange.  At the beginning of the week I was able to run wearing only shorts and a T shirt but only four days later I found myself with tracksters, two tops, a hat and three pairs of gloves (and still had cold fingers).  This week all my training runs were at the same time of day yet the temperature ranged from 9.4 C (48.9 F) to -0.6 C (30.9 F).  The mean for Yorkshire at this time of year is about 7 C (45 F).  Very strange.

Monday, 9 January 2012

things still improving

Just a brief update on how the injury's progressing before my next visit to the physio on Wednesday afternoon.

Well, today was a 'no running' day but the previous four runs were all done in the morning and I would give them marks of 96%, 96%, 98% and 99%.  So things are definitely still improving and the early morning aching has also abated.

Very good indeed.  Stretching three times a day, icing three times a day and doing the eccentric contraction exercises twice a day seems to be helping enormously.

These runs have been increasing in length but still alternating running with walking.  I'm very confident that the physio will give me all clear to begin running non-stop again.  Obviously not very far at first and, I guess, if all goes well, I'll be able to start training properly again at the end of the month.

And then I can start planning my races for this year although that could be a bit difficult with Fay's job being in danger at the moment - local authority cuts.

Still ... things are beginning to look good at the moment.  And there's a reporter visiting tomorrow from the Yorkshire Evening Post ...

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

injury updates ... stats ... other stuff

Quite a bit to get through today so ... here goes ...

My rehab from the calcaneous stress fracture and achilles tendon injury seems to be progressing very well at the moment.  Until Sunday evening I was a little unsure as to whether the ankle was actually getting any better.  But then, from Monday morning, things seemed to click into place and I'm now confident that my rehab is going to plan.

It appears that the many hours spent massaging, icing, stretching, etc are finally paying dividends and that got me round to thinking about 2011 ... and then 2012.

Last year began with a knee injury which limited training during the whole of January but after that things went exceptionally well apart from the two important races.  In the first of those it was a momentary lapse of concentration that cost me the winner's trophy (and the course record by almost an hour).  That's something that needs to be corrected in the next year or two.  You can read that story on this page.

The second (and most important) race was a different story entirely.  I was in very good shape for that one but, stupidly, I stuck to my pre race plans and almost everyone else was adjusting theirs to take account of the very windy weather in Llandudno.  Having said that, if a very bad run produces 220km (136.7 miles) what would a very good have produced ?  There's something for me to think about.

So ... two big races completed and two important lessons learned.

Now, for everyone who's interested in the numbers, here are a few from 2011:

over 2444 miles (3933 km) in the year ... 46.9 miles per week (75.4 km per week) ... very nearly an hour per day

almost 18 minutes per day on average

almost 14 minutes per day on average

strength training
over 25 minutes per day on average

rehab stuff
over 18 minutes per day on average (not including ice)

In total my training and rehab took over 830 hours last year ... that's over 2 hours 16 per day which doesn't include changing clothes, showering, etc.

My end of year 24 hr ranking is correspondingly a bit disappointing and the stats read:

World ... 72 (down from 37)
Europe ... 49 (down from 26)
UK ... 5 (down from 4)
England ... 4 ? (last year 3)

Full details and year by year comparisons can be found over on this page.

OK ... on to other stuff now.
I was saddened to learn yesterday of the recent death of the great coach Frank Horwill.  I'm sure I've talked about him in previous posts but his wisdom and writings have been a large source of information about all thing training related.  I highly recommend that all runners read the articles on his club's website - here.

Local athlete Racheal Bamford (who lives about 200m from me) recently represented the North of England in the Nos Galan 5k in Wales recently.  She finished first woman on the uphill course with a time of 16:44.  Fantastic ... well done to her ... and she's going to get quicker.