The morning run was a routine affair, up to Great Gonerby, narrowly missing out on the Strava segment for the hill by one second (one day I’ll hit that hill later on in the run when I’m warmed up), then looping around and back down. Nothing amiss, nothing to indicate how my body would feel later in the day. I even missed a downpour by around 20 seconds which made me feel pretty good.
The evening run was scheduled to be intervals with the club – 3×2 miles with a 1 mile jog recovery. I’d intended to try and run them at something close to half marathon pace, which in theory should have been attainable as that is around 15 seconds or so slower per mile than the last set of mile reps I did on the same stretch of A52.
Things didn’t bode too well when we shuffled from the Railway Club to the Muddle roundabout. We were crawling, but it felt like hard work, my tummy in particular not feeling great. I certainly didn’t have much enthusiasm for what I was about to subject my body to – an attempt at picking up the pace for a few hundred meters left me under no illusions that this was going to be tough.
I set off first for the first rep. It would be on an evening like this when having a training partner of similar pace would have been a godsend, someone to keep your motivation and effort up when you are flagging. Tonight, I was out front, alone, and the master of my own destiny. Unfortunately the body was quite quickly starting to say no!
The first mile was 5:56, the second was the best of the evening 5:46 and hitting the kind of heart rate I was expecting to attain. The recovery mile was a trial, the tummy showing every intention of giving trouble and an overwhelming feeling of fatigue, or as Sean Kelly would say fateeeg. Within a minute of beginning the second rep I knew something was amiss, as hard as I’d try I just couldn’t break six minute mile pace and the HR was dropping the harder I was trying. By the end of the first of two miles I carried on and ducked into the Muddle for an emergency pit stop. I hoped that would cure my ills, but alas recommencing the rep it was clear things were not going my way.
I completed those two miles in 6:05 and 6:01 which, when looking at the HR they were ran at weren’t too bad, but this wasn’t the session I was planning to run. Worse struck on the recovery mile as my right shin began aching somewhat alarmingly from seemingly out of the blue. There was little I could do but try and pretend the pain wasn’t happening.
Maybe it was the shin pain, the fatigue of two weeks running without a day off, the Stamford 30k, the 22 mile run on Sunday, one too many stock cubes in the soup I made for lunch (Very, very salty), the breeze, the cold, maybe it was even missing my buddy the 910XT. Whatever it was, the third and final two mile rep was a miserable mess. The splits were a little skewed but the mile out was run in around 6:27, the mile back was 6:21. Okay so these aren’t calamitous and if I applied a little spin and note that the heart rate average was at my long run HR – the splits aren’t half bad and the session was a success.
As it stands running along watching the HR drop uncontrollably and with it the pace was not a pleasant experience. The mile or so home was an equally slow affair. The evening was spent being very, very tired, wondering what on earth was causing the shin pain (which, incidentally, all but disappeared the following morning). A day off for Wednesday was booked. Rest is required, rest is what the body will get.
Not hitting targets in sessions is inevitable for a runner, this is by no means the first and it won’t be the last. I think what has unsettled me is this is the first bad session in months and it left more questions than answers. Hopefully I’ll bounce back stronger and faster with a bit of rest!