As soon as my day was done working on the Malaysian Grand Prix, I changed out of my work clothes and into my summer running gear for a make or break long run. With the temperature in the high teens and the weak sun trying to shine, I was determined to test the body to see if it is even worth persisting with the dream of making it to Rotterdam two weeks from now.
The opening miles were not promising. For better or worse I decided to abandon the prescribed two minutes walking, two minutes jogging, two minutes running for fear of going delusional if I were to keep that up for the best part of two hours. Whilst the actual pace was not that bad the effort to try and ignore the nagging, consistent pain in the thigh was starting to get the better of me.
At four miles I was actually ready to call it a day and head home. I stopped and, in desperation, did a deep hip flexor stretch for thirty seconds on the left leg. I resumed running and, to my surprise, found that much of the pain in the thigh had disappeared. Were tight hip flexors to blame for all the discomfort?
I decided to revert to plan A and go for it. The long run was back on. I headed to the canal and ran the four and a half miles out to Woolsthorpe. Every ten minutes or so I would stop and repeat the 30 second hip flexor stretch. The pain continued to stay at bay and the legs were running freely, shown in the pace which, before long, was coming down reasonably close to marathon pace. I was beginning to enjoy running again, relishing the pleasantly warm conditions and scenic surroundings on a tranquil Mother’s Day.
At Woolsthorpe, I returned and even though there was the merest headwind the pace, if anything, picked up Any discomfort was coming in the side of the hips and was of the sort that was easily bearable. Only in the final couple of miles did things begin to ache, but I think I was rapidly tiring, being short on sleep and low on energy reserves.
The run over the legs soon stiffened over the course of the evening, but I was at least happy to see that it was possible to run. A lot can happen in two weeks, but I was a lot more optimistic than I was a few days ago. There is now the prospect of taper hell to endure. In some ways being injured makes it easier as I don’t feel as guilty about reducing the mileage. The body is enjoying the rest, for once.