2016 London Marathon Training – Week 10 (7-13 March)

The week began, Monday morning, with an hour on the elliptical trainer. The right calf was still quite sore after Saturday’s Duathlon, but not enough to slow me any. In the evening I headed to the gym for the Monday night gym session. Thinking I was still probably fatigued from the weekend’s efforts I reduced the FTW from 265 to 250. To my surprise I felt really strong throughout the session, able to push hard during the reps and recover at quite a high intensity. To my surprise I averaged 260 watts which worked out at a PB of 4.1 w/kg. It seems I peaked a couple of days too late on the bike – if only I’d felt that strong on Saturday during the Duathlon.

Talking of Duathlon, I spent Tuesday lunchtime securing the purchase of a time trial bike. Having discussed matters with the boss it was decided that life is too short to wonder what I could do if only I had decent equipment so I dug a little into the savings to give myself less excuses than I currently have.

Before that sale I went about potentially destroying any chance I have of running or racing properly in the near future. I set out for an easy paced run which I set at 8 miles as I was running a little short on time. The right calf was okay for the first mile or so then began to ache a touch, not enough to slow, but enough to remind me there was an issue. This continued for much of the run and I thought I had gotten away with it. Then in literally the last few hundred meters I first felt the arch of the foot tighten then a searing pain deep in the middle of the calf, which had me stop dead in my tracks before resuming again, albeit with a pronounced limp.

I wouldn’t have been able to run much further, fortunately it was literally only a few yards before I was home. The calf was really painful to touch, as was the hamstring, and walking anywhere wasn’t easy. That said, I was able to go on the elliptical trainer in the evening, where the calf was sore but it wasn’t bad enough to stop me pushing quite hard.

Wednesday and Thursday saw a pair of two hour efforts on the elliptical trainer. Thursday’s I pushed pretty hard, keen to break ’60km’ for the effort, which I managed with a little to spare. There was little difficulty cross training but the calf felt far too sore to consider running on. Fortunately that evening a slot for a massage came available and I jumped at the opportunity. David worked his magic, inducing tears as he worked deep into the right hip and glutes before working to loosen the calf and hamstring. His conclusion was that the source of the problem is coming from the hip which is incredibly tight. I’ve thought this to be the case for some time now. There was no miracle cure – the calf still felt tender, but at least I had something to work on in terms of finding a cure.

The dilemma of the week was that on Sunday I was entered for the Newton’s Fraction Half Marathon, Grantham’s only road race. I was really keen to take part, having not done so since I became a Grantham resident, but Thursday night I was already confiding with friends that my participation looked very unlikely and that I’d likely go cycling with Witham Wheelers instead.

That mindset didn’t alter going into Friday. Normally with a race on Sunday I’d do a very easy session or none at all, but I headed to the gym where I put in firstly an hour on their elliptical trainer, where I worked at really high RPM, and then a slightly odd spin session which was attended by just one other person and had us for the most part out of the saddle putting in long efforts in the red zone. This really worked the quads hard, walking up and down stairs was an effort for much of Friday and Saturday…

The only concession I made to entertaining the possibility of racing was Saturday would be a rest day from exercise. I’d volunteered my services to help marshal the local parkrun at Belton House. I was on finish token duties, which was fun as I congratulated each and every finisher, but, on a really cold morning, left my fingers red and numb and wishing I’d opted for a different role.

Saturday afternoon and the decision on whether to run or ride appeared to be swinging towards the latter. Normally before a big race my meal the night before will be strictly regulated – usually a pizza and certainly not the full roast dinner I knocked up and served to the family that evening, complete with sherry, a few glasses of white wine and a crusted port to take myself to bed with. That’s the kind of preparation for a long relaxes bike ride, not an intense half marathon race. Once in bed I set the alarm for 7am, fully intending to cycle in the morning.

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