Pre-Hamburg Prep

Posted: May 6, 2014 in 2014, May
Tags: , , , , ,

After a decent block of injury free training, and a very good eight weeks where I PB’d at half marathon, 10k and 5k, I woke up on Tuesday, five days before my goal marathon, with a familiar and worrying tightness in my calf. Three years ago when I started running first I tore my left calf and I was out for six weeks. A year later I pulled it in the exact same spot, came back too quickly and was out of action for eight weeks in total. Now here I was after the best and most consistent period I’ve running I’ve had and out of the blue, without any warning whatsoever, this same niggle appearing.

I skipped pilates that evening in favour of some stretching and foam rolling in the hope that might do the trick, and then got up early Wednesday morning to go for a little cycle to warm the muscles before another bout of foam rolling. When a couple of hours later I got up from my desk and my calf just balled up completely I was straight on the phone to Reiltin Treacy in Newbridge (K Physio)arrange an emergency physio session. So it was that I found myself face down on a physio’s couch a few hours later with a bunch of needles being introduced to my left calf muscle. I’d had dry needling once before, on my hamstring, but it was still a very interesting experience getting those needles right down into my now very sore and sensitive calf. I won’t lie and say I wasn’t worried when five minutes after getting off the couch I was struggling to shuffle down the street, or when it took minutes to descend the stairs on returning home, but Reiltin had warned me that it would get worse before it got better.

I felt considerably better on Thursday but didn’t risk a run, and Friday was spent travelling, settling in and catching up with our wonderful, gracious hosts in Hamburg, Skippy and Nina. It was Saturday before I got to try out the leg and thankfully when I did there was absolutely no ill effects. I didn’t even feel a hint of tightness. I only did 4k with four sets of strides but everything felt great.

Well except for my Garmin which stopped recording for some reason at 1.56km.

Going into Hamburg one thing I asked Skippy to do as part of his preparation was to think of five things he had done well in training. The five things that could have been done better can wait until after the marathon, for now here’s the five I thought of while trying to get to sleep the night before:


  1. Consistent, progressive training – semi-regular training from Christmas on gave way to consistent, regular training of four or five times a week with a long run, and often a medium-long midweek run from the middle of February onwards. From around that time my pace also went from 5:20/km being a ‘steady’ run to an ‘easy’ run. Plenty of early morning runs and in particular Friday mornings with Paul and Mark which were generally 20k @ 5:00/km. Tough but hugely beneficial.
  2. More long runs – for previous marathon attempts I may have done an 18 miler or two, maybe a disastrous 20 miler but this time round I had multiple runs in the 14-16 mile region, an 18, two 20’s and a 21 mile.
  3. My last long run – 20 miles @ just over target marathon pace (5:05/km) the day after setting my 10k PB and it felt easy. This was a huge, huge confidence booster.
  4. PB’s all round – in the run up to Hamburg I improved my 5k time by a minute and a half, my 10k by over two and a half and my half marathon time by nine minutes, so I obviously did something right.
  5. General conditioning – apart from the calf strain I had an injury free training block, thanks in no small part to my weekly pilates session I definitely feel stronger throughout and my weight is pretty good – 79kg, so 8kg down from Christmas and no extra weight added during my taper. I could definitely do with dropping some more but I’m right around where I wanted to be for Hamburg.




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