Sunday, 30 November 2014

Runstreak update

So I'm at day 28 of the runstreak, I nearly gave it up yesterday a) It was a busy day b) I was feeling a little jaded all day from the 1 or 2.....OK...4 or 5 beers from the night out before.

I got out, I had to get out, It was playing on my mind that I might regret it, so for the first time I done the minimum requirement of one mile. It was hardly worth getting changed for and 8 minutes later I was back indoors. But at least I've learnt that twice around my estate is a mile!

The only trouble I'm finding is my legs permanently feel heavy and every run is coming out at 8:30 average pace except the parkrun's which I seem to get carried away with running against others and the times are quicker.

There's no rest days on a runstreak so I throw in a couple of slow 2 mile runs everyweek which act as a bit of a rest.


Its frustrating not being able to find any real pace or distance with the legs being heavy but this is not about either, this project is just about reaching my goal of 100 continuous days of running and I must keep reminding myself that the biggest benefit is that my Achilles injury that plagued me for the last year is being kept at bay and that I am blessed to be able to run everyday while many people around me cant.

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Throwing away the rule book! #runstreak



So I've pretty much tried everything the last 18 months....Resting, stretching, icing, Physio, you name it I've tried it, in an attempt to get over my achilles problems.

As I said in a previous post, I was looking at people who were running every day and at the amount of days running they were accumulating and staying injury free and a seed was planted that eventually grew into me starting my own runstreak despite still suffering with my achilles.

When it comes to diet, everyone contradicts one and other. The raw foodies think they are right, the vegetarians, the Paleo's, the low carb dieters all think they are right....well one things for sure....they can't all be right!!! But when it comes to exercise everyone can agree that we should be doing something regardless of whatever shape or size we are.

It may seem like the norm to be sat on our back sides for most the day and most of us do due to our modern working lives but there is no way that this is how it was meant to be. Whether you want to harp back to the caveman days or even a lot less further back to before we had cars, one thing rings true we had to move our bodies to get around everyday.

My runstreak at the moment consists of mainly 3 or 4 mile daily runs, that's roughly half an hour of exercise each day...I work an eight hour day at a computer, so when you put it in that context even half an hour a day doesn't seem enough does it? Who needs a rest day when exercise is only taking up that amount of time each day. Sure I hope to increase the distance on some of these days but only to probably to an hour.

As well as trying out my theory that running everyday will solve my injuries, another theory I've had is that I'm going to get more benefit stretching immediately after my run when my muscles are warmed up. I stretch like a madman, pushing my calfs and hamstrings to their limits but limits that are easier to reach due to my warmed up muscles.

I'm no physio, I've gone against what a physio would tell me, I started running everyday even though my Achilles were still painful, I stretch till it hurts, all against the rule book but the most incredible thing has happened......im cured, im running pain free, well at least I am to date and I'm now on day 19 of my runstreak. I got to day 4 and that evening was still in pain, I was going to give up the next day, but I woke up the next morning expecting to get out of bed to the usual pain but nothing, and I've not looked back since!

The other nice surprise is that I've trimmed down a bit and I've not changed my eating habits, in fact I've been eating more treats than normal. I've been craving sweet things, I try to get my hit naturally by eating fruit but I've been topping up with biscuits and chocolate and still shedding the pounds!

It's early days but I'm enjoying the smaller runs and have no thoughts of stopping at the moment, in fact the goal is set to reach 100 days. There I've said it...now I've got to stick with it!

Parkrun tour #2 Frimley lodge

The course

Next up on the Parkrun tour is my second most local run, about 4 miles from home.

Frimley Lodge is a lovely, 24 hectare park in the Surrey village of Frimley. The park boasts playing fields, a pitch and putt golf course, play areas,cafe and even a miniature railway. It also backs onto the Basingstoke canal making it a popular local area.

Panoramic

The Frimley Parkrun was celebrating it's 250th run this weekend and regularly attracts around 300 runners. There is ample parking close to the start and overflow parking if required.

The course starts on the back playing field close to the main facilities. A quick start can be made as the run heads around the perimeter of the field but then comes the first bottleneck and getting onto the canal path.


It's then a 3/4 of a mile stretch along the canal which is narrow, wet and muddy. Unless you've got away at the front then its difficult to pass or run fast along this stretch.

Start line

It's a pleasant stretch of canal path though, with woodland on both sides. At the end of this section its back into the park and through some woodland trails before running back on the grass round the perimeter of a field, heading back to the main facilities on a gravel path and then repeating for a second lap to complete the 3.1 mile course.


Due to the section of the canal being so narrow and dependent on the time of year (this weekend being wet and muddy) it's probably not a PB course. Having said that if you can get away at the front of the pack the course is flat and a PB could easily be achieved for the faster runners but for us middle of the pack runners its a course to enjoy rather than race.

A great setting for a Parkrun, well organised with encouraging marshalls enroute.

Runners 380
Atmosphere 9 out of 10
Scenery 8.5 out of 10
PB potential 7 out of 10

Saturday, 8 November 2014

Parkrun tour #1 Rushmoor

The Course
I'm kicking off my Parkrun tour with my local run just a couple of miles away which means I can be in bed at 8:30am and still make the 9:00am start!

The Rushmoor Parkrun takes place between the Hampshire towns of Aldershot and Farnborough in the heart of the military town.

Parking is plentiful in the Garrison sports complex a short walk across Queens Avenue which runs along side the start and back straight of the course.

Panoramic
The course predominantly runs round the outside of the vast open playing fields sandwiched between the aforementioned Queens Avenue and Farnborough road (dual carriageway) but does take in about 0.3 miles of the Basingstoke canal.

Although not the most glamorous of courses, its definitely one for a PB.

From the start, there is plenty of width and even if you're not at the front you can get going at your chosen pace as there are no bottle necks.

The gravel track at the start
The course heads out across the field on a gravel path but you can choose to run on the grass if preferred.

It's then along side the dual carriageway on the tarmac path for half a mile before turning onto the Basingstoke canal. Although the canal path is narrow by the time you reach it (1 mile) the field of runners (144 today) has spread out.

Depending on the recent weather depends on the state you find the canal in. With plenty of downpours of late, today the path was extremely muddy and wet. This is where you could lose time chasing your PB but with the right footwear (I suggest trail trainers) you can  still keep your pace.

On exiting the canal it's then onto the gravel path along side Queens avenue before repeating the loop to complete the 3.1 miles.

The home straight
Organisation is satisfactory and marshalled with a few friendly folk. Not the most scenic of courses but a fast flat course with huge potential for a PB.

Runners: 145
Atmosphere: 6 out of 10
Scenery: 6 out of 10
PB potential: 9 out of 10

Monday, 3 November 2014

Is a runstreak the answer?

The longest runstreak in America is currently still going at 45 years....45 years!!!...That's 16,425 continuous days of logging runs!!!


Lots of runstreaks are logged on social media and it's got me thinking; Is this the solution to injury free running? 

These people are never injured! Is that because of the frequency of their runnning and their bodies adapt and get used to moving these same muscles and limbs everyday? Do their bodies not have time to stiffen up?

I'm still ticking over with my running, a few days a week, four miles at a time, but maybe it's time to put my body to the test, maybe...it's runstreak time!

What have I got to lose, my Achilles have been playing up for nearly a year now, maybe if I run everyday my body will just give up rebelling against my running and let me be?

I'm not talking big miles here, for the time being the max daily amount would be 4 miles. I'm not sure what the official rules are for runstreaking, I'm guessing there must be a minimum distance to count as an official run and I'm guessing that minimum distance would be a mile? I mean surely you can't run to your car from a shop in the rain and count that as a run!!!

So I've kicked off this week with a 4 mile run, (winter is definitely upon us, it poured down and the rain was like ice) tomorrow I'm going to do the same distance but throw some hills in, maybe the next day just a mile?



I know that rest is important but running such short distances, surely won't fatigue the body too much? I mean I sit down for most of the day at a desk, running daily for half an hour is not exactly taxing me and might just be the answer to pain free running!


Sunday, 19 October 2014

A change is gonna come

*dusts off the keyboard*

Apologies for the absense from the blog. On the running front, not a lot had changed and I didn't want to write for the sake of writing but now I can update. A few things have changed.

Not big changes, but I am back into some sort of 'running' routine. I'm now getting myself out and running a few miles, taking two days off and then going again. It's not much but it's running again.

Whilst running I'm feeling no ill effects from the achilles injury but can still feel some minor niggles after. That's why I want to keep things to a minimum and just appreciate I can get out there and do something that slightly resembles me being a runner again.

I'm trying hard to get some stretching in, especially with my calfs. Out of all the exercises I've accumulated for my injury, I seem to be getting the best response from foam rolling....Ouchy but beneficial :-)

My swimming routine has tailed off at the moment, something I want to get back on track, but I have been out cycling a few times. 





Now cycling is my least favourite exercise, but I've used it for a purpose and that purpose is getting to and from work. I've only done it a handful of times but it's been beneficial. I hadn't been on my bike for a few years and I threw myself in at the deep end and cycled the 13 miles to work and back at the end of the day. When you haven't cycled for a long time, 26 miles in a day is a looonnnnggg way. The last few miles on the way back I could bearly turn the peddles and was totally exhausted!

I did notice the way that the cycling worked my quads and hamstrings which was something the Physio said would be a benefit to my overall running mechanics.

Talking of running mechanics, I'm still playing around with my trainers and whether to run with the orthotics that I have in my shoe or not. The orthotics are only ones off the shelf but they have been a big benefit in the past with the same injury, but I'm not sure if I'm getting the same effect this time round with them.

The last 18 months have been hell for running, ever since I fractured my ankle jumping off that stupid wall trying to get to the start line off a race! Add to this my achilles problems and I do wonder if I'll ever get back to the volume of running and races that I was doing before. I guess it's just patience and appreciating I can at least do something.

That wall!!!


"It's been a long time coming, but I know a change is gonna come". Sam Cooke




Monday, 15 September 2014

How much longer?

Another week and no running and the saying "You don't know what you've got till its gone" rings so true. All those times when I've been out in the dark and the cold, in the rain, in the snow, cursing, wondering why I run; well I'd happily run in all those elements put together now, just to be out there running.


In my last post I wrote about a trial run and how well it went. It was only 2 miles but the next morning I did feel a slight discomfort in my Achilles so I knew straight away I was not ready yet for a return to running.

I had a good swim session last week, I swam a mile..1600m, I was well chuffed, I swam breaststroke the whole way which is my strongest and preferred stroke. Its the furthest I've ever swam in my life I reckon.

Another bonus was I got out on my bike. Now for those who know me or follow my ramblings, you will know I'm not a huge fan of cycling. I cycled 13 miles to work, a route I would normally run but haven't for a long time, so it was nice to be back albeit on two wheels. I got a lift back home but this week I'll probably attempt to cycle there and back a couple of times.

Cycling will at least strengthen my quads, something my physio told me would help my running mechanics.

What I'm really struggling with is my stretching exercises and particularly my eccentric calf stretches which would help hugely with my comeback to running. I'm not struggling to perform them, what I am struggling to do is actually get around to do them!

Just 10 minutes a few times a day....so why cant I motivate myself to do them????

I can motivate myself to get up at 6am to swim a mile, to cycle 13 miles but 10 minutes of stretching....no way! 

Does anyone else struggle with stretching? Maybe it's the boredom factor? I don't know but I really need to get myself back on track.

It's difficult keeping a running blog up when you're not....er...running, but hopefully it may help with people going through the frustration of injury. If you are, I feel your pain and good luck with your recovery.