Running can be a Sole-less experience

As I get into the real crunch phase of my marathon training, my weekly mileage is not often reaching the 60 miles+ target.  My niggling injury has partly caused this – I can’t seem to increase the volume without setting off the soreness in my left achilles tendon.  However this week, three days working long hours away from home in Birmingham meant that I only managed to run 3 times.

As local readers will know, the U.K. has been battered by nearly incessant winter storms for weeks now.  Although we have not suffered the terrible floods that afflict the South of England, I am pretty much completely over this crap weather now.  Going out in the driving wind and rain can be bracing and character building, but when you are doing it for the 10th time in a row, it is just a pain the butt.

Tuesday was meant to be the monthly Valley Striders track session at the Leeds Met University track Beckett Park – definitely my favourite session that we do.

Unfortunately, the track was frozen and it was unsafe unless you had spikes.  A small and hardy troupe of Striders had turned up and they followed my suggestion that we jog the mile or so to Chuch Lane in Meanwood and do a hill repeat session on the road instead – basically 6 times up and down a steepish hill, each ascent being half a mile.

I didn’t run again until Saturday when I turned up at Roundhay parkrun and ran 19.46 on a very hilly course on a very chilly and very windy day.  It wasn’t much fun.

Sunday was the fourth race in the Peco cross country series, held on fields about 6 miles from my house and close to the location of my office.  My plan was to include the Peco race in the middle of my Sunday long run, so 12 miles there and back plus a hard 5 mile cross country race would be a good long run substitute.  As the course was going to be very muddy, I dropped off my studded fell shoes at my office on Saturday evening, planning to run to the office in road shoes on Sunday, then change to the fell shoes for the race before changing back for the run home.

All was going perfectly to plan until about 1 mile in to the race. The mud was epic, really deep and gloopy stuff, but pretty good fun to run through. Suddenly, my right shoe started to feel strange. At first I thought my lace was coming loose, but then I realised that the entire sole of my shoe was flopping about.  I stopped at the side of the course and as I lifted my foot the entire sole fell off completely!

My only option would have been to jettison the shoe and run half barefoot, but I decided to jack and DNF the race, it would have been pretty hopeless to continue in the quagmire shoeless.

Feeling a little forlorn, I waited and cheered my teammates through the end of the first lap, but as I was getting cold, I went back to the office, changed shoes and made this a long run day by taking a long route home, eventually running just over 20 miles on the day.

And finally some good news – as a result of entering the Sierra Leone marathon, I have been invited to a reception at Kensington Palace next month. I’ll definitely go, work commitments permitting.

With seven weeks to go, I am still just about on track, but I need a couple of strong high mileage weeks, with 20 mile+ long runs and hopefully no injuries.

Next Sunday is a race over my favourite distance – the Snake Lane 10 miler.  I would love to have a crack at a sub 60 minute run – even with my recent 80 minute half, that is a really stretching target for me, but if we get a nice calm day, I’ll be having a good crack at it.

M –  7 Weeks / 32 miles. Longest run 20 miles. Parkrun (Roundhay) 19.46 (5th). Weight after Sunday run 11 st. 5.6 lb


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