La Dolce Vita

As Rod Stewart (sort of) sang It’s late September and I really should be back at work. Well, after  12 weeks of summer leisure time, reality has been restored and I am back at the coalface.

Smugly, I confess it was a pretty brilliant summer. I travelled to great places with some of my favourite people in the World, climbed the highest free-standing mountain in the World, ate lots of lovely food and generally had a fab time.

The final week of the Sabbatical was spent cycling around the Cilento and Amalfi regions of Italy, south of Naples.  Our party of 16 like-minded souls got on famously, guided by our fantastic leader, a simply lovely Italian gentleman named Paolo.

In stunning September weather, we enjoyed Italy at its sumptuous best. The cycling was brilliant on generally quiet roads with reasonably considerate drivers.

Then there was the coffee (divine), the gelatos (scrumptious) , oh and the food in general…mmmm yes – the food was about as good as it gets.

The only aspect of the summer that didn’t live up to my hopes was running training.  I thought that with free time galore, I would be able to run lots of miles, put in extra speed sessions and get myself into the shape of my life.

Unfortunately, I have been pestered by a niggling injury in my ankle – specifically posterior tibial tendonitis, or in English, inflammation to the tendon on the inside of the lower shin. It’s a bummer.

Last Sunday, after a week off running, my ankle felt not too bad and I joined a gang of team mates up at the reservoirs for the Sunday long run. I thought that if I could complete a solid 20 mile run, then there might still be some hope of a reasonable performance at Chester a week on Sunday.

Ressies Sept

All went fairly smoothly until the 15 mile point when the insidious pain returned.  I slowed, was dropped by the group and then shuffled and hobbled my way back to the car, completing 19 miles in total.  However, only 15 could be described as proper running.

I went back to see the physio yesterday – at the Coach House practice in Leeds. They are well regarded among elite sports people with a clientele that includes a legion of Olympic gold medallists and World Champions.  If they could patch up Kelly Holmes well enough for her to win two Olympic gold medals, then I might as well give them a try.

I half expected the Physio to say that I would be foolish to run at Chester – that I would do lasting damage and I should expunge all thoughts of running it from my mind.

Clearly, she was used to treating obsessive athletes, because the after the initial assessment, she said “You have quite severe inflammation in the tendon – your ankle and foot is really stiff and stuck, but lets just throw everything at it and let you give it a go”.  Just what I wanted to hear.

So, the plan is to take lots of Ibruprofen (against my normal principles), treat it with lots of ice and/or ice and heat, do some gentle remobilisation exercises and then go back for more physio next week. I won’t be running at all until Chester, but I can do non-impact cross-training like cycling and rowing.

I have set up my turbo trainer at home and I will be giving Zwift some real hammer over the next 10 days.

My gleaming new England kit arrived in the post this morning. The shorts are a little more ‘racing cut’ than I would usually go for, but I’d like to think that red and white quite suits me:


I can’t lie, I’m disappointed that Chester won’t be the best  marathon of my life, I’ll just be aiming to complete it without embarrassing myself.

Then again, I’m very lucky. I can run. I am healthy and have great friends. I have nothing to moan about. Life is good.



CM- 1 week 5 days

11 stone 3.4 lbs

19 miles


Putting my Foot in it

Only a short report this week, mainly because I’m still struggling with injury and I don’t want to sound like a moaning sod.

I wanted this to be a real big mileage week of at least 70 miles, culminating with a race on Sunday – the Vale of York half marathon. I ran for about an hour on both Monday and Tuesday and then drove up to the reservoirs on Wednesday morning hoping to run at least 20 miles, maybe even 24 if I felt up to it.

My ankle didn’t feel too bad for the first two hours of the run, but then the pain returned and quickly got worse and I was forced to stop after about 15 miles and hobble back to the car.

I rested until Sunday and went across to the Sherburn Aerodrome for the Vale of York Half Marathon.  I had a reasonably good race – finishing in just outside 82 minutes and apparently winning second prize in the MV50 age category.

Although my performance was OK, I wasn’t happy with my running. I was feeling the ankle throughout the run and I wasn’t able to run completely freely.  My gait was different – I was heel striking more than usual on my right foot, subconsciously I was trying to protect the injury. Unsurprisingly, I felt twinges in other parts of my body.

I finished quite lame and as I write this on Monday I can’t walk without pain.  Often it isn’t wise to self-diagnose using google, but this artcle:

describes my symptons accurately.  Worringly, it says that one should not try to run through this injury.  However, as Chester on October 8th is almost certain to be the only opportunity that I will have in my lifetime to wear a National vest then I am going to risk it.

There are four weeks remaining until Chester and I am fairly confident that I will be able to make the start line.  I am not so confident about making it to the finish, but we will worry about that on the day.

My plan from now until 8 Oct is to hardly run at all, allow my ankle to heal as much as possible and to try to keep as fit as I can by cross training.  I am going on a week-long cycling holiday in Italy next Saturday, so at least I will keep active and won’t have to think about running much.


CM -4 weeks

52.5 miles, longest run 18.3 miles

Parkrun – None

Weight 11 stone 3.4 lbs

Aerobic efficiency (HM 971 beats per mile)


Cor Baby, that’s Relay free

I treated my aching bones to any easier week, so there isn’t very much to share about the last seven days of running.  Although I am trying to compress a 14 week marathon training block into about 7 weeks, even I realise that it would be foolish to completely run myself into the ground, so a bit of rest and easy running is mandatory at my age.

In Iceland, Jock told me about his training philosophy – he has read a book by an author whose name I have forgotten, but the key point was that training runs for older runners should to be easy.  The best way to measure this is by using heart rate, which should never exceed 180 minus one’s age.  Therefore, I have been running to a target heart rate of 130, which feels quite easy, it equates to something between 8:15 to 8:30 mile pace.

It also requires one to run very easily up inclines and a bit harder down them.  As mentioned on Marathon Talk a few weeks ago, for even effort, nearly every one goes much too hard uphill and nowhere near hard enough coming down.  Hard runs should only be done occasionally – ideally not more than once a week.

I like this training philosophy, it accords with the Kenyan way – i.e. you should either by running very easily, or very hard, but hardly ever with medium effort.

Saying all that, I ran hard on both days at the weekend – on Saturday at Roundhay parkrun; and on Sunday for Leg 6 of the Leeds Country Way Relay.

The Roundhay parkrun course is tough, it includes a two+ minute hill which is climbed three and a half times.  I was leading the pack at the top of the hill on the first lap, but I was soon passed by Huw and a young woman whom I didn’t recognise.  I held third place until the finish, the young woman cruised round to finish first overall quite comfortably, pursued by a string of gasping old men like me.

I was reasonably satisfied with my time of 19:11 – on the same weekend last year I ran 18:34, so I am definitely a little way behind my form of 2016. Hopefully, I still have time to sharpen up a little before I start the taper.

The Leeds Country Way is a 6 leg race around a 60 mile footpath that circumnavigates Leeds, contested by most of the local running clubs.  It’s a great event, requiring excellent logistical management and navigation as well as good runners.  The legs are run in pairs.  I ran the final leg for the Vets team with Kevin. We enjoyed a strong run, covering the 9.5 undulating miles of rough paths and roads in just over 69 minutes.


Valley Striders had a good day, winning the Vet’s category and finishing second in the main male and female classifications.

My aim for this week is to cover at least 60 miles, but to front-load the week so that I can be fresh(ish) or the Vale of York Half Marathon next Sunday. I will have to fit in my long run mid-week, probably on Wednesday morning.


CM -5 weeks

41.3 miles, longest run 10.1 miles

Parkrun – Roundhay 19:11 (3rd)

Weight 10 stone 13.4 lbs

Aerobic efficiency (LCW 1048 beats per mile)