Yesterday was my long run day. I had to work in the morning, so it made sense to go straight from work (I work in a town 10 miles away).
The plan was to run 17 miles, and knowing that I would be unlikely to want to do a loop when I got back home, I started by doing 2 times around a 3.1 mile loop down there before I started on my way home. Also, I was aware how sore my hip was the previous week so I popped a couple ibuprofen an hour before I started, hoping to keep it at bay.
I can honestly that the first few miles was the most fun and happy I have ever run. I felt great, the running was easy, my heart rate was low, and I really did believe I could keep running forever. My smile was large and my hopes were very high.
My hip started to twinge at about mile 2, but it was enough to ignore and think about something else. As all the advice says, your long run should be about 1-1.5 minutes slower than race pace, so I managed to slow down to 13 minute miles whilst still actually running. My heart rate was low 130’s- this was going really well.
Then mile 10 came, and things went to pot. My hip started really hurting, and this meant I was dragging my right foot- I could bearly lift it off the ground. From the earlier highs I hit a real black spot. I switched from eating nuts and soreen to eating energy gels which lifted me mentally, but the physical side was still dreadful. I was walking/ running but with longer walking and shorter running.
I arrived at mile 13 and knew that another 4 miles was going to be hard but I was determined to do it. My leg was dragging so badly now that I could not even lift it over debris on the tarka trail (I actually tripped over some mud- very embarrassing!). I turned and headed towards home, by now it was 100 metre running/ 100 walking.
I was still determined to do 17 miles, and I felt positive that I could tick it off. However, when my garmin ticked over 15 miles, I just stopped. I was mostly walking, and when I did run, it was running with my right leg 2 steps behind me. So I did the sensible thing- I called it. It was not doing me any good, I was not getting better because of it, and I was getting cold.
So- things I have learnt from this-
-There is a place for energy gels etc- they made a real difference to me mentally.
-I am sensible enough not to keep going when I should not.
-I can run slowly! Really slowly.I mean, I could have timed myself with Halley’s Comet, not a Garmin.
-London is now looking like a run/ walk strategy.
– I need to balance my runs ahead of the day. I have got 2x 20 miles run planned- this now does not make sense. I need shorter strength building runs and sensible distance runs.
In truth, when this all started I thought it would be my heart which would limit me. Now it seems my body has other ideas. I know looking beyond London, running longer distances will not be something which will matter- but in the meantime, I need to do what is right for me to get me to the end of the Mall.