At the time of my last entry I was thirteen days into run-every-bloody-day January, had done far too many miles up and down the squidgy trails of Beckenham Place Park, joined a shit gym in an effort to take pressure of my legs, not used it, done more squidgy hill miles, and got totally complacent about how often I could go for a run on unsuitable terrain without injuring myself or even being told off by my Garmin. You can probably guess what happened next, right? Yes, all the mileage caught up with me. My fifteen kilometre half marathon training Long Slow Run turned into a Not Long Enough and Too Slow Even For A Slow Run It’s Not A Fucking Walk You Know Run and my eighteen kilometre run the following week didn’t even happen at all. Instead I spent the equivalent length of time and effort (two hours and twenty minutes) on a Wattbike at Charlton Lido. Let me tell you that no one ever needs to spend two hours and twenty minutes on an indoor bike, in any circumstances. If the boredom doesn’t kill you, the wear and tear on your nether regions will.
At this point I started to actually use my membership at The Shit Gym. I used it eight times in total and attended a load of shit classes where you do burpies in a confined space and try not to trip over a kettlebell, or try to do weights with 2kg or 9kg barbells because all the regulars have run off with the normal sized ones. I did things that I never thought I would do like turning up to the Shit Gym at 5:30am just to avoid the crush of the after-work posers. Worst of all, I ran five kilometres on a treadmill. There was a small positive in this in that I was pleased to find that I can now actually run on a treadmill without constantly stabbing at the speed controls or going off course and having to grab the rails to stop myself flying off the back and needing the services of my own ambulances. It was only slightly slower than the equivalent distance in the wild. I hope this means that over the years my running has improved in ways unrelated to speed, like the ability to run at a steady pace in a straight line. What I hope it doesn’t mean is that I have become the sort of person who runs on a treadmill because quite frankly I look on those kind of people with scorn. It’s like swigging a can of warm Red Stripe lager when you could be sampling a delicious cocktail with a cherry and a sparkler in it.
I hoped sacking off the last LSR would do the trick and that I would be able to complete my half marathon without too much bother (after all I sacked off every single one of my LSRs for the Hackney Half and it didn’t seem to have much discernable effect on my performance at all). Unfortunately, when I resumed running my posterior tibial tendon was having precisely none of it. My second visit to Bromley parkrun of the month was a full minute slower than the first, and my 10k in Brockwell Park the next day was an absolutely shocking performance, my slowest since the immediate aftermath of the Brighton Marathon.
This week I asked to downgrade my place at Thorpe and Egham from the half to the 10k and to be honest I’ve had a few doubts about whether I should even do that. It is really quite annoying to be injured again after so long staying injury free and improving my times, but I am hoping if I drop my mileage again I will be back on form in time for the Surrey Half in March.
In summary, taking part in this RED business has done nothing for my mental health other than giving me the hump but has in fact served as a timely reminder that I should stick to my tried and tested low-mileage formula and not get caught up in silly challenges. It is better to go short distances slowly than try to go further faster and end up going nowhere at all.
I also seem to have put on two kilos despite not having a rest day this decade and I am attributing this to a combination of Runger and all the delicious but not terribly healthy foodstuffs that have sprung up for Veganuary. Therefore I have coined my own challenges for February which are Feet Up February and Fruit and Veg February. So far this means I have volunteered at Hackney Marshes barcode scanning (no calamities or runaway trucks, you will be glad to hear), eaten a huge bowl of salad and spent the rest of the day eating melon and watching EastEnders.