Apart from being ill (!), I have been pretty impressed with what my body will do, and how my mind can motivate it. I can run while blisters bloom and burst. I can run with a mildish headache. I can run with discomfort in my joints and muscles. I can even run through stitch now, a landmark for me that suggested I’d moved from conscious amateur to unconscious amateur. I do of course continue to use the word ‘run’ under advisement. And I have amended my fuelling regime which has almost eliminated stitch, though I did have a small one the other day.
I had a big training day the other week (actually a month ago now), my biggest training day so far. And actually it may still hold that record by the time I run the marathon. I did a 20 mile run followed, after a couple of hours’ break and re-fuelling, by a 15 mile bike ride. This was the beginning of triathlon training with my mates.
Tough, it has to be said. I think I did a bit much.
The run wasn’t actually too bad, not hugely fast, but it never is despite me trying to improve my time. Normally after a 20 mile run I’d soak in the bath and not do much else for the rest of the day. A few chores; admin-y things etc etc. Nothing involving much movement. But I kept telling myself I had the cycle to do, like I needed to keep something in reserve for it. And it is a case of, if you don’t stretch yourself, you don’t know what you can achieve. So really my objective for the day was just to know how far I could get round on the bike.
As it happened I made the whole 15 miles – fantastic mind over matter stuff. But revenge of the matter may have had the last word that day. My thighs survived. My lungs survived. These were the bits I thought might struggle. But as it happened my body definitely had the last word. Very sore indeed. Painful adductor on the left side, or that was my guess, as I begin to learn the names of muscle groups and other body bits on this journey. Anatomy – there’s something else I didn’t imagine I’d need to know. There was slow limping and hobbling around for the rest of the day. But I guessed nothing strained. I even managed to go for a very slow ‘recovery’ jog the next morning. What a euphemism that is, eh?
Fortunately I was seeing my physio a couple of days after this. I was quickly reassured that I wasn’t proper-injured. However I hadn’t been doing all my exercises correctly, so I’ve been repositioned and re-briefed on most. And progressed on just one exercise. She offered just enough praise to prevent me from falling into exercise despair, though I was left with the impression that I could have done better!
She also said I had guessed correctly, my adductor was tight. But so was my hamstring. Both on my left leg. Which I guess is not surprising as this is clearly my weak link. Which I’m working on. I think I’m doing the exercises properly now.
It does all make be begin to wonder whether I must be rather blessed with my training. I’m still in the probably very lucky position of being able to say “I’m NOT injured”. I do so hope that isn’t tempting fate. Maybe it was tempting fate. Now I know why injury and illness are always uttered in the same breath.
My summary of that big training day:
Mind over matter – 1 – I completed.
Matter over mind – 1 – I was jolly sore.
First conclusion – discomfort is a normal part of marathon training. But anything more than usual, get it checked out by a professional.
Second conclusion – mind muscle is a flipping marvel.