So here we are. This time next week the Brighton Marathon will be over.
In January, I decided that I was going to run it 2 hours faster than last time I did it, and a good 8 minutes faster than my current marathon PB. And it was all going so well. I ran a half marathon on target, I was getting stronger every day in my gym work, I had a good couple of long runs and even managed to get 16 miles done at target marathon pace in a gale along Brighton seafront. Then what I can only describe as disaster struck. I have fallen again to injury. This time it is a real mystery as to what is up: I have seen my lovely chiropractic friend, Leah over and over and over and still my right leg hurts. I have been for 2 brutal sports massages, stretched more than I thought was possible and given it everything in yoga. Whatever is wrong with my leg seems to be out-foxing everyone. So I’ve not run properly in 3 weeks… and missed my super long run, not to mention numerous threshold sessions that have been the backbone of me getting sub 3:30. I am
pretty totally gutted.
I am not giving up hope of running on Sunday (although the physio tomorrow may say different), or even of going sub 3:30 but I can’t be too hard on myself anymore if I don’t do it. If I don’t break my current PB then I do have a PLAN B in the form of the Shrewsbury marathon in June, up with my parents’. OK, so I may be down, but I am not out for achieving what I wanted this year.
The only thing that is putting my off running next week is the possibility of really hurting myself, and being unable to run for weeks and weeks and weeks: and as I’ve still not really got any idea what’s wrong with me, it is bothering me that I might do some serious damage. I can run through pain – so don’t tell me to ‘man up’ (!), but I don’t want to absolutely break myself.
I love running marathons so much. There’s something truly special about running 26.2, and doing marathons has really changed the way I see myself. I can do so much more than I thought I ever could: both in terms of physical strength and mental toughness. And yet my body doesn’t seem to love them as much as my mind does. Each cycle of marathoning has thrown in an injury of some sort. I am not by any means going to stop running long distance, but I think I need to reconsider the way that I train. More quality, less milage, perhaps. More stretching, more cross training, more quality recovery: if I want to keep progressing with running, I think I need to take more care of myself away from running. I’ll push and push and push when I run, but then tend to forget that recovering afterwards is as, if not more, important.
So. This time next week I hope that I am posting happy photographs of me plus medal plus PB. However, I have come to accept that this probably won’t happen this time, and that I should start looking to June instead.
Here endeth my tale of woe.
I hope that any one else running a marathon this spring has an absolutely incredible time: whether it’s your first or you’re going for that elusive PB. Dig in and don’t forget to smile.
Keep your head up, keep your heart strong.