Friday, 20 January 2012

The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.

I've never been of the "I can't do it" mentality; essentially nothing is impossible in my book. For someone who aspires to run all day, and longer, this mindset is a great asset, but it's also a double edged sword.

The ability to push on when you're tired, when you've been running/walking for so long that your body makes you sleep whilst you're still moving is something that I think we all have. Although some have to dig quite deep to find the mental reserve that enables you to separate the mind from the body so that this weak thing that we're attached to can be pushed through the tiredness and sleep barrier. To keep going when sleep is the only thing you crave, "Just 5 minutes, I'll be fine after that". To push on when the tears flow because you're just so exhausted; these are just mental battles which make me chuckle when I think about past times that I've been there.

But what do you do when your body simply can't do what you're asking? When pushing on breaks your body?

Most of us push on at least a little, because it's that little push that makes us fitter and stronger. Personally I find it hard to gauge that "little push" which is why I'm prone to injury; and why I'm sat here (again) with a lower limb strain/injury/thing that stops me running/whatever.

This never used to happen, but ever since I turned 40 a few years back it has... So it would appear that I can no longer smash through the tiredness and aches and pains to emerge on the other side stronger than ever. I have to make slower progress now, and really abide by the 10% rule.

But with a wry smile I still consider that as I get fitter, and stronger, maybe I will be able to go back to the ways of my younger days *eyeroll*

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Compression kit and shin splints

These last couple of years, for some reason, I've become prone to shin splints and the only way that I've been able to recover is by resting. Sometimes it takes two weeks because I often try and push through the injury; "run it off".

I've been using Skins tights for a couple of years, hoping to preserve my legs as I push on past 4 hours on the trail, which they certainly do once you're used to their tightness. I also have the recovery version which are also pretty awesome, and sleeping in them really does help.

I've never run in compression socks, but I have them for wearing after the run; they just look a bit odd to be seen running in, even if Paula carries it off, she has the talent to be seen in them.
But I've had it with the shin splint I have in my left leg right now.. I've rested for days, hydrated well, RICEd but it's taking forever to go away. Then I remembered that Salomon make a compression sleeve for the calf (another reason that buying Unbreakable was worth it).

Right now, the Salomon Exo IV Calf is available, but I picked up a pair of IIIs from ebay and headed out for 7 miles of trails today and the only thing I can say is WOW!

You can read about how they're supposed to work (or how some think they don't work) all over the web but all I'll say is that they enabled me to run, pretty much pain free for an hour. So, placebo or not, they absolutely work for me and are now firmly in my kit pile for treating/training with tired legs.

Monday, 9 January 2012

Frustrated by New Balance in the UK

Whilst I sit with my leg in full RICE mode it gives me time to do a bit of running admin ie looking at maps for new routes, checking out gear 'n' the like.

I've been looking at trying to get hold of some New Balance Minimus Trails that iRunFar have reviewed and Anton Krupicka has advertised on YouTube. I like the whole minimalist ideal, and get out and about in my VFFs occasionally as part of my routine. So it seemed sensible to have a look at someone else's shoes.

At least, I would if I could. I might be a bit of a traditionalist but I like to actually get my hands on a shoe before I buy it, and trying them on is essential. Unfortunately there aren't many NB shops in the UK, typically a running shop will shop will stock many different brands, and a few of the NB range, but certainly not the whole NB range. There's nothing useful on the New Balance website, nothing that points to which shop stocks what model of shoe, so is it really this hit and miss for getting hold of their kit? Where is the New Balance UK store?

I jumped onto Facebook, and asked on the New Balance UK page, but alas, no replies; and it would seem I'm not the only one asking the question.

At which point I start looking at other companies, such as Salomon and Inov8.

Friday, 6 January 2012

You're obviously injured, why oh why would you run?

Everyone who puts a bit of effort into their running will stretch, strain, pull, bang, chafe something at some time. But, what do you do, push on or rest?

I've no specific race in mind (although the Ridgeway Challenge in August this year is looking like it may get a look at) but I've just started a 24 week 50 miler plan, just to give my training a bit of direction. Of course, these plans are meant to get you to give the most benefit, but chances are it'll be too much and you'll over train, and end up injured.

My left calf is giving me some grief at the moment, with what I can only describe as a shin splint feeling, but deep within my calf, so deep that I can't really tell where the pain is. I've run about 25 miles with it, but I'm am at that point of "Strap it and run (it'll probably get worse) or strap it and rest?" It's a ridiculous question, especially when I have no specific goal that I'm training for. So I'll take 4 days off and get down with my Grid then start back into the plan next week.

Unless I get up tomorrow morning and it feels fine, in which case, there's 14 miles to do.

But there's always that nagging question... "If I'd carried on, would it have ended up worse?"