Bad tools, bad workman (96.4-112.4km)

It’s long run time, well, longish run time. I’d been looking forward to this run for a while; two weeks since my last half and about six weeks till the next one. It should have been low pressure and a chance to stretch those legs and focus on a bit of speed as the stamina should be there.

From the tone of the last paragraph you can probably tell that things didn’t quite go to plan. The stamina was there but everything hurt and everything felt like it needed a good dose of WD-40.

From a few kilometres in I felt flat footed, it’s never a good sign when I feel my feet slapping into the pavement. I’ve felt it before and those runs have always been a struggle but I needed the miles so on I went hoping to run it off. I couldn’t and towards the end I was almost willing cars to be coming as I was about to cross the road to give me an excuse to stop.

After 16km every muscle in my legs was tight, I just sat in the hallway unsure whether my muscles would give up the ghost and seize up completely. I got lucky but walked like a cowboy for the rest of the day and a fair bit of the next one too.

Complaining won’t get me anywhere though, I need to find out what the reason was, no excuses. Ignoring this could lead to an injury.

So, what could it be? There’s a few things:

I haven’t stretched as much as I usually do during the last week; time’s been tight and it was an unusual work week so I was a bit out of routine. Easy fix, get stretching back into the routine.

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Exhibit C

Standing around! It seems daft but my son had a football match before my run so I’d been standing out in the cold stock still for about an hour. It’s quite conceivable my muscles tightened during the match, which they won by the way. Again, another simple fix, keep moving during the match. There’s no way I’m missing out on Saturday morning football, I love watching the little one play. (Whether he enjoys me watching is a different matter!)

The last reason that I can think of seems the laziest, it’s my shoes. I wear Mizuno Wave Paradox for road running and have been wearing either Mizuno’s Wave Alchemy or Paradoxes since I started running in 2009 and never really had a problem but I’ve never really gotten on with the latest incarnation. They don’t feel like they’re run in despite doing over 250km in them.

I haven’t mentioned them before because I’ve been doing most of my training in Brooks Adrenaline ASRs. They’re trail shoes so great for my favourite canal runs and because the Farnborough half was partly in the woods and along the canal I ran the race in them. All without a problem.

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Slippers for running

I hate blaming the tools though, it’s too easy to do and a slippery road to travel down. After a while it also starts to get expensive.

Which makes the plan fairly straightforward: stretch regularly, try not to stand still for an hour at a time and run in my ASRs for a couple of weeks and then get the Paradoxes back on for a few shorter runs and then make a decision on them. I just hope I haven’t made my mind up already and can revisit them with an open mind.

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