Tapering Traumas: Marathon Training Week 13

Well I knew after my long run last week that the tightness and probable knot(s) in my calf had set back in and boy was I right! By Monday morning I was so frustrated I could have cried: I had done the hard part of my training, my pacing was good, my on-the-run nutrition/hydration was right and I was ready to go. Why, then, was my leg picking now to rebel against me? It was so tight that I even had to wear flat shoes to work for two days, a practically unheard of occurrence! The saving grace was that with 3 weeks to go and my taper beginning, I could afford to back off running, stick to the cross trainer and get some serious stretching and massage done to tackle the problem and make sure I can reach the start line on the 15th race ready. With that in mind, this week’s training programme was pretty much ripped up and an alternative plan put into place.

Planned training this week:
Monday – Recovery Run
Tuesday – Club Run
Wednesday – Gym
Thursday – Mile Repeats
Friday – Rest/Swim
Saturday – 8 miles
Sunday – 10 miles

It doesn’t take a genius to work out that with the problems I have been experiencing, almost none of the above was possible. I began on Monday with 20 minutes on the cross trainer in place of my recovery run. Even there I could feel that my leg wasn’t right but it felt good to move without any impact and I followed the session with some stretching and a short swim.

On Tuesday I headed back into the gym for another cross trainer session of about 30 minutes. I didn’t really see any need to spend ages on the machine when I’m into my taper, so long as I maintain some regularity in my training to keep things ticking over. Again, I finished with lots of stretching,

Wednesday’s session was scrapped entirely as I had managed to get an appointment for a sports massage. I was fairly confident that this would make a massive difference as I was struggling to make any progress with my foam roller and knew I needed a professional to treat it. After having the tight area on my leg worked at, I was pleased to be told that a lot of it had shifted, probably as a result of working at it a bit myself and then getting treatment quickly. I noticed an immediate improvement when I got off the massage table and continued to feel improvements throughout the rest of the evening. A very positive step.

As Thursdays have been about speed work, I decided to complete a short interval workout on the cross trainer: a 5 minute warm up followed by 10 reps of 1 minute fast, 2 minutes slow. Not quite the same as mile repeats, but this still provided some consistency whilst allowing my leg to recover.

Since I had skipped the gym on Wednesday, I had a session on the TRX with Steve on Friday instead. We worked on all over strength, but did include some leg work also which I was able to do without any real difficulty.

By Saturday, I was feeling pleased with how my recovery had progressed. Each day there had been some improvement (and the heels were back on from Wednesday!) and although I had felt I had reached a plateau on Friday, the workout I did made a difference and my leg felt further improved when I woke up on Saturday. It was such a nice day that I was tempted to go and run, however I decided to stick with my sensible plan of cross training and headed into the gym for a half hour session. This was followed up on Sunday by a 90 minute session (the approximate time I would have been running for) to complete my week.

So how does it feel now? Much better, in fact I would say my leg feels better now than it did last Sunday morning and I completed an 18 mile run then! I intend to try a few minutes on the treadmill tomorrow to see how it feels then, all being well, head out for a short run on Tuesday to see what happens. I also have another massage booked later in the week and am now confident that this niggle can be completely overcome in good time for the race. I keep reminding myself that I’ve done the training and so long as I get some cardio exercise I’m not going to lose my fitness or the miles I’ve banked. It’s more important to concentrate on rest and recovery ready for the big day. Two weeks today I’ll be running that marathon and I WILL be ready for it!


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