Oh boy this past couple of weeks has been tough. First I pulled part of the soleus muscle in my right calf. And then within hours I got sick. It’s all good now, but it’s been a heck of a couple of weeks.
When I strained my calf, I babied it for a few days. I ran only short distances at an easy pace on the treadmill and put in the rest of the time on my bike trainer. Dang, the thing did not get any better! So I took three days off completely. Blew my streak of more than two months of daily workouts. Skipped a tempo workout that I normally would have considered crucial. Missed my weekly mileage goal by a lot. I iced my calf, rolled it, stretched it, rested it. I was sick too. Coughing through the night. Coughing all day. So tired. I guess it was good that this happened during the week I had to take time off anyway.
And miraculously the strain healed. My simple injuries never seem to behave simply, but this one did. I went back to the treadmill & bike combination and everything felt normal. Hit the pavement again the next day and seemed to be free and clear.
While still coughing all night I managed to pull off a 26k long run. Twenty-six kilometres is as long as the Long Runs get in the Hansons program, and there are just three of them, so I didn’t want to shortchange this one. I put on my winter tights and a light jacket and went up the pass, which made for almost 700 metres of climbing. Met winter up there. Hello, blizzard. Wished I’d brought gloves.
Came home, feeling like I still had gas in the tank, putting in a couple of 5:20-pace kilometres on the flat section at the bottom, so it felt like a pretty successful run. Part of that might be that I took water and food with me. I’ve been pretty lazy about this; when the weather is cool I don’t really need to hydrate for runs of under 10-12k. But now a lot of my workouts are 16k+ and I really should be carrying water and SportBeans or something. I ate and drank a bit along my 26k run, and it made a big difference in how I felt during the last 5-10k.
I woke up with an inflamed Achilles tendon the morning after the long run to the summit. Crap. Having just taken a week to heal the soleus muscle I was darned if I was going to take a week to rest the gastroc/Achilles. But I think it must have just been the punishing downhill from the summit the day before … it got better as I continued to do normal daily runs.
Today was strength workout #2. Having got 6 uninterrupted hours of sleep last night I felt almost human, and my legs are entirely back to normal. I had a great run. It was supposed to be 2.4km at 5:30/km pace, with an 800 metre recovery jog, repeated four times. I did the 2.4 km at 5:02/km, nice and consistently. Felt strong. Sun was out.
Something I realized. My best recorded 5k pace is 5:05, but today I ran a Grade-Adjusted Pace of about 4:50 for two 2.4km segments, (and around 4:57 for the other two) and I felt like I didn’t need the 800 metre recovery interval. So I’m pretty sure I could set a new 5k Personal Best if I wanted, likely breaking the 25-minute barrier. I’m definitely wired for endurance more than speed, so a sub-25-minute 5k isn’t that impressive in comparison with most other runners, but it would represent a significant milestone for me. I might try for that in a couple of weeks if I’m still feeling good.