Monday as an easy day after the national 10K the day before. I ran 6K in the morning at 5.03 pace and then 16K at 4.40s in the afternoon. A few nice recovery miles.
On Tuesday morning I did 8K at 5.00-minute kilometres. Coming to the end of my run in Rathmines a randomer decided to stop in the middle of the street. I jumped to avoid ploughing into them and landed awkwardly, injuring my calf. I made a pure mebs of the situation by continuing to run 12K awkwardly on it in the afternoon. Foot contact should occur on the outside edge of the foot and depending on speed either at the mid-foot or forefoot. The initial contact on the outside of the foot is generally not felt and instead for practical reasons should be thought of as a simple mid/whole foot landing. Contrary to what most people believe, initial foot contact should not occur on the heel even when running slow.
By hitting forefoot or mid-foot the braking action is minimized and the initial impact peak is reduced. Additionally, the landing should occur in a neutral position at the ankle, as that sets up the calf and Achilles for optimal use of elastic energy. Once landing has occurred, it is important to allow the foot to load up. Often, the mistake is made in trying to get the foot off the ground as quickly as possible, but remember that it is when the foot is on the ground when force is transferred into the ground. While having a short ground contact time is beneficial it should be a result of transferring force faster and not getting quick with the foot. Loading up the foot means allowing it to move through the cycle of initial contact to fully support the body. Since initial contact is on the outside of the foot, the support will move inwardly. With forefoot strikers, the heel has to settle back and touch the ground to allow for proper loading. Holding the heel off the ground and staying on the forefoot will not allow for the stretch-reflex on the Achilles-calf complex to occur.
Basically I need working calf to put in he miles. I decided to take a rest for a few days. Recovery starts with smart training and understanding your body’s natural rhythms and cycles. How many easy days do you need after an intense day? How many weeks can you train hard before taking a break? How often can you race? If you listen to your body and are honest with yourself, you’ll be able to answer these critically important questions.
I missed my planned marathon 20-mile time trial on Friday morning but it meant I could get on the road to Kinsale at 8.30 AM. I was staying in Skibb for a few days over the holiday weekend but decided to go the scenic route.
I had entered a 10K called the Sheepshead Easter 10K on Saturday at a place called ‘Ahakista’, don’t ask me to pronounce it. A 6 AM start saw me checking out some local landmarks before arriving for the race at 12.
The Sheep’s Head Peninsula juts out into the Atlantic between Mizen Head and the Beara Peninsula and is still relatively unknown even to Irish people. When people talk about Ireland’s hidden secrets, this is what they mean – this is a landscape that is rural, rugged and breathtakingly beautiful in its wildness. This is west Cork at its best…Beautiful beaches, amazing scenery, wildflowers in abundance and loads of lovely villages like
Ahakista where you can stop to enjoy delicious local food, a pint or a good strong coffee.
The course was a bit of an unknown. After the warm u my calf seemed fine but i decided to wear the compression socks and go off steady. It was pretty clear after 200M that there was one runner in the race hat might beat me. I decided to sit for 4K, which as you can see from the profile below was quite tough. Cork races are hard. Those hills! After 4K I went to the front and brought it home in a steady 35.48. Nothing too fast but a good steady run. This is the ace I want to be running in Berlin for 42K so a good tempo.
The Sheep’s Headway runs along cliff tops, skirts the lake and seashores, and utilises centuries-old sheep runs, fishermen’ paths as well as some public roads.
Sunday morning was one of the most enjoyable runs I’ve done through the back roads in a thick fog. Lough Hyne is a semi-enclosed marine lake situated 3 miles west of Skibereen. It’s also close to Baltimore and the wonderful beaches at Tragumna. The narrow country roads are equally thrilling and terrifying. . A few crazy dogs chase moments added to the speed of the run. I covered the 16K in 4.18 pace. Moving nicely and loving it.
In Cheryl Strayed’s bestselling memoir, Wild, her mom tells her that the cure for much of what ails her is to “put [herself] in the way of beauty.” Turns out she was right. Time in nature is an antidote to the ill effects of stress. Though the exact causal mechanisms are not yet known, researchers speculate there is something unique about nature—perhaps related to the fact that we evolved to be in it—that puts both our bodies and minds at ease, promoting physical and psychological restoration.
My afternoon was spent ‘as Gaeilge’ on Cape Clear and included a trip to the Fastnet lighthouse, known as the Teardrop of Ireland.
Just 76K for the week but feeling good for the rest. Next week I’m back to high mileage and one of my favourite races of the year. Leg 1 of the National road relays. 1 Mile of hurt.