As I continue my ongoing struggle with the calf injury from hell I have had several set backs. Over the weekend I was convinced the CT scan showing a 5cm tear couldn’t be right as I had nearly full movement in my right calf. After a run on Sunday and one today I’m not so sure. Both were 4k easy runs on grass but both finished when I felt the calf was tightening up. Unfortunately after the second one the calf felt tight for the rest of the day and I lost the ability to do a calf raise on my bad leg. This was a big set back both physically and mentally. I’m now very depressed where as before I was just depressed.
I know what you’re all thinking, leave well alone Kev and rest, and I know that would be the best thing to do but resting is not something that sits well with me. I know I should do more of it but it’s the one rule of running I tend to ignore.
My racing year is 12 months with no time off for good behaviour. Last year I raced three marathons, four half marathons, five 10k’s and as many 5k’s. Sprinkle in a couple of ultra marathons, two 10 miler’s and you have a full calendar. As I has said before it’s all about racing for me and the training is tailored to get me to the starting line with a good shot at a PB. Last year was so special as I managed to tick off a sub 35min 10k (34:18) and a massive half PB. (dropped it from 1:16:24 to 1:15:00), add in a silver medal at the World Masters Marathon and a sub 2:42 5th place at the City to Surf and I achieved so much more than I ever though I would.
To try to continue this streak would take as much training, which is fine because I actually enjoy it, and also no injuries. At fifty you can’t afford any time off because old father time is waiting in the wings and there’s nothing he likes more than injured runners. My friend the Mighty Mick Francis (who has run over 100 marathons and 100 ultra marathons with over 90 marathons sub 3 ) tole me he started to slow quite quickly in his late forties. I always remember that and worked very hard to make my last year in my forties the fastest I had ever ran. It took a lot of bloody hard work but the results were worth the extra effort. I was hoping to use this new found cardio fitness to spring board me to the holy grail of running (for me anyway), a sub 2hr 40minute marathon.
With hindsight I reckon I was in sub 2:40 form after the City to Surf marathon in August and should have targeted Melbourne in October. Instead I went for the World Masters Marathon in Perth in November. That time of year in Perth is hot and the day was also humid. I ran well to finish 7th overall and 2nd in my age group but I feel I sacrificed a potential sub 2:40 time for the Masters. It is not something I regret because the World Masters was a wonderful day spent with good friends all achieving great goals.
So what next ? Another physio appointment this Friday and lots of time with a heat pack and strength exercises. This mornings run has done me more damage than good so a few more days on the sidelines me thinks. There’s always Yelo but have been consoling myself with coffee and muffins on a daily basis lately , which will probably not end well. I may have to go and read a few of my posts on weight loss and how important weight is to marathon running. I may get out the bathroom scales and see what 4 weeks of minimal running does to you, combined with a week of Yolo muffins. ? Now that is something I am not looking forward to.
My initial diagnosis of a calf knot after the bridges 10k turned into a small calf tear after three weeks of no real improvement (and four visits to the physio for dry needling!) and finally, after a CT scan, it morphed into a large tear of about 5cm. This injury just keeps getting bigger and bigger. I was thinking about an MRI but fear for my leg, the more I spend on diagnosis the worse it gets !
Funnily enough the calf itself feels so much better and if I hadn’t had the CT scan I would probably be attempting some grass running today. This would probably be a bad idea and undo any good I have so far achieved with resting. The only thing keeping me sane at the moment is my two hours of exercise on the bike and even typing that depresses me. As a runner I have no real inclination to cross train and over the last 2 years have done little or no cross training. I love running and lately have increased my running rather than look elsewhere for some relief from the constant pounding.
I understand cycling from a ‘I‘m injured so what else is there‘ point of view but to make it your number one goal in life is certainly beyond me. For a start I hate punctures and after a two year run of no punctures (coinciding with little riding, true be told) I have been blessed with four punctures in the last two days. This has me paranoid enough that I now find routes that allow me to stay close to home and basically ride around in circles. My logic being if I get a puncture I can easily get home with the help of Uber (assuming I use up my spare inner tube and all the patches in my repair kit) Most runners don’t scurry about close to home for fear of injury or ‘blowing a pair of running shoes’?
Another problem with cycling is you need so much time to really achieve a good cardio workout. I aim for two hours minimum and ,although you can achieve a good distance in that time , after the first hour I find it hard to really enjoy the whole cycling experience. Add in the beating the family jewels take and you have one unhappy runner in lycra.
Next is the life or death situations you face daily on the bike thanks to our good friends ‘the friendly, caring car drivers’ . There’s a nice mix of drivers who hate cyclists with a passion and will do their utmost to scare the crap out of you and the driver who is distracted by their phone and don’t even see you, they actually don’t see anything really which is a tad worrying, call me old fashioned.
Rather than me just pay out on cyclists, which is probably unfair, I have listed my golden rules of running below as it has been some time since I posted these ‘rules to live by‘. Obviously I am currently having an issue with rule number three but eventually every runner falls foul of this one. The only thing you can do is try to mitigate the time you have off your feet because you’re going to have to work so hard to get back to where you were before injury. I generally aim for about three times the length of the layoff to get back to where you were before injury, so currently for me with 4 weeks under my belt I’d be looking at 12 weeks minimum. This is probably on the conservative side and the type of injury will also play a part. The three week rule assumes you can start running again to a good weekly distance. With hindsight I’m going to change that to a 2-3 times the length of the layoff; as with all things running it is very runner specific.
Finally the last thing about cycling is I don’t to play with my friends. It is very much a lonely existence for me as I have no inclination to join other cyclists (I’m an injured runner honest!) so am forced to roam the Perth bike paths alone, a solitary figure of remorse and regret, constantly on the look out for the next driver who wants add me to their car bonnet as some sort of grizzly prize.
Right I have two punctures to repair and a bike to prepare for my next assault on the family jewels, someone pass me a tub of vaseline and a pump and I’m ready.
- Run Further. Add distance, not speed. As you can see from the table my weekly average has steadily increased year on year with this year being the first I will break the 100k a week average for the year. In 2012 I was injured with a nasty calf knot, that I didn’t treat, which explains the delta compared to the previous year. 2014 my training had plateaued which is why I turned to Raf ( http://www.therunningcentre.com.au ) to train me in 2105 where my distance increased by 10%. I have taken this training forward and will probably increase another 10% this year. Distance first, everything else comes once the ‘foundation of distance’ has been achieved.
- Run Faster. This is about adding pace after you have got your foundation after rule 1. 2011 was a break out year for me after 3-4 years of building a good running base. I had ran 3 Comrades campaigns in 2008-2010 ( http://www.comrades.com ) so my distance foundation was well and truly complete. In 2011 every time I put on a bib I was confident of a pb. It was a wonderful year. Unfortunately in 2012 I had a nasty injury which set me back but towards the end of the year I was able to train consistently again and in 2013 I was again rewarded with a magical year of running.
- Don’t get injured. This is the hardest rule to obey as you always want to do more of rule 1 and 2 which can result in an injury. (I even hate typing the word!) In 2012 I succumbed to a calf knot which took me out for over a month. I struggled to recover from this and as you can see from the table I only ran 3 pb’s for the year compared to 13 the previous year and 10 the following year when I recovered. If this doesn’t back up this rule nothing does.! Don’t get injured, so easy to type but in reality one of the hardest thing for a runner to do, period.
- Nutrition, nutrition and nutrition… Did I mention nutrition. It’s all about the proper fuel. So underestimated by so many runners. The number of times I hear the old ‘I run xxx kilometres a week so I can eat what I want’ . Not true, imagine putting low grade fuel in a Porsche, eventually the head gasket blows and you are faced with a serious bill, not to mention a misfiring engine. The human body is a finely tuned machine and should be treated as such, we all know what is good food and what is bad (normally the nice tasting stuff!), avoid the bad and put in the good, easy really. (bar the odd Yelo muffin of course, we are after all only human.) I’ll be exploring nutrition more next year when I have one more go at a sub 2hr 40minutes marathon.
- Weight. So important, use to believe because I ran 100k+ a week I could eat what I wanted. Not true. This is another golden rule so often ignored. Runners can run so much faster is they hit their racing weight rather than a running weight. My go to man , Matt Fitzgerald, when it comes to everything running even has a website dedicated to this. ( http://www.racingweight.com/ ) If Matt has a website dedicated to this subject it must be important.
- Baseline, document and evaluate everything. If it isn’t on www.strava.com it didn’t happen. Once you set a goal you have to be able to know how far you have come to achieving this, small steps but constant feedback. So buy a Garmin and start recording , everything !!! Contentious subject here. I’m a Strava addict and I know it but the purest will be horrified. You need a baseline to see improvement, set new goals and realize your goals. Buy a Garmin and to quote a small clothing company ‘just do it’.
- Sleep. So underestimated but the bodies way of refuelling and preparing for the next day of running. Common sense but so often ignored. Sometimes the most obvious, common sense tips are the ones ignored. Sleep is when your body repairs itself, the more sleep the more repairs can be completed. It really is that easy, go to bed and dream about running.
- Consistency. No point running 100k one week and then nothing. Marathon fitness is built up over time and this works hand in hand with rule number 1. I feel the figures from my running log back this up. I’ve steadily increased the duration consistently year in, year out (bar injury) and have reaped the rewards with 2016 being my fastest year yet as I move towards my
fifthsixth decade. (Thanks Dave Kennedy) Running is all about getting out there on a regular basis again and again and again. Time on feet initially and then add pace before targeting certain distance with different run types, most important thinkg to note though is always consistently putting on the trainers and just running. ‘If you build it they will come’ type approach, keep running, build the foundation and the personal records will come. (This also works for baseball pitches apparently.)
- It’s all in the mind. After 32k a marathon is down to mental strength and the ability to persuade your body you can still perform at your desired pace without falling to fatigue, which is the minds way of protecting itself. Never underestimate the power of the mind in long distance racing. Finally another massive part of running, the Noakes ‘central governor’. I’ve talked about this at length in various posts on this site. With experience I believe I can mentally finish a marathon stronger now then when I first started. I know what to expect and to this end can persuade my old friend fatigue to stay away for longer allowing me to achieve better finishing times. The mind is such an important part of running and needs to be trained as much as the body. When you race a marathon you will spend time in the ‘pain box’, the runner who can spend the most time in this little box of joy, before opening the door and embracing the old enemy fatigue, will run the fastest. I spoke to Steve Moneghetti after the Perth Marathon this year after he ran the 3hr30min bus and asked him how the professional athletes are so much faster than us recreational runners. His answer surprised me as he replied that a professional runner can stand more pain and this gives them the advantage need to push through and achieve the faster times. Again turning off the ‘central governor’ and spending more time in the ‘pain box’ avoiding fatigue and thus not slowing down. Common sense really, thanks Steve.
My Daughter recounted this to me a few days ago in reference to my ongoing battle with injury. She reckoned I was moving into the depression stage and truth be told she’s probably right.
The 5 stages of grief can be virtually mirrored for injuries when you’re a runner. Well they work for me. The first stage is denial. For me this was probably as I hobbled over the road to Yelo to grab a coffee and muffin with the boys a week before the Bunbury Marathon. At the time I could just about hobble 10m’s but once I got settled in the cafe all talk was about the marathon in a weeks time. Not once did it cross my mind I may not make it. I had a calf knot which would either disappear itself with a bit of ‘pain ball’ magic or a trip to the physio and dry needling. Nothing to worry about. That was three weeks ago and I’m still lame, silly boy.
Next comes anger. Boy, I was angry on Thursday evening before the marathon when 7k into a 10k last run I pulled up lame and knew instantly I had rolled the dice one too many times. I was also angry at myself for ignoring the calf all week and just assuming it had come good on its own. In my defence I had ran twice with no issues so assumed all was ok. With hindsight I should have gone to the physio on Monday after the weekends 10k race and had some needling and massage on the calf. I reckon the physio could have got the know untangled intimate for Bunbury and I would be posting about my 42nd marathon finish rather than adding to another post on injury.
Next come bargaining. For me this was about convincing myself I’d be right in a few days after physiology. Again . no problem, I bargained my injury window down to a week max with the upside this would be good ‘rest’ time, something I never do normally.
Once bargaining fails it headlong into depression, which is where I am now. Depressed at what could have been and also depressed that I’m still injured and my 2 days blip has become a 3 week road block with little sign of abating. Worse still my last 7k run was as bad as the first run 3 weeks ago which started this sad tale, so after three visits to the physio and well over $150 out of pocket I’m back to the start, injured ! Oh yeah, I’m depressed. It gets even worse, I’ve had to resort to spending two hours a day on the bike to try and save my cardio fitness. This is depressing but also painful. How these cyclist breed is beyond me.? The family jewels have taken a right royal beating on the Perth bike paths and I either need to man up or get cycling shorts with more padding. (maybe a cushion! or even better a cushioned seat as the one I got seemed purpose built to inflict as much pain as possible. Maybe this is why cyclists spend so long in cafe’s drinking coffee and eating cake, to rest their ‘how’s your fathers’ ‘ )
Finally comes acceptance. I’m close to this stage currently as the Joondalup half in 2 weeks is now off the race calendar as is the 10k the following week. I realise that the 3 weeks of no running (with more time to come.) is too much for me to give a good account of myself at either of these races. I have no accepted missing the Perth marathon in June as this is an A goal race but I may have to reevaluate my predicted time. A lot will depend on Tuesday when I will slope off back to the physio and let his magic hands and needles do their best on my right calf.
Injury wise I’ve been lucky over the last 8 years. This is my fourth calf knot which accounted for maybe 4-6 weeks of no running, less than one week a year. I know that it about as good as you get but as I sit him typing away I’m not overly excited about my previous track record. If you’re a runner you get injured, this is as certain as the sun rising in the morning and setting in the evening. How long and when depends on so many variables but I could kick myself for missing the signs (for missing substitute ‘ignoring’!) and allow the 2 day injury to morph into this 3 week (and counting) career threatening calf knot from hell. Off course I did sell my soul to the Devil for this good run but was hoping to get longer than 8 years. That’s the problem with dealing with Lucifer, just can’t trust him. Oh well, onwards and upwards, the bike is calling and how much more pain can the family jewels endure? Surely over time the jewels will ‘harden up’ or maybe they just fall off ?
As I enter my fourth day of no running I am officially climbing the wall. Actually I don’t think I can actually climb a wall at the moment, so I’m officially looking at a wall thinking ‘I wish I could climb it‘. My calf knot is still hidden deep within my calf hiding from all attempts to release it. I have a third appointment booked tomorrow for some more one-on-one time with my friend ‘mr.needle and his many mates’. I’m hoping third time lucky and once this knot is released it’s back into training for the Joondalup half in 3 weeks.
On the bright side I suppose this has given me an excuse to rest, one I would not have normally taken. I understand the benefits of rest, especially when you are as advanced in age as myself, but I struggle to not run. I love running and must admit find it hard to run just twice a day normally. I mean we eat three times a day, why not run three times a day? The reason I don’t is it could so easily become the ‘norm’ and then the ‘expected’. This would be dangerous and put a serious strain on my happy marriage (my Wife insists we are happily married and if anybody asks I must reiterate the fact. If I don’t she beats me .. only joking Karen…) and also upset the kids. My family are ‘supportive of my running‘ but you’ll notice that is in italics. Maybe ‘put up with’ is a better description.
I’ve mentioned this before about running and family life being a fine balancing act, spend too much time with either and balance is threatened, resulting in grief. It really is a tight rope, and one I manage to walk just , daily but to increase my running any more than I do now would be suicidal. (My Wife is Scottish you know.) Also would I see benefits from running three times a day? All of us have exponential returns from running, we all have our ‘sweet spot’ be it with distance or pace. Any more gives us exponentially less return, so running 100k a week may be as beneficial as running 130k. The extra 30k serves no purpose and only serves to increase the risk of injury as you would be fatigued. Finding your ‘sweet spot’ takes time and experience but once you find it it is best to adhere to it religiously.
Personally I consider 130k as my ideal distance. Any more is more for my sanity and ran very slowly, so the extra is really a ‘time on feet’ exercise to protect myself from injury. My logic is I’m either sitting watching rubbish on TV , far too close to the fridge, or outside running, albeit slowly, gaining some extra cardio fitness. To me it’s a no brainer, to some of my running friends the fridge wins hands down.
There is also crosse training and I did manage a 75k ride Saturday and 50k Sunday. Both days I pushed myself and felt better for it so the bike can be a good alternative while you recover. There is also water running but must admit too never trying it. Circuit training and core fitness would also be a good alternative while you recover and core training should also be part of your weekly training programme. I myself need to do more core work as another benefit of getting old is the mid-section can tend to ‘give up’ and unfortunately even expand. Gotta’ love this ageing process.
I’ve attached an article on cross training which has a photo of cyclists, I apologise in advance.
There are many cross-training options available, but not all of them are of equal value to runners.
In choosing between the different modes of cross-training available to runners, keep three considerations in mind:
1. Is this option aerobic? As we talked about earlier, one of the main adaptations that your body makes to endurance training is learning to use its fat stores as fuel. To be effective, any cross-training mode that you choose should help you achieve this goal. That means it has to be an exercise that you can engage in for hours at a time, at a moderate intensity level (at an RPE of 6–7).
2. Is this option low-impact or nonimpact? Sometimes high-impact exercise gets a bad rap. When faced with repetitive impact, your body adapts, increasing bone density and strengthening the muscles related to absorbing this impact. If you don’t engage in high-impact exercise, your body will be unprepared for the stress of race day. The result? A bone bruise or stress fracture.
But remember our motto: every step necessary, but not one step more. High-impact exercise is crucial, but after the essential benefits have been gained from engaging in it, high-impact exercise raises the risk of injury during training. Running three days a week will prepare your body for the stress of racing. After that, you should aim to increase your endurance base without adding unnecessary stress to your body. This is where cross-training comes in; it will help you achieve your race-day goals while lowering the risk of injury associated with intense high-impact training.
3. Does this option complement your running? Any aerobic cross-training will help you become a better endurance athlete, but to get the most from your routine, you should choose a cross-training mode that doesn’t simply mimic the running movement, but instead works different muscle groups. The point of doing this is to strengthen the muscles that support your running. After all, your running muscles — particularly your gluteus maximus, hamstrings, and calves—are already strong from running. By focusing on strengthening your other muscles, you’ll become a more balanced, injury-resistant athlete.
So what cross-training exercise should you choose? Much of that depends on what your preferences are. Would you rather train in the great outdoors, or does the convenience of a gym appeal to you? Are you looking for a low budget exercise that you can do anywhere, or are you intrigued by a new high-tech machine? There are plenty of options to choose from, both traditional and cutting-edge. All of them provide an added benefit of one kind or another for runners.
Four popular cross-training modes are cycling, swimming, elliptical exercise, and stepping. All are low- or nonimpact exercises that provide excellent aerobic workouts. That makes all of these valuable training options for runners. The elliptical trainer and the stepper in particular are good substitutes for running when running isn’t possible—when you’re injured, for example. But apart from reducing the volume of impact, working on these machines won’t add anything to your running that running itself doesn’t provide. Of the four cross-training options above, only one effectively works muscle groups that are complementary to running: cycling.
Perhaps you’re thrilled to read that because you are already an avid fan of cycling, but if not, don’t be discouraged. An old coaching aphorism is that the best exercise is one that you’ll keep doing. So if you have another form of aerobic exercise that you currently enjoy, feel free to continue doing it. But my goal in this book is to make you a faster runner with the lowest risk of injury, so keep an open mind as I explain why I think cycling should be your number one crosstraining choice.
Cycling primarily works the quadriceps, a big muscle group that running doesn’t effectively work. Insufficient strength in the quads can allow the knees to buckle on landing during the foot-plant phase. This is the primary cause for the up-and-down bobbing motion seen in some runners, which can lead to patella tendinitis and other knee problems. Cycling can help with that.
Cycling also works the outer hips and gluteus medius muscles, which are crucial for running. These muscles help keep the hips from swaying outward on the landing phase. When this happens, the iliotibial band—a thick strip of connective tissue on the outside of the leg—is pulled tight, which can result in knee and hip pain. Again, cycling can help with this.
Cycling also provides you a chance to take your workout outdoors, something important to many runners. Even though there are ways in which you could take your cycling workout indoors, cycling, for most people, represents a chance to get out for some fresh air.
For runners, this is a natural fit. You probably fell in love with running not in the gym but on the roads and trails, just like the rest of us. During our workouts and races, we have the opportunity to experience the sublime beauty of a sunrise or sunset, the changing of the seasons, or the thrill of extreme weather. Giving this up to spend time in the gym is one of the biggest hurdles some of my training clients have to overcome. But with a good bicycle, you don’t have to give up your love of exploring during your workout.
Being outdoors also helps ward off the biggest problem with indoor cross-training workouts: boredom. You can do a 3- or 4-hour session on an elliptical machine, but who would really want to? But a 3- or 4-hour bike ride is not only commonplace among cyclists; it’s also considered fun. On a bike, you can cover wide stretches of territory, and with a little planning, you can map out a grand tour that includes beautiful local scenery, as well as key rest stops.
You can also more easily rope friends into joining you, which makes this a much more social form of crosstraining than the other modes. Don’t have any cycling friends? It shouldn’t be too difficult to find some. Most town and cities have cycling clubs. Stop by a local cycling shop and ask; staff will be happy to fill you in on all the local options.
For swimming, aim to spend half as much time in the pool as you would for a bicycle workout on the schedules found later in this book. For the elliptical machine and stepper, spend 75 percent as much time working out as you would if you were cycling
As I sit here typing this post I should be in Bunbury celebrating another marathon finish, number 42, with Jon over pancakes with extra maple syrup and bacon. Instead I’m sitting at home a few hundred dollars out of pocket (hotel and entry fee not refundable.) and feeling very sorry for myself nursing a very sore calf knot. How did this happen ? 100% avoidable unfortunately. After running the bridges 10k last Sunday I picked up an extra medal and an Asics bag for winning my age group. We then had to run back to the car which was a 6k warm down we had planned pre-race. The small fly in the ointment was two fold, truth be told. First I believe I hadn’t drank enough water after the 10k race and became dehydrated, this was probably compounded by a cappuccino brought by Mark L., (He’s a cyclist so always drinks coffee after exercising. !) It was also a hot day and waiting around for an hour for the presentations was probably not the best idea. Hindsight really is a wonderful thing as I sit here typing away… Next I ran back to the car carrying my winnings, the Asics bag, and this would have put my running style ‘off kilter‘.
The run back was uneventful bar a lot of laughing at my exploits in the previous week (You don’t want to know) forcing Mark C. to at one point to stop as he was doubling up in pain laughing so much. After a shower , walking back to the car, bang, calf knot. I knew instantly that was what it was as in the last 10 years I have been afflicted by calf knots probably three times previously. The first time I just waited, and waited, and waited for the knot to unravel. It never did and dry needling sorted it instantly. The second and third time dry needling again sorted the problem instantly. That’s the good thing (?) with a calf knot, if you can force it to open the injury is gone, instantly.
So Sunday I massaged the leg and applied Deep Heat, (which apparently is a waste of time?) and my running was unaffected Tuesday and Thursday as I put in my last slow runs pre-Bunbury Marathon. All was good on Thursday after the last run but in the evening I was tasked with taking no2 Daughter to her dancing lesson. This would be a good time for one last 10k, in my racing shoes, in preparation for Sunday. Silly, silly boy ! Seven k’s into the 10k, boom ! Calf knot and I knew my marathon was probably over. Limping back to the car I cursed myself as I had had so many chances to avoid this situation and ignored all of them.
Anytime in the week I could have had a massage or even some dry needling but instead chose to ignore the possible impending disaster by running twice and pulling up ok. In my defence I did feel pretty good by Thursday which, accounted for the double up, which was my undoing.
Two desperate dry needling sessions on Friday couldn’t shift the knot and it is still hiding deep within my calf ready for round three , probably this Monday. I did managed to cycle for 75k yesterday and 50k today because sitting around doing nothing would be stupid right ? I think they call it resting but it is alien to me. Moving forward this is a lesson learned, listen to your body. Not only did I totally ignore this knot on Sunday I still ran a double up day Thursday , on a run that really served no purpose at all. I suppose this may have saved me a DNF at Bunbury because I don’t feel an extra 48 hours would have been enough to allow my calf to survive a marathon.
What next ? Looks like me and lycra will become good friends for at least the next week as I attempt to keep my cardio fitness and if the dry needling goes well I could be running again in a few days. My racing calendar will hopefully be unaffected and I’m targeting a half marathon in three weeks and then a 10k before ramping up for the first A race of the season, the Perth Marathon. This will be marathon number 42 and Perth number 13, let’s hope its lucky 13. ?
Some articles on Calf Knots below, if only I had read them pre-Thursday. Right, pass me my lycra and a Cappuccino and no one get hurts….
You don’t have to be a barefoot or minimalist runner to have tight calves, but it helps.
Like many runners, the first thing I noticed when I transitioned to a forefoot strike was the huge increase in strain on my calf muscles. At the beginning, even a short run up and down the street was enough to leave my lower legs burning for two days. Of course, this is a normal part of the transition period and a big reason why people who switch to barefoot running are told to take it slow at first. After years of heel-striking in conventional shoes, my calves were not accustomed to this type of work and they had to gradually strengthen over time (my knees and back previously took all that strain, which was a catastrophe waiting to happen).
I’m happy to say the burning subsided after a few weeks and ever since then I’ve been able to maintain a forefoot strike that feels good. I do, however, have a persistent problem with tightness and knots in my calves after a run. This wasn’t a serious issue when my runs were short, but now that I’m consistently running above the 10 mile mark it’s becoming more of a concern. The last thing I need right before my marathon is a serious calf injury.
There is a lot of information in the webiverse about how to prevent knots from forming in the first place, and this includes stretching techniques, nutrition, ice baths, salt baths, leg compression sleeves, building up other muscles to balance the strain, acupuncture, dealing with stress, aligning your bed to face the moon on Saturn’s return, etc. I hope to research it more someday, but right now I’m just focusing on what I see as the most practical and immediate form of treatment that can be done at home: self massage.
But first, the basics…
What is a Muscle Knot?
In short, a knot is a tight ball of muscle that results from overwork. Need more? Here’s how massage therapist Kip Yates explains it on legitmassage.com:
To understand what a knot is, it is important to distinguish the normal physiology of muscles. Most of the time, our muscles operate in an on/off manner. That means the muscles that get sore and fatigue easily, the fast twitch fibers (the white meat as opposed to dark meat) that enable us to perform rapid, intense movements of short duration like weight training or throwing a ball are not always at work. They fire or contract during exertion but when the exertion is completed they quit firing. It is when they continue to fire or contract without releasing that a spasm or muscle knot forms. So how does this occur? A fatigable muscle in spasm contains individual sections within the muscle that constrict and pull from both sides. This makes a taut band of muscle essentially forming what is known as a knot.
Yep, that’s what it feels like.
Got it? Good. Next question:
Why Would I Want to Massage this Taut Band of Muscle Essentially Forming What is Known as a Knot?
The explanation I’ve heard my whole life, and from the physical therapist at my running workshop, is that pressure from a massage will physically break up the tight band of muscle fibers and help them return to their normal state. I think it’s worth noting that I also came across a theory that says applying pressure to the knot will literally starve it to death. Massage pressure prevenst blood from delivering oxygen to the spasm. When it looses oxygen, it looses strength, stops spasming and relaxes back to its normal state. Releasing pressure then allows fresh nutrient-rich blood to flow into the now-looser muscle and start the healing process.
Mabye it’s one, maybe it’s both. Either way, massage helps.
How to Massage the Knots Out of Your Legs
The good news about massaging your calves is that it is very easy to do and does not take a lot of time. The bad news is that the most popular massage tools seem to be grossly overpriced. Either that, or I’m just cheap. Regardless, I do consider my health and running ability to be a high priority so I splurged on some of the trendy gadgets. Here’s a breakdown of how to use them and what I thought of them.
A few tips first, and these are general guidelines for all massage:
- Only massage your muscles when they’re relaxed.
- No need to overdue it. 30-60 seconds of pressure at a time for each muscle seems to give optimal effects.
- Expect pain. If it doesn’t hurt, you’re not doing it right.
- Studies disagree on when it’s best to massage your muscles. Some say immediately after a run, others say you should wait a couple hours. Personally, I find massaging a couple hours after a run and on rest days works well.
- Take it slow!They all hurt.
Prevention – how to avoid getting muscle knots in the first place:
- Diet and hydration – Drink plenty of water and eat a healthy diet. Foods such as alcohol, sugary caffeinated drinks, processed and fast foods all play a part in dehydrating you. If you are careful about what goes into your body, you are less likely to get injured.
- Take breaks – Most people spend a lot of their day sitting in front of a computer or staring down at a cell phone. Our bodies cannot handle being in those positions too long. Every hour at work, get up and walk around. Even when sitting at your desk, straighten out your back, turn your neck from side to side, uncross your legs, and move as much as you can.
- Exercise – As previously stated, our muscles were designed to be challenged. We are built to perform. If we aren’t moving, stretching, and lifting then we are compromising our muscle health.
- Massage – We are slowly starting to come around to the fact that massage is not just some occasional luxury saved for vacations and spa days. Massage Therapy can help keep your muscles healthy, pliable, and oxygenated.
- Lifestyle – A life filled with stress and lack of sleep is a perfect pathway to injury. Slow down, get more sleep, and breathe. Even as little as 15 minutes a day of focused relaxation time can make a world of difference.
The Thursday before a marathon is when traditionally you start to gorge on carbohydrates to carbo-load for the big day on Sunday. I use the old tried and tested 10g of carbohydrates for every kilogram of weight. For me that is 700g of carbohydrates for three days. It is a challenge and one I reckon 75% of all runners fail to meet it. They’ll make an effort of course but either not hit the required amount of carbs or fail to hydrate properly. One thing I guarantee is you will feel ‘bloated’ and ‘heavy’ after a good carbo-load but this is mainly liquid and on the day the benefit out weighs weight issues.
Is there a better way than a 3 day food feast though ? As runners it normally goes against the grain by eating so much and exercising so little. (I’m assuming you are tapering by now ?) The guilty feeling as you eat a muffin for a third day on the trot (I must admit to never having this feeling but I’ve been told some runners do , funny that ?) and stagger around with 2-3 litres of water sloshing about in your belly.
I’ve read that you can ignore the carbo-loading if you take carbs on the day in the form of Gu’s or shotz, or this at least negates the whole process. I’m not convinced but even Matt Fitzgerald has been quoted buying into this theory. Matt wrote an interesting article below on different methods of carbo-loading but I’m not ready to give up my muffin feeding frenzy just yet, so Matt, in this case, I’m staying traditional.!
The practice of carbo-loading dates back to the late 1960s. The first carbo-loading protocol was developed by a Swedish physiologist named Gunvar Ahlborg after he discovered a positive relationship between the amount of glycogen (carbs stored in the muscles and liver) in the body and endurance performance. Scientists and runners had already known for some time that eating a high-carbohydrate diet in the days preceding a long race enhances performance, but no one knew exactly why until Ahlborg’s team zeroed in on the glycogen connection.
Subsequently, Ahlborg discovered that the muscles and liver are able to store above-normal amounts of glycogen when high levels of carbohydrate consumption are preceded by severe glycogen depletion. The most obvious way to deplete the muscles of glycogen is to eat extremely small amounts of carbohydrate. A second way is to engage in exhaustive exercise. The stress of severe glycogen depletion triggers an adaptive response by which the body reduces the amount of dietary carbohydrate that it converts to fat and stores, and increases the amount of carbohydrate that it stores in the liver and muscles as glycogen. Ahlborg referred to this phenomenon as glycogen supercompensation.
Armed with this knowledge, he was able to create a more sophisticated carbo-loading protocol than the primitive existing method, which was, more or less, eating a big bowl of spaghetti.
Ahlborg came up with a seven-day carbo-loading plan in which an exhaustive bout of exercise was followed by three or four days of extremely low carbohydrate intake (10 percent of total calories) and then three or four days of extremely high carbohydrate intake (90 percent of total calories). Trained athletes who used this protocol in an experiment were able to nearly double their glycogen stores and exhibited significantly greater endurance in exercise lasting longer than 90 minutes.
After these results were published, endurance athletes across the globe began to use Ahlborg’s carbo-loading plan prior to events anticipated to last 90 minutes or longer. While it worked admirably, it had its share of drawbacks. First of all, many athletes weren’t keen on performing an exhaustive workout just a week before a big race, as the plan required.
Second, maintaining a 10 percent carbohydrate diet for three or four days carried some nasty consequences including lethargy, cravings, irritability, lack of concentration, and increased susceptibility to illness. Many runners and other athletes found it just wasn’t worth it.
Fortunately, later research showed that you can increase glycogen storage significantly without first depleting it. A newer carbo-loading protocol based on this research calls for athletes to eat a normal diet of 55 to 60 percent carbohydrate until three days before racing, and then switch to a 70 percent carbohydrate diet for the final three days, plus race morning.
As for exercise, this tamer carbo-loading method suggests one last longer workout (but not an exhaustive workout) done a week from race day followed by increasingly shorter workouts throughout race week. It’s simple, it’s non-excruciating, and it works. Admittedly, some scientists and athletes still swear that the Ahlborg protocol is more effective, but if it is, the difference is slight and probably not worth the suffering and inherent risks.
Note that you should increase your carbohydrate intake not by increasing your total caloric intake, but rather by reducing fat and protein intake in an amount that equals or slightly exceeds the amount of carbohydrate you add. Combining less training with more total calories could result in last-minute weight gain that will only slow you down. Be aware, too, that for every gram of carbohydrate the body stores, it also stores 3 to 5 grams of water, which leads many athletes to feel bloated by the end of a three-day loading period. The water weight will be long gone by the time you finish your race, however.
A friendlier carbo-loading strategy was devised in 2002 by scientists at the University of Western Australia. It combines depletion and loading and condenses them into a one-day time frame. The creators of this innovative protocol recognized that a single, short workout performed at extremely high intensity creates a powerful demand for glycogen storage in both the slow-twitch and fast-twitch fibers of the muscles.
The researchers hypothesized that following such a workout with heavy carbohydrate intake could result in a high level of glycogen supercompensation without a lot of fuss. In an experiment, the researchers asked athletes to perform a short-duration, high-intensity workout consisting of two and a half minutes at 130 percent of VO2max (about one-mile race pace) followed by a 30-second sprint. During the next 24 hours, the athletes consumed 12 grams of carbohydrate per kilogram of lean muscle mass. This resulted in a 90 percent increase in muscle glycogen storage.
Runners have cause to be very pleased by these findings. Doing just a few minutes of high-intensity exercise the day before a competition will not sabotage tomorrow’s performance, yet it will suffice to stimulate the desirable carbohydrate “sponging” effect that was sought in the original Ahlborg protocol. This allows the athlete to maintain a normal diet right up until the day before competition and then load in the final 24 hours.
The Western Australia carbo-loading strategy works best if preceded by a proper taper — that is, by several days of reduced training whose purpose is to render your body rested, regenerated, and race-ready. In fact, several days of reduced training combined with your normal diet will substantially increase your glycogen storage level even before the final day’s workout and carbohydrate binge. When you exercise vigorously almost every day, your body never gets a chance to fully replenish its glycogen stores before the next workout reduces them again. Only after 48 hours of very light training or complete rest are your glycogen levels fully compensated. Then the Western Australia carbo-loading regimen can be used to achieve glycogen supercompensation.
An even newer carbo-loading protocol calls for athletes to eat a normal diet of 55 to 60 percent carbohydrate until three days before racing, and then switch to a 70 percent carbohydrate diet for the final three days, plus race morning. As for exercise, this friendliest carbo-loading method suggests one last longer workout (but not an exhaustive workout) done a week from race day followed by increasingly shorter workouts throughout race week.
Having said all of this, I would like to note finally that carbo-loading in general has been shown to enhance race performance only when athletes consume little or no carbohydrate during the race itself. If you do use a sports drink or sports gels to fuel your race effort — as you should — prior carbo-loading probably will have no effect. But it doesn’t hurt to do it anyway, as insurance.
Well this Sunday I get to run the Bunbury Marathon for the 5th time. The previous four occasions have all had very different outcomes. The first time I ran it I PB’d and ran a 2:52 but was probably in better form. I remember in the first 10k leading a group of runners and actually running backwards in a ‘Rocky‘ like way encouraging them on. This bravado came back to bite me about 10k down the line when the group left me and I struggled home.
The following year I was returning from injury and did just about everything wrong on the day. I had new shoes for the marathon and I hadn’t even tried them on. On the morning of the race I realised they were too tight so took on the course in a pair of shoes I had travelled down in. Needless to say these were past their best. I remember getting to halfway in 1:28 realising I was in trouble and in serious danger of losing my sub-3 hour marathon streak. I had to work very hard to finally finish on 2 hours 59 minutes and change. To this day this was one of the most satisfying finishes to a marathon albeit the time was one of my slowest.
The next year I was back into some good form and actually won the event running a 2 hour 43 minute PB time. I was racing my good friend Steve ‘Twinkle Toes’ McKean and we were neck and neck until the last 8k where I managed to grab a few hundred metres, which in the end was enough. My one and only marathon victory and one I will always cherish. This was 2013 and in 2014 I returned to defend my title. This was to prove my undoing when I went out way too quick with a group of three other runners and basically ran myself into the ground at 10k. Mentally shot I was walking through drink stops and staggered home in 2:54, when I was in 2:45 form all day. This really taught me how much mental preparation is so important in marathon running as physically I was in great form coming into the race but I had just given up when it all started to get too hard. It was definitely the added pressure of being the defending champion which had been my undoing.
On Sunday, as well as taking on my 42nd marathon, I’ll be taking on the disaster that was 2014 and hopefully putting that behind me. This will of course be dictated by other runners in the field. It would be nice to podium at Bunbury or better but truth be told this is a ‘B’ race which means it’s more of a tempo run, with a medal at the end. My three ‘A’ races are the Perth marathon in June, the City to Surf marathon in August and my favourite the Rottnest marathon in October. After that we have the 6 inch ultra in December and my assault on the AURA Australian age group record in the 100k ultra in January. As I have mentioned before I don’t believe in ‘down time‘ and always have a goal race to work towards, always.
So with Bunbury happening on Sunday it means tomorrow starts my favourite time as a marathon runner, carbo-loading, As you can imagine the first place I am going to start this exercise is my usual 14k progressive run pre-Yelo muffin and coffee tomorrow morning. ( http://yelocornerstore.com.au ) As I’m tapering it will be a shorter run but as I’m carbo-loading it should be a longer post-run food and coffee smorgasbord. Unfortunately this has been the undoing of many a runner, they get to three days before the big day and assume carbo-loading translates to eat as much chocolate as possible. Sorry people it’s about carbohydrates and although chocolate does contain some carbs there is certainly not enough to justify going overboard. ! Life could never be that good. The odd extra muffin may be accepted but it’s mainly orange juice, pasta, honey on toast and bagels. (or such like). I aim for 10g of carbohydrates for every kilo of body weight. So for me at 70kg it’s about 700g of carbs a day. This is actually quite difficult and you need to stay hydrated of course for this exercise to work , so add in about 600ml per hour and you are one eating and drinking machine.
You will put on weight if you carbo-load properly but a lot of that is water so you shouldn’t be too worried. Carbo-loading, done well, will ensure you avoid the dreaded 32k wall or at least push it back a few kilometres. (pushing it back 10k would be very nice of course!) You’ll need gels or similar on the course if you are aiming to run longer than 2hours 30 minutes, which I’m sure all the readers of this post probably are. As I mentioned earlier in the post this will be my 42nd marathon so I am well versed in carbo-loading and what is required for the big day. I am actually quite relaxed pre-race but will become more nervous (excited?) as we move closer to Sunday.
Conditions are also a big influence when you run a marathon. Too hot, humid or windy and you’ll need to adjust your predicted finish time. Going out chasing a time you would have achieved if the conditions had been better is fraught with danger. Heat and humidity can be especially damaging and both of these command respect. Once you start the race I always keep an eye on my average pace and last kilometre split, the total time takes care of itself I find. I’ll have a goal average pace set before I start and will adjust my pace to match it during the race. It’s only after the 32k point in a race I’ll start to think about increasing my pace, if I can, to try to finish ahead of my predicted time. This has been rare in most of my marathons but each time I have PB’d I’ve been able to raise my game towards the end. As my mate Jon is fond of saying’ the runner who slows down the least wins’. Find your pace early and maintain it for as long as possible, hell even negative split if you can. (After 41 marathons I have come close but never have I had the pleasure of a negative split.)
Right, as well as tapering (running less to allow your body to recover, and also blogging more) and carbo-loading, another marathon pre-requisite is sleep. As with the tapering it helps the body recover from the months of hard training. To this end I’m off to bed as I’m up early tomorrow to start carbo-loading at Yelo, sometimes being a runner is just the best thing EVER !
Well after yesterdays post it was time to practice what I preach and run a controlled 10k , win my age group, finish high up the field and not get ‘chicked’. Four objectives to achieve, well I managed two, which is nearly a famous song by Meatloaf; or was that 2 out of 3 ? The ‘run a controlled race’ went out the window in the first 3k with a tailwind and runners to chase. Of the four objectives this was always going to be the hardest to achieve. I am well known for sprinting from the start quicker than Usain Bolt and paying the price down the line. Today was not going to be a change from the status quo. In my defence there was a tailwind and I had erred on the side of caution and put on my new racing shoes of choice, the Saucony A6’s . These boys are light and new so there was an extra spring in my step. Add to this a 3 day break from running due to circumstances beyond my control and it all added up to a suicide pace first 3k, feeling ‘on top of the world‘.
Unfortunately as I explained yesterday when you go out at your 5k pace things start to fall apart at 5k, the tank has been emptied and your halfway through the race. Today we had the added bonus of the wind moving from a tailwind , encouraging you to run faster and caressing you forward, into a headwind with an attitude, joy ! Chuck in the ‘O’ I’ve done it again feeling’ and it was time to assume the position in the pain box a few kilometres earlier than planned. Then at 7k things started to get very ugly when Linda Spence, remember I mentioned Linda yesterday, cruised past me with another runner both looking very relaxed. I hung on for as long as I could but I was now in the ‘I’m never going to run a 10k again’ mode. (Remember yesterday I mentioned I go through this conversation with myself around the same time every 10k I run !) So that was 2 objectives out of the window and I was going to have to work very hard to fulfil the remaining two.
The headwind was brutal for the last few kilometres but I managed to hold my position in the field and even managed to pass a couple of runners towards the end of the race. I found my second wind, which again I mentioned yesterday when the central governor is switched off with the finish line in sight, and set of in pursuit of Linda. I’m not sure is she was just teasing me but I managed to close within 10 seconds and finish one place behind her for second female (and first female with a beard?). Age group victory and finish high hip the field , tick. Not sure how high but I suspect I may have sneaked into the top 10. Finishing time of 35:13 which is a bridges course PB but as they change the course every year not sure it counts. Last year we ran the opposite direction and I managed 35:50 so progress of sorts, I think.
So another learning experience and what did I learn. ? As always the 10k really starts at around the 6k mark. This is where you can either maintain your pace or even step up to the finish. In this case it was ‘hang on and survive‘ (the normal for me.) but the conditions played a part in that. (Did I mention it was also quite warm ?) The tailwind, new shoes and rest pre-race lulled me into a false sense of security and this explains the 3k pace, of course at 5k I was done but I did manage to handgun and not lose too many positions in the final part of the race. This was probably due to my ‘pig headed refusal to quit’ rather than training but I suppose this is the one benefit of age, you have resilience as well. I’ve attached the Strava ‘tale of the tape‘ below and as the caption explains the tailwind and headwind played a part in the splits, it wasn’t that bad really ? Although there really is no defence for the first 3k but as the title of this post suggests , ‘old dogs and new tricks‘ are a hard thing to master.
Finally the highlight of the day I suppose, on the way home we managed to sneak into a new Yelo ( http://yelocornerstore.com.au ) at Subiaco. Same format so it was coffee and muffins all around. In the picture you have Mark Conway who ran a huge PB of just over 37 minutes. Mark is on a Matt Fitzgerald plan and it is working big time (in Matt we trust! http://mattfitzgerald.org ). He is at the stage in his running career where every race is a PB and it really is a wondrous stage of any runners career. Next to Mark C. is another Mark, Mark Lommers who is training for the Boston Marathon and will certainly run his first sub 3 marathon. Again Mark is in that stage where every run is faster than the last and every race a PB. Even Mike, next in line in the photo, is chasing PB’s and we have high hopes he will break the West Australian Marathon Club ( http://www.wamc.org.au ) age group record, 55-60 , for the upcoming Perth Marathon. Then you have me who is just trying not to slow down and that is enough. Four runners at different stages of their careers united over quality coffee and muffins. It really is a thing of beauty and this goes back to one of my posts earlier about the social side of running. On the way back from the presentations (remember I did manage an age group win) we had Mark C. in so much pain laughing he had to stop running. This continued for most of the cool down and onto the coffee and muffin race debriefing. This part of running is as important to me as the race itself and, truth be told, as you start to slow it becomes more important.
Right that was the bridges, more time in the pain box than I would have liked and my first ‘chicking‘ for three years but overall a success and a stepping stone for next week when I saddle up and get to race the marathon that just about destroyed me in 2014. Look out Bunbury the BK running machine is on its way and this time it’s personal…..
In Western Australia there are a number of iconic events in the West Australian Marathon Club calendar that attract a large field of the states best runners. ( http://www.wamc.org.au ) Tomorrow is one of them, the bridges 10k. (There is a 5k but c’mon, when there’s a 10k option the 5k really is just an appetiser, and not a very good one at that, maybe a pumpkin soup compared to the Surf ‘n’ turf main course.) The bridges, and the name suggest runs alongside the Swan River in Perth and crosses the river twice via two bridges, giving you a point to point loop course. Flat the whole way bar the rise on the Narrows Bridge it is built for a good time and a run that I run probably 20-30 times a year minimum.
Last year, as this year probably, my main objective is not to get ‘chicked’ (beaten by a woman) as Linda Spencer, a Zatopek runner in her time, runs this race and at her best will beat me hands down. Last year I ran with Linda for the first two kilometres at a pace far faster than I wanted to go but luckily she dropped off and I managed to sneak in before her. We’ll see what transpires this year ? Truth be told there are a number of women runners in Perth who are making great improvements under various coaches and my days of finishing ahead of them are numbered. As always I will go down fighting and, while I still can, keep them honest.
A 10k is a good indicator race before a marathon which I happen to be running next week. I go by the ‘mile a day to recover’ rule and being the 10k is about 6 miles I should be recovered by next Sunday for the Bunbury Marathon. ( http://bunburyrunnersclub.org/3-waters-marathon/ ) I certainly need to be at my best as this marathon destroyed me in 2014 and put me in a running slump that lasted well over a year. This was in stark contrast to the previous year when I won the event. (My one and only marathon victory and one I will cherish to the end….) My plans for Bunbury will be to initially try and keep my average sub 4min/k and finish sub 2hrs 48mins but if the conditions are ideal I may be persuaded, on the day. to go a tad quicker. It is really a starter race to the main course ,which is Perth in June this year. Bunbury is known for bad conditions ranging from winds to heat to humidity, the three things all marathon runners try to avoid. I’ll talk more on ‘bunners’ in a post later in the week as I move in taper mode, this will at least give me more time to spend blogging.
Right back to the Bridges 10k. I’ve said on just about every time I’ve ran t’his 10k will be my last’. It is a race that can put you in the pain box early if you go out too fast and unlike a half or a marathon doesn’t really give you enough time to work into it. A 5k is all about speed and worst case scenario you’re only go to blow up with maximum 3k to go (and that take’s some doing to blow so early !!) , in the 10k if things goes awry early you can be looking at a true 5k pain train and believe me 5k is a long way when you have nothing left in the tank. It also asks some serious questions at around the 6-8k mark and you need to dig deep to answer these before finding that finishing burst for the last kilometre. (Why doesn’t that ‘burst’ happen at 5k ? All down to the central governor I suppose?) So many people ran a 10k at 5k pace, which is find for 5k of course but then they wonder why the wheels have fallen off and there’s still 5k to go.? Funny that.
So how do you run a 10k successfully ? I think the best advice is to run a lot of them, like all things practice makes perfect. Last year I think I ran five 10k races with each one easier (relatively speaking.) than the last. I even managed a couple of sub 35 minute efforts, which was always the dream, so was happy to tick that one off. My advice would be to start at slower than your 5k pace and then build into it and finish strong. How easy was that to type? I am actually smiling to myself while typing this because I know tomorrow when the guns goes off I’ll be sprinting with the leaders for the first kilometre and regretting it at the second, while they continue on their merry way and smash 32 minutes, making it look easy, bless ’em. Meanwhile I’ll be staggering to 5k and opening the ‘5k to go pain box’, jump in, assume the foetal position and close the door behind me.
Tomorrow will also be , probably, the last outing for my weapon of choice lately, the Adidas Takumi Sen 3 racing shoe. These bad boys have got me through three marathons, numerous half marathons, 10k’s and a load of park runs. Over 400km currently (thankyou http://www.strava.com ) but they are now well past their sell by date. The shoe is expensive (and if anybody finds them on special please email me!) but like all things in life you get what you pay for and these are worth 2-3 minutes over a marathon compared to the normal training shoes like the Asics Kayano. (I consider the Kayano more of a boot than a running shoe truth be told. I use to wear these shoes believing all the marketing hype about protecting your foot with their magic gel, about a kilogram of the stuff ! and raising the heel so much you’re virtually tipping over. Not for me people but as with all things running it is personal and this shoe may be right for you but I’m a less is more , when it comes to runners and wear those bad boys down to the bitter end before changing. We were built to run without shoes so, to me , all the shoe does is protesct you from the nasty objects on the concrete. )
Right that’s if for Saturday, I’ll be back tomorrow and post the race details ,which will of course involve lots of questioning myself, time in the pain box and maybe even me getting chicked. Wouldn’t have it any other way…. as you were.