Spade splayed, tendon tender, turbo trained (and some weights and running)

I’m sure it didn’t look like that in the shop

Sunday didn’t turn out to be a textbook rest day once I realised that the 50 hedging plants that were delivered on Saturday weren’t likely to plant themselves.

It was surprisingly hard – I was trying to fill gaps in an existing hedge and I struggled to plant the new ones between and around existing roots. I wouldn’t have been able to run because the right Achilles was still protesting about the run on Saturday – but that also made digging with a spade surprisingly tricky.

It wasn’t much helped by the fact that the spade bent early on – sadly, I think that owes more to it being a really poor quality spade than me becoming stronger. One of the few occasions that a spade has been better used the wrong way round …

Monday was the start of week 2 of marathon training. It was supposed to be a rest day but I’m already off piste in terms of doing any particular training on the right day, so I planned to run one of this week’s two 4 milers. First thing, the right Achilles tendon was suggesting that was a bad idea but it eased as the morning wore on so I decided to show it who’s boss and took it for a run anyway.

I’m not sure whether we came to a final decision as to who is boss as it complained all the way round – but together we did 4.44 miles (7.15km) at just over 4 hour marathon pace. The run was particularly useful as a test of whether I can run 2 days in 3 (recently it’s been 2 in 4, at best).

I hobbled about for much of the rest of the day before friends came over for supper. Graham was a good runner when he was in his 30s, living in the USA. He got very close to a 3:30 NY marathon and reckons that it’s necessary to do a few weeks in training where you run twice the target race distance. The programme I intent to follow (loosely) doesn’t come close to that. I hope he’s wrong.

Tuesday – sort of – gave me the answer to the ‘can I run 2 days in 3’ question. In the morning the legs were a bit better but still not right so, yes, I can run with just a day’s rest – but it’s probably better not to at this stage. Surely, it couldn’t be that the pain is a clue that things are not perfect at the back of (in particular) my right heel, could it?

I had to take a car into the garage in response to a manufacturer safety recall – I had planned to put a bike in the back and go for a ride while the car was being worked on but it was both cold and wet so that didn’t happen. I did get on the turbo in the evening for an intervals session to replace the intervals running – 21.45km in 45 minutes @28.6kph (13.3 miles @ 17.8mph).

Wednesday I probably could have run (with the usual discomfort) but it seemed more sensible to give the tendons an extra day’s rest, so I went for an enjoyable hour on the weights and rowing machine at the gym.

So, it’s early days and it’s going OK but I could really do with two healthy Achilles tendons. I can feel myself running a bit flat footed to protect the right one and would like to be able to run more naturally. There has to be a danger that a strange running style will cause some other problem in due course.

I could also shift a little weight – I probably need to restore my usual ‘if it looks like it owes more to the factory than the farm, eat less of it’ approach – but it’s only in the region of 7 lbs so, in the spirit of not getting (too) neurotic about any of this training lark, that can look after itself for now.

I suppose there’s always the possibility that lifting weights in gym is putting on a little muscle, but that’s probably just self delusion.

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