“I run because I am a runner. I am a runner because I run”
– Paula Radcliffe
As I am sure you’ve noticed (I assume it’s all you’ve been thinking about), this will be my first post in over two months. To be honest I’ve been struggling a little, both physically and mentally.
As I mentioned in my last post, the December to February period is always tough for me, like many others that suffer with depression. I guess it is no coincidence that the breakdown occurred around this time of year.
It’s also no coincidence that for the last three winters I’ve been struggling with injuries, although this year’s has to be the most irritating, despite being the least serious. Every time I ran, I’d get a sharp pain in my left knee, which would carry on for a day or so, and then disappear.
As the eagle-eyed amongst you will have noticed, the last sentence was in the past tense, as it looks like I’ve finally got over what was diagnosed by Mike (my ever reliable and ever patient physio) as an overloaded patella tendon. I managed 30 miles this week, and now I’m starting to get into serious training for the Endurancelife Pembrokeshire Coastal Trail Ultra at the end of April.
So serious in fact, that I’ve even got myself a coach. As a result of the best present anyone has ever given me (thanks to Mrs Up & Down Runner), I’ve got a bespoke training plan and all the advice I need from one of the UK’s best ultra runners, Robbie Britton.
In just six years Robbie has gone from running his first marathon to finishing third in the IAU 24 Hour World Championship, which involved 24 hours running around a track (he did an insane 261.14km, in case you’re wondering). It will be five years since my first marathon in May, so he has (and I guess I have) a lot of work to do in not a lot of time. That is me and Robbie above, at the start line of the Cappadocia Ultra Trail back in October.
Robbie took time out of his hectic schedule between winning the Arctic Ice Ultra and competing in a cross-country skiing race to talk to me on Friday night, and I now have the first two weeks of my training plan. Although it must mean a lot more work for him, designing my plan in two week chunks, and constantly adapting it in the meantime, rather than just giving me 12 weeks worth of training runs to get on with, has to be the best approach, and the only one that can work with a busy work and family life.
He’s started me off pretty steadily, so only time will tell whether I am as positive about the whole thing after I do the promised continuous 1 minute hill reps later in the plan…
So, after what seems like forever, I’ve finally re-discovered the love of running, meaning that you will hopefully be hearing much more from me over the coming months.
Before I sign-off for now, I just wanted to say a big thank you for everyone that voted for me in the RunUltra blogger awards. Although I didn’t win, I am incredibly proud to even have been shortlisted, particularly given the quality of the other blogs. You can find more details about the awards, and the very worthy winners, here.