Saturday, May 11, 2013

Recent finds during the run up to my 'almost' marathon

Although the build up was cut short at the 11th hour I made a few little discoveries in this particular block of preparation...

New shoes - now I know you'll likely groan "duh!" but a few niggling issues appeared in my feet and legs with my old pair before I realised they were too old. It should not have been the blisters (when I haven't had them in the shoes before) or the different aches I was getting in my calves and achilles (again new) that made me realise I needed new ones but, alas, it was. I should have twigged that I had worn them through a marathon training cycle (including the race), two half marathons, and a couple of 10k races... and that time was up on them. Still I did realise and I made a change and all seems fine again. Running shoes so the rule of thumb goes (so I was reminded by the shop assistant!) one full training and race marathon cycle, or roughly 500 miles. Though it also depends somewhat upon how much you bash the cushioning materials with distances and consecutive runs (i.e., running two or more days in a row may not give the shoe time to recover - let alone you perhaps, phew!).

Zero tablets (made by High5) - in the build up I increased my daily water consumption, yes I fell into one of those "you should absolutely do this to keep healthy" articles on-line, and I know there is a how much it enough debate as with most things... sorry about the near change of tack there, the point is I got a bit bored with water and looked for something that wouldn't lead me into expensive sports drinks or worse still fizzy drinks. I 'found' electrolyte tablets that give your water useful salts (potassium and magnesium to name two) and a yummy favour to it as well. Again there is a "how much is too much" and "is it necessary" debate that can break out, but I made sure my intake didn't exceed RDA (recommended daily allowance). They have been great, they are refreshing, tasty, and appear to have added a bit of energy to my day - although likely a hefty placebo effect compared to the "oh, no more water" moments I had before. They aren't cheap to buy, but working through some maths and they come out far far cheaper than the drinks available in my work cafe (though clearly not as cheap as water from the tap!).

Physio - before having to use my favourite physio for helping to sort my current knee problem I had discovered that he was running a two-for-the-price-of-one deal on sports massage. Buy the pre-race massage and get the post race 'fix me' massage free. Genius, just genius! If you are heading into a race be sure to ask your local physio / sports masseur if they would do you such a cool deal.

Running hat - the race organisers let everyone know it was going to be a very hot day by recent standards (we have had the strangest lingering wet / cold winter). So I realised a hat was the order of the day, among other things, and noted that all the hats I have are heavy. I get a real thing going pre-race about how heavy the stuff I'm carrying is, which is bordering on irrational given how much I usually weigh... so I went out to find a light running hat realising also that the ones I have would be very uncomfortable full of perspiration! I duly found one and tried it out - brilliant! I now recommend looking for a good running hat and making friends with it in case you need it - even though granted here in the UK that isn't many days of the year ;-)

Hill repeats - back when running was still happening (not that I am troubled or bitter about this injury you notice) I discovered hill repeats are actually good fun and make excellent GPS timing fodder - I do love a good graph.

So to sum up I discovered nothing much more useful than anything you might find opening any issue of a running magazine, but as a collective they were adding to a reasonable run build up. Oh, and no one offered me anything for these ramblings, they are as ever just my meandering thoughts :-)

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