Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Triple Taper Trouble

My training plan for the Great Scottish Run was a 3 week schedule of 1 week to recover from the 41 mile River Ayr Way, 1 week of training and for 1 week of taper - which is this week.  Recovery from the RAW went exceptionally well and was back in proper training last week culminating with the Trossachs 10k race where I did a course PB.  All looked to be going perfectly...

Two injuries have since appeared, the first I was aware of immediately after finishing the 10k - the ball of my right foot was sore.  I hadn't felt it during the race, in fact my whole body seemed in great shape during the race with no hints of injuries looming.  My foot wasn't too sore though, but in the afternoon after the race I walked to and from Callander town centre with my family, only about 2 1/2 miles of walking but on a sore foot, so perhaps not the best treatment.

My second injury came about when feeding our family rabbit, it's hutch is in the garden and requires a little stretch to pop the feed in and this little stretch was too much for my fatigued right calf. 

Why the "Triple Taper Trouble" when I only have two injuries to heal by next Sunday?  Well this is the third race that I've now attempted to taper for and got it wrong by over doing training in the week before taper and then ending up injured or overly fatigued.  The first compromised race was my Killin 10k back in August, the second was the RAW, and now the Great Scottish Run.  The only one I haven't screwed up was the Trossachs 10k where I didn't taper and in theory used it as a training run.  A race is race though, and I got carried away and ran a blinder, but am now paying for it...

I really should know better by now.  I know my body is injury prone, particularly when adding high intensity training. Doing so many races so close together is probably a big factor too - a 10k race, three weeks, 41 mile ultra, two week, 10k race, 1 week, Half marathon race this Sunday. 

My schedule won't end there I have a hill walk with friends along the Claunie Ridge the weekend following the half marathon, then two weeks later I'll be running the Jedburgh 3 Peaks Ultra Race.  This means it'll be a four key races each with 3 weeks in between, with extra stuff added in between.

I am loving the training and racing though, I'm in the best shape of my adult life, having PB'd in all races I've done this year, the fitness is their to do a PB at this weekends half marathon and the Jedburgh Ultra at the end of October.  All I have to get to the start line of each race in one piece, and excute them well.

So... back to familiar story, asking how to heal injuries within a week without loosing fitness.  I explored this topic in my "How to heal injuries as quickly as possible" and it worked a treat for the RAW. 

So far this week, on Sunday and Monday I rested up completely.  My right calf muscle is one the mend already and while not ready to run on should be fine in another day or so.  The tender area on ball of right foot is more of concern - it's settled a bit but still uncomfortable when I walk around the house.

Today rather than sit around an wait for my foot to heal I headed out for my first bit of cross training this year - I got on my bike and did a half hour interval session.  I warmed up for 10 minutes with steady cycling then started a series of 20 second sprints with gentle cycling in between waiting for my heart rate to recovery to 130bpm before starting the next sprint.  I managed 12 sprints before getting back to my house.  Getting off my bike I looked like I'd lost my horse, waddling round the house awkwardly with my quads fried.

I followed up the interval sessions with hot bath.  These hot baths can be as tougher than the training sessions as once your core body temperature gets up, your heart starts racing and sweat drips off you, it's not a relaxing bath to have.  My body is getting better at dealing with heat though so am able to get through these hot baths OK now.  These hot baths serve several purposes - gets you clean of course, but training wise the benefits are that it boost aerobic fitness adaptation and boost heat adaptation.

I will need to be careful with the cycling training - I don't want to go an introduce another injury before Sunday, but in general it's a low impact way of keeping the body tuned up.  More hot baths will help retain the heat adaptations that I've built up from all the training. 

A final bit of jigsaw will be getting as much good quality sleep as can this week to help my body heal the injuries.  I don't always manage it, but I will be having a post lunch lie down each day to see if I can get a short nap.  Even if I don't succeed in napping the quieten time will help lower stress and with it Cortisol levels and thus avoid suppressing my immune system when I need it most. 

The night time sleeps and naps are when the bodies does the bulk of it's healing, which is why it's such an important part of getting back to full health and injury free.  I have five more nights sleep left to complete the healing process, fingers crossed.

As the week progresses I'll see how my foot is and if it feels OK try out a walk, and if can complete it wihtout discomfort then the next day I'll try a short recovery run.  Ideally I'd like to have a couple of runs at the end of the week to dial back into running and if possible do a little running at race pace - 6:40 min/mile pace is my target.

Fingers/toes crossed.


  1. ....and get someone else to feed the rabbit!! :-) Hope you heal up and stay injury-free for your races. Looking forward to hearing how you get on. x

  2. Someone else to feed the rabbit!! That reminds of the class killer Rabbit sketch from the Holy Grail: