I know in theory down weeks during marathon training blocks are a good idea, but it's hard to actually follow through with them. As discussed last week, the temptation is always to think you need to be doing more, not less. However I knew that my calf issue was not getting better and that it wouldn't just go away if I continued to run on it. Thankfully the action I took early this week seemed to make a big difference and by the end of the week I felt much more positive about the rest of the training block. Week 9 of training for the Valencia Marathon was not my biggest training week, but might prove to be the most important one.
No running. Instead, straight on the phone to Dr Tan, a local practitioner of Chinese acupuncture who I've seen previously. I've always had a really positive response to his treatment, which involves needles that are attached to an electrical device that sends a pulse through them. It's a vigorous technique that leaves you feeling quite sore in the following days, but I've been here before and I trusted that this was all part of the healing process.
No running, but I did a good strength workout instead. This is my go-to whenever I have a niggle or similar, I find that strength training is a good outlet and makes me feel productive. I tend to do a bit more than I would were it also a running day, but I felt like it would serve me well.
A very easy double of 3 miles each. My calves were actually starting to feel better by the second run. Thank god for Nike Invincibles, they really have been proving their worth the last few weeks. I tend to rotate my shoes and over the course of the week might wear seven different pairs, but I must have worn these for 80% of my runs of late. They do a great job of absorbing impact and providing maximum comfort.
An easy run, just 4 miles. Another strength training session in the afternoon. My wife very kindly agreed to massage my calves and she did a great job!
400 x 10, a lot better than last week, averaging around 1:22 and this was while trying to remind myself not to push it because I had a big workout coming up on Sunday.
An easy parkrun pushing my son around in the buggy. Another calf massage in the evening.
I was a bit nervous about this session as last week's had not gone well, struggling a bit during the 5k sections (despite just about hitting the goal pace), and having extremely sore calves as a result. The thought of adding another 5k to this and doing 3 x 5k did not leave me feeling confident. However from the outset I was feeling fresh and my legs seemed to be playing ball. I felt strong on each of the 5k sections and the final one was 12 seconds faster (19.05) than the previous two (both 19.17). 20 miles in total, and it felt like the biggest step forward I'd made in weeks. The rest at the start of the week as well as the treatment from Dr Tan (and my wife!) had clearly done me a world of good.
2 sessions including one long workout
19000m run at marathon pace or faster