After doing the West Highland Way Race back in 2010, I think it took me about 2 months to recover properly. I was running again within 4 days of the race but did not feel I could train properly for many weeks after that. Part of this was down to a lack of motivation (Drive Reduction Theory) after I had achieved my goal for the season and partly down to the obvious trashing my legs had taken.
As I sit here, only two weeks after the Lakeland 100, my legs feel so much better than I ever expected. There could be many explanations for this, though I can only guess which, if any, of these factors has made the difference, however, the important thing is that I am now ready to start training properly again. I still intend to make the first couple of weeks just easy/medium weeks but I hope to fit in at least one hard week before I go back to work in September.
The primary factor, I feel, must be that I am better conditioned this time around. I tried to make my training as specific as I could to meet the demands of the race and made good use of the fact that I could train on the course regularly. Perhaps, since the operation, I am not compensating for an injury as I run and therefore my gait is that little bit less stressful on my body. This point may simply be psychological as the part of my sub-conscious that has been protecting the damaged heel is now freed and lets me run more naturally.
I have to factor in the Hoka shoes because I do feel less trashed in them, especially when going beyond 30 miles. I know they are not pretty to look at and a big part of me wants to dislike them but I just can't. My legs feel better when going long in them and if that is just psychological - who cares?
The final element to consider in my recovery is the identification of new goals for the remainder of the season. There has been a slight change of plan forced on me which I have turned to my advantage. Simon, my mountain marathon partner, and I will be doing the RAB Mountain Marathon on 6th/7th October which is always a great event and run with a nice relaxed atmosphere. Unfortunately, Simon is away on business when the OMM takes place, so I have changed my plans and will race the Round Rotherham 50 miles trail race instead on 20th October. I have done this race three times before, though simply on a turn up and give it a go basis, not since I have focused my training on ultra running so it will be interesting to see what I can do now. Finally, to finish the year off and kick start the winters training I hope to do the Tour of Helvellyn on 22nd December.
With these events on the horizon, I feel motivated to get back into training and finish off what has been a great year in style. Today, I had a lovely couple of hours out on the trails, running out above Threlkeld to Scales and back along the river and railway.
Some parts of the route overlapped with sections of the Lakeland 100 course and I inevitably found my mind wandering back a couple of weeks, remembering how I felt at those points and how things panned out for me.
I am now spending a bit of time looking at the routes of the Round Rotherham and Tour of Helvellyn races and hope to get out and recce both of them over the next month or so. If anyone has done the Tour of Helvellyn before and can point me to a more detailed route description than the website gives, or ideally a map, that would be great. I am especially interested in the section through Glenridding to Greenside as there seem to be a number of feasible options.
It's a good job I can occupy myself with some training now as I have had a huge chunk of my life ripped off me. What am I going to do now the Olympics has finished? TRAIN!!