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Some runs are no fun

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

I could tell by the top of the hill out of Copa this morning that my 29km was going to be hard work.  My legs felt leaden and I was breathing hard.  This wasn’t supposed to be happening.  I expected to be fresher after two easy running days, and wondered whether I was coming down with something.  I considered cutting the run short, but if I wasn’t actually ill, I couldn’t think of a good excuse.

I used to be pretty quick up hills, even aged 38.
I resigned myself to a miserable run and tried to tune out from the fatigue I was feeling.  Fortunately, I had brought along my radio and headphones, so I had some current affairs and talkback to listen to as I plodded along.  The issue with comebacks, whether from injury or a lay-off, is that the muscles that you had fine-tuned before the layoff have lost their strength and their fine-tuning.  During the comeback phase, it’s hard to maintain the most efficient posture, your running style suffers, your stride length shortens, and it takes more effort to cover the ground.  At my age I know it will take about three weeks to get this strength back.  Long slow runs help the rebuilding process, but can be very hard work.

Runners near the finish of a recent edition of the
Mount Washington Road Race (7.6 miles and 4560 ft)
Today, the hills seemed to be especially hard work, which was frustrating because I have always prided myself on my hill-running strength.  I continued on, trying not to think about how far I had to go, and eventually finished in a slow 2:41.  The whole run was worse than I had expected, but that added to the sense of satisfaction I felt when I finished and it was out of the way.  I have faith that I will feel the benefits in two or three days and have taken another step towards my goal.