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No fun

Gosford waterfront is on the Round the Bay course.
(© BigRay)

Nearly three and a half hours of running and can't say I felt good for, or enjoyed, a single step......except for the last one.  That's sometimes the way with long runs.

If I'm honest with myself, it was a bit stupid to try and run the 36.5km Round the Bay course the day after running 14km quite hard with Terrigal Trotters.  I'm not fully fit, and it takes time to recover from hard runs.  It would have been better to try tomorrow and have an easy recovery day today, but I sort of trapped myself by booking my car in for a service on Wednesday.  That matters because the service centre is about 20km from home, and I planned to run home for training (and catch the bus back later to pick the car up).  If I did my really long run tomorrow, then there would be just one recovery day before the 20km run, which is also not really enough for me these days.

The course crosses the Rip Bridge
(© Rob N_!)
Anyway, unpleasant as it was, the long run is done with no apparent ill effects.  The reason it was so hard primarily relates to gait.  Having run hard yesterday, I was dealing with two issues.  Firstly, there was general fatigue and stiffness.  Yesterday, I was running around 4mins/km for some parts, my fastest for months.  I was striding out more and holding my centre of gravity higher and further forward.  That was pushing the envelope of my current fitness, engaging muscles and stretching ligaments more than has happened for some time.  It's not surprising that stiffness and fatigue follows.  But that's good, because as my body responds to these forgotten stresses, by building muscle and increasing the range of movement, I will become a better runner.  In the short-term, however, the fatigue and stiffness impacts my stride length and I run less efficiently.  The consequence of that is a slower pace, discomfort, and even more fatigue than usual.

The course passes along the Tascott waterfront.
(© John Ford)

Secondly, my chronic right Achilles tendon was quite sore after yesterday's run and still painful this morning.  Stretching hurts it more, so subconsciously my gait alters to lessen the pain.  Generally, this means a shorter stride and splaying my feet more.  The latter has, over the years, caused chronic problems with my right knee, so I'm very conscious these days of not splaying the foot too much.  The result is more Achilles pain, a shorter stride, and an inefficient gait.

On the positive side, I'm pretty sure I will start to feel the benefit of today's run by the end of the week.  Three and a half hours of repetitive pounding on hard flat surfaces was hard on the legs, but I know from experience my legs will grow stronger as a consequence.