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Risk mitigation

Runners wait at the first change-over in last year's club relay

I have committed to run one or two legs in an intra-club relay this coming Saturday morning.  The format matches teams of two, with teams picked by the organiser to ensure as close a finish as possible.  The race is over a 10km course and each member runs either one 5km leg, or the 2km and 3km leg on either side of the 5km leg.

My allocated partner and I are still discussing who will run which legs, but regardless, I will be running a lot faster than I have in recent times and that carries the risk of injury.  In my experience, most runners, including myself, don't want to let their relay teams down and give their all.  I'm afraid that if I still have fatigue and stiffness from last Sunday's hilly trail marathon, running as fast as I can will tear something.  Probably, if I was smart, I wouldn't have put my name down to participate.  But it is a club event, I enjoy relays, and I was unable to run last year because of injury.

Action at the second change-over last year

So my focus this week has been on mitigating the risk of an injury occurring.  On the plus side, three days after the marathon I can't identify any new injuries and my troublesome right heel seems to be functioning OK without serious pain.  The muscles which really took a buffeting on the steep hills - quads on the downs, and glutes on the ups - feel strong enough, but are stiff and lack flexibility.  I ran nearly 17km this morning at a fairly slow pace and wasn't moving well, though better by the finish.  The story was the same yesterday.  I'm trusting that flexibility will return if I keep training without forcing the pace, but I am running out of time with only two days to go.

The other precaution I will need to take is a long warm-up before the relay, including some fast run-throughs.  I will also try to persuade my relay partner to take the two shorter legs and leave the 5km to me, so I'm not required to run quite so fast.  However, to be fair, he may have his own reasons for also wanting the longer leg, so I need to be ready for either outcome.