Up and Down and Back on Track: 5 weeks till Tokyo Marathon

I was running strong, stronger than ever. Finding gears I didn’t know I had. Pushing harder on longer runs. I noticed improvements on my heart rate which corresponded to the feeling that I was running faster with less effort required. I was recovering quickly from hard workouts. My weight was down to lower than ever, maybe even lighter than when I was in high school 25 years ago. My marathon PR of 2:56 would be easy. Maybe it would be closer to 2:50.

This was around 2 months ago and it came about after months of base building and consistent running. In fact, I was averaging over 50 miles a week for all of 2015. But then I pushed it too hard. I remember exactly when it happened. I had been following a training schedule from Pfizinger’s book on marathoning and should have realized that some of the workouts were going to be too much for me. I should have known to dial it back (for anyone who knows Pfitz’s schedules: beware the tune-up races, especially after a long run! and especially if you’re over 40).

So I ended up with some hamstring issues. Then my knee starting giving me trouble. Then I ran a marathon in Macau, which went well but was ultimately unsatisfactory because I know I can do better and I did not approach the race with high ambitions (I was running knowing that I was not 100% and at risk of injuring myself). But 2:57 is great, so no real complaints.

So I went on holidays and took it easy for a few weeks and then worked my way back into running. Then the knee again (this time probably from yoga). Then 10 days of no running at all. In fact during those 10 days I made a concerted effort to not even bend my knee. And I drank some beer and developed a taste for cognac.

Sorry if this narrative is not very gripping! Ok, the bottom line is that the knee is way better. No pain at all. I have been running again for the past few weeks and I’m starting to get it back. I cut out the booze and I’m back on track with super healthy as-vegan-as-possible meals. I finished a 20 miler today and managed to finish strong. Not as fast as before, but not bad. 64 miles this week (so much for the 10% rule!)

5 weeks to go till Tokyo and I’m thinking now that I should have enough time to pull it together. I suppose it is easy to lose the edge, but the base miles don’t easily disappear and that’s the foundation for everything. Onwards forwards.