I skipped my Sunday long run this week – as in missed it, not that I actually skipped and gamboled like a lamb for several miles. That would be something to blog about! My plan was to do a Monday long run instead, but that didn’t quite happen either. Quite happen? Let’s be honest, it did not happen.
The reasons for these non-occurrences share a common source. I was fortunate enough to spend a few days in Sofia last week, only returning home yesterday (Sunday). Obviously a day spent travelling could not also be spent on a long run. However, I woke with quite a sore back this morning, possibly due to the discomfort of a three hour flight in economy class (we elite athletes who specialise in being at the back of the field – i.e., slow – do not tend to make big bucks in this pursuit, so can’t afford business class). I could have circumvented both problems by jogging up and down the plane throughout the flight – except when we hit patches of turbulence – but I am not sure that would have met with much approval from fellow passengers or the cabin crew. But wow – my sports watch would have recorded an impressive pace over the 1500 mile journey!
So, I am running behind schedule. The challenge I now face is getting a lot more miles in the bag over the next three weeks. I need to do a 16/17 mile run and a 20 mile run, with enough time in between to recover and to include shorter runs. I will then enter the tapering phase, ending with a week of delicious carb loading.
Today was not completely wasted though. I managed to get in some swimming this evening. This is a great cross-training exercise for runners. It helps to build endurance and oxygen capacity. It is impact-free, giving the joints a bit of a rest. And it works other muscle groups such as the core and upper body that sometimes get neglected in training.
I did enjoy a gentle 3.5 mile run around the Palace of Culture in Sofia on Saturday. There was one slight mishap – distracted by an abundance of armed security forces (maybe they had received a tip-off that I was in the area), I tripped on a step and fell over, bruising and slightly grazing my knees. Being the elite athlete I am, I bounced straight up and continued – only to find my path blocked by a barrier around the corner, so I had to run back past the security guys with a look of determined nonchalance on my face. And throbbing knees. Nonchalant knees are not easy to carry off.