Monday, 26 January 2015

Grand slam Training: The Beginning

95 days until Thames Path 100

If you have read my plans for 2015 then you will know that my target races are the four 100 mile races hosted by Centurion Running. These races have come to be affectionately known as the Grand slam when all are completed in a single calendar year.

I felt the need for a significant challenge and with the level of service provided by Centurion Running it felt like a good combination of madness and support.

Once entered into the races I have set about looking at the key goals prior to Thames Path. Whilst each race after is spread out to occur every 6 weeks in reality this leaves little time for much more than maintenance work when factoring recovery time and tapering.

The two main goals were firstly to lose weight. Currently at 207lbs I have 35lbs to lose. Prior to this blog I have lost over 7lbs so this should all go a long way to significant progress. The second goal was to run regularly.

I have found it amazing how easy it is to deceive oneself that you are running regularly when in fact you are doing anything but. I realise many people have a built in hatred of strava , but logging everything on there has revealed my previous failings. Training regularly the last two weeks I can really notice the distance and an understanding of why if you  train properly then tapering becomes essential.

My family are fully supportive of my plans for the year. So much so that Zoe bought me a foot analysis at profeet custom and custom insoles should I require them. An awesome present if ever there was one. I have heard amazing things about protest and so was excited to pay them a visit. How much it would make a difference remained to be seen. Prepping for the Grand slam I want to make sure I lay solid foundations in my training so that when things get tough (and they will) I will know I can overcome it and keep going strong.

Visiting Profeet turned out to be an amazing and highly beneficial experience. I honestly cannot recommend them highly enough. I booked my appointment for a Saturday. All was running smooth until I got to the tube. Bloody line works meant major delays and so I was 20 mins late. I still received a warm welcome and was told we may not get it all done in one visit if next appointment was on time. I respected this a lot. After all if someone was running late and it then ate into my appointment time I'd be annoyed. As it is the other person was either late or didn't show. Whatever I got the full hour. Zoe came along with her kindle and expected to be bored. She loved watching the process and didn't get her kindle out once.

It was very unusual to be in an environment where talking about running 100 miles was not met with the staff clarifying they had heard me correctly. What I got instead was a focused and specialised experience. Talking through past injuries and a thorough foot inspection already was proving insightful. It's fair to say I'd forgotten about an old ankle injury in so much as paying any attention to rehab. The video examination of my running showed just how much body was working to correct the weakness in my left ankle. I could see in slow motion the bend and over rotation of my ankle. After this I ran up and down on a small path, running over a sensor. The sensor pad  illustrated the pressure my foot exerts and the movement of my foot. What all this evidenced is exactly the weakness in my ankle.

After the assessment process we were able to talk about suitable shoes and exercises to offset the weaknesses. This was incredibly heloful. I decided to get some custom insoles. This involved a thorough process of heat moulding and then building the appropriate cushioning.  You can watch the building process live. I was able to leave Profeet with my insoles some solid exercise and stretching advice and knowledge that I could come back in three months for a free review.

Overall it felt like Profeet really cared about helping me better my running. Since this time I've been focused on my running and addressing the areas identified in the assessment. I've had some aches in my ankle that I've not had in a while, but these only evidence that I'm not allowing myself now to compensate for the weakness. Running in the new insoles I finally appear to have cracked my issue with blisters on the end of my toes and the insoles seem to stop any foot slippage. I'm building solid foundations for the crack at the Grandslam.

The first couple of weeks of training have gone well and I'm getting excited about recce runs and the races in themselves. Two unknowns and two route I know quite well. This is going to be the biggest running challenge I've had, but done right will set me up for several bigger challenges in the future. This is going to be hard, it's going to be exhausting, but every but of it is going to be fun.

Let it begin...