Monday, April 26, 2010

Running Injuries - Plantar Fasciitis

I am injured and not running at present. I reacted badly to the run on Friday. On Saturday morning I was particularly bad first thing in the morning when I was limping and hobbling around and unable to put my heel flat on the ground without pain.

The feeling in my left foot was as if I was walking directly on my bones and my skin and shoes were not able to protect me. The plantar fascia is a strong band of tissue that stretches from your heel to your middle foot bones. It supports the arch of your foot and also acts as a shock-absorber in your foot. My shock absorber has decided enough is enough for the moment.

Bad timing as I was in training for a 10k race at Breckland on the 3rd of May but this is out the window now.

As a previous sufferer of this condition the only real cure is rest. What causes plantar fasciitis?  Lots of running if you are not used to it. Could be the case for me as folowing injury I did put in a fairly intensive 3 months of training.

Running on  a surface you are not used to such as track or road if you are used to the country. In my case I always mix up my running on all surfaces so this wouldn't apply to me.

Wearing shoes with poor cushioning. As a neutral runner with high arches I need shoes with good support. I have alternated two pairs of Asics Gel Stratus 2 and 3's. Both showed wear fairly quickly. The Asics Gel Straus 3's I am still using but are beginning to show signs of wear after only 250 miles which is disappointing in a shoe as I expect to get 450 miles  to be considered a decent shoe. I have always got on well with Asics but am giving a pair of Saucony a go. It may be coincidence but it has put a doubt in my mind regarding Asics at the moment.

Increasing your running intensity - Yes guilty on this one. But what can you do if you follow a training plan you want to increase your intensity and quality of training sessions so you lengthen your longest run and run tempo and intervals. In doing this you can overstretch your foot sole.

Tight Achilles tendon - this is the  big tendon above your heel at the bottom of your calf. Yes after walking on Saturday or limping to a Beer Festival ( I forgot all about my heel pain for a while!) the pain has seemingly transferred from my heel my achilles.

Having high arches  - yes this is me. You can tell by doing the paper test . Take your shoes and socks off and slightly wet the heel of your foot and then place it on a piece of white paper. If you see just your heel, the ball of your foot, and a thin line on the outside of your foot, you have a high arch, the least common foot type.

It is most common in people aged between 40 and 60- Yes thats me 

More common in overweight people who are over their BMI ideal weight. Yes again guilty of this by about a stone in weight but I need to run to lose some weight!

When will I be able to run again ? Well I am impatient and I will try running again on Wednesday. However if this is a bad episode of plantar then I may have this problem for many weeks or months.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Training Run at Pakenham & Norton Suffolk

Village Sign Pakenham
This morning the sky was bright blue and clear of any clouds though there was a frost overnight and it was still cold. My early morning run meant a short drive out to the village of Pakenham.

Although nippy I was ok with shorts and two layers on top a long sleeve top and t shirt over this.

Pakenham is just a few miles to the east of Bury St Edmunds and I believe unique in Britain as having both a working water mill and windmill. However my run today didn't take in either of these sites as in stead I headed for Pakenham Woods.

Centre of Pakenham
I parked the car in the main road in the village near the Fox and started running up hill through a meadow and past St Mary's Church. I was then able to follow footpath signs which directed me straight through a field. The farmer had left this section of the field uncultivated in a wide field break for walkers and runners.

St Mary's Pakenham
Typical Suffolk Pink Cottage
From the Church Meadow looking down into Pakenham Village
A short distance beyond this the small Pakenham Woods is reached. There were footpaths around the woods  and through the woods but I chose to run along side with a view to running a direct out and back run . The ground although being dirt pathways and after a very wet, snowy winter were rock hard and cracked in places following the dry spell.

Eventually the footpath by the woods ceased and I emerged on the road to Norton.  I decided to carry on in to this village. Many of the school children were waiting to catch buses in to Bury St Edmunds as I ran past but there was little other activity this early in the morning.

I retraced my steps back to Pakenham.
Norton Village Sign

Suffolk Pink Cottage at Norton
I am still carrying an injury at present which isn't preventing me from running but generally means I can't run consecutive days as the base of my left foot hasn't sufficiently recovered to do so. I am also running a bit slower and I kept this run a little shorter than I had planned completing 8 miles  in 1 hr 12 mins.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Running Quotes

Who doesn't like a quotation. They can be inspiring, hard hiting and sometimes funny. I have today added a new static page on running quotations to my site.

I am happy to expand this list and would welcome any favourite quotations that you have.
Blogger in draft allows you to publish information on up to 10 static pages.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Running and Volcanic Dust

Since the volcanic eruption last week in Iceland our news has been dominated by stories of travel chaos as pretty much all air flights have ceased in the UK. At least this has had the effect of kicking the general election sideways so it hasn't dominated the tv and papers as much as it would have done.

The volcanic dust cloud has been blown by the current wind direction over the UK and on Sunday a present from Iceland arrived as a fine layer of volcanic dust on cars appeared though it could simply be that I haven't cleaned the car in ages and this is just natural good old fashioned dirt.

What effect has this had on those folk like myself who go out for a run? Seemingly little unless you have an underlying medical health problem. There is nothing in the air that can be seen but if the fine dust particles are capable of stopping the engines on a plane what effect on a runner breathing hard on a run? I am believing that there is no problem at ground level compared to being at 20,000 feet as you would be in a plane.

However spare a thought for those who have been training for the London Marathon this Sunday the 25th of April. Most of them will have trained since January. Many of the entrants to one of the largest marathons come from all over the world and would have been planning to travel around now. However as there are no planes in UK airspace there must be people all over the world sweating over whether they can come to London for Sunday's run.

Heathrow airport in London deals with 67 million passengers a year so in the last week over a milllion people will have had there journey affected just for this one airport. 

If you are an elite runner then according to the Guardian report the organisers have arranged alternative travel arrangements as below:- Olympic gold medallist Sammy Wanjiru's hopes of defending his London Marathon title, endangered by the crisis in European air travel, have been boosted by the news that race organisers have arranged for a private plane to pick him up from Kenya. He will be flown from there to Spain where a second jet will be waiting to complete the journey, if restrictions have eased.

Wanjiru will be joined by other Kenyan athletes on the specially arranged flight. "I have just done my last morning run in Kenya and am about to start my journey by road to Nairobi, where we shall be airlifted to Spain and await further instructions," the 24-year-old told Reuters by telephone from his home in Nyahururu.

An aviation source at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport said a Gulfstream jet from Egypt would land at the main Kenyan airport to fly the athletes to Europe via a stop in Djibouti to pick up more runners. Wanjiru, who also won last year's Chicago Marathon, said another jet would pick them up in Spain for the onward leg of the journey to London. "Fatigue may affect us during the race and my agent has indicated to me that another jet will pick us up in Spain. I think travelling by road or train from Spain to London may be too long for us," he said. "I have trained well and I am ready for the race. We shall run as a team to ensure we deliver the title with my colleagues."

Other Kenyans expected to accompany Wanjiru on the trip are the world marathon champion Abel Kirui, Duncan Kibet and Emmanuel Mutai, with runners from Ethiopia and Eritrea joining the travelling party in Djibouti.

My five miler tonight was unaffected by dust and I ran well in 41.49

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Bury St Edmunds Circular Run -Horringer School /Hospital /Cullum rd /Newmarket rd

Given a choice I always prefer to run early in the morning. I am a morning person by nature and I like to fit my runs in soon after I wake. I don't eat before I run I just have a coffee before I hit the road.

The great thing about this is you can get in your run often whilst the rest of the family are still asleep.  Running out on the roads or trails is also better early in the morning as you encounter less people,less traffic and less dogs.

Running first thing early in the morning means for me there is no conflict. By this I mean that later in the day there are often more choices; more places I have to be;meals at lunch and evening time and the problem of not running for 2-3 hours afterwards. For me this all adds up to more temptation not to run.

However today it was 5pm before I got out of the house for a run. This morning there was a large car boot sale to attend to at 8am so no run. After returning from this I then felt the need for breakfast and not running. Mid day it was warm and sunny and I tend to avoid this part of the day to run so 5pm was when I got out of the door.

After a large pizza I still noticed this when I ran and it took me a while to get in to my stride. I tend to know early in a run how it it is going to go whether it is going to be a stormer full of energy running like the wind,  an OK run but not a lot of extra push or a tired going through the motions kind of run.

Today was an OK run . I did 8.11,8.39,8.43,8.17,8.25,8.29 and 8.24 for a total of 59.12 for 7 miles.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Saucony Pro Grid Jazz 13

I got some new running shoes in the post today! These are a pair of Saucony Pro Grid Jazz 13's and will replace my worn out Asics Gel Stratus 2's which may have been the cause of the pain in my left foot heal which is plantar fasciitis.

This is only the second time I have ever bought Saucony running shoes but these shoes suit my running foot gait which is a high arch neutral foot with some underpronation. I once before had a pair of Saucony MC5's but they were worn out after 356 miles which I didn't think was great value.

I tend to buy on line as there are very few decent stores which sell running shoes locally. Buying on line is also a far better deal if you know what you want but a first time runner buying shoes should always go into a store and have their running gait analysed.

I also bought my shoes for the first time from a company called  They offered the best price and free postage. They also came with some free More Mile London Running Socks. When I opened the box today there was also a free Running Diary which has a year's page to record runs along with training schedules for 10km and pace charts. Very handy and a nice touch by the company.

The marketing scientific blurb on the shoe includes:-

has been named "Best Buy" by Runner's World UK in their Spring 2010 shoe Guide. The reviewers "praised the plush heel cushioning" explaining "they felt properly fitted fresh from the box - there were no uncomfortable seams and they didn't need wearing in".

Great responsive cushioning using heel progrid, an SRC Impact Zone to soften landings and HRC in the forefoot for a smooth toe-off. An air mesh upper provides lightweight breathability. The ProGrid Jazz 13 comes in men's sizes 7 - 12 and 13, and women's sizes 4-9.

What I can tell you is that once they arrived within an hour I was out of the door on an 11 mile run to give them a test drive. What I immeadiately noticed was how light and comfortable they felt. There was no rough seams or edges. Often with new shoes I find them a bit to rigid and springy and I feel the support bounces me off the road until they are worn in.

These shoes immediately felt comfortable which is great. The doubt that passed through my mind was how long will they last. As they feel light perhaps I will wear them out quickly. Time will tell.

The shoe colour blue and yellow may not be everyones cup of tea. They are certainly bright but I like them. I don't tend to buy shoes based on their colour.

For my run today I did an 11 miler and my splits were

8.25,8.13,8.35,9.01,8.34,8.33,8.32,8.27,8.39,8.29 and 8.59 Total 1.34.22 for the 11 miles.

So a good start to these shoes.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Training Routes

I have started to add information to my training routes page.

Blogger in draft allows you to publish information on up to 10 static pages.

My first update includes information on a run I originally published on the Saint Edmunds Pacers website when I was the webmaster. I have stolen it back to add to my blog!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Interval Run to Fornham All Saints

I am gradually building up the mileage once again after my recent half marathon though it has taken me 2-3 weeks to do so. I am now training for a 10k race and tonight my schedule called for an interval session.

The plan suggested I do warm up mile and then  4 x half miles in  3.35 and warm down for a total of 6 miles.

It was a little breezy at 5pm and so I wore a t shirt with a long sleeve over the top. This became too warm during the run and I had to lose the long sleeve t shirt  tied around my waist. I am carrying a slight injury at the moment which I hope doesn't get any worse.

I think it is a touch of plantar fasciitis. Having had this before I am pretty sure this is the case and I felt it tonight as I set off for my run in my left foot heel. I have felt it a few times recently and I am hoping it is just a case of needing to replace one pair of my current running shoes which are now warn out. These are my Asics Gel Stratus 2's which have 412 miles on them and are showing wear in the midsole.

However unlike when I previously had this condition I was able to continue to run and I didn't notice any problems after a few minutes. When I previously had this it felt like I was running with a stone in my shoe and running was impossible so fingers crossed!

In the end I did 5 x half miles in 3.36,3.45,3.46,3.38 and an extra one in 4.01. In between I jogged and then finished my run at an easy pace for a total of 6 miles. I didn't hit the target of 3.35 half miles but I wasn't to far out and I averaged 7.28 mile pace for the 5 intervals.

To accompany my run I listened to my IPOD and appropriately Jonathon Richman and the Modern Lovers with Roadrunner. If ever there was a song made for running surely this is it

Sunday, April 11, 2010

A run around Stanton Suffolk

For my long 10 mile training run today I ventured out to the village of Stanton in Suffolk.

Stanton is around 9 miles North East of Bury St Edmunds. It is believed that the village has been occupied continuously for over 2,000 years since Roman times. Evidence for this is that it is close to the Peddars Way and another Roman Road known as number 330 which ran from Colchester to Bildeston. Apparently a Roman Villa was once sited in an area of Stanton known as Stanton Chare.

St John the Baptist
St John The Baptist
Today the fairly major A 143 road cuts Stanton some what in two! For many years Stanton was two villages Stanton St John and Stanton All Saints. On one side of the busy road stands Stanton St John which has a roofless church which is maintained by the Historic Churches Fund.The graveyard is evidently still used for burials. There are far fewer houses here but this side of the road is where Stanton Chare is situated.

Duke St Stanton
Stanton Village
From my run it was clear that roads used to join the two villages together but the the present day A143 has obliterated most of the evidence. However  Duke Street can be followed from the All Saints side of the village and then it continues on the St Johns Side.The bulk of the modern day village is based around the All Saints Church. The population today is around 2,900.

Stanton Chare
Historic Churches Fund Signboard
MY other reason for visiting Stanton apart from wanting to explore a lovely village was to also visit the home of many of my ancestors. From exploring my family history I was aware that my grandfather was born here. However further research has shown that there is fairly long line on my paternal side who lived here at least back to my great, great, great, grandfather who was born here in 1811. I have yet to get any further back but it is possible that further generations also lived here in Stanton.  As for what they did in Stanton it would appear that the vast majority of them toiled the land and were agricultural labourers.

Duke St was of interest as this is where my ancestors used to live but I don't know if the house survives.
My great , great grandfather had 12 children  with his wife and he was born in to a family of nine children himself. So the village of Stanton has a certain pull when it comes to exploring my family history. I have only really scratched the surface on my ancestoral history in the village of Stanton.

Stanton Windmill
The weather continues to be settled and today was again wonderful for running. A pleasant breeze was to be had when running in one direction which acted to cool me down. My run was very much a stop start tourist run as I stopped again and again to photo the many places of interest in Stanton. It was constantly in my thoughts that 200 years ago my forefathers had been present in this village and working the fields. Despite the stop start nature of the run I did my 10 miles in 1hr 25 mins and 43 seconds for an average of 8.34 miles. I'll take that. It felt good and I didn't push it.

Stanton Windmill is a postmill type in that everything turns on a single post. This is the only windmill in Suffolk now producing flour. Virtually everywhere in Suffolk would have had a windmill to grind corn in the 18th and 19th century. Wheras  there were 500 windmills now we are down to about 70 in the county.

A memorable run.

Friday, April 09, 2010

Tempo Run at Nowton Park Suffolk


At lunch time I headed for a run to Nowton Park.

This is one of a number of parks in and around Bury St Edmunds. Nowton Park is on the fringe of the village Nowton and Bury and is Victorian in design. The Lime Tree Avenue was planted in 1880 and gives the park a sense of grandeur. Every Spring there is a daffodil display from the 100,000 bulbs planted as a yellow corridor along the lime trees.

I live around 2.5 miles from the park so after a mile warm up I put on some music on my IPOD and commenced a 5 mile tempo run.  Today

was another warm day and I wished I had taken a drink with me as I began to struggle after 3 miles. I think this was a combination of getting used to running in mid day warmth and a tickly dry throat. I have been fighting off a cold but may be losing the battle.

It being the second week of half term and the weather being so good the park was busy with lots of family's enjoying picnic lunches.

My run once I reached the park was to run up and down the lime avenue. There is a gentle upward incline as you head towards the maze and the Victorian Folly.

My splits were 8.11,7.52,8.01,8.31 and 8.24 for a total of  41.19 for the 5 miles - 8.12 pace. I was hoping for something closer to 8 min miles but this is fine.

I jogged home making a run of 7 miles which was slightly over my schedule which called for a 6.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Bury St Edmunds Five Mile Run

After a hectic couple of days work I was really wanting to run tonight. However today was so busy that apart from cereal for breakfast I hadn't eaten all day and I was tired. So arriving home I had a banana got changed into shorts and a t shirt the weather being superb and headed out.

I reasoned with myself that I would feel better for the run and I could always cut the distance if I felt realy tired. As it turned out I did a circular route in Bury St Edmunds along Horringer School /Hospital /Cullum rd / Newmarket rd .

My mile splits were 8.25,8.07,8.26,8.46,8.40 making for a total of 42.25 for 5 miles an average pace of 8.29 miles. This was my quickest time over this route since the 8th of May 2009 when I ran 42.01. Its a funny old world when you are feeling tired and you run well without trying and expect the opposite! I guess not running for a couple of days acted a bit like a taper before a race so I ad more energy. Plus the weather is wonderful at the moment  not too warm but dry, sunny and no wind.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Adkins Wood Ickworth Park Suffolk

Adkins Wood
An easy 8 mile run this morning out to Adkins Wood in Ickworth Park. A grey overcast Easter Monday.

Bee Hives at Ickworth Park
Canal Lake
This is one of my regular routes and it is always interesting to spot things which have changed. Today there were 3 things of note - a number of new signboards,lots of lambs in the park which made a tremoundous bleating racket as I approached and some further evidence of work to set up some beehives. By the canal lake and next to the summerhouse work has begun on establishing some behives.
St Mary's Church

Summer House
Apparently the National Trust has found evidence that beehives were present on the site when the Marquis of Bristol family seat over hundred of years  was  Ickworth Park.

I am hoping to run my next race on the 3rd of May at Croxton Thetford. It is the Breckland 10k race over the border in Norfolk.

This leaves little time for training but I will follow a 4 week plan from the Runners World SMART Coach and hope for the best!

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Review of my Running in March 2010

March . One of my favourite months of the year. The first greenshoots and buds appearing the daffodils and snowdrops in the hedgerows.  It is that sense of new life, renewal , the dawn chorus and the longer days everything feels better and there is a sense of anticipation of whats to come in the rest of Spring and Summer.

How did I do with my running in March? My  stats show

  •  a total of 144 miles for the month which is up from 129 in 2009.
  • I ran on 19 days 
  • My biggest mileage week was 41.5 miles for this week beginning the 1st of March
  • My longest run was 13.1 miles on the 21st and 28th of March
  • Fastest paced run was my tempo run on the 24th of March 4 miles in 32 mins 03  for 8.01 pace
  • Slowest run was an easy run on the 20th of March  5 miles in 45 55 for a 9.11 pace
  • My average weekly rate is currently 32.3 miles
  • My target for the year is 1400 miles and I am currently up on this by about 68 miles
  • Quality sessions - I  ran 2 tempo run, 2 interval run  and 6 long runs in March
  • My weight is down from 86.5 to 83 kilos in this month
  • No hill sessions recorded which is a weakness for me at the moment
  • Races - 1 on the 28th March at Stowmarket Suffolk - Joe Cox Half Marathon
  • My tempo run pace improved to 8.05 average mile pace from 8.11 in February
  • My easy run pace was slightly quicker at 8.46 miles compared to 8.49 in February
  • My interval pace was 7.48 a mile compared to 8.02 miles in February
  • My long run pace was 8.47 in March compared to 8.58 in February
Highlight and success of the month must be the Joe Cox Half Marathon. This was my first race since June 2009 and helped to restore my confidence to do road races. 

Friday, April 02, 2010

High Green near Nowton Suffolk

The saying that March comes in like a lamb and out like a lion has been very true this year. The last week has been unsettled with heavy rain and even some sleet. The gritting lorries even came round on Wednesday based on the predicted icy roads.

This morning however it was pleasant enough and inbetween April showers I got in a steady training run of 7.3 miles in 1hr 2 mins and 44 seconds for an 8.38 average pace. I felt strong throughout but never really needed or felt the urge to push it.

I am hoping to follow up my half marathon with a shorter race and will start to look for a 10k or 10 mile race on the calendar and start a fresh training plan. Kenley over on his blog recently asked me this question and the answer is that I would certainly use the Runners World SMART Coach again to provide me with a training schedule. The fact that the schedule  is designed around a recent race time seems to me to provide a slightly more personalised plan.

My run yesterday took me to an area of farm land that I often run between Bury St Edmunds and the village of Horringer. This is a footpath around farmland and provides a fairly good climb up a hill but is intersting all year round to see how the seasons change and what is going to be planted in the fields.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Back to Running

I have had a restful week following the half marathon and only ventured out for my first run following the race for a short 3 miler today. 

Everything is working and I am glad to report no injuries. I had a stiff left heel on the Monday but this has now passed. I think this is a clear sign that I need to buy new shoes my Asics 2's are now showing some wear in the mid to front of foot on the edge where the carbon tread has really worn. My foot gait shows that I underpronate. I will need to start shoe hunting soon !

The video below isn't the most interesting but I though I would throw it up anyway. It is after the race at the John Deere centre at Buxhall near Stowmarket.

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