Overcoming An Early Injury

15-21 January 2018

Wednesday – workout #8

7x 0.15 mile sprints (with uphill sections) at a range of 15 seconds slower and faster than 1 mile goal race pace* with 1½ min jogging recoveries

After 3 days of rest I knew I had to run.
But my right leg was still feeling sore.
So I compromised, committing to less reps than I could ordinarily manage.
I needed to prove I hadn’t lost any fitness.
Each rep began with an incline before flattening out for the last two thirds of the route.
My starting point for each rep crept up the hill as I struggled to jog far enough to return to the base.
“Drive. Drive. Power. Power.”
The mantra kept me strong throughout as my breathing became uncontrollable.
I had to dodge dogs and a few walkers but overcame slight stitches and acid reflux.

Thursday – workout #9

10x (2 mins hard effort at approx. ½ min slower than 1 mile goal race pace* with 1 min jogging recoveries)

My right leg was worse, forcing me to doubt whether I should run a fast club session.
But I risked it, knowing I would have the remainder of the week recovering.
I was conscious of not running too hard.
I didn’t want to run at the front of the pack.
But I found myself there.
So I used lapping others as my motivation.
As another runner passed me during the active recoveries I used him as the marker to overtake on the hard sections.
“Don’t panic.”
I didn’t rush my movement but kept quickening my pace, attempting to feel relaxed.
Then the drizzle came.
I persevered until the end of the session, proud that I performed so well under less than ideal circumstances.

One Mile Challenge: Week 3

The rest of the week included 5 rest days (Monday, Tuesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday) to ensure that I fully recovered from my sore right fibula and sore throat. Heat and ice failed to make much difference so I used kinesiology tape, which supported Thursday’s workout and helped heal my injury over the weekend.

During my two quality workouts I accumulated 4.73 miles (25 mins and 8 secs) between 4:29 – 5:43 min per mile pace. My maximum heart rate recorded was 197 bpm.


* 1 mile goal race pace is 5:00 per mile.

Reasons to Run a Mile Fast

In his book Lore of Running Tim Noakes explains that runners who are fast at short distances will very likely be fast at longer distances (assuming specific training is undertaken). It is therefore unrealistic to believe a runner can beat another at any endurance event if they cannot overcome them over distances from the mile up to the 10k. This is based on diminishing returns and fatigue resistance as the maximum pace a runner can maintain for longer will inevitably decrease (though not necessarily by a significant margin).

Although intuitive, it is not necessarily widely practiced by recreational road runners.

Noakes advises runners to focus on realising one’s potential at shorter distances before running further. This theory has been successfully applied by many elite athletes, including the Daniel Komen, Emil Zátopek, and ultramarathon legends Ann Trason and Yiannis Kouros. Also, well-established race time predictions are based on actual results for relatively short races.

Former top ultrarunner and now-experienced coach Norrie Williamson in his book Everyone’s Guide to Distance Running echoes Noakes’ advice. Every runner must accept that all distances are important because any errors in running form or mindset will increase in magnitude as the distance progresses.

Despite the logic, it is important to experiment to find a balance between speed and volume in training, and short- and long-term ambitions.

I feel it is time in my running career to embrace distances up to the mile, after many years of focusing on improving my half marathon and marathon performances. I expect that throughout my challenge I will reminisce on my high school track career

The training and time trials will test me in new ways and my desire to be a sub 5-minute miler is strong, especially as I am tantalisingly close already…