Archive | March, 2011

Shin Splints Saga

25 Mar

Last week, I was diagnosed with shin splints – 4 weeks before my London marathon! The week previously I had run exactly as planned, 5 times, mixture of intervals, different paces and ending in a 19.5 slow run. Two days later I attempted a club hill session which resulted in a strange pain in my lower legs. I thought I had been working too hard and maybe pulled a calf muscle.

A trip to the physio the next day brought the news. Shin splints! How can this be? I’d had new trainers around 3 weeks before, had sports massages, always stretched, gradually increased mileage. I was in shock and felt quite emotional. Since my diagnosis of with a hole in the heart last January, I had this fixation with running the London marathon once more. I was forced to defer my place from 2010 and throughout my recovery from heart surgery, my driving force was VLM!

I began running in September last year, 8 weeks after surgery. Very slowly I increased both distance and speed. By January, I was able to stick to a sub 4 hour training plan and ran 5 times a week. My speed was at a level I could never have dreamt of before my surgery. As the weeks ticked on, I felt stronger and more confident of achieving an all time best performance.

My injury occured 12 weeks into my schedule. With 4 weeks to go, decisions had to be made. If I am to get though the marathon and really go for it, I have to cut back the running and allow my shins to heal. There is no way in the world I would miss the 17th April – I have put so much time and energy into achieving this goal.

In the last week and a half, I have thrown myself into cross training and have loved it! Had some amazing bike rides, feeling strong and enjoyed being back in the pool. Now, when I am able runĀ  I appreciate it even more.

My plan for the next 3 weeks is:

Run on alternate days (3 times a week), some short and faster, some longer and slower. No more long runs or hills :(

Cycle twice a week, including a long ride at the weekend.

Swim twice a week.

Gym for strength work once a week.

This should keep up my fitness and keep the legs ticking over until the big day! Wish me luck!

If anyone would like to sponsor me for the marathon, please check out my Justgiving page at: www.justgiving.com/corinneellison4GUCH

Marathon Lessons and March Targets

15 Mar

Since my last post after the Brighton half marathon, my world has been a whirlwind of excitement! Running, coaching, business, travelling the country and seeing family. I set myself a target last month of spending an hour a day on self development. What a revelation that has been! In the midst of work related tasks (which for me includes my business role, coaching clients, and runningĀ  (a must do before the marathon), I aimed to spend 60 minutes a day reading, writing, listening or studying. In this time, I have covered and revisited 2 amazing books – Stephen Covey’s ’7 habits of highly effective people’ and Brian Tracy ‘Eat that frog’.

What I have learnt in the last 3 weeks:

The importance of listening to others. Through my coaching, I am developing listening skills, picking up on verbal and non verbal language. Covey suggests you must ‘seek first to understand and then be understood’. Last week, I spend a week with my family which meant staying in 3 different parts of the UK, 2 family meals and lots of travelling! I used this time to really listen to each family members conversations and let them open up. An enjoyable experience!

I have also learnt (or remembered) the difficulty and subsequent rewards of marathon training. For the last 3 weeks, I have been running 5 times a week and have increased my long runs (15, 17 and 19.5 miles). This week is my biggest mileage week. Through determination to achieve my target time, I have continued to progress and noticed a real improvement in my running. As I feel this will be my final marathon (apart from the one at the end of Ironman!), I wanted to take stock of what I have learnt training for 4 marathons.

  • Pushing boundaries. With each hill, sprint or group interval session, I felt stronger and more in control. The speeds I can now achieve were completely unthinkable several months ago.
  • Discipline. Training in the UK, over winter is not an easy task. Fitting in 5 runs a week around a 70-80 hour working week is also challenging but I have enjoyed the experience. Early morning runs, late night runs, snow, wind and rain all make for a disciplined athlete.
  • Commitment. Similar to the above but more specifically about sticking to the task. When the going gets tough, injuries or extreme tiredness occurs, commitment is required to keep you going.
  • Accepting and seeing through a challenge. Commitment is the first step, the second step is action. Seeing through your actions is vital to ensure you succeed.

With my coaching clients and myself on past blog posts, I have set monthly targets. My favourite one was aiming for 6 miles in 60 minutes – a specific and quantifiable aim which was satisifying to achieve!

My summer triathlon races are looming, with the first event being on 1st May. For that reason, between now and the London marathon (17th April), I aim to:

  1. Swim once a week (quality session) and get back to the tri club sessions by the beginning of April
  2. Cycle twice a week (one on turbo and another longer ride) building up to 25 miles by 17th April.
  3. Gym once a week to work on core, legs and strengthen the glutes!

This is all achievable if I continue to push the boundaries, commit, dedicate and ‘eat that frog’ first thing every morning (read the book and you’ll see what I’m talking about!).