A slight injury setback 

Posted by Nick Wednesday, November 02, 2011 4:51:00 PM

After Fitzroy Falls, the plan was to focus on ultra-distance training leading into Cradle Mountain in early February.  The week after Fitzroy felt great, with a quick recovery and the legs not feeling too bad.  The following Sunday, I did one of my regular routes from home down to Kurnell on road (18km on pavement) after which the cliff-top platforms and sand-dunes of Kamay Botany Bay National Park make for an excellent 12km run  back to Cronulla.  The right  hamstring tightness  that had bothered me at Fitzroy Falls really seized up, and this tightness caused secondary issues in the ITB.  Traveling on the rough trails around Kurnell with a tight leg made for very slow progress - reminiscent of struggles in the closing stages of Bogong to Hotham and Cradle Mountain from earlier this year, and it was apparent that a visit to the physio was in order.

Upon describing the grabbing of the hamstring at Fitzroy Falls and testing the flexibility in both the left and right hamstring, the physio (Hayden Latimer  - an excellent, pragmatic physio who I can really recommend if you work/ live in the Sydney CBD) diagnosed a low grade hamstring tear.  While subsequent research and self-diagnose attempts have me wondering if high hamstring tendonitis might in fact be the problem, the treatment for either condition is so similar that spending money and time on specialists appointments and MRIs to differentiate between the two is not worth it.

The hamstring is manageable, and a combination of icing, stretching, Voltarin gel and Voltarin tablets can allow me to race OK, but recovery is generally slow, speed work is difficult and at some stage doing a more significant injury is a possibility.  With all this in mind, I've made the decision to close out the current 2011 schedule (which was 2 short races and the 70km Kauri Ultra) and then take 2 weeks off followed by 2 weeks of light running.

The significant gap in training in late November and early December means that backing up for another run at Cradle Mountain in 2012 wasn't a good idea, and plans for the race were shelved to allow me to focus on hamstring (and general) recovery, then some speed training (which is more shorter in duration and suits the summer months well) followed by an autumn focus on finishing TNF100 is under 12 hours.
Unlike many others that seem to prefer warmer weather training, I'm a huge fun of winter training.  I don't struggle with getting out of bed in the dark and cold, and am happy to run for extended periods using a head-lamp.  In contrast, summer training, particularly for ultras, is bloody hard.  Even starting a run early (say at 5am) means that you're still going to be out there after 10am when its getting super hot, and I don't  find training in these conditions that much fun.

Once the rest and easy weeks are complete, I plan to start a 10km sub-40 minute program the week before Christmas (19 Dec) leading into a sub-40 hit out at the end of January.   I haven't run a 10km time trial in quite a long time, but I'd estimate I'm a 42 minute 10km runner at the moment.  The added speed will be a great boost in the shorter cross-country races I really enjoy, as well as being important for the longer events.  Looking at the top runners in short ultras (100km and less), and they're all very gifted and competitive runners at events of much shorter duration - all the way down to 10km events.

I'll be doing regular weekly postings of my 10km plan progress, and I'm really looking forward to trying out some new sessions that include track work over the summer months.

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