My couple of weeks away from running seem to have assisted my improvement no end. I ran my normal mid-week runs with little ill effect and only minor “erring on the side of caution” alteration of the outings. The 4 miles of hills was slower and only included two hill repeats, my thinking being I’ll build up if I don’t break down. But the miracle was a decently fast half mile split on the longest, steepest of the hills. And I felt fine, if a little twinge did set in on the Wednesday afternoon. My flat fast evening was along the same lines; I held off on outright sprinting, instead concentrating on swift but easy (ish) breathing, focusing on my footfall and keeping my feet steady and stable on the ground. A reasonable first mile was built on with all subsequent miles coming faster, culminating in an out-of-breath me but with legs still intact and a hope for “proper” training next week.
And then my weekend plans were to up the mileage to a decent weekend distance without going mad and again hurting myself. I fancied 8 slow miles but reduced this to 7 as a promise to slowly increase. I set a target of 8 minutes per mile and a promise to not run ahead of myself. I almost succeeded at this, too.
And everything is ticking along just fine for a change. The longer run has tightened my calves a touch and I think this may be partly brought on by my focusing on keeping a steady, flat, full foot-fall. At these slower speeds I can focus on each stride and correct myself before I’ve put in half a mile of bad running. And I already find myself having to twist and twitch my wrists less than last week to keep my feet in the right direction, so hopefully I’m curing myself as I progress.
The proof of the pudding will be as I head out again next week and see how things go. Healthy, decent running form and the optimism of spring? Wonderful.