I don’t know….it’s never happened to me before and I flippin well hope that it never happens again. Yesterday’s run should have been perfect. A short car journey to a local reservoir on a beautiful spring day, 2 laps, a water strategy in place (I was leaving a bottle half way round, to be collected on the second lap), porridge for breakfast and armed with 2 energy gels, music, sunglasses and my new thermal cap (supposed to keep the head cool) and I’m as ready as ever.
The circuit is 6.5 miles. I was to run it twice. A 2 mile warm up, followed by 2 x 5miles at 10k pace and a 4 minute walk in between, followed by a 1 mile cool down. I ran 14.7 at the weekend just gone, no problem. So this should have been challenging, but not massively so.
The first lap went well and the first half of the second. Then I remember feeling, very suddenly, very tired. I was hot but, I thought I was well hydrated. I still felt thirsty but had a ‘sloshing’ in my stomach that would not go away, so I thought not to drink any more. I’d had both my energy gels by this time, so I hadn’t run out of energy. I really don’t know what happened. I remembered a mantra “I am strong, I can do this” and I also remember thinking that, through all of my training, this was the first time I’d had to use it. I was also thinking that it would only be another couple of minutes before I would stop and pick up my water bottle. This point then, would only be another 2.5 miles away from the car, 1 of which would be a cool-down. But it wasn’t to be. After I stopped to pick up my water, I tried to get going again but I just couldn’t. My body was screaming at me to stop and I just couldn’t move my legs into running mode again. It was nothing short of agony. What was wrong? I could feel each of the muscles in my thighs, my glutes and my calves and they wouldn’t run.
All I could do was walk the rest of the way. I went from sweating in the sunshine to shivering and sulking, totally perplexed about what could have gone wrong. I think my body had just had enough. Not enough sleep earlier in the week possibly and not enough rest after the previous week maybe. I think they call it accumulated fatigue, which is good to train the body for the fatigue in the marathon, but I hit my limits.
I have had a total break today. Went to lunch with an old friend and the cinema this evening. I’m a little despondent still. But I know from the writings of most running coaches that most people have days when they just can’t get it, can’t feel it or can’t do it. Maybe it happened to teach me to rest more and listen to my body. Although I felt OK before and during the most part of the run.
Tomorrow I will get back in the saddle and see what happens. This week was supposed to be the highest mileage week before tapering and I have planned a 18-20 miler for Sunday. Maybe I need to taper a little and save my energy for that too?
Any thoughts or suggestions would be great!
This edit today – May 8th – here is a link to a great email I received from Runners Connect this morning about exactly what happened to me!