Monday, 3 December 2012

A marathon? In December? In Pisa? Why not?

Finally a blog update! Yes I am still here and I am still running and running and running and running. Shamefully my last post appears to be 31stJuly 2011! Sorry about that! Not that much of note has happened running wise between then and August 2012. This has been the result of my persistent shin splints, a couple of failed comebacks and the small matter of my ‘real work’ at London 2012 which among other commitments involved 12 hour night shifts. Saying that at no point did I give up on the running despite so many setbacks. During that period of a year I tried more solutions to my injury and always kept pounding the pavements to some extent. More physio, more podiatry, more stretches, more gadgets, more miracle cures….I thought I’d tried everything but there always seems to be something else to spend my money on in the hope that all my problems will be solved!  I might blog about some of these when time allows - I can't describe how frustrating it is to spend so much time trying to get to the bottom of it when it just keeps reoccurring. It's a long walk home when you feel that injury come back during a run after weeks of thinking you'd sorted it out once and for all.

A MASSIVE thank you to everyone who has supported me during my injury journey and put up with my moaning and running-related moodswings!

Anyway........POSITIVE THINKING as for now I seem to have kept the shin splints at bay and have managed over 3 months of relatively pain free training including some races which you can read about below! It has taken me a while to write these up and they are horribly out of date  but hopefully they'll still be of some interest.

A 3D gait analysis to try and figure out the cause of my shin splints

If you're reading this looking for a solution to shin splints I'm afraid I still don't have the answer. I have been consistently stretching my calves and getting regular deep tissue massages though which I'm sure has contributed to my recovery. 

So what's up next? Well I didn't announce it on the blog at the time so for those who don’t know, I took the plunge and signed up for the Pisa City Marathon which takes place on 16th December. WHY you ask? A marathon in December in a random European city? Well my main motivation for this one is the chance of a qualifying time for London Marathon 2013. I have had to pull out the last two years because of the injury so I'm desperate to get on the starting line in 2013. My original plan had been to qualify with a half marathon time, but I started to realise that this wasn't realistic and in the end decided I’d have a better chance of cracking the marathon qualification time which requires a sub 2 hours 45 mins marathon. This compares to the sub 1 hour 15 mins half marathon I'd have needed. I need to apply before the end of the year so in terms of timing Pisa fitted the bill. It's also flat and won't be hot so there's good PB potential. I shouldn't have to worry about getting some pasta the night before either. Fortunately Sarah is joining me and we're making a weekend of it so I won’t be making the trip to Italy on my own.

The race starts close to the leaning tower

On the day I post this update, I have less than 2 weeks to go and have already started my ‘taper’, gradually reducing my mileage. My main aim is to avoid getting a cold within the next 2 weeks so I'm in peak condition on the start line. If I'm honest I really don’t know whether I’ll be able to make the time or not. My PB is 2:47:51 so I'm only 3 minutes off but it's a lot more than it sounds and that was over 2 years ago. I should get close to it but a marathon time is hard to predict and the distance has to be respected. I didn't really give myself many weeks to train either so wasn't able to reach the mileage I wanted to. On the upside, Pisa won't have the hills of Loch Ness and the heat of Edinburgh so as long the snow stays away I could have a chance. If nothing else it'll be good to get another marathon under my belt as it's over 2 years since Loch Ness and it'll be an experience to race in a foreign land.

13 more sleeps.....


  1. Another interesting post. Good luck in Pisa. I will be thinking about you both!

  2. p.s. I hope you get there before that tower falls over!

  3. fab post mr b :) wishing u all the best for Pisa!!im sure ul smash it!!!! DIG DEEP!!!!

  4. An amazing experience of running merathon, thanks for sharing this experience with us.