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By Oliver on

Sticking to the plan

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Like most runners, I’m completely OCD! So I start each new season with a plan, targeting each big event specifically and look forward to ticking off the progressive stepping stones along the way. This summer season was no different, in March my plan was made, by April it was waning a bit and by May it was pretty much out the window!

If injury, illness or other non-controllable’s happen it’s always frustrating when you can’t work as hard as you want to. Previously I have been known to benefit from the likes of a rotten cold or a downfall of snow, enforcing rest and recovery before big events. However, this recent blip was a hip niggle that seemed runnable at first but like so often happens, soon becomes un-runnable!

Luckily I have been running long enough to know these things happen. I was lucky last year that every day went to plan, a very rare occurrence in any endurance event! I could build methodically week on week, and month by month. So when I had to take time off last month I got on the bike without too much discontent, still knowing I had time on my side before the European Mountain trial. The days started to mount up though and like with many of us so do anxiety levels; missed sessions, missed long runs become the focus of our obsessive minds!

When there’s nothing you can do about plan A, you have to make a plan B, possibly C and sometimes down to G or J!!! Being adaptable is often a huge challenge in running but it is vital. Work, niggles, weather, illness or life events can mean training has to be adjusted and goalposts’ moved. I ran out of alphabet letters so currently plan-less until I’m confident my body is back on track!

I don’t recommend racing with an injury but I felt I was coming through the right side of it by the time the trial came around. I warmed up to see how I felt and that’s as far as I planned. I just hoped that cross-training would have kept me somewhere near qualifying shape and that my mind would know what to do when the gun sounded! The main objective was achieved as I got through pain-free, the second objective was a bonus as I claimed the last spot on the team. I then booked in quick to get physio treatment and make sure things were functioning as they should. I have steadily got back into training since. I’m not in the shape I want to be going to the championships, but I’m pain free and certainly not going to try and start playing catch-up. There’ll always be other races. New goals can always be set and new plans made, but the body needs respect and time to rest and heal, which is so often out of our control. Since the trial I raced an uphill only race last weekend and although I feel a bit lacklustre climbing, the feeling of racing again quickly eradicates the frustration of re-writing plans. Maybe tomorrow I’ll start pencilling something down again but until then I’ll enjoy some ad-hoc training as my body allows!

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