Nursing some post-Berlin soreness meant a month of virtually no running – a strange and sudden contrast to the last 3 months. In the midst of this slump I decided to cheer myself up by signing up to a summer race, a nice race that would be fun to run slowly if the injury persists, but a great run to race if I find myself back on form.
The choice: the Down Tow Up Flow half marathon, hosted by Purple Patch Running.
The race is a point to point course that runs along the Thames towpath between Marlow and Windsor. Each year it changes direction, one year being down tow and the next year up flow (cute, huh?). I ran this race last year and so knew that it would be the perfect event to lift me out of my Berlin blues. The scenery is just beautiful, the organisation is brilliant, and the numbers are so small (about 500 last year) that the atmosphere is quite special. No roads or paths are closed for the race so you spend a lot of your time thanking weekend ramblers and cyclists for moving out of the way. No path closure also means that the race catches many of the locals by surprise – they just watch and clap and cheer you from their boats!
The only downside to this race is that it involves quite a few kissing gates and bridges, so it is not an event for any PB hunters out there. But that is just what appealed to me this summer – I’m not chasing a PB, just a nice day out. I will be attempting a proper training plan though and ideally would like to finish under 2 hours (just to prove that Berlin wasn’t a fluke!). But if the knee niggles persist then I will just enjoy the scenery, the company (a few pals are running too), and the post-race banana.
I really am just going with the flow this time.
I haven’t been completely inactive since Berlin – I’ve been cycling and swimming, and indulged in some crosstraining (which I will tell you all about in a later post) – but the few parkruns that I’ve jogged have felt quite tough, almost like I have forgotten how to run! I’m worried that my training plan is a little optimistic, but here it is anyway. I’ve tried to integrate some progressive runs into the plan (a long run, 2 thirds easy and last third at race pace) after speedy Tim from the Chasers kept harping on about them, and I’ve added some hill sessions too to help with leg strength in the aftermath of the leg/knee pain saga. It also incorporates the wonderful Orion 5 races, hosted by the Orion Harriers running club. What do you think?