A post from a husband needing advice…

Today I am taking a back seat on the blogging front and letting my husband take the reigns as he needs some advice…

Hi everyone, I’m Ben. You know of me as Anna’s husband if you read her blog! I’ve been running for 18 months now. I gave up smoking last march and running keeps me off the cigarettes. I’ve run 2 marathons – both disasters! For Portsmouth I had a torn hip flexor and was in pain from mile 8 (read about that fun time HERE). And for Paris I had cramp from mile 4! Berlin was going to be my “good race”.

I have been struggling with an injury for some time and I always expected it would recover weeks, if not months, before the Berlin marathon. However, here I am less than 2 weeks before Berlin and I haven’t ran in over 5 weeks! I need some blogger advice from runners so I thought I would hijack Anna’s blog to ask anyone reading this…

It all started surprisingly enough in marathon training. I went out and ran an 18 miler, averaging 40secs per mile slower than marathon pace and I felt my hamstring get a bit tight. It wasn’t enough to stop me but was enough that I could feel it. The day after it was tight but I thought it was just a tight muscle so took an extra rest day and then ran a local RR10 (local 4-5 mile race). Again after the race it was tight so I took another extra rest day before running Ultra 12 (a 12 hour through the night relay race).

Ultra 12 Ben (2)Did I mention we won it? I’ve never won anything before in my life! I don’t run to win; I’m not a fast runner so this was a big deal.

Ultra 12 Ben

I ran 4 x 5 mile laps and after each one my hamstring was agony. That was the start of my break. I took 10 days off. In that time I went to physio, he wasn’t bothered and said take time off. The hamstring was tight because of an issue with my back. That was also causing pain in my knee which was more painful than the tight hamstring. I listened to him and decided to take time off, not run, I kept my fitness by cycling and occasionally swimming. I expected to be running within a few weeks.

The last 6 weeks have been a pretty bad time for me, I know Anna has been injured on and off for a while and I have tried my best to support her throughout that time but it is tough to support an injured dejected runner. When it was my turn to get injured my usual positivity around injuries was replaced by negativity and almost a defeated attitude. I haven’t eaten well and have drank more alcohol than usual. Mainly because that’s what I do, if I can’t run I eat cake, chocolate, fast food and drink beer and wine.

IMG_7857Anna’s drink of choice (squash) and mine (wine) 

Anyway, enough of that. There is a light at the end of the tunnel and it looks like I might be able to do a run this weekend. My hamstring is still ridiculously tight but I have to at least try the run. If it goes badly then I will have to admit defeat and say Berlin is off. I will go and support Anna and get absolutely obliterated on German beer.

But what if the run goes ok? I have kept up my fitness so that I can run the marathon but can I actually get around 26.2 miles with such a lack of miles in my legs? My plan if I run it is to go out at 9 min miles (3:57 marathon time). Ironically if I ran this consistently then I would PB. But I am not going for a time. Anyway, if I go out at 9 min miles (which is a comfortable pace for me the last time I ran) then I push that as far as I can – hopefully 15-18 miles. The next 11-8 miles are then going to be a world of pain, walk running to get to the end. I know the sensible thing would be to not run it but I mean seriously – this is Berlin. I am not after a time, I just want to get around.

What do you all think?

18 Replies to “A post from a husband needing advice…”

  1. I think it’s perfectly possible for you to get round the marathon if your test-run goes well. The question is, presuming you’re definitely okay with whatever time you do (I only say that because I’ve said myself that I don’t care about time, and then once I’ve finished I’m almost as sad and disappointed as if I hadn’t run the race at all due to the fact I’ve run a terrible time), are you willing to face the possible aftermath of Berlin, no matter how potentially severe?

    You really need to weigh up in your mind whether you’ll feel worse not running the race and recovering/getting back to full fitness quite soon, at which point you could train for a different race and run to your full potential, or running Berlin but then having to take more months off running, which sadly is a real possibility given the missed training. I think it really is such an individual decision, and I will say that, for someone of my personality (and we sound quite similar in the respect of drowning in sadness and junk food whenever we can’t run!) I would attempt to run the race if there was any remote possibility of finishing, because I would be filled with regret and ‘what-ifs’ otherwise.

    I really hope you do make Berlin, but if not then there ARE other races, and taking care of yourself is the most important thing…so don’t drown your sorrows too much (easier said than done I know!)

    All the best.

    1. From Ben:
      I get what you are saying about the aftermath, the advice I have got from the physio is that I should be fine afterwards. My mind is pretty much made up and it sounds like we are very similar! I want to run it or at least try it, I have never ran a marathon off of no training and quite interested to see how it goes. That said if I feel injured I will pull out or not run it at all. I can’t describe how I feel at the minute, a slight tightness but not a pain, very strange. Thanks for your advice 🙂
      AnnaTheApple recently posted…Weekend fun and Uzuma drinksMy Profile

  2. Honestly mate, don’t do it. You have done two marathons whilst injured so why put yourself through a third, with the risk of even more damage. Go there, drink beer, enjoy yourself etc, then focus on slow recovery, triathlons etc between now and Christmas….then you will be in great shape to crack on and train for a spring marathon at your full potential. Sorry if this sounds harsh!

  3. I’m absolutely no expert on this as I have never run more than a half… But my gut reaction is don’t run it. You haven’t had a good marathon yet or achieved what you had hoped… I think it’s important for you to get a good marathon under your belt and I just don’t know whether this is the time for it given your injuries and lack of training. Yes, it’s Berlin, yes, it sounds amazing… But there will be other marathons. As I said, not speaking from experience and I know you are determined enough to do it… but I just want you to have a good marathon and feel positive about the distance, not struggle your way through it.
    Karen recently posted…Recent results…My Profile

    1. From Ben:
      I agree, I need a good marathon but at the same time I am not in a rush to have a good experience, I want to run 100 in my life – that is my challenge. Berlin isn’t a once in a lifetime but it is less and less likely to get into foreign marathons year on year. I am going to go out there and attempt to run it and just try to enjoy a marathon with no pressure!
      AnnaTheApple recently posted…Weekend fun and Uzuma drinksMy Profile

  4. I would say that if the run goes well, then it is possible for you to complete Berlin. If you want to enjoy the atmosphere (I mean, it is Berlin- it will be amazing) then why not do a run/walk strategy from the start? Or start a bit slower than 9 min miles so that the last few miles are not so painful? If you are not bothered by what time you finish in, then I would say do it, but do it slowly and enjoy the day. If you start out at your planned pace and the the wheels fall off you might have 2 hours of struggling, which could the set your injury back further too.
    Maria @ runningcupcake recently posted…Baldock 10K recapMy Profile

    1. From Ben:
      Thanks Maria, I agree about the run/walk and said to Anna I would consider it. The silly thing is that I wonder if my fitness could carry my through the marathon and enable me to run the distance or at least further distance that I have before so think I will go out at 9.5 min miles and then see how I feel at the halfway mark. I agree 2 hours of struggling would be tough but that’s worst case scenario and I really hope it doesn’t come to that!
      AnnaTheApple recently posted…Weekend fun and Uzuma drinksMy Profile

  5. Sorry to hear about your injuries! Did the physio give you any exercises? Usually if you are feeling pain somewhere else, when it’s caused by your back, it means that you have a muscle imbalance and need to strengthen those muscles. Secondly, to loosen your hamstring, try to sit on a golf ball and move around on it. It will HURT SO BAD… but afterwards, it will feel so good. It should help to loosen it a bit and work it out. Also a foam roller would be great to use on the hamstring and on your IT band.

    If you are able to run this weekend and you are OK with not hitting any times and just running for the experience, I think you can go for it. However, I am a runner and not a medical person speaking sooo… 🙂 But totally know where you are coming from, it’s BERLIN!
    Lora @ Crazy Running Girl recently posted…On pins and needlesMy Profile

    1. From Ben:
      Thanks Lora, yes the physio has given me exercises but it seems to be a bit of a strange injury! Stretching the hamstring made it worse so I had to completely back off for a bit, anyway it’s a lot better now. You know what I’m saying – its BERLIN! How can I not run it! 🙂
      AnnaTheApple recently posted…Weekend fun and Uzuma drinksMy Profile

  6. Wow, I knew you were injured but hadn’t really appreciated how bad it was. Poor you!

    Firstly, I hope the test run goes well.

    Secondly, how do you even begin to make a decision like that?! We all know runners are a little crazy and not great at listening to our bodies! If you can honestly say the time won’t bother you, not even a little bit, then if the test run goes well give it a go.. But realistically, I suspect it will niggle you. Maybe you’d be better off drinking that great German beer, supporting Anna and then running your marathon when they time’s right for you to have a good one.

    I think you’re in a really tough place, if you don’t run you’ll wonder ‘what if’ and if you do, it might be months before you can run again….

    Good luck with the test run and whatever you decide to do!
    Liz recently posted…If life gets crazy… De-Clutter!My Profile

    1. From Ben:
      Hey Liz, yeah things have been pretty pants recently. You know me well – the time will be on my mind, although I say it won’t be. That said I want to run it and get around, even if I walk run. Ultimately the decision comes down to can I run without pain – if yes then I will attempt to run it – slowly. If no then beer and support it is. Thank you! 🙂
      AnnaTheApple recently posted…Weekend fun and Uzuma drinksMy Profile

  7. So sorry to hear about the injury issues! As a soccer player, I feel like Im always injured, whether it be from a sprained ankle or a pulled groin. I never let my body heal, and that for sure is a mistake. I say take the time you need to really let it heal, because even if you can run, what’s the point if its at half speed? Unless of course your a-ok again, then by all means, run your little heart out!
    Kat recently posted…Be Unapologetically, You.My Profile

    1. From Ben:
      Thanks Kat, I get what you are saying and if I was giving anyone else advice then would say to them “you’re thinking of running injured – don’t!” The problem is I am no good at taking my own advice. I am not actually bothered if I don’t run the whole thing or if I have to walk I would just like to do it. Tough decision whatever I go for!
      AnnaTheApple recently posted…Weekend fun and Uzuma drinksMy Profile

  8. I think see how the test run goes, ultimately in your mind you will know whether you will be able to get round it or not. I was going to defer, but I’ve just decided to do it, and see what happens, because the what if’s if I didn’t at least attempt it would be worse I think. Good luck with the tester!
    Lauren (@poweredbypb) recently posted…Letting go (or not) of BerlinMy Profile

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