Chiltern Wonderland training update

Halfway through training for CW50 and I've hit the reset switch

Here we are then: eight weeks into training for Chiltern Wonderland 50, with another eight weeks to go. I guess it’s a good time to update the few of you who read these things.

It’s been going alright…

I’ve averaged 93 km (58 miles) per week over the past couple of months. The majority of my runs have been easy, low heart rate efforts, with a speedier session every week to stop me getting rusty.

Am I happy with my progress so far? Well, yes and no.

Graph showing weekly training mileage for Chiltern Wonderland 50 2022
Weekly mileage, or the kilometre equivalent (kilomage?)

The consistency has been good and I’ve been recovering well, with no noticeable fatigue. I took a mini-taper on week six, which concluded with a catered long run that you can read about here.

The following week, I eased back into training, with a midweek hill rep workout and a hilly long run at the weekend. It seems those were too much for my little leggies.

…and then it stopped going alright

The day after the long run, I went for my usual super-easy Sunday shuffle. I fine until about 8 km, when hip flexor tightened up. I didn’t think it warranted stopping for as it was low on the pain scale. I also had a rest day coming up, so I just eased back and jogged home.

A combo of stretching and massage gunning my legs reduced the discomfort. To the point I couldn’t tell there was an issue while doing normal day-to-day things.

Come Tuesday, I head out for an easy run and it’s fine. Up until about the 40-minute mark, when the tightness returned. Back home I went, for yet more stretching and massaging.

Hoping to be third time lucky, I did another easy run on Wednesday and again, the tightness arrived bang on 40 minutes. I aborted the run and returned home, slightly anxious, but mostly annoyed.

So I saw a physio

After searching online and making calls for a few hours, I found a physio who could see me the same day. Result!

Unfortunately, I stumbled upon physical therapist equivalent of David Goggins. He got me to do various exercises to assess my physical and seemingly mental state.

“C’mon, is that all you can do?” he jibed when my hamstrings wouldn’t let me squat like a Russian dancer. I nearly lost it when, in the middle of doing some calf raises, he said I was underperforming and “should do better as an ultra runner.”

He continued condescending me for an hour, then I paid him £75.00 for the privilege. I also got to experience his fingers, knuckle-deep, in my intestines as he attempted to ‘release’ my psoas. A procedure that made me reevaluate my pain threshold.

If you’ve never had the pleasure of having this done, then the video below is a good example. It’s horrible.

What’s the problem? I’ve no idea. Like nearly every single physio I’ve ever seen, they never seem to commit to a diagnosis. They just find weakened areas and get you to focus on those for two weeks instead. It’s almost like the issue will resolve itself while you’re concentrating on something else…

He did say I could continue running, but to dial back the duration and intensity. So I took his comments onboard, by taking five days of rest instead.

And hired a coach

Into the second half of training I go, not knowing if the time off has been enough to fix my hip or not. I have, however, sought advice by hiring a coach for the first time ever.

So I’ve gone with Sophie Mullins, who came recommended by a fellow runner during the South Downs Way 50 earlier this year. She has a string of successes, which include winning the British 100 km Championship and is frequently seen at the sharp end of races.

I’m not afraid to admit I need guidance now. My training has been derailed and I need to get it back on track without overdoing it. After coming so close to racing Chiltern Wonderland last year, I’m eager to make it to the start in 2022.

Fingers, toes and eyes crossed that I’m not writing a follow-up post very soon, saying it’s game over. If I can make it through the next eight weeks relatively intact, I’ll be a very happy man indeed.

As always, you can follow my progress/demise on Strava.

Look ma, I’m on Street View!

Oh, I nearly forgot to mention that I recently realised my life’s ambition: I’m on Google Street View. You can tell by the hideous colour combo that it was wash day in the Cross household. Yikes.