Working towards the Poppy Half

The past couple of weeks have gone better than the last time I posted here. I managed to run the week after my last post as I hoped I would with a tentative couple of miles along the Thames.

Me being me I followed that up with a longer 6k run the following Sunday in foul weather joining my wife.

Once I was back in Jersey the basketball winter season had started again so I started playing although for the first game I probably only played half the match, at pretty much half speed, being very careful with my calf.

I had a short run on Wednesday that was interrupted, but I made up for it with a fun unstructured 5km run on Friday morning in Reading.

Saturday was parkrun day once again seeing me take on Prospect parkrun for the second time. It went slightly better than the first time did but I still am finding both the course and speed work really hard. Actually, I’m not really doing speed work at the moment so I can’t really be surprised that my parkruns aren’t improving or even getting back towards the 25 minute mark. All in good time but I need to prioritise distance with the Poppy Half being quite as close as it is.

On Sunday, my wife and I went once again and this time I went out looking for a longer distance and ended up at 14km. We had run together along the Thames back to Reading station but split up around half way along or run upon which I did another lap around the Thames Path. It certainly wasn’t my fastest run ever but I was happy with it all the same.

Yesterday, I played basketball once again but in addition to that I ran to and from the venue – about a mile each way. My calf might not have been perfect but it certainly has improved enormously on where I was a couple of weeks ago.

I am hoping I might run tomorrow morning but I certainly will on Friday morning in Reading. That will take us up until more or less two weeks before the Poppy Half and therefore pretty much too late for any distance work to be of any benefit. I remember that when I did go into the Reading Half Marathon last year I had far less training and still performed pretty well. The preparation might not have been perfect but I still have reason to be positive.


I’ll say now this isn’t going to be my most positive post ever. I have various reasons for feeling disappointed with running at the moment so will post them here and probably feel a bit sorry for myself.

But first of all, let’s look at what runs I have managed to achieve.

During the early part of September, we spent a short time in Greece on holiday and in that time I managed to fit in a couple of really good runs, lots of swimming and my first time ever stand-up paddle boarding.

During the course of September I also began getting into a routine splitting my time between Jersey and Reading. When my wife goes to work when I am in Reading I tend to go for a run, even though this tends to be around 7 in the morning which is certainly not a time I’d ever do when I am in Jersey. although having said that I might change my attitude to early morning runs based on my Reading experiences.

I also ran at my sixth parkrun destination at Prospect Park (following Jersey, Southwark, Reading, Southsea and Old Deer Park) but unfortunately this wasn’t my best ever effort coming in around 28 minutes.

A couple of weekends ago I went for an 8 mile run around a loop I have created between home, the River Thames and the Reading Festival site. The loop is about 4 miles and I did the first lap with my wife and the second on my own at a slightly faster pace. For a change it was at the relatively luxurious time of 8am.

My next run after that did not go well. I had planned to do an interval session but only got as far as the first interval before feeling a tweak in my calf muscle. I tried to run the second interval but it got a bit worse for that, so instead I just walked home.

I thought that a couple of days rest would help however a week, and a couple of tentative attempts at running, later I am still being bothered by the problem. At the moment I am hoping to be better by the time I get to Reading next on Thursday.

Ideally, I need to be better soon in order to get myself fully prepared for the Poppy Half Marathon in just under 5 weeks time. That being said I have certainly gone into half marathons less well prepared than this (such as the 2017 Reading Half) but I was certainly hoping for a better preparation for this run.

Other than being injured, the other irritation has been the ballot process for the London Marathon. Once again for what I believe is the 5th year in a row I’ve been rejected and while the rejection itself is not rare at all, the whole process of it annoys me. When the race is as oversubscribed as it is I don’t really understand why the organisers prioritise people who have run it before over those who have not.

Maybe part of it for me is that I have no intention of running any other marathon. I did my 1 marathon in 2016 in Jersey and don’t plan to do another, other than London in the unlikely event I get in one day. So the fluffy well wishers on Facebook saying there are so many other events that you could take part in just annoy me more. I have lots of events I can take part in but there’s only one marathon I’m interested in and that’s London.

At the end of the day I can easily imagine that the next time I run a marathon will be during a longer event such as the 24-hour event we’ve been looking at. But I dare say I’ll keep trying to enter London until they let me in one day.