Yes it’s that time of the year – pollen season is here – and the associated hayfever for millions of people.
This time of year running presents new challenges – avoiding grass and parks and generally nice outdoors type areas. Training plans need adjusting and fine tuning to run in more built-up areas and at different times of the day. The worst time to run is late morning and early afternoon, when the pollen count is generally at its highest. So an early morning or evening run sound good.
Why then did I ignore this advice today? And run on empty again (yes I’ve done this before and know it’s not good)!
An early start today and little breakfast, a busy morning in London (for a very enjoyable Digital Leaders Think Tank roundtable session (more on this in a later post) at the top of 30 St. Mary Axe – otherwise known as The Gherkin – with some spectacular views of London – see below) and hot and muggy weather. Far from ideal conditions to do a 10k run with a decent time.
But it was on the plan so we did it. Same route as the last couple of 10k training runs – nice and easy, and not much grass along the way. Times for my 10k training runs so far vary from 44 1/2 minutes to 47 1/2 minutes – almost a 10% difference. Today was the higher end – just over 47 1/2 minutes. Rubbish. But it should have been expected for all the reasons above. See my earlier posts for some other thoughts on this.
Only just over one week to go until the British 10k. 2 more training runs planned this week and then 3 next. Planning to leave 1-2 days between the last training run and the actual race. With a 9:35am start and in central London, not in the parks, it should be a good time to run.
2 very very hard runs this week. Neither should have been particularly challenging – by the planned distances and paces alone. 8 miles yesterday – should have easily done it in under an hour but pace was all over the place after 1.5 miles in and finished up taking almost 1 hour 10 minutes. Then 4.5 miles today – intervals – but way slower than normal. One other run this week – on Monday – only 5 miles but good pace and felt good. So why so slow these last 2?
This is week 2 of the 10k plan. One run from the 4 planned runs last week was missed – due to my little sister coming to stay with her family. But wanted to do 3-4 this week and get back on track. Started off ok on Monday with a good 5 mile run but then 3 days off and late nights and long days on trips – so too long a break between runs.
I picked up a cold on a work trip to London last week, which never helps, and it’s still lingering on the chest a bit. And also has been passed onto the rest of the family as well. To top it off, it’s very very hot, and pollen season here in the UK, so hayfever is kicking in.
Add all these together and running (or any other exercise) is going to take a hit. When I set out yesterday for the 8 miles, I planned a nice easy 7:30 minutes per mile but finished at over 8:30 – rubbish. Legs were so heavy as well.
Back to the normal plan next week – only 6 weeks to go. And need to focus on pace and speed work more.
The moral of the story this week…
Don’t leave big gaps between training
Don’t run when sick or set realistic expectations and take it very very very slowly
Come up with a plan on how outdoors to run during the pollen season
Number 3 is in progress and I’m open to all suggestions. Do you suffer from seasonal ailments like hayfever and how do you train around them? In previous years it’s not affected my running like this and never in May.
Some pointers that I’ve found to help me before (though not this week):
Wear wrap around shades
Run in the early morning where possible
Stick to roads and avoid parks and grassy areas
If you belong to a gym, use a treadmill – air conditioned enclosed spaces a big big plus
Rub Vaseline on your nose and up your nostrils – stops pollen particles getting up
Interestingly the last post on this painful and unsightly running injury continues to have the highest number of views. So a follow-up is overdue and needed after 600+ more training miles and no nipple problems!
There are specialist (expensive) creams and roll-on things, special plastic covers (yes really) and even special (small) plasters. There are also compression tops, running tops made from special materials and even running with no top on! But what I’ve found that works 100% of the time for me, is good old fashioned Vaseline. A plain old big tub of the stuff – that costs less than £2.50 – sitting with my running kit ready. Just a good rub on either side about 5 minutes before a run – from 30 minutes ones up to 3 hour 30 minute ones – and no bleeding or soreness. Result. Don’t put it on and after the longer runs you know it. One possible side effect – that I’ve not seen much of – is it can stain your running top.
What is this amazing product? It dates back to the 1850’s and actually started as the residue that had to be remove from oil rig pumps. Some bright sparks had been rubbing on them to heal cuts and burns. Exactly what made them do is, is a whole other question. But 150+ years on and it’s a runners’ dream product – with a fair bit of refinement to give us what it is today (medicinal petroleum jelly).
And amazingly it’s good for other things – that you may not know about – like hayfever. One I need to test again as it’s that time of the year…
Don’t forget your tub for the big day. 9 sleeps time for me for the London Marathon.