Paul Walters runs the London Marathon

Report from Sunday 23rd January 2000

Shin Splints

Over the Xmas break I have been continuing the training, and I upped my distance in training to up to 14 miles - from Reigate down the A23, a circuit of Horley, back to Reigate for a circuit of the ring road and back home. The advantage of this run is that it is mostly lit, so it can be run at any time. My previous long run was going to be my short run - that is, a circuit of the Redhill ring road, down the A23 to Earlswood, down the Woodhatch Road to Woodhatch, over to Reigate for a circuit of the ring road, and home - an excellent route, but only just over 10 miles, and now not long enough. I now do not run either of these routes - read on to find out why.

I have been thinking about what races to do as preparation for the marathon, and have been considering races of between 15 and 20 miles. I was hoping to run the Mitcham 25,000 metres race today, but did not do the race in the end - more on why in a bit. Two weeks ago I ran the "Tadworth 10" race - a marvellous ten mile course, quite hilly, starting from Epsom race course. I acheived a time of 74 minutes, which beats my personal best, and in fact is by far the quickest 10 miles I have ever run taking into account the hills. I've also been running well with the Reigate Priory AC in training, but have now ducked running in their cross country races, as I find them hard and unenjoyable.

The big thing that has happened recently is that after the Tadworth 10 I decided that I was starting to suffer from shin splints - I think that's how you write it, and I think it's microfractures of the shin bone - dunno. I just have a nagging feeling in my right shin, caused by continual pounding on the roads. If I continue to run long distances on roads, I now suspect that I won't reach the Marathon. I have suffered from shin splints before, and it was very painful. If it develops, that's the end of running for me for the time being.

Therefore, I've now backed out of all road running, all Reigate Priory AC road training, and all races. I've decided that instead of continuing with the training I've been doing, I'm now going to do circuits of Reigate Priory park. I spent 110 minutes this morning doing circuits of the park, and it was quite good. My legs really tied up at the end, and I couldn't have gone much further, but I had not realised quite how large and how hilly the park is. In fact I was so taken with it that I took the family for a walk in the park woods this afternoon. I have had a break from running for the last week due to worry over my shin, but if you ever take a walk in the park now - especially on a Sunday morning - you'll probably see me doing all sorts of circles and circuits in the park!

Anyhow, I soldier on, and I'm confident I'll get there. I now have two aims. I only want to run only 1 race before the marathon - a 15.6 mile race outside Bedford which I'll run with my brother, and I want to try to really start to up the distance I run. I'm hoping to spend 2.5 hours running something like up to 18 miles in the park on Sunday mornings at some point. We'll see.

I did not acheive London Marathon entry, so I now have to rely on an NSF "Gold Bond" place. Basically, charities purchase places in the Marathon, and then get people to take up the places on the understanding that they collect over a certain amount for them. It was an understanding that I would collect for the NSF whether I acheived selection or not. NSF allow people to have Gold Bond places if they expect to collect over 1000 pounds, so that's got to be my aim for the sponsorship.

Sponsorship is not going well. I have advertised my web site at work, in the NSF publications to it's members, and I'll also be in the Surrey Mirror in the next week or so. However, it is clearly not an effective way of promoting the sponsorship required, and I must soon start a more direct approach. I want to collect at least over 1,000 pounds for the NSF, and currently I'm way off. This is something I'm going to try to address very soon.

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