9. Tony Tickle’s Race Diary, April 2012 – The ‘Comeback’ Continues.

So, how’s the comeback going? Not too bad, thanks for asking. The British Masters Indoor Champs in March came too early for me; I was 5th in the 1500m (4:34.4, last year 4:28.8) and 5th in the 3000m (9:40.5, last year 9:22.8). That’s my last go in the M45 age group, I’ll be 50 this year so can hopefully look forward to being more competitive in the older age group……maybe.

Returning from injury is a real balancing act. A question often asked is, how long does it take to get your fitness back? My experience is that the old saying is more or less true – that is, it takes about as long to get back as the time you were out. By necessity, I’ve been training with much less volume since I started again. After 9 weeks I ran 27.44 for 5 miles, almost a PB (from 2010, it’s quite rare to run a 5 mile race these days). After 10 weeks I ran the Newham 10k in 33.51 – don’t get excited (like I did), it was a short course. I had the Garmin on though and made it only about 40 seconds short, so again very close to my PB. These were very encouraging results so when the chance to run the following week as a guest in a Southern League track 5000m cropped up I jumped at the chance.

Now the track 5000m had a bit of significance for me, as I had been aiming for over a year to try to break the club V40 record of 16:38.35. My first two attempts were outside 17 minutes but in the Vets AC Champs last August I had my best chance in a great race. I recorded 16:38.39 – yes, that’s right, four hundredths of a second too slow! Should have dipped for the line I suppose. Anyway, I thought I’d give it another go now, even though it seemed more likely I’d be on better form for the Kent County 5000m Champs in another few weeks.

It turned out to be a much better run than the last attempt as I had to spend most of the race alone, having been dropped by the first two after a couple of laps. I was dropping off the required 80 seconds a lap schedule for the last few laps but managed to produce a 74 second last 400 to record 16:37.11. Mission accomplished, and very pleased I was too.

So that was about 11 weeks after starting again, a little short of the time I was out but near enough, and I now seem to be running at a similar level to just before I got injured. It appears that it is comparatively ‘easy’ to return to a previous level of form after an enforced lay-off – but of course will surely be as difficult as ever to improve to another level. I’ve no idea if I would be faster now with a winter’s training behind me or still struggling to improve beyond current limits.

Short term targets looming are the Kent County 5000m Champs in a couple of weeks and the Bupa London 10k two weeks later. I’d especially like to get a good time at the 10k; I’ll report back quickly if I do, and not if I don’t as I’m bound to be sulking.