I started writing run notes last September, as a way to keep track of my performance and progress. Here’s what I got up to in December 2021.

I ran

  • 65km in total (-210km on the previous month)
  • 16.1km for my longest run (-9.6km on the previous month)


Probably the month I did myself some damage.

The training was going well. After running over 1,000km in my previous road shoes, I decided to get some new Kayano 28s. They have a toggle lacing system, which cradles the foot and gives a more even tie.

Which seems to have been my downfall.

I’d developed a black toenail on my right foot, which had been pretty painful, and meant I was switching weight to my left foot. But I’d also been tying my shoes too tightly, meaning the extensor tendons on my left foot were getting squashed. With all the training I was doing, the tendons became inflamed, and it was near impossible to walk for a couple of days.

After a week of resting, I went for a test run and managed 1km before having to head home. Lots of pain and stiffness in the left foot. I was distraught.


Anyway, a few days after the test run, I headed back to my parents’ house in Wolverhampton for the Christmas period. A day after arriving, I tested positive for coronavirus which meant I spent the next 10 days either horizontal in bed or confined to a small box room. Which meant lots of resting for the foot!

I was worried about my lungs though. Running has been my way of getting a release the last 18 months and to lose it would be so upsetting. So I was eager to get out again as soon as possible.

On Boxing Day I went on a short 3km run. Luckily the virus hadn’t done any damage to my breathing, but 3 weeks of rest had dinted my fitness a bit!

Chesterton Walls

After a couple more test runs, with the foot feeling tight but not painful, I decided I should be able to manage an 11km trail run along the Shropshire-South Staffordshire ridge, from Chesterton Walls, an Iron Age hill fort near to where I grew up.

It was tons of fun, especially when I happened upon the brook at Great Moor, near Pattingham. Had no idea that existed! The only option was to run through it, which to be honest really helped my left foot cool down.

Time off to recover

Technically the Chesterton Walls run happened on New Year’s Day, not December, but I took January and February off from running in order to give my left foot proper time to recover. It was never quite right after each run and I had to ice the swelling, but with my ultramarathon training due to start at the end of February, I didn’t want to aggravate it.

What I learned

  • Don’t tie your laces too tight