Gavin Caney trying to keep up with ‘pacesetters’ Matt Pyatt, left, and Mitchell Bunn.Picture: LISA PYATT.

I broke another personal best at the time I almost broke myself.

I’ve been pushing pretty hard, but sensibly, since I started to take up running seriously at the turn of the year. My training has been packed with progression while I’ve carefully increased my mileage to ensure my body can cope with the new demands on it.

That’s not to say it hasn’t hurt during or after runs, especially early on. But that pain has been manageable and part and parcel of pushing yourself. I’ve also discovered that slower recovery runs and easier sessions are crucial in helping protect the body from injury, while maximising the ability to push even harder during speed sessions.

The problem arrives when you think you’ve built enough of a platform to push harder than ever but quickly discover you’re not quite ready for it. 

With a second child imminent in a matter of days (unless he’s arrived between me writing this and you reading it) my plan had always been to turn things up a notch in April as I tried to end a four-year wait to break my 5k personal best time of 18.16 before sleepless nights closed in.

However, I hadn’t realised that an extra intense training run a week – on top of the return of six-a-side football – was not going to just push me to my limit, but over it. I thought I could power through but I had to veer away from my plan for the first time and trot home with my calves screaming in pain.

I then skipped a run in the hope I would still be able to take on a 5k time trial – which I did. But that non-enjoyable 17.40 PB included a painful sit-on-the-ground stop, copious amounts of swearing, and the knowledge that without the running support of my amazing Renegade Runners colleagues Matt Pyatt, Mitchell Bunn and Danny Smith – plus some cheering onlookers – I’d have stayed at home rather than taking pain relief and running.

Within days I’d booked a physio and rehab session with Brendan McGuinness as I knew something wasn’t right. I can’t recommend his Synergist Movement Therapy experience enough. 

The massage was painfully enjoyable and the insight into my pain, and the reasons and causes behind it, was enlightening. 

Straight up fatigue to my muscles and the overload on my central nervous system was causing the discomfort. 

Now I’ve got a new plan that focuses on dialling things down, strengthening my calves and being better prepared when I push again.

It was a painful learning curve but an important one on my journey as a serious runner.

Relay raises thousands for Mind

More than 100 runners raised over £2,000 for mental health charity Mind by completing a gruelling relay.

Some of the relay runners at the Red Mount.Picture: GARY WALKER.

This year, Fenland Running Club were joined by Three Counties Running Club and the Globe Trotters running group from King’s Lynn, to cover 850 miles during the socially-distanced relay.

Organiser Andy Beveridge said: “After the first event, I spoke with many people who explained they, or people close to them, had struggled at some point with poor mental health. 

“This gave me the drive to do it again this year, not knowing then, we would still be in a similar socially restricting situation. I also decided Fenland Running Club’s 2021 Charity Relay would be bigger and open to our friends from Three Counties and Globe Trotters. Next year, it would be brilliant for more clubs to join us to raise awareness and support the fantastic charity Mind.”

The funds will be donated to the charity’s CPSL branch that works across Cambridgeshire, Peterborough and South Lincolnshire.

ESL lit the fires of fan frustration

I’m not a violent person, nor do I want anyone to think I condone vandalism. 

But it’s clear that the power grab from the ‘big six’ football clubs in England has lit the fires of growing fan frustration. 

I was outraged by the European Super League proposal and delighted the idea ended up in smoke. It’s pretty clear that the owners of these proud institutions care little for their history, tradition or supporters.

As a Man United fan who has grown up in this globalised world of fandom, I understand why some will accuse me of being a hypocrite. 

I support a team I mainly watch on TV and have no geographical affinity to. Choosing to also follow King’s Lynn may temper some of those cries, but I can’t change my allegiance after falling in love with United in 1992.

I understand and respect our history and it’s the players, managers and badge I adore – not the owners. I was anti-Glazers when they took over and saddled United with mammoth debt. My dislike of their ownership has only grown since.

It’s the same, and then some, for a lot of Manchester-based Reds. They have protested since day one, a rebel club (FC United) was formed, and they’ve calmly tried to bring about change. 

They’ve been ignored and the ESL idea was the final straw that caused Sunday’s angry protests. 

It caused a game to be postponed. Now the Glazers might start talking – or finally realise they’re not wanted.