The Scottish athlete is looking forward to testing herself on her comeback from injury following a stint of altitude training in Kenya
Eilish McColgan is set to return to racing for the first time since November 2014 at the Armagh International Road Race on February 18.
The Scottish athlete had been beset by a foot injury which forced her to sit out the whole of 2015, but now back running and having recently completed a period of training in Kenya, McColgan says she is looking forward to “just getting stuck in” and plans to make her comeback by running on the roads in Northern Ireland next week.
“With it only being a 3km on the roads it will give me an indicator of where I am and how much fitness I need to gain in order to be fit when it counts in the summer,” she told AW.
“It will be nice to do a race again after so long out. It’s important for me to split my training up a little and remember what racing feels like.”
It has been a long road to recovery for McColgan, who last year shared some great insight with AW into ‘things nobody tells you about injury and rehab’. She says she is still not pain-free, but that her foot fracture is now fully healed.
“I’m not sure what’s creating the pain now as it’s the exact same as it was pre-surgery,” she said. “It’s frustrating but after spending nine months in a ‘moon boot’ it’s no surprise that things are taking a long time to get back to normal again.
“Obviously with constant pain it’s caused a few compensatory injuries further up the same leg, but thankfully I’ve managed to curve these and get myself running once every day and full track sessions.”
McColgan spent four weeks in Kenya and described being back at altitude when returning from injury as “extremely tough”. Despite the first two weeks of the camp being disrupted by niggles, thanks to help from her physio she was able to build up to around 45 miles a week and full track sessions in the last couple of weeks.
“The hills were absolutely battering my legs each day but it was exciting to see the improvements in my track sessions,” she explained. “Every week I’m ticking the boxes and getting fitter which is exciting.”
As her Kenya trip came to an end, the country’s anti-doping efforts were the topic of a BBC report which stated that Kenya is set to be placed on a ‘watch-list’ of nations at risk of breaching the World Anti-Doping Agency Code.
The East African country had been asked to show commitment to the National Anti-Doping Organisation’s development. On Thursday, WADA said in a statement that while “some progress has been made” with the Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya, there is “still a lot of work required”.
Commenting on her own experiences while on the recent training camp, McColgan said that she was “really disappointed” to see that Kenyan athletes appeared to follow a “different protocol”.
“During my test, one of the Kenyans didn’t show within the hour and had two phone calls to hurry them. I just felt that it was a completely different protocol to what I’m used to in the UK and much more relaxed,” she said. “I was awaken from bed and tested, like the other British athletes and Turkish, but the Kenyans are informed prior and have to meet at a certain location.”
Looking ahead to the spring, McColgan says she hasn’t made any firm training or competition plans but that she hopes to go on another training camp in April.
“I need to wait and see how things pan out and how quickly training picks up,” she said. “I’m hoping to head out to Font Romeu and then I will look to race some 5km and 10km events on the track when I return.
“If things continue to improve injury and fitness wise, I’m confident I’ll be in a good place in another six weeks’ time.”