So it has been three weeks since I completed the Edinburgh marathon, and the time since has not been as productive as I had hoped.
I am writing this just after attempting to go for a proper run this morning which lasted about 8 minutes before I decided the pain was too much to keep pushing on. This has left me really frustrated and was the first time since Edinburgh that I have been hacked off with this knee issue. I know that there are no quick wins in terms of recovering from injuries but it does not make it any less annoying.
After I returned to work at school after the half term break, I decided that this was the time to get back into a routine and start making things better. The plan was to get a pre and post work workout in using the sequence of exercises I had been doing. However, this was the time that hayfever came and caught me off guard – leaving me really exhausted and unable to have a good night’s sleep.
Deciding on getting professional advice, I searched for local physios and found one associated with a running school that uses running diagnosis alongside assessments. I looked around at the costs of other organisations and prices all seemed similar at £50 for an assessment and £40 for 30 minute treatments subsequently. I chose Bristol Physiotherapy Clinic and Alex, the physio I saw, left me feeling confident I had made the right choice. After a while of him trying, and failing to find sore spots I began to doubt if I was actually injured. It turns out he was searching for structural damage so the lack of pain was a positive thing and he soon found my tender spots which led him to confirm my belief of IT Band syndrome.
After being diagnosed we went to the treadmill to film me running to see if there were any obvious causes. I was running at the speed of 12kmh as this is a good pace for me. Afterwards we returned to analyse the video which I found interesting (as someone who enjoys all things biomechanical and technique based).
The key points raised from this for me were:
- My body leans forward from the hips too much so I must try to run more upright.
- My arm movement goes slightly across my body causing a slight rotation of my trunk.
- My arms do not drive backwards and forwards enough to help my legs so I was encouraged to move them from my shoulder forwards and backwards more effectively.
- I need to drive my knees higher as my foot was landing slightly too far away from the ideal position. This also recruits more muscles from the back of my leg which were being lazy and requiring the front muscles to work harder.
- I was a heel striker which surprised me as I thought I was slightly more mid-foot than it looked on the video.
After this we went back to the treadmill and I tried to make some small changes using 30 second intervals of running with a focus, before jumping off to review and then repeating.
Ultimately, my quads and hips are really tight and my hamstrings and glutes are not being recruited like they should. When I think about it, my hamstrings have always been generally the first muscles to feel tired and weak when running long distances. I have also known before that my hips are not in the best condition and their tightness is not helping anything.
I came away from there with the plan to continue the exercises and get on the foam roller as advised by Alex. I have spent the week doing 15 minutes minimum a day on my left leg. This included rolling up and down my IT band, spending time focused on just the lower part of my quad and IT band and tensor fasciae latae (which is by the hip but on a lean to the outside, I think). I have also been taking the occasional iburoprofen which seem to help, but this is something I am quite keen to avoid if I can.
My ambitions are to have this cleared up as soon as possible but I am giving myself a good few weeks to try and do this. My mid-term aim is to be ready to run when the school holidays start at the end of July so that I can use the six week holiday to really push my training – both the running side but also the strengthening and flexibility side. If I can start this sooner, even better, but I am constantly reminding myself that there is no rush and I need to just get right. Weirdly, writing this down and reminding myself about that has helped me put things into a better perspective. As soon as I start running again I plan on committing to some races to keep motivation levels high and I have an eye on the Bristol half marathon on September 25th…