Injury

Autumn marathon – week 13

This has turned out to be quite a rubbish week. The week started in Whistler and ended with me bailing on my long run after less than a mile. I skipped a couple of runs on Monday and Tuesday because I was a bit tired and didn’t want to be even more mopey on my holiday so decided to put the holiday first. Plus we were moving back down to Vancouver for the final night of the holiday. 
On Wednesday, the final day in Canada, I did get out for a run and decided it was important to get a session in. It was a tempo session with 4 lots of 10 minutes which was a good little run to test my speed endurance. I did most of it without glancing at my watch but knew that the second two reps were slightly slower. Not too much though so that was a positive. It was on this run that my calf first tweaked a little near the start but soon vanished. 
Then that evening I flew back home to England and when we were waiting at the airport, the legs definitely began to seize up slightly so I was trying to stretch and massage. During the flight I got a middle seat so felt bad asking the aisle seat stranger to keep letting me out for walkabouts. This meant I didn’t move around too much on the whole flight and then drove home – I got be passenger after barely sleeping on the plane. 
By now it was Thursday UK time and that evening I was shattered. On Friday the plan would be to go for the second session run of the week which was a high intensity tempo interval. I had to do 4 lots of 5 minutes at basically threshold heart rate with 3 minutes recovery. This was a rather challenging session because of the speed expectation and holding it. It turned out my distances were all pretty similar for each interval with the obvious decline for the last few being surprisingly minimal. As I got home I could feel

A slight strain on my Achilles which reminded me of the plantar fasciitis that I had previously tackled. A bit of a stretch like normal and I hoped it would be okay. 


For Saturday I was keen to include parkrun in my run and got for a steady 9 miles to get my weekly total up and make up for the lack of runs. I would do 3 there, park run and then 3 back. However, feeling jet lagged, I didn’t wake up until 1030. So that went really well to plan. I still got myself out but instantly felt a bit robotic. One of those where the whole body aches and doesn’t feel smooth. As I jogged from the house I felt the calves being a bit tight so stopped to stretch them out, watching another runner float past. By the time I got up the hill to my parkrun course at Pomprey Hill I could tell it was not in a good place. Pomprey Hill has, like it hints in the name, a hill on the route. The first time up was fairly good but the second lap I just couldn’t run up. The pressure on my Achilles was just too much. I bailed on the run I had planned and run/walked the rest of the way home feeling really frustrated 
I really hate it when runs don’t go to plan so I’m sure you can emphasise with my frustration when I tried my Sunday long run only to get less than a mile down the road before bailing. It was just pointless and I was thinking long term. If I carried on, the run would have been rubbish and it could have wrecked my training. It is a really sad feeling to give up on a run but I would tell everybody to listen to their body and think about the end goal. 
I’m going to be resting for a couple of days and have been able to book a massage in on Tuesday to help aid recovery. I’ll also be taking some ibuprofen to aid recovery. I really have my fingers crossed that I can get back running by Wednesday or Thursday, squeezing a steady loosener in followed by the next session on the plan. May even extend it if I feel good. 
Things I will take away from this week are:

  • When flying make sure I rehydrate and if it means I need to keep using the plane then so be it. 
  • I really should get an aisle seat when flying. 
  • I have not learnt that I really need to look after my calves and Achilles and must get back on the strengthening exercises. 
  • If the body says it is not ready for a run, listen to it and adapt the session- or even skip it!
  • Thinking long term is a good focus but can lead to short term slacking. 
  • I must work my training to allow me to hit the main peak of my training 5/6 weeks out at maximum 
Advertisements

Taper terrors

So my training had been going really consistently for most of my plan and just as I began to approach my taper my foot decides to give me pain. A diagnosis of plantar fasciatis meant that I had to lay off running heavily. I gave it a few days rest, stretching and rolling over a hockey ball. To say I was confident I would race after being diagnosed was be a lie. I was really nervous. 

After a few days rest I gave it a slow tester run, like you do, and it felt okay but it was really slow. The program of rest and rolling continued and I added in some cycles to keep me ticking over. 

This issue meant I missed my last long run. I know it may not have made much difference but I was really knocked by it. Especially as I had missed a few other sessions and my mileage had decreased gradually for a while. I can now look back and realise I should focus on what I have done more than what I haven’t. 

After a few massage sessions, it soon eased up and I was prepared to give it a go come race day. There was still some discomfort in the build from just walking around but it seems that what I was doing must have helped. I also had it taped up by physio but it didn’t seem to like my sweaty feet so soon came off. Because I didn’t want to risk it annoying me race day I made an early decision to just tape my Achilles rather than my sole. 

If you get a pain in the foot do go and see someone for a massage as it helps. Also, to prevent it try and add some self massage into your week with a hockey or tennis ball. I certainly will be from now on. 

Have you suffered some taper terrors? What have you done to get through?

My training session for injury recovery

Training sessions (wc 13th May)

After my recent knee issues I have been scouring the net for ideas to help improve my IT Band and knee issue.

From what I have gathered, it looks like it may have resulted from my dodgy hips. Now I have been aware that my hip flexor is not the most stretchy and have been working on it with lots of lunge stretching, but I did not realise the impact that my hips have been having on the rest of my body.

About 7 or 8 years ago I had a phase of going to a chiropractor to sort out some back issues which caused me a lot of grief. Although they helped I think there has always been something not quite right. I get very fidgety when sat down for too long (much to the annoyance of my better half). I also have a slight grind on my left side if I raise my leg up past a certain point and my lower back aches fairly regularly. Once this marathon is out of the way I plan to get to the root cause of these issues starting with a trip to the GP.

I have found a number of exercises that people have suggested and placed these into a little exercise routine in the hope that it will firstly get me to a state that makes the marathon ok to run and secondly help properly fix my IT Band issues.

Training session

I start with a 20 minute jog (the only running I’m currently doing which is way harder physically then it should be) as I am worried about what my knee can take and it has seemed to be ok during it. I have been doing this over at the local pitches close to my house which is good because I can walk there, and back. However, it can get a bit lonely doing laps in a small park as they only seem to take about 3 and a half minutes each.

Then I go through this mini circuit:

20 leg raises (each side) – Lying on my side, I raise a straight leg from my heel, with toes pointing down as much as possible. I have found it can be a bit tricky to get the balance right so I sometimes angle my bottom leg backwards for that added stability.

20 leg clams (each side) – Lying on my side again, I bring my knees out in front of me, close to 90 degrees from the waist. The feet rest in line with the spine and the top knee is then raised whilst keeping the feet in contact. When I did this in my gym I used a resistance band, but have not still got myself one yet.

10 pistol squats (each leg) – Standing on one leg I push one leg out in front of me as I do a squat on one leg only. This is quite wobbly until you get used to it so you may want to have something to hold onto. The further down you go, the harder it gets but I try and get as close to 90 degrees in the knee as I can.

I have been doing these for just over the week and feel like they have been helping me and I clearly have a weakness that it picks up, which probably means I need to train those areas.

Afterwards I am stretching and make sure I do the stretch pictured below each time as it really picks up my glutes which is not always easy.

Post training glute stretch to help injury recovery

Glute stretch after exercise

Once the marathon is out of the way and I know what state I am in, I will reassess the exercises I will be doing going forwards.

Ashford Half Marathon race personal best medal finish time

Half Marathon Personal Best – Ashford and District

On my yearly trip back home to the seaside paradise of Dymchurch in Kent over Easter I went to visit some good friends for a game of Pointless and drinks. My friend Becca is new to running but has signed up to the London to Brighton Ultra Marathon in May and is smashing her training. She has been signing up to a number of races to help keep her motivated and prepared. Discussions soon moved onto this and I was told of the 2nd Pod Plus Ashford and District Half Marathon that was taking place on the Sunday. She was doing the Full Marathon, as her first ever marathon. I was tempted, but also peer pressured, so I signed up.

As it turned out, I was glad I did because I managed to get a PB. After a last minute location change for the start of the race I felt they were really organised and had thought about parking for all as we found a space at the local doctors 2 minutes away. On arrival at the local primary school they were using, it was quick and easy to get my race number and there was a nice buzz in the hall. One issue was the amount of toilets as there was quite a queue – even though I thought I would be proactive and go early. That was my only gripe – and that is only a small one! There was a good briefing with plenty of information where those doing the marathon were told about the plans for their second lap. At this point I was relieved I was only doing half.

Shortly after, we made our way out the school and down to the start of the race. As we got together in the ‘start pen’  on a T-junction outside some peoples houses, the starter shouted ‘go’. No horn – but then it was a Sunday morning and some people love a lay in. I started off well and got into my own target pace which was 8:30 minute miles. It was an undulating course but some of the climbs were pushing what some might describe as hilly. That was how it was billed online so I can’t complain about it. It slowed me down on the way up but meant I was able to push on the way down.

Ashford Half Marathon

Reaching one downhill section, I found myself going to fast and almost struggling to slow myself down. In hindsight, I feel this may have been where I agitated my left knee/IT Band. The course included a lovely trail section which they did warn us about. It lasted about a mile or so, but the previous days rain meant it was quite muddy and this made me realise why people need specific trail shoes. I had zero grip so had to work hard to find my foot placing. It was a nice change and added to the experience.

After about mile 6 I tagged along to a runner (cheers Trevor) who has obviously been doing more training than I have and he was going to be going round twice to do the marathon. His pace was just what I needed and having him there gave me a target. Even after I took a couple of walking steps, his few words of encouragement made me get going again and I worked to catch him up.

As we approached the end of my lap, we parted ways. He turned right to go round again, I turned left to complete a strong finish with a nice number of people there to cheer me home. It was a nice touch having a big screen with each runner’s names and times coming up. I also enjoyed the treats right at the finish line and being able to move away at my own leisure. At this point I may have rewarded myself with some chocolate treats. I was also able to grab a quick little massage as the hall was quiet, but I think their intentions were that people booked before the race so I was quite fortunate.

When leaving, the Sat Nav took us along some of the running route, which turned out to be quite awkward when we accidentally drove past Becca on her marathon route! A lovely organised event and I may go back next year.

Half Marathon PB – Ashford and District Half Marathon – 1h34:45

Bristol to Bath Railway path

I have ridden the Bristol to Bath Railway path a number of times and have found it really enjoyable, especially when the sun is out and I have always thought it to be an ideal running route. So, as I was getting towards a decent long run I started to think about using it more. Then the time came this weekend, when I had a 20 miler planned, to take on the railway path.

For me to get to the path I had to go up and down a couple of steady hills, which were fine at the start of the run. It was about 1.5 miles in before I reached the path so only had to go 8.5miles before turning round. The weather was pretty good for running as it wasn’t too hot but there was potential for rain, so I had squeezed a waterproof (and some gels) into my backpack for the run. My aim was to go long and steady and test out my gels.

At the start of the path I found it okay to get into my rhythm with a few people ahead to slowly chase down. To begin with you go through Fishponds which isn’t the most scenic part but once you get through that you run through a tunnel of trees – and then an actual tunnel! On a warm day you really notice the chill entering the tunnel which was a strange sensation. I also lost GPS signal on my watch but fortunately got it back fairly quickly when I came out the other side.

One of my favourite parts of the route is going through Warmley where there is a superb little tea rooms. On this occasion I did not stop but if you ever wanted to plan for somewhere to end your run or cycle, then I would recommend here!

Towards the end of my out leg, my legs started to twinge, only this time it was not the leg I had been nursing, but the outside of my left knee around the IT Band. Just what I needed with another 10 miles to jog back! Managed to make it back most of the path but did have the occasional walk to try and relieve some pressure and release some frustration. Luckily the route is very flat so I had no real hills to contend – helping the knee slightly.

Ultimately by the time I got off the path I was in quite a bit of pain, but realised if I walked all the way back it would have taken ages so I did the silly thing of continuing to jog as much as I could. Managed to get half a mile back and up one of the hills before realising it was a stupid idea and that I would need to walk. Typically, just as I did this it began to tip it down so out came my waterproof which did very little and I continued to walk home in pain and soaked through. This time I had taken a pound coin out with me (for any random emergency where £1 would be the difference) and decided I would have an ice bath when I got in. For this I would nip to the local store to purchase some ice, only to be devastated when it was being sold at £1.05 ! By time I got home I decided I would rather have a warm shower and I did not return for the ice.

I consider this the day where my issues began!