I am now back running and it feels really good. Like a dear old friend that I had not seen in a long time, things clicked immediately and I was keen to arrange another rendezvous straight away.

After 6 weeks of no running at all, the progression to actually running a race was quite smooth and a little quicker that I had expected. Two weeks ago I was reduced to hopping and then running on the spot. With no reaction to that my physio removed the shackles and allowed me to run. My eyes lit up, only to discover that my first ‘run’ was 2 mins. That’s doesn’t really seem like a run. As it happened, it was for the best as half of my first run had a degree of discomfort. The second permitted run was 5 mins and again felt a little sore. Run number 3 was just under 10 mins but unlike the previous two was on the road as opposed to the teadmill for the first two. This actually felt much easier and while I was still aware of a pinching sensation on the sole of my foot, it felt was much more like a normal run and affected my stride very little. A further (uneventful) 15 min run and I was all set to run a parkrun. All achieved within the space of a week.

Parkrun went well. I started out gently and allowed my legs and lungs to find their own pace. The foot felt ok and I was soon confident enough to start working my way through the field in the second half. While my final time was a good bit slower than my PB, it was an altered course due to some trees blocking the usual route and with the killer hill now to be enjoyed twice in a loop repeat.

Stepping up the frequency and distance is going to be gradual, but I hope to be up to 30km per week with a long 15km run by mid January. Edinburgh marathon is now only 156 days away.

Merry Christmas to all.

 

My recovery continues to focus on addressing my lack of flexibility. The new physio has given me a steadily increasing list of exercises - hips, hamstrings, calf and ankles – mostly of the painful variety. I have also been persuaded to try a yoga class to focus on developing better stretching techniques and improve the flexibility. Having never tried yoga before I was a little reticent, but this class is targeted at the needs of the physio’s clients so is heavy on the physical and lighter on the spiritual. I have only been to two classes and there is no question that I am certainly sleeping a lot better after the classes. Time will tell if I benefit in terms of my running.

In addition to the stretching exercises, I am now at the stage where I am ready to start to build up to running. The short term goal is to be capable of a 10 mile run by mid-January and perhaps even do parkrun by next week if all goes well.  If I can achieve these goals I should be able to gradually get into the marathon training regime during January. For now, I am doing lots of jumping, then some hopping and even a little bit of running on the spot. Combined with the stretching this has now bloated to a 40 min routine before I even look at my resistance and cardio work. This has become a bit of a challenge as I try to maintain a decent level of fitness without being able to run. I am sufficiently motivated, but the time required out of every day makes it difficult to do the cardio that I would ideally like.

Having reached the stage where I can run on the spot for a whole 10 mins, today I was allowed to run. I was only permitted 2 mins on the treadmill, but after 6 weeks this is a welcome development. Assuming there is no reaction, tomorrow I go for 5 mins. Hopefully by the time of my next post I will be ready for a 5km run. If the recovery and the weather both go the way I hope, I should have the chance to build up my running during the Christmas holidays.

 

It is now almost five weeks since my last run and while I miss it a little bit, I’m surprised to say that I am not climbing the walls. I have been very busy with work, including almost two weeks travelling during that time, so this has helped distract me. The travel has also forced a heavier workload generally, meaning I was very occupied throughout most days.  My damaged foot has been very slow to heal. It started out feeling ok most of the time but when you stood on the edge of a step or stair it felt like a hot needle was being plunged into my flesh. Any time I stood on a hard flat surface barefoot it felt like it was bruised.

The rate of recovery started me thinking about my diagnosis and more importantly, if I was confident it would not reoccur. When I noticed that a local physio was touting their services at parkrun, I decided to seek a second opinion. The physio I met takes a different approach to the type of injuries I have been suffering from, looking less at the injury and more at the underlying cause. I booked a session for a review and had a long and remarkably detailed assessment with the new physio. The conclusion was that I had “massive contributing factors” – I had a sneaky look at what was added to his computer. At least he hadn’t written “this guy is a mess but will pay for my kids to go to university”. Apparently, while reasonably fit, I lack the most basic flexibility. My left ankle is close to solid and I have the hamstring and hip flexibility of a senior citizen. Kerching!!! The good news is that he is convinced that if I work on my imbalance and flexibility then I should be able to get through my marathon training with less chance of injury. With my injury record over the last few years I feel the time is right for a new approach.

Additionally, in the last few weeks I have discovered that a former colleague is now working as a personal coach in the US. Upon catching up she very kindly offered to help with some advice as I trained for the marathon. During my recent re-hab I took the chance to explain where I felt I was weaker in the half marathon, provide a summary of my training and details of my recent injuries. The good news is that in her opinion I am working too hard on the track too often. The bad news is that she came to this conclusion as I am “no longer a spring chicken”. No sugar coating then. On the race speed side, she suggested that I need to do more tempo work to improve my leg speed over distance. I suspected this to be the case, but it was good to have the confirmation.

175 days until Edinburgh Marathon.