Thursday, 16 January 2014

"It's running Jim, but not as we know it"

On January 5th I ran 13.1 miles out and back along the peaceful undulating road that follows the East shore of Coniston Water. I took me just under two and a half hours, probably the slowest half marathon on a road I've ever done, but I got back feeling pretty pleased; that's the way it is these days.

I had my final (I hope) visit to the physio on 10th December, after another false start and recurrence of the calf strain I've been trying to shake off since the middle of October. She had another go at it, but the message wasn't great. You've been lucky up to now but sometimes these things take a lot longer than you want. I got instructions for lots of stretches and a final warning to take it easier this time.

I started again on the 18th December, for no other reason that it was exactly a month before the Anglesey Coast Ultra which I'd entered way back, and which I'd still hoped to make. Not a very sensible thought but in practice I did approach things a bit more intelligently this time. My first "run" was three miles  - I walked the first mile then jogged at 12 minute mile pace for 5 minutes in each of the other two. It seemed to work OK.  Each time out I added a bit more distance and a minute's "running" to each mile. At least I was getting good at walking; I can hold a steady 13 minute/mile pace on a flat surface now - might be useful for some event in the future!

After the walk/jog half marathon I gradually got into jogging continuously but have kept with a one mile brisk walk to warm up, a dodge that I think I'll keep to for some time. Last Saturday I managed a very muddy 17 miles on my local Cheshire Sandstone Trail, but you really don't want to know how long it took. On Monday (I'm making sure I always have at least one day off between outings) I did 6 miles in the forest at the heady pace of 9.40 minutes/mile. It was too much, sore again Tuesday morning so an extra day off. Today I waddled round 8 miles at a steady 10 minute pace with no problems. But no chance of the Anglesey run at the weekend; there never was really of course.

So that's the way of it for now. Going to be a longish haul it seems. Long slow jogs and 10 minute miles for speedwork. It may be running Jim, but not as we know it.

1 comment:

Robert Osfield said...

Hi Andy,

Sorry to hear that your calf is still holding you back.

The fact that it's not healing suggest to me that perhaps something else might be going on that is suppressing your immune system, or is complicating the recovery.

When you wrote that you had been advised to do stretching I winced, as this could be exacerbating the problem. One medical/athlete/blogger that I have found useful to follow has written a couple of articles on the topic of stretching that are well worth reading:

From discussions with my own physio I've learnt that the initial muscle knots we get when you strain a muscle fibre are actually the fibres surrounding the damaged fibre shortening to take the load off the damaged fibre so it can heal safely. If we stretch or over manipulate the knot then interfere with this protection mechanism and expose the damaged fibre to extra stress that can damage it further or slow recovery.

Gentle warm up and massage are likely to help. Active recovery should help too as long as it doesn't stress the injury. Try to make sure you get lots of restful sleep. Avoid stress as this suppresses the immune system. Eat well.

Good luck.