It’s a point we all get to when marathon training. Something doesn’t feel quite right. It manifests itself differently for each of us from a gammy knee or a dodgy calf to a niggly glute or achy back. We’ve all been there. Preventing and dealing with injury is part and parcel of marathon training. I know what you’re thinking ...no, I am not injured, just a bit wonky (nothing new there!). The other 3 VLM bloggers have already written about it, so I suppose it’s now my turn!
It all started a few weeks ago in the days leading up to the last met league race of the season. I had been feeling a bit stiff and less flexible than usual, and at the time put it down to upping the mileage after being ill for 2 weeks. I had spent the better part of the week humming and hawing about whether or not I should just go and see the physio just to be sure nothing was wrong with me.
The last straw came halfway through a 12 mile training/commute run when I stopped at home to drop my backpack and I spent a bit too long staring at some post on the table. As I turned to return to my run my glute felt very wrong, almost like someone had moved it up and to the side about six inches. Fortunately there wasn’t much pain, just the feeling as if something wasn’t quite right. I went cold and honestly thought I was going to vomit. I saved my run and stared at the wall for a good 5 minutes before immediately calling the physio and making appointment.
That wasn’t a good night. I spent most of the evening catastrophizing, thinking London was slipping out of my hands. Yes, I was absolutely overreacting, but it was due to past experience and the knock on effect injury had on my running. I was meant to run the Manchester marathon last year but had to pull out a mere 3 weeks before the race due to a bad glute strain. I wasn’t able to run for a month, lost loads of fitness and spent a great deal of time questioning if I was going to be fit enough to race Green Belt or Welsh Castles. I was fortunate to come back in time to do both races, but was not on the top of my game and not happy with my performance in either race. It took me a good 6 months to get back into PB form and feel like I was back in the game. All of this was running through my head before visiting the physio!
So physio day came. She did a quick assessment and diagnosed me with some seriously tight and dysfunctional muscles and the warning that if I kept doing what I was doing I WOULD end up injured. A few needles to the back and an elbow to the glute for good measure and I was sent off with a strict training and recovery regimen. I was (and still am) to stretch every day for 15 minutes, foam roll 3 times and week and fit in strength and conditioning 3 times per week. Some days it feels like a bit of a drag, and my bedroom is beginning to look like a mini gym with foam rollers, resistance bands, a yoga mat, lacrosse ball and yoga ball. Getting injured last year was horrible - but I feel I’ve become better at reading the signs my body is giving me. I’m also starting to get a set of abs, so that’s nice too!
All this stretching and strengthening is also beginning to pay off in my running as well! I did my highest mileage week of my life during half term - 70 MILES!!! (It wasn’t meant to be that high, but I bumped my long run to Monday as I was off work). I’m also getting faster - I think. I finished my 70 mile week with Cross Country National Championships in Leeds on the Saturday, and Wokingham half on the Sunday. I ran nationals nearly 10 seconds per kilometre faster than the previous year and shaved off 200 places in the process. Wokingham was MEANT to be a marathon paced training run (and it sort of started that way), but despite the very tired and overworked legs and serious lack of sleep or proper nutrition (70 MILES GUYS) I nearly managed a half marathon PB! I was a mere 7 seconds off of my 1:40:09 at Ealing half! Oops and yaay… the plan was to go a bit faster at the start to get a time on the board for Welsh Castles and then ease off, buuuuut I got a bit carried away. That being said, I am feeling far more confident about my training and target time for London and can’t wait to see what I can do in Fleet where I will be properly rested and fueled with a mini taper!
Training this week has continued to go very well! I did a solo VO2 track session on Wednesday and according to strava, even with 400 metre recoveries I managed to clock my 2nd fastest 5k time! So maybe it’s time for a parkrun tear up! In the meantime I’ll be over here eating enough for a small army…. But more on that next time!