Apologies for the lack of blogging!! You may have thought I had fallen off the face of the earth, but no, I have just succumbed to my innate laziness which is the constant voice whispering in my ear. If anyone happens to see my motivation - give it a shove back in this direction :)
Sadly, my lack of blogging has been equalled by my lack of training over the past couple of weeks. Unfortunately an old injury has reared its ugly head, curtailing my running, so obviously I have spent my time wallowing in the injustice of it all, rather than productively utilising my time and cross training.
Here is an update of my (rather pathetic) training in the last couple of weeks:
After the incident with the scary bloke I talked about in my last post, I headed out the next day for a second attempt at my long run. While I did manage the scheduled 15 miles it was not smooth sailing due to my poor ability to pace myself. I ran the first six miles too fast (approximately 45 seconds per mile faster than planned) then ended up chatting to and running with another runner for a couple of miles at his pace (which was about 1 min 30sec per mile faster than planned). I knew that I was running far too fast and that I would suffer for it later but my pride won out and I kept up with him until our routes took us in separate directions. By this time, my heart rate was sky high and I was puffing and panting like a steam train... not good with 7 miles left to go!
I kept running as long as I could but ended up having to walk a couple of times. I must have looked bad as a group of cyclists actually stopped to ask if I was alright!! During the last few miles of this run I started to experience pain in the outside of my right knee. My heart sank as I fully recognised this pain – the dreaded ITBS that had plagued me about 18 months ago had made a return.
I was given some great advice by Tom over at Running Physio. He has a great blog with fantastic advice about running injuries and prevention, well worth a read.
He advised me to stretch three times a day, and begin some strengthening exercises after a couple of days once the acute pain had stopped. I followed all his great advice and swam a few times and began running again after a few days, just taking it slowly in order to remain pain-free. I was feeling great and had no knee pain so decided that I would do my scheduled 18 mile run the next weekend.
What an idiot!! Deep down, I knew this probably wasn’t the best idea as this ITB flare-up was most likely an over-use injury, but I ignored common sense and became a slave to my training plan. Tom had advised avoiding hills for a while so I had managed to find a relatively flat section of road that was 2.5 miles long which I ran up and down for 18 miles (and yes, it was every bit as soul destroying as it sounds)!!
So, off I went early on Saturday morning. Now, I had managed to run for an hour pain-free during the week, but after only three miles I felt the familiar twinge. Being the stubborn mare that I am I decided that I would run through it, but slowed to a pace where it was tolerable. After about 8 miles my knee stopped hurting – it had actually gone numb and only hurt at the turnaround points where I stopped and had to get started again. I had a really rough patch between mile 15-16. It was at this point my mum saw me running while she was stopped at some traffic lights. She said she saw this girl running (hobbling) along and thought – wow, she looks in so much pain, why is she bothering, she should just give it up... then she realised it was me!!! Now, I know I was struggling, but no one likes to think they actually look as bad on the outside as they are feeling on the inside!
Unsurprisingly my knee was sore, so I decided not to run for a few days... this ended up with me doing absolutely no exercise at all for almost a week as lazyitis took over. My motivation deserted me completely.
It wasn’t until this morning that I decided I would try a gentle run (more out of guilt than any desire to actually get back to training). I managed less than a mile before my knee started hurting. I managed to run the mile home but the pain was increasing with each step (never a good sign). I decided to try and walk round the block to see if there was anyway of preventing the pain whilst still doing a run-walk. It was excruciating just walking. I did try running again – slowing down, speeding up, short stride, long stride, landing mid-foot instead of fore-foot. Nothing made a difference, in fact the pain got so bad I hobbled home in tears.
I have probably not done myself any favours by trying to ignore and run through this injury. It is just so frustrating. I have had to pull out of a triathlon on Sunday and am really starting to panic as my first of three marathons is only 8 weeks away. I have booked an appointment with a sports physio for early next week so hopefully they can get me back on track in time to complete the New Forest Marathon in September.
It is so important not to be a slave to your training plan – yes, a plan is there to guide and prepare you to run a certain distance but it is not set in stone and should be constantly reviewed and adapted depending on circumstance. This goes to show that a sensible and graded return to running is required after injury so as not to aggravate it further, requiring even more recovery time.
So, enough of the wallowing and self pity and onwards with the cross training. Just because I can’t run, does not mean I can’t exercise at all to keep my fitness up. Swimming, stretching and strengthening are the order of the day until I see the physio. I will seek their advice about cycling and using the elliptical.