I’ve felt like, and been told, that I have been a bit muted lately, but after all who really wants to hear about being injured for the last six weeks!? Some things happen for a reason but in my case I’m not sure exactly what that reason is just yet, maybe it will be that I will have to make the best out of a late racing season in the hills. So what went wrong? About a month ago I was trying to get over a niggle in my right foot and upon further consultation with my physio John Murphy things were looking better and he advised a day or so of further rest before testing it out again.
Pangs of regret
Looking back at my training diary which I have been using to keep track of any niggles I can see I took the Friday off and then went to the gym and did 20 minutes on the cross trainer and 5 minutes on the threadmill and there were no problems. I was feeling full of beans with all the rest I had been having. So I was looking forward to getting straight back into my long run on the Sunday. To avoid any possible complications I went to the Pheonix Park for a flat run. It was a magic day for running and I started out very comfortably at an effort of around 4-5. The inside ankle on the right was feeling kind of stiff starting out but John had said it didn’t really seem to be anything to worry about. Time was flying along and I was feeling stronger and stronger. Then the stiff ankle kicked in around 50 minutes into the run and some stretching sorted it out for about 35 minutes before it began to get sore again, more stretching eased it up for about 20 mins. I should have stopped long before this but I continued running. I finally came to a complete stop as I arrived back to the car, hobbling. The tibialius posterior muscle (TPM) right up along to the tibial tendon was very sore afterwards. As I didn’t have my watch back from repair from Garmin yet I worked out the timings when I got home. I had banged out 33km in 2hr25 (4:23 min/km) very comfortably (hobbling injury to the side!). I was so happy with the run that I lament at how my training would have been currently progressing if I hadn’t gotten injured.
I tried the cross trainer the next day and had to stop after 10 mins, the whole area around the tibia was very sore to press. I took the next four days off and when the pain subsided I tested it out during a jog and had to stop after 10 minutes. Another day off and then I finally was able to manage 30 mins on the cross trainer. For the last four weeks it’s been stop and go and I have built up to 70 mins on the cross trainer but I still get some pain and have to scale back every so often. The posterial tibial tendon is responsible for holding your arch up, in cases where this fails its known as being flat footed. My physio John is suggesting a set of generic arch supports (€70) to support the arch and take pressure off my calves. He doesn’t like the trend of all the lower leg injuries he is seeing in me. John knows I am not a fan of arch supports and I have been hemming and hawing each time he suggests it. One problem is that after a time your calf actually shortens and you have to be weened back off them slowly lest you risk injury.
The Laser Dude
My last chance of salvation before donning the supports is an appointment in the Laser Centre in Hume Street in Dublin. Dr Pat Leahy has saved my bacon four times now in the past with injuries that physios have not been able to help with and I’m hoping another visit to him will see me right, if not I will just have to completely stop all exercise for about 6 weeks.
If you haven’t heard of this laser technology before you would be forgiven for having images in your mind of a mad scientist climbing up a ladder and sitting into the control seat before looking down a 10m barrell and Tesla coils spewing sparks everywhere. The technology used is called low-level laser therapy. Firstly high definition ultra-sound equipment is used to look into the muscles and tendons. He looks for things like calcified tissue (scar tissue), excess fluid pockets and any inflammation. A local anesthetic is administered by needle and then a cooling gel to protect the skin is smeared on the area before a hand held laser, similar looking to an ultra sound scanner is used. Each time I have visited him in the past I was back running either that evening or easing into it over two days. The only problem is that he has a waiting list 7 weeks long. I eventually managed to get a cancellation appointment for last Friday but my mate Karl was getting married and I was groomsman so I had to say no to the appointment but am scheduled in for the 4th April.
Riddle me this
My next goal to prevent injury problems in the future will hopefully be achieved with the help of Antony Riddle who we are organising workshops with here in Dublin and Wicklow. The natural movement approach just makes so much sense. It reminds me of the first time I hear about Lydiard training and I read a paper called ‘Arthur Lydiard’s Athletic Training‘. I read this about 20 times over the course of a year and you know when something just makes so much sense that it would be madness not to try it? Well with Rene’s tests and all the information I have read on it, I get the same feeling here, and to think that with the help of Antony, like Lydiard’s methods, we will be attempting to spread this knowledge in Ireland and the UK is very exciting. I would encourage anyone wanting to improve and prolong their running career to consider joining us in two weeks time or in a workshop in the near future.
Needless to say not being able to run is driving me barmy so I have had to concentrate on different types of training I can do. I have been doing plenty of core work and experimenting with some good workouts. Interestingly I bought myself a pull-up bar and have been experimenting with a training program to increase my strength to weight ratio. This has been very encouraging and has helped keep me somewhat sane. After just four weeks I can really see the change in my upper body strength and can now comfortably do 36 pull ups in a session broken down across 5 sets. I look forward to sharing this training with you in a post once I complete and evaluate the training myself.
Myself, Rene and Aoife are again organising the unofficial IMRA Kerry Easter training weekend and we have another great lineup of events for everyone going. I may or may not be back running by then but I will be certainly hiking up Carrauntoohil if the weather is anyway good, maybe a bit of biking too. I’m particularly looking forward to see if Rene has any new folk songs added to his repertoire! We had a mighty session last year with nearly everyone singing a tune and it will be hard to match it again but we’ll certainly try!