Tag Archives: injuries

A roller, a roller, my kingdom for a roller

61 dFeEhrnL._SL500_AA300_I’ve been desperately hunting around Malaysian sports shops looking for a foam roller, which you may remember was a big part of my miracle cure for ITBS.

Admittedly my current plans for heavy running training have been somewhat curtailed by  breaking the treadmill but we’re hunting for a gym I can use (only madmen would run outdoors in the 34 degree heat, torrential tropical thunderstorms and / or mosquito haven). Also, without incurring cost-prohibitive data roaming charges, I don’t have Runkeeper here to track distance/pace, and so my motivation for outdoor running falls to zero…

Unfortunately, either Malaysian runners don’t suffer from ITBS (despite previous assurances from doctors in the UK that it was the most common running injury), or… people here don’t really run, and running/sports shops are for trendiness only.Given there is a KL marathon the latter doesn’t seem too likely, but garrrrrrrrrrr all the same.

I may have to resort to tying together several yoga mats into a tight roll and seeing whether that will help. Any Malaysian runners out there can help me find one of these???

Weekend training update

I’m not going to lie to you, I was diminished this weekend. Underslept due to the neck injury, slightly demotivated and struggling… I eventually made myself hit the road on Sunday morning and only managed a 5k. But better than nothing…?

The running helped the pinched nerve thing, with my neck seeming freer after the run… but I seem to have some have back tightness today so will spend a bit of time this week stretching out ahead of next weekend’s training. I’m getting old.

Next weekend will see me down the coast so the running will be a bit more exciting, hopefully, and keep me going for longer!

ITBS: cured!

Well, as cured as any ongoing condition can be!

I went to see Sudhir this morning to alleviate the concerns I mentioned following the litmus run – i.e. tightness in calves, shins and hamstrings – but it turns out these are mostly normal. After running a number of assessments on me, Sudhir declared my ITB much recovered and my legs in good shape. My ongoing weak point – my obliques, for which I have a number of new exercises. Specifically, lying in a neutral position and leaning my knees one way, then the other, with one leg in mid air. It’s apparently such a basic exercise that there’s not even a video of it on YouTube… but I’ll no doubt graduate to more sophisticated training in the not-too-distant future.

I’m back to running training and will try to get up to 4 runs a week if I can over the next couple of weeks – gradually building up distance. Tomorrow will start with an attempted 5k, I hope!

My ongoing remedial therapy involves:

  • Post run stretching – achilles, calf, quads, hamstrings
  • Daily rolling – both ITBs
  • Oblique exercises

And I might throw in more glute / single leg balance work to carry on building strength there. Sudhir also recommended a Pilates or Yoga class – and that I try to hold the inverted V pose for a bit. I tried Yoga classes a few times a few years ago and could never get into it. Wonder if its one of those things, like marmite, that despite polarising people you can get into at a different phase in your life? I’ll have to discuss with my wife, she’s been doing Yoga for years…

Anyway, back we go to half-marathon training!!!

Predicting running injuries with maths

I wish I’d been smart enough to work this out before the ITBS kicked in. Of course, it probably falls into the ‘spurious correlation’ category of statistical analysis, but there’s some sensible logic behind it… specifically:

That’s reasonable, of course: as you train, your speed increases each time you run, however your body cumulates fatigue. Consequently, your performance will level off at a certain point in training, then your running times will once again increase. Panicked at losing speed, you will push yourself too hard and wind up injured.

It’s an interesting post. Not everyone will be up to the maths (I can’t be bothered, and its too late for me!), and common sense may work as well, but its interesting reading for runners. Via the ever-useful Lifehacker.

Argh, forgotten orthotic

My flat-footedness has seen me in orthotics for the best part of the last three years. And today, for the first time, I left my right orthotic  60 miles from my right foot. Which means I have to get through a couple of days of physio exercises without it, as well as generally walking around, and I’m feeling ever so slightly fragile – like I could lose stability and pronate the hell out of my foot at any moment. Thankfully, my lovely mother-in-law is rescuing it from the Wellington boot in which it is currently ensconced and dispatching it back to me by the Royallast of Mail-services on offer in these British Isles.

Here’s hoping I make it to Wednesday.

For the curious, the rolling continues to vary in its painfulness. It is distinctly diminished from when this whole debacle began, but still quite bloody painful.

For the curious about James, I’m hoping he blogs his London tri experience soon!

Keeping up diligence with my ITBS physio exercises

This isn’t easy.  It’s never been easy to maintain a fixed regimen of daily, tedious, repetitive, and in this case distinctly painful exercises. My routine involves:

  1. Morning rolls on the foam roller – 3x sets of 10 with pauses on the particular pain points for as long as I can bear. I started just on the injured side but am extended to both legs as my left side seems pretty tight too.
  2. Knee bends – 3x set of 10, one legged, slow, pointing my kneecap between my second and third toes (working against my tendency to roll in). Just the right leg at the moment.
  3. Standing on one leg for 2 minutes (more uncomfortable than it sounds)
  4. Hamstring stretches

I’m probably worst at forcing discipline with (4), as is always the issue with stretching.

However, between my newfound passion for running and determination to get on the road again, and my primary external motivating factor (wanting to be in shape and impress my beautiful, increasingly pregnant wife who is understandably scornful about my determinations on quantifying pain) – I’m managing something of a routine. As I head to the village this weekend, I take with me a foam roller and all the willpower I can muster.

Wish me luck – hopefully next week I hop, which is the last recovery stage before being allowed out on the roads again – but it might be a couple of weeks yet!

Postscript: Sorry this is turning into an injury blog at the moment. normal running service will resume soon as I can manage it!

These feet are made for… falling over

ITBS Physio session number 3: I learn how to bend my knee.

Single knee dips are my focus for the week – trying to do so without rolling my right kneecap in or my pelvis sideways, both tendencies I have. The former is a consequence, apparently, of my flatfootedness and tendency to pronate.

Upshot of all of this is lots more physio over the next couple of weeks, lots more painful rolling on reinforced foam rollers, lots of hamstring stretches and eventually – hopefully by mid/late August – I’ll be able to hop on one leg and demonstrate to Sudhir that I’m able to run again.

Giving me less than four weeks to complete my training for the half-marathon. At best.

It’s massively frustrating, and even worse my weight has gone up a bit due to poor diet control in the last month or so. I’m reinstating Gyminee this week so will try to regain control there, and keep my snout out of the office biscuit tin.

Encouragement appreciated…

ITBS treatment: phase 2

I had really hoped that when I saw Sudhir today that I would be given a running and schedule and sent back to resume my training. Such was not to be.

Instead, I underwent:

  • Acupuncture – which apparently works by stimulating blood flow to damaged areas that your body may have ‘forgotten’ is damaged. The 1.5 cm length of needles going into my skin didn’t hurt, surprisingly, but when Sudhir twisted them, making an analogy about slicing through a steak with a knife, the combination of the pain and the disconcerting metaphor shook me somewhat
  • Cupping – which isn’t a thing that dirty tailors do when they’re measuring you up for a suit, but a chinese massage theraphy involving the creation of suction in a cup, and then pulling that over your skin. It looks a bit bizarre but wasn’t too bad an experience.
  • A couple of other types of massage on the IT-band on my right leg.
  • Being taped up with kiniesthiotape (or something: essentially long strips of sports tape) which will stay on for a week in its bright blue splendour. The idea is to provide a passive reminder of which muscles are overtight and which are underused.

Sudhir helps sell me on this stuff by explaining in more scientific detail than I can absorb how each of these therapies is having a bio-mechanical impact on my recovery.

Tonight, I did my own remedial work at home, having received the polystyrene roller from the store I found on Amazon. It involved:

  • Rolling around on the roller, putting my weight on the IT-band. OUCH, goddamn that thing hurts. I mean really, like you wouldn’t believe.
  • Clams – to strengthen my glutes.
  • Leg raises – to loosen my hamstrings and work my quads.

And that was it. Having to do this on a daily basis will be substantially less satisfying than running, but as Sensei Paul said to me tonight, I need to shift my targets and expectations and take it at a sensible pace or I’ll risk further injury.

Next visit to Sudhir is on Tuesday; will see what comes next. First I have a weekend down the South Coast, where it will take all my will to keep the exercises up…

Iliotibial band syndrome, apparently

I saw Sudir at the Westminister Physiotherapy centre today in a bid to heal myself faster and get myself back into my full training regimen. Good news; Sudir’s amazing blend of Eastern and Western science has a treatment programme ready for me; bad news; no running till Thursday at least and a reduced schedule whilst I heal from what he thinks is the dreaded (apparently) Iliotibial Band Syndrome (I think). Read more here.

In brief; I have an imbalance in my leg muscles, very tight in the Iliotibial band, very weak in the inner quad and glute. I have a range of dispiriting and painful stretching exercises to do and will shortly be ordering a ‘foam roller‘ and some tennis balls (!)  to help with my recovery. Other treatment will include strapping myself up with special sports tape and some acupuncture – which is a new one for me… but I trust Sudir, he’s a great guy and exudes knowledge and, for me, this translates into confidence. It could be complete BS, but it doesn’t sound like it, and his assessments all carry a logic to them that he explains as part of the consultation.

It’s massively frustrating, but good to know there isn’t a structural issue with the joint. It makes the GP’s assessment completely wrong and means that I’ll have to stretch these muscles out for the rest of my (long distance running) life, but at least there’s a plan for recovery now. Not sure I’ll be in great shape for the New Forest Half, but I’ll give it everything I got.

Anyone else had to contend with this?

Clambering back on the wagon

I never know whether its good or bad to be on or off the wagon. I guess you want to be on it, right? Unless it’s going to a bad place? Let’s say it’s going to a good place.

Regardless of the state of that metaphor, I’ve been in a post-Juneathon haze. Having injured myself midway through the month but not modified my eating habits, I’ve been feeling fat and unhealthy. The attempts at runs have been tentative – I’ve done four or so 5k runs in the last couple of weeks, but given that my caloric intake has been disproportionate these haven’t really figured in either the fitness/training or the weightloss efforts.

The mysterious “they” say that the hardest thing is getting out the door. That’s true – but when you’ve allowed yourself to lose the routine, each step on the way out the door gets harder. Waking up. Getting ready. Getting past the first 2k. Not turning around at 2.5k when it would be a nice “5k” round number. Keeping momentum. Even dialling in Runkeeper to act as a motivational partner. Pushing to meet the optimistic target pace. And going the full distance you intended.

This morning, I did it. A 10k, in 60 minutes flat – a pretty good time when you remember that my personal best for 10k is 59.06 and I’ve been off for some time. I was flagging from the 8k mark – a mysterious pain in my lower back which sometimes kicks in when I’m doing longer distances – but manage to exert will, apply thumbs to the afflicted spot, and dodge traffic on the final stretch to maintain the 6 minute/kilometer pace needed. And then I cycled into work. AND the knee is OK.

Feels good. Going to take tomorrow off and see if I can manage an LSR on Sunday, but am at a wedding this weekend so efforts may vary. But hey – it’s not Juneathon anymore so I won’t feel too bad about it.

Next week: we may have a guest post from Claire, a colleague who is running the British 10k on Sunday as she fulfils a New Year’s Resolution, we will hopefully see @jimbocoyle return as he comes back from vacation and settles in to his new job… and we may even get a mystery, triathlon related guest post!

Oh, and we didn’t win Juneathon, unsurprisingly, but had great fun doing it. Thanks to the organisers, was great fun and good motivation!