Week three – one step at a time

Standing at the sink doing the dishes isn’t normally associated with running but it is a key element of my injury recovery plan. If an achilles tendon or my back hurts whilst standing at the sink doing the dishes then I need to dedicate more time and energy to recovery.

It isn’t just housework that I can find painful. When I’m struggling with niggles, standing still for 10 minutes or more will often cause discomfort and eventually pain.

In fact, there are quite a few warning signs that my body uses to show me that I need to give more emphasis to recovery.

Long car journeys (30 minutes or more) are a particular bugbear of mine often causing glute and knee pain, and, if I’m driving, a pain on the outside of my shin.

The most frequent warning sign I experience is when climbing stairs – normally two at a time. If I reach the top and my calves are burning whilst the rest of my legs are feeling fresh I know that my glutes aren’t firing properly which will have repercussions for my running. It acts as a useful reminder that I need to do more one-legged squats and foam roll my calf muscles.

I also modify my behaviour by making climbing the stairs less stressful for my body by taking one step at a time.

What are your warning signs and what can you do to maximise your recovery between runs?

Day 15 – Sunday 15 January

4.8 miles – 8:51 – 133bpm

Incredibly slow shuffle in Bushy Park. It is going to take a few days to recover from yesterdays xc race.

Day 16 – Monday 16 January

4.9 miles – 8:06 – 135bpm

Go before you go, so you don’t need to go whilst you are on the go.

Day 17 – Tuesday 17 January

8 miles – 8:00 – 138bpm

Back at the club tonight to build my easy run around the group session. Most of the run was on the pavement and pounding so many miles on such a hard surface caused me pain. I try to stick to trails and grass verges as much as I can but it isn’t always possible.

My Garmin crashed at 6.1 miles but I was determined to run the full 8 miles planned so started counting my strides. I knew I was running at about 8 min mile pace and average about 170 strides per minute, eight blocks of 170 strides is therefore a mile.

Being an easy run, I was able to pay more attention to my surroundings than my over-perspiring club mates. I noticed a couple of scruffy looking men walking along pushing bikes, one of them lacking a seat. There are only two reasons to be pushing a bike without a seat, either someone has nicked your seat, or you have nicked the bike. Later, on my way back to my car I passed the same two men. Scruff one was still pushing his bike – with a seat. Scruff two was attempting to ride the bike without the seat and upon realising the futility and potential pain of such an endeavour, jumped off, left it lying against a lamp post and jogged off muttering something about his hands being cold as I passed him on Teddington Lock Bridge. I don’t think he was looking for his missing seat.

Day 18 – Wednesday 18 January

2.3 mlies

Garmin crashed, again.

I also forgot my running pants and my lunch which meant combining my run with a trip to the shops. Running pants are essential when worn in combination with running tights. They provide comfort and make the tights a bit more suitable for public viewing. So yes, I was very self-conscious walking around Waitrose but this was the best option as the side entrance to John Lewis allows me to sneak in and out with limited public contact. I adopted an ‘attack is the best form of defence’ approach, puffed out my chest and strutted around Waitrose like a sprinter, attempting to keep contact strictly eye-to-eye. I was concerned as I exited the shop and saw a security guard giving me the eye – was he admiring my over-developed calf muscles or did he think I was trying to smuggle out a carrot and two brussel sprouts?

Day 19 – Thursday 19 January

6.3 miles – 7:33 – 148bpm

Tempo day got off to a poor start as I forgot my socks. Not a disaster but the lack of padding was noticeable. My legs felt tired and my calves were still a bit achy. The first 10 mins went ok and I was happy with the pace (6:16) but the second 10 mins just got slower and slower and halfway through the rep I decided it would be my last of the session. No point pushing for another 10 minutes and making my legs even worse. I’ve got to run tomorrow!

Day 20 – Friday 20 January

Run 1 3.5 miles – 7:24

Felt great. Light, bouncy and fresh. Yesterday’s reduction in reps worked.

Run 2 4.5 miles – 8:14

Nearly a minute a mile slower than this morning. My legs nearly always feel worse after a day in the office, sitting down for hours at a time and everything getting tighter, shorter and more unproductive.

Day 21 – Saturday 21 January

6.3 miles – 7:58 – 158bpm

My heart rate was all over the place on this run despite the slow and steady pace.

Weekly totals

  • 8 runs
  • 7 days
  • 40.6 miles
  • 6/10 leg freshness score

Yearly total

  • 24 runs
  • 21 days
  • 121.4 miles
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