Plans

It’s been three weeks since I had to stop my running comeback due to an injury. After initial fears that it might have been shin splints or a stress fracture (thanks NHS online!) it turned out to be a simple case of extensor tendonitis.

A mix of ice, rest and anti-inflammatory drugs has calmed it down sufficiently that I think I’m ready to start running again next week.

I’m super excited, but going off too fast after a long time out may have been what caused the injury in the first place. Therefore I’m trying to take a more measured approach this time around.

After a shoutout on #UKrunchat on Twitter, I got lots of helpful advice which gave me plenty to think about. In particular three suggestions came up repeatedly, so I am going to take them on board and apply moving forward.

  1. Lose the barefoot trainers
    I’ve been wearing Vivo Barefoot shoes for about a year now, both at home and work, and I love them. They’ve changed the way I walk, improved my posture and allowed my feet to regain a more natural shape. However, I can see how running on tarmac three times a week, whilst three stone overweight without cushioned shoes may have been a significant contributor to this injury. For now, I think the wise thing to do is get back into my more traditional trainers (a battered pair of New Balance 790s). I do intend to phase the barefoots back in, but maybe not until I’m closer to a healthy weight and therefore driving less impact through my body when I run.
  1. Start again
    I’m using Couch to 5K to structure my return to running in a managed way. The temptation after three weeks out is to pick up again on run 10, where I left off. The feedback from the more experienced runners I spoke to was to avoid this approach and take into account I have been recuperating for a period of time, and will have lost some fitness. The advice ranged from going back to the start to slipping back just 2 or 3 runs to ensure I’m not taking on too much too soon. After considering my options over the past week, I’m going to go back to the start. I think part of the problem of causing the injury was I went off too hard and needed to spend more time building my fitness and acclimatising my body to doing regular physical activity again. Now I know this, I can hit the C25K reset button and hopefully end up with better results.
  1. Focus on technique
    I’ve never been coached to run. In school I was never involved in athletics, I spent my time playing football, basketball and rugby. Any coaching there was spent on ball skills and drills. The basic mechanics of running well never came up. What I do know is that there are always things you can do to improve technique in any sport, and running is no different. Having done a fair bit of reading and got some advice, I’m going to start by focusing on landing on the balls of my feet instead of in the rather flat-footed and heavy way I currently do. Hopefully this will lead to more efficient running and lower the chance of this tendonitis injury occurring again.

The final thing I’ve learnt from this period of injury is the kindness of running Twitter. I reached out and heard back from a number of people who were generous enough to share their knowledge and experience with me. I hope I can do the same for others in the future!

Published by Graham

https://5kandcounting.wordpress.com/

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