Injury, Massage

Sports Therapist Visit

Towards the end of my marathon training last year I was getting a dull pain in my right Achilles and heel at the end of each run.  As I rested over winter it calmed down, but now I’ve picked my training up it’s back again.

Last week I did very little running (but did some spin classes, weights and yoga so I wasn’t totally lazy) and on Friday I went to see  a sports therapist.

She was absolutely fab.  I’m not in danger of having my legs fall off, but I do have tight calves and short thigh muscles, mainly due to sitting down all day at work.  I had a great massage which wasn’t as ouchy as other sports massages I’ve had, and left my calves feeling loose as jelly.

The therapist also gave me some exercises to do to strengthen my ankles which I’ll do my best to stick to.  We had that usual awkward moment which most runners have experienced….

Therapist: “are you stretching?”

Runner: “erm….maybe??”

I’ve also got a heel bump called Haglund’s Deformity (sexy!) but as long as it doesn’t hurt too much I just need to make sure my shoes don’t rub.

So, this week I’ve been remotivated and done 2 runs, Saturday I’m going to aim for a longer run.  My Great North Run race pack arrived this week so if I needed any further motivation, there it is!

Enjoy your running this week 🙂

Injury, Kit, Running, Training

Ouch! Chafing

There are some things that runners only talk about in small groups.  We huddle together, whispering about our dark secrets.  You might hear the occasional word “nipple” “blood” “vaseline” “toilet”.

This week one of running’s dirty secrets hit me hard – the dreaded chafing.  I didn’t feel it as it was happening, but at the end of my 14 mile run I had a swollen red line at the top of my leg that was unbelievably painful.  Now I have to work out what caused it and how to prevent it.

Chafing happens anywhere your skin is rubbed.  It can be on your chest, legs, feet, anywhere!  If I run in a vest I get it at the top of my arms where my underarm rubs against the sleeve hole on my vest.

Chafing can be a problem if you’re running regularly as it needs time to heal.  I had to cut short my last run because the chafing I’d picked up the day before was so painful.

The runner’s best defense against chafing is Vaseline.  It’s not glamorous, but rub it all over any spot you might chafe,  There are some runner specific lubricating gels, but I’ve not tried them – if you have, let me know what you think.

If you get chafing during a race, look out for first aiders by the track with their hands stuck out – those hands are probably full of some kind of petroleum jelly.

If it’s too late and the chafing has already happened, try Sudocrem.  It’s not just for babies bottoms – it will help you to heal more quickly.

Running…it’s all about the glamour!

Injury, Kit, Running, Training, Uncategorized

Week 3 Training

Highs and lows again this week!  I’m enjoying the fartlek and finding it pain free, but on the long runs my achilles is hurting so much I have to stop.

Week 3:

  • Monday: jog 20 – 10 minutes to gym, 1 hour weights (lower body), 10 minutes home
  • Tuesday: fartlek 45 minutes at the race course, no problems at all
  • Wednesday: jog 10, run 35 minutes.  This was a terrible outing, I had to stop 5 times to stretch my lower calf and came home utterly demoralised
  • Thursday: swapped a combination of running and sprints for a 48 minutes spin class at Energise, York
  • Friday: jog 20 – 10 minutes to gym, 1 hour weights (chest), 10 minutes home
  • Saturday: rest, and a few beers
  • Sunday: fartlek 70 minutes at York race course, no problems at all

On Saturday I took a trip to York Sweatshop to see if they could shed any light on my leg pain.  The staff there were great – they are very knowledgeable about running and really know their gear.

I explained that the only thing different was my new trainers, a pair of Asics I’d picked up cheap somewhere.  The guy from Sweatshop spotted that I was wearing a high support shoe, more suitable for a pronator (someone whose foot rolls when they run) than a neutral runner like me.

He popped me on the treadmill in some neutral shoes to check my gait, and confirmed I’m a neutral runner.  I then spent half an hour running round the car park in 6 pairs of shoes before settling on a pair of Brooks.  I’ll do a full review on these soon.

Trainers from places like Sweatshop and Up and Running aren’t cheap, but the advice you get and the help from the staff is great value.  It’s not totally confirmed yet as I need to do some pain free runs, but it appears I’ve been suffering for trying to pick up some cheap trainers and getting completely the wrong ones.  The shoes were pushing my foot into the wrong position trying to correct a problem that isn’t there.

Sweatshop also offer a 30 day guarantee.  Sometimes it’s hard to tell if trainers are right for you until you’ve done a few miles in them, and knowing you can take them back if they rub or don’t feel right is great peace of mind when you’re spending so much money.

I know some runners can go quite happily in a pair of £10 trainers from a regular shop, but I’ve generally had a better experience when I get the advice from the staff in the shop.  When you think about the miles you’ll be logging in them, the money doesn’t seem like a bad investment.

Injury, Massage, Running

The evil sports masseuse

From week 1 of training I’ve noticed tightness in my calves and been getting a pain in my right achilles.  My trainers are new and an updated version of trainers I’ve already run in, so I don’t think it’s them.  I’m a heavy footed heel-striking runner but I’ve not had any issues before when training for half marathons etc.

So I reluctantly booked an appointment with a bony fingered sadistic harpy otherwise known as a sports masseuse.  If you’ve never had sports massage before, it’s nothing like those lovely relaxing ones where someone rubs oil into your skin while whales sing gently in the background.

A sports masseuse will target the particular area of the body that’s causing you pain – so I had a good 45 minutes of what felt like someone trying to push my calves through the back of my knees.

It’s unpleasant and it HURTS!  Apparently I need to have one in another 2 weeks and then probably every 4 weeks after that to keep me limber, but we’ll see how my pain threshold goes.

You can see the bruises I’ve been left with (you can see my dog hiding in the background too, but ignore him).

Would I recommend a sports massage?  Grudgingly yes, but don’t do it unless you really have to – it’s a pain vs. pain equation.

Post sports massage

Post sports massage

Injury, Running, Training

Week 2 Training

Week 2 (started 13th May) is when it all started to feel a bit real.  I’m using my diary to map out the runs for the week so I know what I’m doing, this works better for me than a day by day approach.

The weather is NOT helping, thermals in May??

Week 2:

  • Monday: jog 20 – 10 minutes to gym, 1 hours weights (lower body), 10 minutes home
  • Tuesday: 40 minutes fartlek
  • Wednesday: jog 30 minutes
  • Thursday: should have been fartlek 40 minutes, but swapped for a spin class
  • Friday: 20 minutes jog – 10 minutes to gym, 1 hour weights (upper body), 10 minutes home
  • Saturday: rest, hooray!
  • Sunday: run 60

This week was a mix of ups and downs.  I worked really hard on the Tuesday fartlek session, but couldn’t ignore the nagging pain I’m getting in my right achilles.  I gave it a rest by swapping the Thursday fartlek session for a spin class and Sunday it felt much better on my 60 minute run.

Sunday look grey and miserable when I set off, but it turned out to be deceptively hot.  I had to dump water on my head to cool down and my face was a most distressing shade of red when I got home.   Contrast that to Tuesday when there was a bitterly cold wind belting across York racecourse!  I will need to get used to running in all types of weather if this is what 2013 is going to throw at me.