running injury

The Road To Recovery

Sorry for going a little quiet on you all, but I was getting really frustrated with the niggling injury in my left leg that has put me out of action for a few weeks. Every time the ball of my foot felt pressure I endured a nasty pain just below my calf but completely resting it and taking a break from my new regime was proving to be quite difficult.

After putting in the hard work and losing a stone and a half in weight, I was quite conscious of how easy it would be to rapidly undo everything; however I was also equally aware that if I continue to run on an injury I could end up being out of action for months rather than weeks.

On June 2nd, I got married and my troublesome leg felt a little better. At the wedding reception that night I was guilty of having a few beers, which ensured the sound of House of Pain’s “Jump Around” was enough to finally get me on the dance floor. Yes I jumped around like a crazed mad man for at least two minutes until I pulled up again with my now infamous bad leg.

It ached like a bastard all night, and I finally admitted that I have no choice but to rest it completely, but luckily I had the welcome distraction of my honeymoon, which was more than enough to take my mind off running for 10 days as we headed off to Italy for a mini tour of Venice, Florence, Pisa and Rome.

With no running in my life for nearly a month combined with indulging in the wedding buffet, copious amounts of wedding cake, beautiful Italian food and wine for a few weeks, I was more than a little paranoid that my belly would be carrying a whole lot more weight again. Maybe it was because our honeymoon was quite active (no rude jokes please) but luckily a quick weigh in still has me at 14.5 stone, which was a damned sight better than I was expecting, so this was the perfect time to get back into the swing of things.

I have returned with my leg feeling fully refreshed and raring to go and wasn’t about to let the wind, rain and cold temperatures stop me, so after seeing a little sunshine, I thought that it was time to quite literally give my dodgy leg a run out for the first time since May 25th. I was quite conscious of overdoing it and ending up having to rest for a few months so I opted for a nice steady run.

This self-confessed couch potato loved every minute of the run, and can honestly say that I have really missed not being able to get out there, leaving me to ask the question, what the hell has happened to me? it seems the running bug has well and truly got a grip on me.

I completed a 3.2 mile (5k) run in 32 minutes without any problems, which was a huge relief as my leg now feels fine. I then warmed down with a 10 minute brisk walk and lots of stretching so hopefully things will be a little better over the next few months. Maybe I have finally learned my lesson the hard way, that warming down and stretching are the most important aspects of running.

My fears of a very tough run after being absent for nearly a month were thankfully unfounded as everything went really well and it actually felt fantastic to be back on the road again. A glimmer of a British summer also made a rare appearance too, which offered a moment to take in the beautiful surroundings.

Blue skies and sunshine appear to welcome me back on the road.

On a separate note, there was a fantastic documentary on BBC 2 this week called “The Men Who Made Us Fat which is a fascinating look at just why our food is making us fat. We are, on average, 3 stone heavier than we were in the 60s. And not because we’re eating more or exercising less – we just unwittingly became sugar addicts says a must read article in the Guardian.

Anyway I digress, the important part of this post is that my leg feels much better and I am back running again. I cannot tell you how frustrating it was getting not being able to run at all for so long because of a pesky injury but hopefully things will only get better now warming down and stretching are taken much more seriously. Valuable lessons have been learned, after all everyday is a school day, no matter how old you are.

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The Walking Wounded

My new life as a runner came to a grinding halt last week after my troublesome left leg caused me to pull up on two occasions and forced me to have a few days rest after only 10 miles ran for the week.  I don’t usually Google anything medical because it usually involves you convincing yourself that you have cancer but I made an exception this time.

It seems that my pesky soleus muscle is to blame, along with me being guilty of not stretching enough and maybe overdoing it a little. Skipping warm ups or cool downs, ineffective stretching, or a sudden change in training distance or intensity are all major factors, so maybe I better hold my hands up and say oops.

Although the soreness in the lower calf while running/running there is also a dull ache has been waking me up in the night.

All running sites and forums hammer home the point that stretching effectively before and after running is key to preventing lower calf muscle pain but I’m the kind of guy that only learns a lesson after something happens.  Like when you are a kid and your mum says stop doing that or you will fall over and hurt yourself, it’s not until you actually fall over that you stop doing it.

Maybe its time to take stretching more seriously.

I am reliably informed that exercises like wall push-ups can help you keep your muscles flexible and prevent muscle tears and I should think about getting the frozen peas out to Ice the muscle immediately after running.

My biggest problem is the rule “Do not run while pain persists and keep from running for a few days after the pain subsides” this might sound a little strange but I really missed my Saturday morning 10k run and finding it really hard not getting out there.

Although I have continued to stretch the muscle, the lower calf area still hurts when walking and the dull ache is still keeping me awake at night, so I must try and avoid temptation to hit the streets.