What started out as an irritating hamstring ‘niggle’ in August became sore and eventually stopped me from running just after the Andrew Greyling half marathon at the end of September. I did some foam rolling (with no idea if I was doing it properly), I watched a few YouTube videos on how to stretch my hamstring (random videos by mainly crossfit buffs) and then resorted to popping a few cataflams in the hope that the pain would go away. But it didn’t and I started to panic.
So I went back to basics & consulted the experts:
- Lyno therapy: It worked for my plantar fasciitis two years ago and after the bankie test with Sports Injury Clinic’s Jacqui Young, I could see just how weak I was. For those who know lyno, you must know what a desperate state I was in to opt for the therapy. I cried like a baby during that first session but post session, I finally bought my own bankie.
- Jacqui also gave me a few simple stretches to build up the strength in my glutes, quads and hammies. You can’t believe how 20 minutes of leg raises, bridges, squats and lunges can work up a sweat and make you feel the burn in areas you’re weakest in.
- I bought new shoes. The theory is that you only get between 500 and 800kms in a pair of running shoes. I border on the 500 – 600kms. My feet immediately felt the difference in new shoes! (And yes, I chose blue & not pink again as a sign that colours should not define a gender.)
- Rest and review. When I look back, I suspect that maybe it was too much too soon? I was disciplined enough to run shorter distances through winter but as soon as the races started up again in Jozi, I ran one half marathon after the other every weekend. I’m kidding myself thinking they are Sunday LSD’s because let’s face it, every runner pushes themselves during a race and I know I did.
The lessons I’ve taken out of this are that there are areas in my running that I am possibly neglecting, such as core fitness. I can’t just run. I need to ensure I have the strength in my legs and back too. I need to be clear about my goals. What is important? To run a 21km every weekend or work towards one that I will enjoy?
I’ve also realized that I can’t rush the healing process. Don’t laugh but it felt as if I needed to apologize to my body, and to my hamstring.
I’ve since had long conversations with my hamstring and the negotiation process has started. I have agreed to show my body a bit more respect and my gammie hammie has agreed to start healing.