What the Physio said…

It’s not everyday that you get a free consult from a physiotherapist that provides answers you just didn’t realize you needed.

Last week, I visited old Running Junkie friend, Francis, at her practice, Francis and Terry Rogan Physiotherapists, for something non-injury related.

I replied to her “How are you?” opening line with a casual, “Agh, my knee is niggling me.” I went on to explain my dilemma:

  • I was registered to run the Edenvale half marathon on Sunday.
  • I really wanted to run a 21km before Two Oceans. More for mental prep than physical to be honest.
  • I had been trying to increase my weekend long run mileage and had planned to up it to 15kms for the month of March.
  • I worried that my knee wouldn’t make 21.1kms. It’s been uncomfortable and weak with bursts of pain under the knee cap whenever I walked down stairs of drove my car.
  • So I’ve been Googling ways to strengthen my knee so that I would ready on Sunday.
  • I’ve listened to some of a couple of Coach Parry podcasts Brad Brown sent me.
  • I’ve started doing yoga which has been amazing & worth it’s own blog post!
  • Oh and yes, I’m taking cataflams. Should I continue with these? (Snort, you should’ve seen the look she gave me!)

In a nutshell, I’m desperately trying a bit of everything (as runners do).

Francis asked 3 simple questions that for some bizarre reason, I had failed to ask myself:

  • Is it your goal race? No.
  • If it’s about mileage, why not run the 10km and add in a 2-3 km cool down if your knee feels okay. I could do that.
  • Have you checked out the race calendar? Um, no. Why not enter Jackie Gibson later in March to run a half. It’s also not too close to Oceans.

I wondered why it was so difficult to reason it out for myself. Duh!

I went ahead and ran the Edenvale 10km road race on Sunday. My knee was fine. *phew*! I also managed to add on an extra 3kms for a cool down jog which gave me a total of 13kms mileage for the day.

My knee has felt ‘okayish’ this week. Let me put it this way, I’ve managed to continue training. With 5 weeks until Two Oceans, this is what counts, right?

You can Google what you like and convince yourself that you’ve made the right decision. But some times you do need someone to sense check you and make sure you’re asking the right questions, especially when it comes to injuries.

Runners cannot self-diagnose. Fact!

I know that if I had run the 21kms on Sunday, I would’ve been hobbling around this whole week, unable to run, with my knee in pain rolled up in an ice pack. Not ideal. Thanks Francis!

Shit! Did you read what I just said?

5 weeks to Two Oceans! How’s your training going?

Discussions with my hamstring

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. 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.)New running shoes
  • 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.