London Marathon – 68 Days to go…

Time seems to be slipping through my fingers at this point and although I am now up to 12 miles, it has not been easy.  I am still running 3 times a week.  My Sunday is my longer run, followed by a Tuesday recovery run, and a Thursday night 8 miler. I have started eating A LOT and napping whenever I get the chance.

15727368_10154719754831438_1399623987169054772_n

Sleepy cuddles with Papa Smurf

Since my last blog, I have been up to London to the Virgin London Marathon ‘Ask The Experts’, it really was a great day and I learnt a lot.  I was a bit skeptical about going up on my own but I met so many different people and runners from all over the country – amazingly there were over a thousand runners there!  The day was more for first time marathon runners like myself and it was a chance to find out what to expect on the day, get injury advice and other things such as, what to wear on the day.  Ultimately, it was about learning how to get the most out of potentially, one of the best days of your life.

Guests included – Hugh Brasher (the son of the Founder of the London Marathon), Shannon Foudy (one in a million runner from VLM 2016), Sport Psychologist – Josie Perry, Kerry McCarthy (The Editor from Runners World) and many more including a great talk from Martin Yelling.  I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Liz Yelling (Martin’s wife) at the Fareham Crusader Question and Answer Session, and she is also ridiculously knowledgeable in all things running related. There was a #reasontorun booth too – take a look at my picture!  My reason to run is to make my friends and family proud, but like my good friend Neil Smith suggested – you should also be running London to make YOURSELF proud – he has a good point!

img_77881

#reasontorun

Adidas were also there and I went a bit crazy on purchasing some official London Marathon kit at discounted price.  I’m terrified of wearing it BEFORE the actual event though as I feel it would be tempting fate!  The official colour this year though appears to be blue for the ladies, with peach detail. I love it!

img_77121

Adidas gave us a sneak preview!

The day after ‘Ask the Experts’, I ran my longest run with some awesome ladies who were great company.  Most of our run consisted of overlooking the solent at Lee. The miles go by so much quicker when running with friends, you really do get to know each other really well! I have to be honest, I struggled with the last mile.  Because I run on my forefoot, my calves were absolutely screaming by mile 11 and I was tempted to stop.  Thanks to the girls, they kept me going for one more mile…. Keep an eye on the back page of Women’s Running next month, you may just spot us ;0)

img_77891

Cathy Pittick, me and Joy Smith…we love a good natter!

Yesterday I had a ‘short run’ (ahem indeed), this involved 8 miles with more running friends. I again struggled on the last mile and so I need to dig out my Psychology textbooks and practice what I preach. My next long run is 14 miles… I’m worried I will get half way round and need to jump on a bus…

How is your training going?

How have you coped with the increased mileage?

Follow me on Twitter @ukrungirl

 

May your miles be long and your injuries a few

Kezza x

VLM Training -96 Days to go…

My training so far for the Virgin London Marathon has not gone to plan…. The latter part of last year I found myself with hip niggles and required a steroid jab in the joint.   Two weeks into my training and I decided to stupidly train in the cold with a chest infection which resulted in trip to the hospital with Pneumonia.  AHHHHHHHH…. Panic well and truly set in….

panic-button

After my complete melt down, I started to put things into perspective.  This is real life, things are going to get into the way – illnesses and injuries will occur.  I’m not an Olympian, I’m not running a good for age place and I’m not going for a PB (whatever time I run, it will be a PB as I’m a first timer)….

Having got the green light from my Doctor I was told that I could return to running albeit slowly as I would have reduced lung capacity for a while.  I was also told that I needed to keep warm which is a mission in its self at the moment with the weather on the verge of snowing…so it was time to visit the dreadmill….

dreadmill

View from the ‘dreadmill’

I managed a very gentle walk / run on the treadmill but nothing beats running outside – taking in the all the sights, and sounds… nonetheless, I am grateful to be able to be back into training……all be it gentle.

And so it’s back to the training plan.  I am currently using the ASICS one (Asics.com) which sets me training sessions of three a week.  In between these sessions, I will also be cross training, Body Pump and Yoga.  I have recently taken up James Dunn’s 30 day challenge which concentrates on stretching, conditioning and resilience training for runner.  Today’s session looked like this –

james-dunne

 

I will keep you updated with how this is going at a later date.  I am RIDICULOUSLY injury prone and I am hoping this is going to make me a stronger runner by conditioning muscles I use regularly. (If you want to try this out yourself, check out http://www.kinetic-evolution.com)

From next week the mileage starts to build.  Goodbye Sundays! I have been advised that tiredness is a side effect of pneumonia and so at least I can look forward to lots of sleep and sofa days!

cat

Other aspects I really need to sort is my DIET! Dry January is working well for me so far, but I still can’t refuse those pesky crisps. I can easily eat three packets a day and still crave for more…

Luckily I have a really good support network and belong to a fantastic club called the Fareham Crusaders.  I also have a close group of runners who I run with – I think this has a massive impact on your state of mind.  Like all of us, I need a kick up the arse sometimes, or a massive reality check.

My aim is to enjoy the experience and be prepared for any challenges that may crop up between now and April.  A wise person once said to me ‘if it doesn’t feel fun, don’t force the run’.  I’m not totally naïve in thinking that the training is going to be all sunshine and flowers, but with a positive mind-set, supportive club and trusting in my own ability and training, I can make the journey  a smoother one.

Follow me on twitter and lets swap training stories! (@ukrungirl)

Are you in the London Marathon?

Is your training going to plan?

Have you been met with any unexpected obstacles?

 

May your miles be many and your injuries a few..

Kezza x

 

 

 

 

Achilles Tendinopathy

If you’re reading this, chances are you are suffering with Achilles issues…. you’ve probably searched high and low… searched for answers in various search engines- bought books, ‘hash tagged’ in Twitter.   Am I right? I’ve been there, probably for a good year.  Pretty much tried everything to get rid of the dreaded Achilles tendonitis… or Tendinopathy which is what it is now commonly known as.  Apparently it is no longer called Tendonitis as this assumed swelling and inflammatory in the Achilles for which there is hardly none due to the lack of blood supply in this area. I can honestly say in the 25 years of being active, this has been my most frustrating injury.  It just sits there stubbornly, reminding you every time you put your sock on or pressing on your clutch pedal that it’s still there.. Just as I thought it was getting back on track, it would start niggling again. Sound familiar?

The name Achilles derives from the ancient Greek Mythology – ‘ Achilles’ heel’ and is a popular name for a person’s most vulnerable spot or biggest weakness. The term derives from the legend that the great warrior Achilles who was dipped in the River Styx by his mother, a sea goddess named Thetis, who held her infant son by one heel, and covered him with the waters that would make him immortal. Because she held his heel, it remained dry, and became the only vulnerable place on Achilles. See, you learn something new every day…

untitled

 

Achilles tendinopathy is a condition that causes pain, swelling and stiffness of the Achilles tendon that joins your heel bone to your calf muscles. It is thought to be caused by repeated tiny injuries to the Achilles tendon. These may occur for a number of reasons, including overuse of the tendon – for example, in runners. Treatment includes rest, ice packs, painkillers and special exercises to help to stretch and strengthen the Achilles tendon. For most people, the symptoms of Achilles tendinopathy usually clear within 3-6 months of starting treatment.

achilles

You won’t need to ever question whether you have this frustrating injury, believe me, you will know.  At first the pain in my Achilles was just merely a niggle, I had ramped up my training quite quickly for the Great South Run… Ramping up speed and training is a complete no no… esp if you run like me – on your tippy toes. I think they call this forefoot running? 🙂  The pain would subside after 3 miles, no drama.  Come two months later, the pain didn’t actually leave my right heel… fabulous.  I proceeded to run a Parkrun and felt the most excruciating pain – although continued to run on it… I then threw in a hill session (just for good measure) with the club on the following Tuesday night and found myself completely out… just like that…

My first mistake I have already mentioned – ramping up the mileage and training too quickly.  Secondly, I was wearing the wrong trainers.  I was not so kindly provided with trainers for a ‘neutral’ runner only to be told later that I was actually over pronating so needed some trainers for that extra support.

IMG_2781

majorly supportive

 

Back to the physio I went… back on the sweaty couch.  Turns out I had a misalignment of my hips where one hip was sat slightly above the other one… this meant that one leg was overcompensating for the other and thus causing an imbalance. It also didn’t help that I had spent the last 20 something years wearing stilettos all day at work and had completely shortened my calves.  I also run on my toes, so even though my calves look amazing in a dress, when I’m running, the amount of strain I am placing on the bottom part of my legs is incredible.  Your glutes should be doing ALL the work – this is why the backside is called the ‘powerhouse’ and is the biggest muscle in the body.  I’ve got to be honest, I think mine have sunk into a coma.  Sitting on one’s butt in an office does not help so I would advise squats to wake them up a bit.

So how did I fix this stubborn injury? I apologise for following word – RESTING. I know, I know… I can sense you rolling your eyes… but think of the Achilles as lots of little bricks…. when it is injured the bricks are all facing in different directions… so resting helps settle everything down and ensure that the bricks are all calmed down and facing the right way – the medical term for the break down in the Achilles is degeneration.  So basically, the more you do, the worse it will get! ‘SOWWY’.  SO. what did I do whilst resting…. let me tell you..

  1.  Heel Dips (15 per day), Heel Raises (15 per day) – the raises STRENGTHEN the calve and the Achilles.  The dips LENGTHEN the calve / Achilles.  Even now, I still do this every. single. day. You do have time! Do it when you are brushing your teeth!
  2. Massage nightly – get yourself some cheap baby oil, and massage that baby out.  There is a lack of blood flow in this area which means it is going to take double the time to heal.  Help it along.
  3. Achilles Brace – I bought mine online – you are supposed to sleep in it but I found that when I had woken up in the morning, it had been ripped off. the aim is to keep your foot in the same place for the maximum amount of time possible to promote the  healing process.
  4. The right trainers! I can’t stress this enough..Orthotics – it might be worth investing in some orthotics if you feel that your injuries are being caused with the way you run.  Warning – they ARE expensive, but I have spoken to some runners at my club who have suggested that they wouldn’t be able to run if they didn’t have orthotics in their trainers.
  5. Running Gait – might be worth getting this checked out.
  6. REST! uh – huh – sorry…Try wearing an ankle support. I bought this lovely little CEP one from wiggle. there is padding on the Achilles area which basically rubs the Achilles as you run. Genius!  I bought mine from here – http://www.wiggle.co.uk/cep-achilles-brace/
    IMG_4090

    Bought from Wiggle – so comfortable!

    IMG_4089

  7. Wear compression socks or calve sleeves – keeps everything tight and compacted.
  8. Avoid HILLS – Speed sessions when you return to running and go GENTLE!
  9. Swim, cycle, spin, lift weighs – stay sane!
  10. Volunteer at park run – stay involved in the running community!

    IMG_1241

    Volunteer at your local races and Parkrun’s! Stay involved!

  11. Shock Wave Therapy – Changed my life.  Okay, if you are squeamish or have a low pain threshold, this isn’t for you.  I can’t recommend this treatment enough.  The shockwaves are an abrupt, high amplitude pulses of mechanical energy, similar to soundwaves, generated by an electromagnetic coil or a spark in water. It is expensive yep… but totally worth it.  Sessions take about 20 minutes and can only be done in weekly intervals.  There are different levels from 1-10 (intense) so you can start at 1 and work your way up!  Loads of info here – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extracorporeal_shockwave_therapy

So how long is recovery? difficult question… it depends on the severity, whether you caught it in time and what you are doing to aid recovery. My injury was on and off for a good year. Maybe I will always have a weakness there…

IMG_4815

Grimacing for the camera

 

Since February of this year, my Achilles has been on its best behaviour. I can squeeze them really tightly and no pain which is bloody marvelous. My Achilles injury has really taught me to listen to my body – I’m perhaps over cautious nowadays but I don’t want to be sat out for ages and so have learnt never to push my luck like that again.  I hope this information is useful to you! Have you ever suffered from a debilitating injury and what did you do for recovery? How did you keep sane during the time! Would love to hear your stories!

Follow me on Twitter – @ukrungirl

Happy Running………….

My blogs – Views and Opinions are my own*