For over 3 months Marcus has been struggling with a running injury. This is what I learnt.
Unless you are a fellow runner or athlete you may not appreciate the injustice of the situation.
Most athletes, myself included exercise for some of the following reasons
- Keeps me in good shape
- Can lead to excellent health
- Allows you to eat more!
- Better overall health -> less burden to society
So when injury strikes, especially /when I was just running/ it seems karmically all wrong.
The most important thing
Is not professional help!
It's a sane, knowledgeable friend who can stop you being an idiot.
You need a close sporting friend to counter what every runner or athlete thinks:
- To convince themselves to run through the injury
- "it's not so bad, I'll just keep to my current schedule"
In Marcus' case, my most intelligent wife Agata provides continuous feedback and reminds me that exercising whilst damaged is really stupid. In one sentence:
Don't be a dick!
- Seek professional medical advice
- Seek assistance from sporting friends to determine source of injury
- Experienced runners know their body better than any physio. It's unlikely there is a magical cure [from anybody].
- Are there alternate sports that you can still practise?
- Did you try Compex or other recovery tools?
- Do you need a total running break?
In Marcus' case I've stopped running for about 2 months. I use Compex daily. I've found that I can still scooter and cycle without issue, so daily training had focused on that instead.
My spine related injury is not totally regenerated. So I'm still just in a holding pattern.
But the recovery plan to date has been
- Small runs, up to 10Km, on tarmac or a softer surface
- Take it easy, very easy
- Over time increase running distances
- Stop if any pronounced pain
- Over time run don't just jog
Friday Test Run
So this Friday, Marcus asked for permission of Agata to do a 20Km jog. After this we'll go back to Marathon distance training runs, because that is what you need for Ultra distance training.
Prior to this Agata and Marcus have done at most some 7Km and 12Km recuperation runs in the nearby forest of Chalet a Gobet, here in Lausanne, Switzerland. They went okay-ish. A little painful at times, but tolerable.
Today, Agata tells me. "Stop faffing around husband otherwise we will never actually start"
10Km later ...
Quite a rare Lotus Exige is found nestling in this barn. It's not just about the wildlife and natural scenery you know!
We made this 20Km route loop from our back door. Whilst we live in Lausanne, step just 1-2Km North East and we are really in the countryside.
Agata and Marcus take turns to lead.
Following someone is usually more difficult than leading since you have to adapt to your run buddies pace which might vary to yours on different terrain and gradients.
Plenty of wildlife to make Marcus smile. Obviously kittens would be preferable, but they are not out in today's heat of about 20 degrees.
Agata is now a dot in the horizon, need to work hard to catch her up.
We must be back home [in Lausanne town], because there is a sophisticated Swiss speed camera installed.
Marcus is slowly recovering from his Spinal injury. Agata is able to advise me when I'm being an idiot and being too ambitious for my recovery runs.
Your running partner is going to be a much more objective judge of what you should be attempting as you recover.
Listen to them!