Sunday, 19 October 2014

A change is gonna come

*dusts off the keyboard*

Apologies for the absense from the blog. On the running front, not a lot had changed and I didn't want to write for the sake of writing but now I can update. A few things have changed.

Not big changes, but I am back into some sort of 'running' routine. I'm now getting myself out and running a few miles, taking two days off and then going again. It's not much but it's running again.

Whilst running I'm feeling no ill effects from the achilles injury but can still feel some minor niggles after. That's why I want to keep things to a minimum and just appreciate I can get out there and do something that slightly resembles me being a runner again.

I'm trying hard to get some stretching in, especially with my calfs. Out of all the exercises I've accumulated for my injury, I seem to be getting the best response from foam rolling....Ouchy but beneficial :-)

My swimming routine has tailed off at the moment, something I want to get back on track, but I have been out cycling a few times. 

Now cycling is my least favourite exercise, but I've used it for a purpose and that purpose is getting to and from work. I've only done it a handful of times but it's been beneficial. I hadn't been on my bike for a few years and I threw myself in at the deep end and cycled the 13 miles to work and back at the end of the day. When you haven't cycled for a long time, 26 miles in a day is a looonnnnggg way. The last few miles on the way back I could bearly turn the peddles and was totally exhausted!

I did notice the way that the cycling worked my quads and hamstrings which was something the Physio said would be a benefit to my overall running mechanics.

Talking of running mechanics, I'm still playing around with my trainers and whether to run with the orthotics that I have in my shoe or not. The orthotics are only ones off the shelf but they have been a big benefit in the past with the same injury, but I'm not sure if I'm getting the same effect this time round with them.

The last 18 months have been hell for running, ever since I fractured my ankle jumping off that stupid wall trying to get to the start line off a race! Add to this my achilles problems and I do wonder if I'll ever get back to the volume of running and races that I was doing before. I guess it's just patience and appreciating I can at least do something.

That wall!!!

"It's been a long time coming, but I know a change is gonna come". Sam Cooke

Monday, 15 September 2014

How much longer?

Another week and no running and the saying "You don't know what you've got till its gone" rings so true. All those times when I've been out in the dark and the cold, in the rain, in the snow, cursing, wondering why I run; well I'd happily run in all those elements put together now, just to be out there running.

In my last post I wrote about a trial run and how well it went. It was only 2 miles but the next morning I did feel a slight discomfort in my Achilles so I knew straight away I was not ready yet for a return to running.

I had a good swim session last week, I swam a mile..1600m, I was well chuffed, I swam breaststroke the whole way which is my strongest and preferred stroke. Its the furthest I've ever swam in my life I reckon.

Another bonus was I got out on my bike. Now for those who know me or follow my ramblings, you will know I'm not a huge fan of cycling. I cycled 13 miles to work, a route I would normally run but haven't for a long time, so it was nice to be back albeit on two wheels. I got a lift back home but this week I'll probably attempt to cycle there and back a couple of times.

Cycling will at least strengthen my quads, something my physio told me would help my running mechanics.

What I'm really struggling with is my stretching exercises and particularly my eccentric calf stretches which would help hugely with my comeback to running. I'm not struggling to perform them, what I am struggling to do is actually get around to do them!

Just 10 minutes a few times a why cant I motivate myself to do them????

I can motivate myself to get up at 6am to swim a mile, to cycle 13 miles but 10 minutes of way! 

Does anyone else struggle with stretching? Maybe it's the boredom factor? I don't know but I really need to get myself back on track.

It's difficult keeping a running blog up when you're, but hopefully it may help with people going through the frustration of injury. If you are, I feel your pain and good luck with your recovery.

Friday, 5 September 2014

Maybe...just maybe

So my last official 'proper' run was 13th July, and all the runs previous to that going back to the new year were not really enjoyable due to my Achilles problems......Well today I ventured out.....I only went for 2 miles, nice and flat, nice and slow and things went well. I felt no pain on or after the run, tomorrow morning will be a good test because that has been the worse time for the pain. But I'm happy that this was the first pain free run this year!

I thought it was a good time to get some good habits back in my running and in particular my form. I always run with my shoulders high so I concentrated on relaxing them. It feels like starting out all over again. It was an incredibly slow run but I was just happy to be out again.

I was planning not to try to run again for another week but I missed my swim this morning (of which I've been doing twice a week) so I decided to bring the test run a week forward. I felt confident to try today as the last week I've had no pain walking or waking in the morning.

I put this big improvement down to using my running orthotics in my everyday shoes again, and just plain and simple REST! No icing, no stretching, no anti inflammatory tablets, just rest, and maybe, just maybe it could have paid off.

So for the immediate future, I will keep up the swimming twice a week and maybe run two 3 mile runs next week. I'm not bothered about building up distance as my new goal is the sub 20 minute 5K. 

It will take time but like having a marathon PB starting with a '3' it would be nice to have a 5K PB starting with a '1'.

Have I comeback too early? Only time will tell.

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Swimming OK in the UK

Swimming is the new running!......Well that's what I try to tell myself as rehab continues.

The last time I ran was 20th July, four and a half weeks ago, which actually feels like four and a half YEARS ago!!! I tell a lie, I actually went for 2 miles last Sunday (but don't tell my Physio!). I went for a very slow plod just to see what reaction I would get from the Achilles. It wasn't great but I definitely felt improvement which is good (accentuate the positives!).

So in an attempt to stop going stir crazy and to get some endorphins flowing, I've hit the pool. I enjoy swimming, I find it quite therapeutic and have now been twice a week for the last few weeks. I will probably up this to 3 times a week because I honestly think I'll be away from running for a looonnnnggg time.

I've been a bit slack on my rehab exercises at the moment (but don't tell my Physio!) which is crazy, I can go out and run for a couple of hours, get up at 6 and swim for half an hour but somehow can't get in a routine of doing some simple stretching for 10 minutes!!!

I will get there though as I know how important these exercises are to make me a better and stronger runner when I get back. Heck, I shouldn't be so hard on myself at least I'm cross training.

I'm not quite sure what the blog posts are going to consist of in the near future while I'm away from running so maybe I'll have to temporary change the name of the blog....Running Swimming OK in the UK.

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Go to your Physio!

I've now had two trips to Finefettle, and what I've learnt has been invaluable to my running. I made the point in a previous post that you can scan the internet till your blue in the face gaining all sorts of advice on a particular injury that you're suffering with. The trouble is it is not specific to you. Let me give you an example from my experience.

Information overload!
As you know if you read the blog regularly I'm suffering with my Achilles. Now I have obtained from the Internet many exercises, stretches to help me overcome the problem. But what I've since found out by coming to the good people of Finefettle right leg was shorter than my left where my pelvis was twisted (now been sorted) and my left leg is stronger with more calf muscle tone than the right. So basically I've been running 'Wonky' for a while now!

There is no way on earth I could have known these things from reading up on the Internet without being physically seen by a professional. So although I'm treating my Achilles there is other stuff going on which I would have never known about.

On my first visit to Finefettle I saw Helen an Osteopath and on my most recent visit I saw Alexandra who is a Physio who I will now continue to do my rehab with. So I've had great advice from two different .....

I've now got to do some strength training in my legs, calfs, glutes, core, you name it I'm doing it. I'm not sure when I'll be able to run again, but when I do hopefully I'll have much better form and be a better runner from the strength work I'm doing away from running.

I've started swimming this week in an attempt to keep my fitness levels. I enjoy swimming, and was going regularly last year but the pool closed for refurbishment and I lost the momentum. It's definitely something I want to keep up even when I'm back running. If only I enjoyed cycling as much as swimming and running then I would be in good stead to have a go at a Triathlon.

My lovely Olympic sized 50m local pool
When I started out running and got my first pair of trainers, like most runners I got checked out by the experts and brought a pair suited to me. I overpronate and have low arches and ever since I've always run in a stability trainer. But from my visit to the Physio this week I've learnt that my arches are now high and I should get my trainers checked out again as maybe I need a more neutral trainer. It may not be the answer but it could be contributing to my Achilles problems. Once again some advice I wouldn't have known unless a visit to the proffesionals.

So I'll keep going with my new found advice and hopefully towards recovery. This week has been the first that I've really missed running, I've been ok upto now and even enjoying a bit of a break. Hopefully the swimming will see me through till I can run again.

Friday, 1 August 2014

Nike Lunarglide 6

The Lunarglide range was one of the first new revolutionary lightweight trainers and has been a favourite of mine for a long time. I started out with the +2, then onto the +3 and +4, skipped the version 5 and am now happy to be back reviewing it's 6th reincarnation.

It makes you wonder how a stability shoe can be so light but Nike have done it again, in fact they've made the new version 30% lighter than it's predecessor! Now weighing in at just 272 grams.

One of the Lunarglide's strong points is how well it holds the foot particularly in the heel. 

The heel clip has been updated to give extra support which works well. The trainer generally feels quite snug but comfortable. 

The flywire technology integrates with the seamless breathable upper to give a glove like snug fit but not restrictive and extremely comfortable and airy.

Stability trainers in the past always relied on a medial post on the inner side of the outsole to stop the foot rolling. This in some shoes was quite noticeable and in some uncomfortable, the Lunarglide's support comes from opposing wedges of foam of different densities which gives the stability without the fore mentioned problems.

The outsole design has been much improved and is one of the best new features. The design map under foot is made up of individual contour maps that flex independently making the shoe very responsive and give a more natural movement to the foot.

Overall this is a big update and a worthwhile one.

I would highly recommend this shoe to the overpronating runner, it can be used for long distances or for more faster shorter distances as the trainer is so light.

Cushioning - 10 out of 10, Very supportive trainer
Comfort - 9 out of 10, Extreme comfort below foot
Flexibility - 10 out of 10, Amazing for a stability trainer
Responsiveness - 9.5 out of 10, Very good due to the new outsole design

Overall 38.5 out of 40

The Nike Lunarglide +6 can be purchased from JD sports at £95