September Training & progress

So… here goes…. an update on my training and recovery since I decided I needed to take some time out from running.

I decided to take at least September off running to see if I could fix what was probably some sort of muscle strain – which was causing pain inside the top of my right leg (hip flexor) and in my lower back.

Looking back, and having had some treatment on it, I’m pretty sure I slightly pulled a muscle doing a deadlift at some point, but didn’t feel it too bad – then continued to train through it for a few weeks. (Here’s me after some speed work in Inverness 🤮). Training had been going well for the while of lockdown.

There was a dull pain in my lower back, but the thing that my body really didn’t like was a twinge in my upper right leg when I did the good morning movement. When my torso got to 45’ or further it pulled and really didn’t feel right. And at 90’ it was the worst. (So sitting, or bending).

I felt that maybe the pain in my lower back was maybe also a result of sitting at an odd workstation at home… but the reality probably was that it was the pulled muscle and my body compensating for it.

I’ve improved my work station anyway, with a stability ball as my seat (much better), and an ability to stand at my ‘desk’ if I want to, too, so I’m happy that my work station is working fine.

Looking back also, my training had been going well, but as I was at about 85-90 miles by the 20th August I was maybe overtraining a bit too.

Here’s where I got to with my running in August…

16th Aug – half marathon
18th Aug – 5.5M effort run
20th Aug – 4.8M incl 5 min time trial

The high mileage and underlying pulled muscle seemed to be then compounded by a few long journeys driving… 3 hours, then 2 hours. And of course I was more or less in the 90’ angle so it all seemed to then kick in as what felt like an injury that needed attention, rather than just a niggle that you could ignore and it would go away.

I ran the half marathon distance in Wick with my brother and it went fine. I felt strong and good. Then the next couple of runs thing didn’t feel quite right so I sensibly decided that I would coincide a week off work with a short break from running to see if it would help.

It was sore sleeping, and I was taking pain killers… the pain remained but did seem to ease off. I know that it’s important to listen to my body, and I’m also open to taking as much time off running as needed – for the long run, to hopefully let everything repair and get things back to normal.

The 20th August was my 11th run of the month, and I decided my last run for a bit… (and I’d done about 85 miles in August up to then).

So I took about 9-10 days off running. We were off work anyway and had a wee staycation planned… so we walked places though, and I did a bit of Bodyweight strength work but not much. Then back from being away in the east coast and I tried to run again on the 28th.

We had fun on holiday anyway, despite a storm and some rain. Plenty of rest and recovery.

It went ok but it still wasn’t right…

28th Aug – 3.9M – not quite right
29th Aug – 1M – stop

Then on the 29th I tried a wee run and ended up just doing a mile before going back to the car – finally admitting defeat and knowing I needed to take a different approach. Time to properly fix this.

So I booked in a body assessment and massage with Clare and had that at the start of September. I decided that I’d say to myself that I was taking the whole month of September off running, and if it cleared up before then, then good.

Then we were out and about and all I could see was runners. Aaaghhhh. But the way I see it is that I’m doing this for good later, and to get my running back on track. I’ve had a good year training so far and I’ve not been injured for a long long time. Touch wood. It’s just my body telling me to stop or change tact… so that’s what I’ll do.

So the refocus was on taking care – foam rolling, stretching and bodyweight movements (not doing single leg work), and as you probably know I got my bike out, and kept active with cycles (indoor and outdoor) and walks.

Here’s what I’ve been doing:

Wk36 – 31 Aug
Mon: 2.9M Walk / 27 min cycle outside
Tue: Rest / 1.2M Walk
Wed: Rest & Massage and body assessment
Thu: 3.5M Walk
Fri: 2.6M Walk
Sat: 3.5M Walk
Sun: 4.6M outdoor cycle / 6.2M Walk

Wk37 – 6 Sep
Mon: 3.6M Walk
Tue: 16M / 73 min outdoor cycle & 1M walk & 20 mins foam rolling / stretching Wed: 10k walk
Thu: 35 min foam rolling / 45 min spin intervals (7×1:4)
Fri: 10M / 58 min outdoor cycle / 20 min foam rolling
Sat: 2M & 1M Walk
Sun: Walk / Cycle / foam rolling/stretching

It all seems to be working anyway – the pain in my hip flexor seems to have gone… touch wood. My lower back is still sore and my hamstrings are tight; but hopefully a bigger focus on more foam rolling and stretching next week will help. I think I’ll limit the walks to under an hour too.

Now the plan is to mix walking and stretching / foam rollering one day, then cycling and foam rolling / stretching the next day. Keep it simple.

Wk38 – 13 Sep
Mon: Cycle / 25-35 mins foam roll/stretch
Tue: Walk / 25-35 mins foam roll/stretch
Wed: Cycle / 25-35 mins foam roll/stretch
Thu: Walk / 25-35 mins foam roll/stretch
Fri: Cycle / 25-35 mins foam roll/stretch
Sat: Massage / Rest
Sun: Walk / 25-35 mins foam roll/stretch

I’ll probably keep something similar to that going throughout September and see where I’m at after that.

I’m enjoying walking with others, but also in my own and listening to audiobooks. I’m listening to Breath just now, and I’m also listening to The Luck Factor when I’m trying to get to sleep (but I’ll listen to it on walks once I finish breath).

The bike outside really has been a breath of fresh air, and I think I’d like to keep doing it once a week at least when I’m back running. I imagine I’d be a bit put off if it’s raining, but if that’s the case then I could do the bike inside instead. We will see.

I’m glad I seem to be making progress anyway and hopefully everything will be back to normal soon. When I do get back running I’ll be ever more grateful that I’m back to it.

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