Walk this Way

The Physio has bestowed on me the right to try only 5 minute jogs for the foreseeable future.  After admonishing me for my disobedience of her orders last week, she enthusiastically set about sorting out some knots in my calf (agony).  Then got to work on the sole of my foot, which was very tight, apparently.

She said that it would hurt… Holy Molasses, she wasn’t joking! I laid face down, thinking that I might have to bite the pillow because of the excruciating pain. It took strength of will from down in my very core to stop the tears from flowing.

Then she had a go at me and said that she really didn’t like the way I was walking! Apparently I hitch my hips like John Wayne. Charming!

All that cost me fifty eight quid. Being injured really sucks!

I’m basically training for a 57 mile running ultra by not running.  I am working hard to keep as fit as possible – I have done a 3 month deal with the guy who runs the gym in my office building – I go into that cavern of soullessness every lunch time and beast myself for an hour on the wattbike and an uphill stair climber thingy. Its unspeakably dull and I am becoming obsessed with Heart rate zones and power outputs.

Also I can’t seem to avoid putting on weight.  I’m dangerously close to 12 stones, which is frankly completely unacceptable. My diet has lapsed a little, but at least some of the weight gain may be down to building some muscle mass (as I tell myself) because of all the rowing. Hopefully the weight will come down when I am running again.


CM – 13 weeks. 1 mile run (54,000m rowed)
Weight 11st 10.6 lbs
parkruns: None
Longest run 0.5 miles



Not lot to tell you about this week kids I’m afraid.

At first, I thought everything was getting back to normal.  I went for a run on Tuesday lunchtime – 10K – and I even pushed the pace a bit for a few miles in the middle of the run. Aerobically, the run told me that I’m still fairly fit, but unsurprisingly the leg muscles were a bit stiff the day after.

It was encouraging, maybe I had cracked it…

I had half an eye on Sunday, as I had an entry in one of my favourite races – the Snake Lane 10 miler. After a lazy bimble on Thursday, on a whim I decided to run a fitness test on Saturday afternoon.  I figured that if I could run for 7 miles with a bit of tempo pace in the middle then maybe I was cured and I could risk the Snake Lane 10 and go back to normal.

I ran my test around my standard village 7 mile figure of eight course, made more exciting by bumping into Olympic medallists Ali and Jonny Brownlee in Golden Acre Park. It felt great, I could easily run a few sub 7 minute miles without getting out of breath, though after 5 miles my legs were starting to feel it.

Unfortunately, I knew on waking on Sunday morning that I’d done too much too soon, my achilles was really sore again and there was no way that I was going to race. Oh well.

There was no visit to the Physiotherapist this week, I’m back next Wednesday and I’m sure she’ll give me a good telling off – quite rightly.

There are now fewer than 100 days until Comrades. My ambitions are changing from running to gain another Bill Rowan to just completing and getting the back to back prize.


CM – 14 weeks. 17.9 miles run (28,642m rowed)
Weight 11st 8.0 lbs
parkruns: None
Longest run 7 miles


Baby Steps

I went for a run on Saturday! OK, it was only a five minute jog at 9 minute mile pace, but that represents progress. A journey of a thousand miles and all that.

I went to see the physio again on Wednesday. I’m impressed that she is obviously aiming to treat the cause rather than just the symptoms of my achilles problem. She thinks there is possible a neural cause and the main thing I have to do is lots of calf strengthening and glute exercises. She said that I was walking noticeably better, whatever that meant…to be honest it was just regular walking to me, I noticed no difference.

She spent a good 20 minutes working deep into my left calf.  There were a couple of areas that were just incredibly painful when she got her thumbs in. I was yelping and jerking on the massage table in absolute agony! She didn’t back off, so I hope it does some good. Clearly a good physio needs a streak of sadism.

She said that if I felt OK, then I may try a 5 minute slow jog at the weekend, then wait to see if there is a reaction and then try another jog two days later if its OK.  At that rate, I’m not going to get back into full Comrades mode any time soon.

I’ve kept up the rowing in an effort to keep fit, doing at least 20 minutes per day and I even did a full 1 hour effort on Friday evening, managing 13,779 metres at about 2.10/500m pace. A full hour on an indoor rower is a very long time so I paced it very conservatively, keeping my HR down below 130 for most of it. At least the rowing is helping to improve my somewhat weedy guns…

On Sunday I went to support my Valley Striders team-mates running at the final race of the Peco XC league at Roundhay Park.  Being an injured runner makes one feel a little isolated in a running club. As you don’t turn up to training or races, its easy to feel marginalised and out of the loop. It was a lovely crisp winter’s morning and great to cheer on the Striders.

I feel more positive about things this week.  My calf feels OK today after the little run, so I should be alright to jog gently on every third day now.

Could that be a chink of light?

CM – 15 weeks. 0.5 miles
Weight 11st 7.6 lbs
parkruns: None
Longest run 0.5 miles



Losing my shirt

For the first time in about 6 years, I have spent a week on the planet without running a single step.

I don’t like it much – it’s causing a quiet melancholy, a feeling of fitness gently melting away.

I went to see a sports physio on Monday – the Coach House practice in Leeds, mainly because I’d seen plenty of recommendations from other runners.

The Physio immediately saw that my left achilles tendon was thicker than the right. I told her that I had been doing a lot of calf lowering exercises. Oh dear, she said, that may have been making things worse – not permitting my achilles a chance to recover

She spent a long time trying to establish why my left achilles is a regular cause of problems for me. After observing me stand in various poses and then walk up and down in just my shorts, she said that I appeared to be over-using my core muscles and not using my glutes. She also thought my coccyx was misaligned.

I have a series of rehabilitation exercises to do – mostly calf work, but also a glutes re-education programme, intended to get the glutes ‘firing’ rather than my core muscles when I run. However, she said there was to be no running for a while.

I have been doing the rehab work but I can’t really tell if I am getting better. In normal life, just walking around, I feel no pain or discomfort. However, I have no confidence in my achilles, I think that if I run, it will be sore again, but the only way to find out will be to try it out, but not yet.

I intend to try to keep fit mainly by indoor rowing.  If the weather was better and it was lighter in the evenings then I would venture out on my bike, however, I’m a nervous cyclist.  There are too many car drivers looking at their phones for my liking.

I had two days working in Glasgow on Tuesday and Wednesday and have just spent a boozy weekend in Woking celebrating my mate Tim’s 50th birthday, losing my shirt at Sandown races on Saturday into the bargain. It was great fun and certainly helped take my mind off the injury.

Tim is also recovering from a serious achilles injury, which he aggravated by running the Berlin marathon with me last September. He went for his first run this week after nearly 5 months, I hope mine isn’t that bad.

Basically, I have had a week of eating crap and not doing enough exercise. It’s time to pull my socks up.


CM – 16 weeks. 0 miles
Weight 11st 8.6 lbs
parkruns: None
Longest run 0 miles