Thankfully, after a bit of a concern that my injury sustained in the Halesowen Triathlon was my Achilles, it turns out that it’s just another one of those niggling injuries. Something I’ve learned since getting back into sport is that I’m not as young as I once was (famous words) and thus the body needs a bit more TLC. I’ve always been fiercely competitive, starting with myself and this often means that little messages from my body are often ignored under the premise of ‘no pain no gain’.
Training for my two recent events; The London Marathon and my new found love of Triathlon, I had similar issues, both are intensive endurance sports and thus it’s quite normal to hurt during training, but it’s clear that I need to be more sensible. In the run up to the marathon I felt some pain in my right knee that meant I had to walk home from my last long run. Rather than getting it checked out, I stopped running for 3 weeks and then tried to take part. This was a bad decision as I suffered badly with my ITB (iliotibial band – the one on the outside of the knee) to the point that I had to walk the last half of the race. Top tip if you’re having to start a race like this, maybe you shouldn’t be starting it at all….
Similarly, in the build up to the triathlon I felt a sharp pain in my right calf area during a steady run, this required me to walk home. You can probably guess what I did next… Correct, didn’t see anyone about it and stopped running. At this point I should also remind you all about the fact that I had hurt my shoulder trying on wetsuits at the 220Triathlon Show and hadn’t swum since then either. Hey, at least I was still able to get some decent miles in on the bike! I headed in to the race not what I would call ‘prepared’ and you’ve probably read how that turned out.
Having now discovered a very good local physiotherapist, Anna Curnow, I shall hopefully be more sensible going forward. I had my first appointment with her yesterday, during which I fully expected to be told that I had ruptured my Achilles. Thankfully this was not the case, I have ‘just’ injured my calf. During the consultation, I received a bit of an MOT and Anna is of the belief that my injuries are, in some ways, linked. My right leg is clearly much weaker and much less flexible than my left, whether these issues are cause or effect of the marathon injury, no-one can say. I have come away with a series of strengthening and flexibility exercises to do, targeting my calves and hip flexors. This shouldn’t be too long out of action – hey my shoulder is better as I managed the same time for the swim as my previous time trial, but I will definitely be paying more attention to my body and working just as much on strength, conditioning and now flexibility as I do on swim, bike, run.