So when I promised I would take as long as I needed to get my calf injury sorted – I wasn’t really thinking of over a month off running. After all my injury wasn’t a “month off running” type of injury. But two things happened to persuade me into self-imposed exile.
First it is Winter. It is not the peak of the season and my next race is not for a while. So what was the hurry to get back on the road – except the obvious reason that I love running. Short answer – there was no hurry. So I didn’t.
Second was that I was able to get my endorphin fix elsewhere – namely in the pool and on the bike. The tri club I belong to has started a new Saturday morning bike ride which has become a fixture. I have also taken the opportunity to get into the pool and work on my swimming. I have spent the last month doing “zippers”, “finger drags”, “finishing drills” and “shark fins”. Yes that’s what I thought – but I am told that they improve your technique. We’ll see!
As for the calf – well I have spent a few sessions with my excellent physio Joe. In between acupuncture treatments, he has had me stretching, twiddling, strengthening and massaging. It seems to work as the calf feels a lot stronger.
Eventually I could hide in his surgery no longer and he agreed it was time to try a gentle program of rehabbing my running. First one mile, then four days rest – I could manage that! Gradually I have built the mileage up and today conquered 3.5 miles at the gentlest pace. So far so good and I am cautiously optimistic (with fingers crossed) that in mid-April I can start an 8-week training block for the Blenheim Triathlon.
On a lighter note, I had a lovely conversation last week with an old friend of mine who I used to run with when we were in our twenties. We were reminiscing about how much the whole approach to running, especially amateur running has changed. I was telling him that I did my first competitive cross-country run at the age of 14 and we thought about ten words that are in common use by todays’ runners that we never heard once back then. They were:
Nutrition, threshold, barefoot, heart monitor, glycogen, compression tights, warm up, warm down, recovery and electrolytes
Then we laughed at some of the practices that were commonplace then that are unheard of now. They were:
Running miles in canvas tennis shoes, having a cigarette after or during a run (we were 14!), rehydrating with beer (we were 15 by then!), fuelling up with a fried breakfast on race-day, looking curiously at an American team-mate who went for a warm down (presumably before he had his cigarette), running a marathon with no training, running in cotton tops which got heavier the more you sweated and running on the track in bare feet (real bare feet).
And do you know what, we loved it and we never seemed to get injured! Those were the days!