A while ago I blogged about injury/illness and how it was causing me a lot of grief. Unfortunately, I cannot link to this as it was on a previous domain that has expired. Which is annoying.
The post basically outlined how being injured can really knock us for six as far as our running or other exercise is concerned. At the time of writing I had quite a severe cold that I just could not shake off, so naturally, I went running in the mountains as at the time the area was sitting under stable high pressure systems that were bringing us daily temperature inversions. If you don’t know what that is, here it is in layman’s terms:
You should know from school etc. that warm air rises and cold air sinks in the atmosphere, however, during an inversion, the opposite happens. The result of this is that the heavier, colder air traps the warm air preventing it from rising, as this happens we can witness one of the most stunningly beautiful, natural phenomenon; a cloud inversion. During this run mentioned above, I was treated to the most awe-inspiring, humbling view I’ve ever seen and with cold or not, I stayed up on the mountain until the sun set but hell it was bloody cold!
My cold and injuries were forgotten although my feet were starting to freeze rapidly, and as much as I wanted to stay up here I couldn’t run down with blocks of ice for feet!
It’s lucky that I went up that evening as it was to be the last inversion of that period, and the ‘Inversion Olympics’ (as local runners called them) had drawn to a close.
I guess there is a point to this. If you’re feeling sorry for yourself, the best thing to do is to just say f**k it! and get out there. I wouldn’t have seen this if I’d stayed home and despite the run up Moel Eilio nearly killing me, it was more than worth it. Needless to say, my cold took longer to clear! 😀
But the memories of that day will stay with me, almost a year to the day in fact 🙂
Shortly before that run, (or was it after, I can’t remember) I was also suffering with what I thought was a potential stress fracture in my left shin. I’d been for a run up into the mountains and as I climbed over a metal-stepped ladder stile, my foot slipped and my shin smacked so hard on the step. I was bouncing around in pain for a while, but I carried on running anyway for twenty one miles! I thought nothing of it for weeks afterwards as I’m so used to hurting myself on mountain runs hehe. (I’m now much more careful on stiles!)
I entered a local fell race and as the finish was very steeply downhill on concrete, I found it hard not to ‘slap’ my feet on the way down. After this race, my shin really smarted and I came to realise that that run in the mountains during the month previously, combined with this race, had caused something more serious.
So just like that, I had to stop running. Completely. Not a happy bunny. I taped it and stretched gently, but I think I took 6 weeks off, before gradually easing back into it with time out on the bike too.
Thing is, I’m now into my third week of marathon training, which has been predominantly road. And guess what? Now my right shin is complaining.
I’m one of those rarer runners that supinates (foot rolls out more than in, under-pronating) and this leaves me prone to injury as my legs cannot dissipate shock as well as a pronator’s can and as I run midfoot/forefoot, this puts even more stress on my shins.
Consequently, I’ve now started to go off-road again for my training, to ease this on softer surfaces. Unfortunately, there’s a lot more uphill and what do we do when we run uphill? Yep, we run on our toes, stressing the muscles around our shins.
I have been stretching my gastroc-nemius, soleus (calves) and the lovely kneeling shin stretch where you sit on your heels, toes pointing backwards.
Luckily, today coincides with my ‘normal’ or ‘steady’ paced run, so going up the fells is ok (if it was an ‘easy’ day, I’d have to think twice). It’s hard to maintain a consistent pace on the fells though due to the terrain, but it is superb for strength. Yesterday, I had an ‘easy’ (yeah right) run around the stunning Cwm Idwal:
As high as I go on this run, 510 metres. Cold & icy up here but look at the weather! Looking at Pen yr Ole Wen, 978 metres over the lovely Llyn Idwal. Had to take care on way down #run #running #runner #trailrunning #trailrun #runnersofig #runnersofinstagram #runningviews #viewsfromthetrail #gorun #keeprunning #cwmidwal #snowdonia
Whilst this is off-road, it does take me on a path with large, stone steps and a dangerous descent (at least when running). Today’s run however, is all on grass apart from the ascent/descent of Gyrn (542 metres) with its treacherous, rocky top.
So for me, this is about managing another potential ‘run stopper’ and although injury is often inevitable for us runners, if I try to keep off road and apply R.I.C.E (Rest Ice Compression Elevation) post-run, I can hopefully keep any pain at bay. Besides, running in the mountains is so much more fun and liberating! Just don’t trip…. 😉
Watch this space.
Thanks for reading guys and have a great day whatever you’re doing 🙂