|Norsey Wood. Photo from http://thenaturephile.com|
Weather was cold but it was dry and fresh. I was mostly on the roads, but took a mile detour through the beautifully autumnal Norsey Wood where the path was covered in fallen leaves so you couldn't see where all the muddy puddles were - I nearly lost my trainer in a particularly sticky puddle of mud and my legs got covered - all good fun.. I started in daylight, watched the beautiful sunset, got home in the dark...
Perfect. Except that half way through, the aching in my hip that I've had for a couple of weeks developed into an acute and definite pain. The rest of Saturday night saw the pain developing until I was barely able to move without being in agony.
I was full of nerves about what the physio was going to say. As part of the initial questioning, she asked me what I thought was wrong - I said it felt like an overuse injury but I didn't see how it could be, because after the Stort30, I've had lots of time off and my mileage has been lower than I'm used to, so in essence I've been resting! Therein though, apparently, may lie the problem.
Her advise was that with the type of training and running I've been doing, taking that time off may well have been a bad idea - muscle strength starts reducing incredibly quickly (didn't know that) and after a week or so of doing nothing, you can't just start running again and expect to pick up from where you left off.
She said by all means take a break from running, but if you're planning to start again after your rest, reduce the distances slowly over a period of weeks and then build up again slowly - it's all about gradual change. Everyone talks about increasing weekly distance by that magic 10%, but I've never thought about reducing slowly too - she said the only way you should really take a week off from running, after being used to 40 mile weeks, if you want to start up again the next week, is to replace the runs with strength work to maintain muscle condition. Now I know why the runstreak is the best way to go! ;)
Anyway, the outcome is that I have inflammation of my various muscles around my hip - the root cause is probably the imbalance in the strength of my core and legs between my left and right side that the physio identified.
So, I have some specific exercises she's told me to perform daily and I'm to go back next week. She also said I should carry on with gym work, but make sure I don't aggravate the area, and remember the difference between muscle fatigue and pain! My insurance company has authorised 6 physio sessions which should be enough to really see some real improvement, as long as I make sure I actually do these specific exercises every day.
The best bit was at the end of the session when the physio asked if I had any other questions - I only had one..."would you say I could run a marathon this weekend?!"
She didn't say no, in fact she said I could...because experience had taught her there was no point in saying no. As long as I was prepared for it to hurt a lot, the area would become inflamed again, and that it would significantly hurt afterwards until the inflammation went down again, I wouldn't do any long lasting damage. However, she also just cautioned me not to be too disappointed if I had to pull out of the race. But in my book, a DNF is better than a DNS, so guess what I'm planning for Sunday?!