The Physio and I

Its coming up to a year when I entered a hall filled with tables and stands from various companies who gave away free samples of their drinks, gels, socks all in the vain hope you would buy in to their brand loyalty. I quickly skipped past these tables to fail leaving the building with the knowledge that I had not signed up to any year-long deals or emptied my wallet of cash in order to buy the latest in cooling fabric technology or lycra curing tights to ease any muscle aches and pains. No what had happened is my eye caught that of a woman behind a table for a physio practice.

I had for many months been trying to find somewhere that did sport massage as all the forums and mags were shouting from the roof tops how good a deep tissue massage was and it should be part of your training sitting along side your hill, speed, tempo and long runs. I began to talk to said woman about it being my first marathon and how training had gone only to be signed up to a 50% off session. Well I thought, I could always not attend, but then again I would properly need a good rub down afterwards and even then it’s one session.

As we all know I was in pain for the next week. DOMS had struck with vengeance, except it was not so much delayed as ‘You’ve finished? Right lads let make him suffer. Legs, refuse to move and if you do make sure he knows about it’ It was with this that I had managed to climb out of bed and get to my physios table. When he had finished he asked me about mobility and said he could get me to touch my toes, and that a good runner as good mobility and he could help me with this. 

Before I knew it I was attending every month. Now while I get on with my physio, and would say we are friends. I ask him about his house his bought and we chat about running, latest food, exercise studies I feel I am trapped. I don’t feel like I can end the relationship. A little like when people see a councilor or a shrink… Its only those with the power and not the client who know when it is time to finish. After all why would they inform you that you no longer need to attend, that’s basically them giving up work and if they can see you are getting better they have the power to slow down the treatment and drag it out for as long as they like. 

The trouble is, I enjoy it and feel it has helped. As well as being a physio he has also helped me to move better, giving me advice and work outs to strengthen parts of my body that I have neglected, but the biggest part is that he has nipped issue in the butt before they began. Several times I would complain of niggles and within minutes he would be on the scene and instructing me to do exercise X and sure enough within days the niggle was gone. 

I have also seen a vast improvement in my times. When I started seeing him, my PB for 10K was 55, and for the half it was 1:49. They now sit at 40 minutes and 1:35. I find that for my marathon this Sunday, the one where it all began I will be smashing a large chunk of time off.

So while I will be sad to let him go, and have often felt trapped in his clutches, almost like a smoker is addicted to the evil temptress of nicotine, without him I feel my running this year would have ben a very different story. 

To echo the forums and mags, having a physio really is as important to your training as all the other elements. 

Sorry Sir

No this is not about school or being told off. No, hang on it is about being told off. I have for over a year been seeing a physio and very good he is too. The exercises he’s given me I try to do but my job often gets in the way and being a runner then running over physio will come first.

If I do have a spare 30 minutes then running 4 miles is more important to me than spending time working on my core or doing the strengthening exercises he has shown me.  The trouble is over the past month I have been really busy. Not like the usual busy of not being bothered to get out of bed or leave the house but really non stop working busy. So busy in fact that I have had very little time for running and the time I have had I did not feel up to it.

The issue is that come Friday I have another appointment and I am as stiff as a plank of wood. He already complains about the long distances I do as apparently it is bad for you. Well if loosing over 3 stone in weight and feeling good and beating PB’s upon PB’s and having a good night sleep is bad for you then I have been reading the wrong information.

The trouble is my time is so short at the moment that I have not been doing any real cool downs and I am now paying the price. My legs, while they don’t ache are tight and I can feel this as I run and today I even tried to stretch some important bits but failed as I realised I would be spending a good fifteen minutes on each calve muscle just to levitate some of the tightness, I would have to spend a lot longer to really give it a good stretch.

So the end result is Dom is going to shake his head and tell me that this is what long distance running does. What really annoys me is that I started the year and have improved in my flexibility so much I have almost been able to touch my toes but judging my hamstring stretch today all that work has been run out of my legs so to speak.

So with the thought of Friday looming and the facing Dom and one of his lectures about why running is bad for you… I need to spend an evening with my stick and foam roller to iron out all those knots. I don’t know why I bother as I am only going to go to the gym tomorrow for some hill and speed work on the treadmill which will end up undoing all my good work.

Does it come with stabilisers

Now I have never been good with balls. I was hopeless at football when I was at school, so dreadfully poor at the sport that if I was at school now I could be picked for the England team. I was pretty useless at catching and throwing but did enjoy rugby and was slightly better than other people at this contact sport. I had trouble hitting balls be it with a tennis racket or cricket bat, and much preferred that of a shuttle Cock in Badminton.  So what is this confession of the lack of sporting prowess all about? Well it’s here to give  a background as for Christmas I asked for a stability ball or yoga ball depending on who you are. I didn’t get one partly because my father has one which is now sitting in my room after he made it redundant when his elbow/wrist improved. 

Now I was told to get one or to use one by my physio to really work on my glutes and get my core strength nice and strong… Now I have one and its taking up the majority of the living room… (Do they come in different sizes?) anyway I tried it out after spending a good two hours pumping the dam thing up and if I’m honest I don’t think it was 2 hours well spent as it still seems a little squishy. 

Anyway leaving the infallibility issue to one side I tried the exercises my physio had shown me to get my Hams and Glutes good and strong and then decided that youtube may have some good workouts as I thought I was failing  to remember the precise nature of the method Dom had instructed me to do. Now I fell on a good 30 minute video detailing several workouts, some were the ones my physio had shown others were new and some just saw me never complete them as I was for every falling off. 

Trying to balance on an inflatable ball whilst lifting your left arm, right leg into a superman pose is not my idea of exercise or fun. There is a reason why my core is weak and I get injuries as a runner and that is because I don’t cross train, I just run. Running is fun and I can do it, and do it easily. Sure there are mornings when I need to motivate myself into getting the trainers on but at least I do get them on in the end. The days trying to motivate myself into carrying out the physio exercises or going to the gym for a session never seems to materialise, however that may all change with the ball, or it would if it had stabilisers that way I might be more inclined to continue with it without the fear of falling off. 

For those runners who use one, tell me your best uses, if your are a runner with out one then get one, the 30 minute routine I did today used and stretched muscles in my legs I never knew were there or could never reach.

Long Time no Bore

Well Hello all, I am still alive and at the moment still in the UK but will be going to NZ soon as I now have a Visa and have set a date, just need those plane tickets and some spends and then it’s NZ here I come. So how you all been? I hope you have been keeping well. I have still be running, and after my last 10K I did take some time off and am now in a little bit of a flap as I only have 9 weeks till the Snowdon Marathon and to be quite truthful am a little nervous over it as I have done zero training. I keep telling myself I have the miles in my legs and no the distance. I am somewhat thinking it will be like my 2nd half where I did no training or long runs what so ever and felt it easier than the first first half. I know I should not be going down this line of thought but I dod have the miles in my legs so within 8 weeks I can get some long runs in to remind my body what to expect.

So what has happened in the meantime. Well the Olympics were on telly and I managed to get the place I worked to allow me to watch every last-minute of the action. On the night of Mo’s 10,000  victory we were all sat in the green-room cheering on the Mobot. When he won the 5,000 I think I screamed my apartment block down. I have always found Mo an inspiration and someone to admire and seeing him get the double, word can not express how I felt.

I have also moved house, due to a leak in my last flat that no party seemed to be interested in getting sorted, so with the waterfall pouring through the light fitting filling a 5L bucket every 10-14 hours and water cascading down the walls it wasn’t long till the mold set in, and boy did it set in. That evil black and green mold even covered walls in other rooms that weren’t close to the original damage and it wasn’t just walls the spores liked attached themselves to0. Clothes, books, shoes, doors you name it and we probably had it cultivating there along with a load of what we think were drain flys (basically looked like small moths). Again the estates decided that this was not worth bothering about so we acted with our feet and walked.

So apart from work, and the running I have not done much. the other week I did some camping in the Lakes and bagged another 12 peaks over the course of two days which was nice. But my life at the moment is mainly work to save up for the plane tickets and pay the tax bill before I leave.

I suppose the other news is that I have been seeing a Physio who is making me touch my toes. I have a weak hip as we all know from previous posts, but it is also locking out which prevents me from bending to touch my toes. He has been working on my core and stability to strengthen and unlock the hip while making me a better runner. This is off course a whole blog entry in itself that when I get round to it will write it up as I am sure you are all so interested.

Oh well off to spend my Bank Holiday running around Heaton Park and the streets of Manchester to get those miles into my legs.

See you soon.

My Physio and Forums

Just a short one, I’m in pain. Might have had something to do with the 26.2 miles I ran yesterday, but rather than moping around and feeling sorry for myself I decided to share this fact on my running forums. I love these forums they offer advice and insight sometimes not helpful and other times a little dangerous but most times the information is accurate and reliable often people sharing their experiences knowledge they have picked up.

So off I went and wrote down what I was feeling and was very pleased to find its all normal and not to panic, plus found that others were in the same boat due to the dreadful conditions of the course. The forums have helped in all aspects of training, finding races, transport, nutrition, kit and is one of those tools a runner should not be with out. Along with a good pair of trainers I would say you need access to a good forum.

My second high-five goes to my physio. I saw him for the first time this year about a foot complaint, he helped me out with giving me some exercises. I sent him an email explaining my issues after the race and he phoned me up and confirmed the forum info, and reassured me it was all normal, and explained why the pain was where it was and which muscles were tight and how to recovery from it. All this at no cost, other practitioners may have charged or made you make an appointment, but not Nick he is honest and only see’s you if he has too and he knows his stuff and explains the complex way your body and legs work during and after running and how those functions can lead to issues.

So there you have it two ver big thumbs up.

Listen and take the advice

I read a lot of running forums and do try to take on advice and suggestions but much of the time I plead sheer ignorance and carry on regardless.

Last year when my left foot hurt, I refused to acknowledge the pain until enough was truly enough and my physio friend had arranged an appointment to see their colleague. The result of the pending examination was a weak left hip that was causing the pain in the foot, as that was now taking the entire strain of running.

Now on recent podcasts and twitter pages the talk of getting an M.O.T for your body by visiting a physio has been mentioned. And when you think about it it makes sense. We as runners take care and time picking our running kit, checking our pace, Heart rate etc but we lack the interest when it comes to checking our biomechanics are up to the job of getting a regular pounding.

Physios can often spot issues before the pain factor come into play. I went to one as a pain in my right foot this time had occurred. The result was tight calves but also he spotted a weak right hip, which if left untreated could cause a magnitude of issues in the future.

So to some up… If you run, then spend money on a Physio to check your posture, muscle fibres, hips, basically a M.O.T. It is well worth it.

Take a Pill

Now don’t get me wrong, this is not a post about GP’s and how useless they are at curing or finding what is wrong with you. Oh know. I like the GP, they have a hard job, they have to know everything, and sometimes this is their downfall.

I visited my GP again this week to get to the bottom of the foot issue. I will run again I am determined of that and because of this I want to have a foot that does not collapse half way through the run. Now I visited my GP when the issue first came about and he told me it was tendons, and to carry on running. Dr Google said to rest for 3 – 4 weeks. A friend got me in to see a physio and he said it wasn’t really tendons but  Bio-mechanical, as I had a weak hip, so the impact of running was not travelling through the leg, it was stopping at my foot.

I did the race anyway, and rested for 2 weeks. Tried another run, and it flared up again, so I rested it, and now on the 4th week there is no improvement so off to the doctors. He has prescribed me some very strong anti-inflammatories to kill any swelling that may be on the tendons. Looking at Dr google I saw that it could be a stress fracture, the real Doc assures me that it is muscle and tendon damage, as stress fractures occur further down the foot.

So with these incredible strong pill’s and pill’s seem to be the answer for doctors, as I told him about the hip and physio of which he poohed poohed. Hopefully I will be able to start running before July, and build my strength up and really start to train in August.

Which I suppose leaves me with time to get sponsorship which is going really slow at the moment. Anyway time to take a pill.