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Posts Tagged ‘Iliotibial band syndrome’

This is about the power of the mind, the importance of foam rollers and the body’s ability to recover remarkably fast.

Last week I wrote about the mystery injury that came on suddenly and seemed to emanate from the point where my iliotibial band joined my right knee. I was pretty concerned about it, but decided to stay calm, rest and start using a foam roller to work out the injury. With the Reading half marathon coming up at the weekend, I managed to resist running until Thursday, when I went for a slow 5 mile test run. All was well. I went again on Friday, but this time I picked up the pace and ran at close to 6.30 min/mile for the same 5 mile route. Again, all good. Finally I ran 3 miles on Saturday at 6 min/mile. No problem.

So I went to the Reading race still pretty nervous, but determined that I would give it my best shot. The week without running had given me time to think and the dominant thought I kept having was that I really want to push myself in Paris and see what I am capable of. I am not a young man and I am acutely aware that I don’t have all the time in the world – I really need to make up for all the wasted years.

I was in the front pen at Reading (for those running quicker than 1:30:00), with two of my club mates. As usual there was a degree of friendly rivalry between us and I really wanted to put in a good performance because I wanted to show that I’m not yet dead, because Reading is a great race and also because I needed the confidence boost in advance of Paris.

I ran at a pace that I felt comfortable with, which luckily happened to be under 6 min per mile and finished with a half marathon PB of 01:16:32 in 67th place. My average pace was 5 min 50 sec per mile. I felt bloody great!

All my fears before the race had been unfounded. I felt strong and in control throughout the race. When I wanted to surge, I surged. I finished with an appropriate amount of soreness in my legs, but no searing pain as I had the week before. In short, I had a wonderful run and I’d rediscovered my running mojo!

So what had happened? Well, I think the foam roller had done it’s job. Rolling was a very painful process, but my legs felt loose, relaxed and strong. Rest had also worked wonders. I had given my body time to recover and it had re-paid me handsomely.

But perhaps most importantly, I had taken time to reassess what it was I was running for and I made a decision – I was going to run as well as I could, I was going to be calm and focused, I was going to enjoy it and I was going to be proud of myself at the end.

The word decision comes from the Latin dēcīsiō which literally means ‘a cutting off’. When one makes a decision all other possibilities are cut off – there are no alternatives, no option for failure. There is one clear focus on the task in hand. And it is amazing what one can achieve when all the alternatives are eliminated. I would advise anyone setting out on a challenging, painful, stressful task – make a decision, cut off all possibility of failure and dedicate yourself whole-heartedly and completely to that thing. Do you best and you will make yourself proud!

Now I just have to repeat that in Paris…

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The last few days have been a little stressful – not least because of all the changes I’m dealing with at work (did I mention how my only regret in life is that I’m not a full-time athlete!) but the most worrying development came in the form of an injury at the end of my track session  on Thursday last week.

I will not claim to be the toughest of runners but I do have a reasonable attitude towards pain and I am careful to not cry wolf when it comes to injury. But the pain that came on in my IT Band when I finished the last of my 1 mile reps on the track was devastating.

However it was also very short-lived and by the time I got home and iced the outside of my leg, the pain had gone. I rested the following day and then set out for my 23 mile run at the weekend with no residual pain at all… until I stopped after 17 miles and that crazy fierce stabbing pain in the side of my knee was back and this time it had bought friends to the party. I was crippled for 20 minutes.

So I have an injury that does not affect me in any way until I stop running and then I get a searing pain in the outside of one knee… great!

Today I have been to see Gavin at Backs and Beyond for some treatment, although sadly he wasn’t able to give me a clear idea of what I’ve done. He also suggested I get a foam-roller. Well the foam-roller has been obtained and I’m rolling – and that really is a spectacularly painful process. So hopefully the rolling along with some rest this week will hopefully see me all fixed up in no time. The point is not to panic – Paris is 4 weeks away so I need to believe that I can get over this obstacle in time; it is all just part of the emotional roller-coaster of marathon training I guess.

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