A very good friend once said to me “If the pain is a dull aching then keep training but if it feels like a little man is stabbing you in some part of your leg then it’s time to stop.” Wise words indeed. Two weeks ago I started my half marathon training after the National Paratriathlon champs. I had approximately 7 weeks to prepare and my coach set me an ambitious run based programme with some cycling thrown in for recovery sessions. It was going OK until a week passed and I started to get pain in my ankle. OK, I thought, if it gets worse I’ll give it a rest.
I decided to do a Parkrun with my young guide Josh West. (You can find the race report here) He was keen and I wanted to get some practice in with him before pounding the streets of Leicester on 15th October. Unfortunately I could feel pain all the way through the park run we did together in a respectable time of 19.57. I was planning to do a long run the following day, but, when I got up on Sunday 10th September I knew that I wasn’t going to be able to go for the 1 hour 40 minute run I had scheduled in my training plan with my good friend Chris Sherwood. My brother from another mother as I call him.
A week on and my ankle is better but still a cause for concern. Is it my stress fracture which I have re injured? I’m not taking any chances. I am going to rest it up for however long it takes and make sure that it is properly healed before I do any more running. As athletes we don’t want to face up to the truth sometimes when it comes to recovery. Too often I’ve heard people either competing with injuries or trying to train through. If it’s a minor muscular problem then you can most probably get away with that. However, if it’s a serious muscle tear, damaged tendon or stress fracture then the answer is RICE. Rest, ice, compression and elevation. However, I have heard conflicting advice regarding the use of ice when injured. Some believe that the use of ice can prolong the healing process. When injured the body will react through inflammation of the affected area. This is the body’s natural reaction to injury, protecting the injured area and causing you to feel pain so that you are forced to rest. If you apply ice or take an anti-inflammatory drug, the area becomes less painful as the inflammation decreases. You then start to move more easily and start using the injured part of your body. However, healing hasn’t taken place and so you may then be tempted to go for another run or whatever activity you are intent in doing which then leads to further damage.
I’m not a medical expert on these matters but have used anti-inflammatory drugs less often and generally don’t use ice unless I smack my head against a brick wall, door or on someone’s car boot!
Yes, I think my body is crying out for a rest and I can’t deny it any more. The fact that I have come down with a cold which I’ve managed to avoid for over a year now tells me something. Starting a new job in a different part of town is no walk in the park, even though my office is opposite to Nelson Mandela Park. It’s a busy time for me.
I hope I can fit in the Ironman training next year.
I’ll keep you posted.