Monday, March 21, 2016

Letter to my beautiful friend Vicky

Vicky, none of us can know how much or what kind of pain you are in so I'm just kicking some advice around from what I have experienced and learned over the last few years.

You said in the early days that someone had advised you not to miss a session.  I agree with this for newbies and people who need more motivation than usual.  For those who would miss a session just because they don't feel like it and would rather sit on the sofa and drink tea.  But you have determination, you have shown that and what you need to do is let yourself rest when you need to.

Like the long run that you cut short because you were exhausted and the day you missed a session because you were so tired on your feet.  I admit it, I have sat on the sofa in the loft and eaten half a jar of nutella with a spoon because sometimes that's all we feel like and sometimes that is OK.  All of the pros will tell you to listen to your body and I add to that, listen to your mind… then if you're strong enough, know when to ignore it.

So you know if you need to miss a session.  Don't do the long run at all costs.  Do what feels right.  If you feel like running far then do so but if the pain comes back, stop and get a lift home.

Take Ibuprofen.  Not to numb the pain so you can run but to reduce the inflamation and give the knee a chance to heal properly.  It won't heal its ills properly if it is inflamed out of shape and stands a better chance of surviving real life (the need to move around) if it's not inflamed out of shape.

Elevate at all times possible.  At your desk where possible.  In bed (pillow under your knee and calf or if you lie on your side, put the poorly knee on top and a pillow between your knees) and around the house - sit down lots.

Cold and heat - to reduce inflamation with the cold.  Warm to keep your circulation going and take all the toxins away.

When you are ready to run again, it would be nice to get a long run in before the big one but if you can't, focus on some short runs just to keep you moving.

You want your legs to be expecting that they'll have to do "that" again soon.   Case in point was this weekend when I did nothing on Friday then did a tiny 10 mile ride on Saturday.  Sunday's race was an absolute blast.

Adapt your training plan to  do less - for example 2 or 3 days on, one day off to give yourself more rest periods if you need it.  A week should be enough to recover between a long run and the race but only if it feels good.  10 days would be better.  Don't just STOP to rest, keep jogging, walking the dogs or yoga-ing.

Last year when I raced standard distance I did a lot of 30-40 minutes speed runs and 10km runs as specific training but when Becky took me out for a long run, I survived just fine.  Same applied to swimming and biking.  You'd be amazed how much frequent, short stuff keeps you in tune for longer events.

On the day it's all down to pacing.  If you set out feeling like you're going too slow you're probably going just fine.  Forget speed targets, go for finishing target and most of all, having fun.

Most importantly, believe you can do this.  Keep your shoulders low, your arms relaxed and keep looking up (except for making sure you're not going to fall over anything).  I once read that it's very difficult to feel pain when you look up.  It's true!

Keep your back straight (not curved forwards or back) and keep your hips still to engage your butt muscles as much as possible, thereby taking strain away from your lower legs.

Use your yoga.  Flush through your limbs and extremities with your breath, push the strain out of your body and focus on the in and out of your breath - mouth or nostrils.  Run like you're gliding.  Even if you feel like you're not, flow around the course.

Use heart mudra for your hands to focus on your heart, your engine.  It really works.  That said, keep your speed in check all the way round.  Don't be tempted to go fast to get it over with until the last half mile.

If you're really struggling, dedicate each mile to thinking about people who inspire you… but try not to cry.  If that doesn't work, count steps.  Just 10 more, and repeat until you finish.

I hope that helps.

1 comment:

Darting Dragonfly said...

Thank you, my lovely, lovely friend xx