Two years ago, I wouldn’t have expected running to have become such a big part of my life. But since coming back from Australia, founding MAC physio and pilates and treating an increasing number of runners, I have been inspired to try it again.
I have always enjoyed sport: mainly soccer and Gaelic football in my youth. Since then, I’ve tried road-cycling, surfing, weightlifting, gymnastics, rowing and running. I love being active; I love being on the move. For me, it simply isn’t an option to stop.
Perhaps that’s what helps me understand the runners I treat. I connect with their passion for continuous training. I share it. So, given the choice of advising them to rest because of injury or finding ways for them to safely keep on running, I would almost always choose the latter.
The problem with advising rest or non specific running exercises is that this is only considers the short term. Whatever underlying issue might have caused or exacerbated the injury will still be there, waiting to rear its head the minute you put your trainers back on and hit the road – or the track – or the hills. Unfortunately, even runners can’t run away from their problems – and those training troubles are also unlikely to vanish magically on their own. In my experience as a runner and a physiotherapist working with runners, confronting and supporting training issues such as strength deficits or load management is a far more proactive, productive approach.
I last ran when I was fresh out of university. In 2005, I’d decided to enter the Liverpool half marathon. And looking back, I was lucky to avoid a nasty injury.
Despite my Physiotherapy degree, I made most of the typical mistakes. (Unfortunately, training and sports injury knowledge isn’t covered in depth during the degree course.) I increased my regular 25 minute run in the 8 weeks prior to the race, adding around 1.5 miles each week by doing loops around the park. My distance was climbing by around 50% each week – a big risk factor for running injuries. Added to that, my choice of going out for a few drinks *massive session* the night before wasn’t exactly wise. But, luckily, youth was on my side. Despite being more student than athlete, under-prepared and under-informed, I managed to avoid joining the 30-40% of runners who succumb to injury during the course of their training. The general consensus was that my time was good: 1 hour 30.
But I didn’t see myself as a runner – life took over, work and business and more nights in the pub. It might be for the best; it’s unlikely I would have escaped injury if I’d carried on training in the same way!
So now, 12 years later, I haven’t run properly or regularly in years. I’ve enjoyed lots of other sports, and I’m still fit and active. But I think I fancy trying out my trainers again. I’m inspired by my many clients at MAC physio and pilates who come for support and treatment to enable them to keep on training through and past injuries. Those athletes who just want to keep on running.
And the Birmingham half marathon is coming up … I might join them!
Look out for part 2/3 to read more about the training plan…………..