Training is now picking up – albeit at a slow/steady pace, but it’s a total joy to be outside running, even if it’s pouring down with rain outside!
A few weeks ago I had my final rehab session with the Sports Science Department at Kent University where the marvellous Deana gave my knee, tendons, etc a full test to check that everything was A-OK. You can imagine my relief when she told me that my leg was working normally and I could stop worrying! (I do tend to slightly over think my right leg!) Deana now sees me every two weeks to give my legs an amazing sports massage (very painful as you can imagine!)
As my distances began to picked up in the final month of my rehab it wasn’t the knee that was causing me any issues but my leg muscles, all of which attach, go over or under the knee so I have had to work through this discomfort and thankfully am out the other side. If you think about it my leg muscles have been working hard over the last three years (since my over extension injury) to keep me running, they have had to adapt because of my right knee, consequently are now in a state of shock as they are back in their correct place!
My distances are increasing slowly, I’m not allowed to do any speed work this month but have to concentrate on building my endurance base back up. Between you and me I’m quite happy with this as my legs can only go at one pace and when I run up a hill I virtually die and have to walk for a bit to get my breathing back to normal again, but as each week goes by I can see an improvement and the legs are becoming stronger.
Gym work is now part of my weekly routine to help support and keep my knee strong. Over the past few years I will put my hands up and say I have neglected this part of my training, I never seemed to find the time to do it – purely because it was so dull, but having seen the benefits I would recommend it to everyone. The only thing I’m not very good at is hopping, you would laugh if you saw me trying to do it – something I definitely do when no-one is watching!
A couple of weeks ago I was lucky enough to go down to StrideUK (http://www.strideuk.com)
in Hove to have my running gait analysed. Such an enthusiastic team of people and of course a marvellous service.
Mitch asked me lots of questions about my running, injuries, what I wanted from the session etc then asked me to stand with my back to him on the treadmill so he could draw lines on the back of my legs. Seemed very odd request but there is method to his madness!
To the front of the treadmill is a board that has what looks like to large targets on as well as one large target on the wall to the right of the TM – when I ran I had to try and keep my body within the middle section of the target on the wall for the filming. Two cameras are set up to film you as you run.
Don’t panic, I haven’t had a full surgical body lift and dyed my hair – this is a much younger model!!
Once the first part of the run was completed, I then had to turn round and run the wrong way round – slight panic here as I thought I was going to have to run backwards – thankfully the treadmill switches directions! (breathes a sigh of relief) This whole process is done firstly with my trainers on then barefoot so they can get a complete picture of how my biomachanics work with or without any cushioning or support. The running part only takes about 10 minutes then it’s time to see what they have found!
Welcome to my weird and wonderful running style!! This is where the lines come in as Mitch puts the videos up on the computer and can draw a line from say the hip down to the foot showing how much my knees go inwards. I was concerned that perhaps he was going to try and change my running gait and cadence but was told that my running gait had got me to where I am now and had obviously worked so there was no point changing how I ran, but he could give me exercises, stretches to do that would support the knees and stop them rolling in quite as much, loosening my adductors and hips etc.
By doing these exercises and not pushing my body too hard in any one singular approach, I’m working on every little segment of running performance (strengthening / stretching / conditioning / balance / drills) an great formula to bullet proof / injury free running. With the American running 7 months away this will make a massive improvement. Apparently my quads are the dominant muscles which means I need to do more exercises to active my glut muscles. I also have a slight forward tilt – again this is mainly to do with my quads. Armed with all the exercises provide by Mitch and Deana my body is going to become a machine!! (stop laughing)
Having worn Hokas since 2011 and loved them, they are the perfect trainer for me so I was delighted to hear that!!
Each week I can see progress being made whether it’s less huffing and puffing or moving slightly faster over the same distances, it’s all positive and needs to be celebrated (no not with a glass of wine!) but with a pat on my back, “you did it Mimi, way to go” It’s great to be back doing what I love and will make the most of each and every day. Being able to run is something not to be taken for granted, it’s something to be enjoyed and will make you feel marvellous!