For a runner, who writes a blog about running, time spent not running is not exactly conducive to interesting posts, however that is the position I currently find myself in! I feel like I’m on some kind of freaky running cessation programme: My name’s Allison and I haven’t been for a run in 7 weeks!
In many ways, a break from running is a good thing, especially if you have been training hard. It gives the body a chance to rest and recover before starting fresh with a new training programme and a new goal. For me, the autumn is the most logical time of year to take a break as my racing season is over and my spring marathon training is yet to start, however a 7 week break is about 4 weeks longer than I intended! In the days following the Aviemore half, I discovered a problem: the tightness around my hip/bottom area which troubled me in the early part of the year had returned. No problem, I thought, I’m going to have a break anyway so I’ll have a chance to sort it out. Easier said than done, it turns out.
I started by using The Grid to ease off any tension in my leg muscles. If you aren’t familiar with it, The Grid is a foam roller, but it has what I can only describe as various sized “knobbly bits” designed to mimic the palm of the hand, the fingers and the fingertips. It gets a lot deeper than the foam roller, meaning, of course, it’s a lot more uncomfortable. Find a tight spot using The Grid and the neighbours are sure to know about it!
While keeping some cardio going using the bike and the cross trainer, I used my time in the gym with Steve to work on strength training. We established that the muscle causing the bother is my gluteus medius, but rather than simply treating the symptoms, we looked for the root cause. Since previous problems had stemmed from my foot/ankle, we worked on the joints in my foot to improve movement, we improved the range of movement in my ankle, and we worked on strengthening my glutes. I even went for a couple of short test runs. During my first run I could still feel the discomfort in the muscle (although not enough to make me stop running), but in the second I ran comfortably for 20 minutes and only later that evening felt any discomfort. Progress, but not good enough for regular running again. Back to the gym!
We’ve spent the past week going through some weird exercises, to target the muscles in a different way. This culminated in a particularly tough “bum specific” workout on Friday: walking lunges, kettle bells and Vipr training! I could certainly feel that my glutes had been worked, however I’m definitely noticing an improvement now. I’d even go so far as to say that I can’t feel any discomfort at all in my glute medius anymore. This is good news, and later this week I shall try another test run to see how things are. I’m desperately keen to get back out running again, and now would be a good time so I can start building some base miles ahead of starting my marathon training in the new year. I’m a runner, and I need to start running again!