How’s your running going? Mine was fine. On September 12 I did a 10k run at Kew Gardens, about an hour, off my pb of 57 minutes but nothing dramatic. My VO2 max (ya I just read it off my watch too but it’s important apparently) had hit 45 after a few weeks of sprints in my park.
Exactly a week later I was in in A&E in a deeply unfashionable North West London hospital with appendicitis. Offending organ duly whipped out and surfing a wave of general anaesthetic chemicals and antibiotics for a week after that I was propped up in bed making extravagant demands of my saintly spouse.
Then came time to test out the legs. The doctors had said four to five weeks before heavy lifting. I reckoned that didn’t mean running so 16 days after the op and VO2 max in the bin at 42 in JUST TWO WEEKS! I had a stab at 5k. It didn’t go great, I managed 4k. After a spate of Bambi on ice impressions I settled into something like an eight minute kilometre pace. So far so good. Nothing alarming was going on, the stitches were OK. But in straight running terms I had a strong “back to the beginning” feeling and a definite feeling of affinity with people starting Couch to 5km programmes. My quads and calves certainly felt like day one of a C25K.
So here’s the thing. Wherever you are with your running at some stage you are going to have an injury, whether it’s a ping in the calf, hamstring tweak or something more ominous. The way to deal with it is almost always back off and wait for recovery before building up again slowly. A ripped muscle or tendon needs time to heal. Regressions, my friends, regressions. Find a way to get your buzz but don’t make things worse. A little resistance perhaps? Some stretching? Walking. Swimming, anyone?
Patience is the thing. I heard my own voice ringing in my ears. “Try and find something to enjoy in every run”. So settling into a shuffling jog I felt grateful to be even putting one foot in front of the other, I savoured the feeling of my lungs expanding and the the blood pumping (my weights obsessed son just simply doesn’t comprehend that anyone would do that to themselves), and yes, I enjoyed running around my park on a sunny Autumn day.
Two days later the sun is shining here again and I’m going to have another crack at 5k. Speed? irrelevant. Distance? meh. I just want to be out there even if it feels like I’ve just started running again.