"After WTS Leeds event on 12th June, how do you feel about taking a week off from running?"
Sarah asked me, as I had explained how my heel had moved from 0/10 on the pain scale to a
We have been working hard on my heal, I have written more about the injury and our approach here. And we have been making great progress, from starting running for 5 minutes at a time in February, to working our way up, increasing the volume every week by several minutes at a time. By June I had found myself running 3 times a week and my long run had increased to 1 hour 50 minutes. I was super happy to be back frolicking around in the sunshine, exploring trails, jumping over farmers fences, running through fields and woodland. Bliss.
Taking a break? Ohhh now then? How did i feel about that?
Having been working together for the last 18 months, I have come to understand Sarah's philosophy and I trust her judgement and methods, because, for me, they are working. This is a recent article Sarah wrote, that sum's up how, thinking slightly differently can have a big impact on your health and fitness.
With 2 wins from 2 races this season, The mobility program appears to be working well. My heel is holding up to the training, but the last few weeks, with the two races, I have given it more battering than it has experienced in a long time. Racing Slateman (blog post on that win is here) and then WTS Leeds event (race report here).
I knew, that what Sarah proposed was the sensible, correct thing to do. The aim was to give my body a breather from running, to get the pain in my heel back down to 0/10.
But it is hard, really hard to step back, and look at the bigger picture when all you can think of is "But i have x race coming up and I need to keep moving forward, progressing my long run"
That is where I have changed my thinking in recent months. Working with Sarah has taught me more than having some new mobility exercises under my belt to make me more mobile and stronger, but it has changed the way I think.
I understand now that for me to be the best runner and triathlete I can be, I need to have a fully functioning body that will work at the best of its abilities. And to have an efficient, highly functioning body, I need to change the way I think and train.
I could run and run and run, for miles and miles but I don't believe I wouldn't achieve my potential. As firstly parts of my body would get injured, and secondly I would be running and running but not in the most economical way.
For me, it is my feet and ankles that I am working on to become more efficient and give me more push off. That involves getting lots of other parts of my body unstuck too, as the body is one. Body parts can not be seen in isolation, everything is attached to everything so everything effects everything else, like a giant web. I have learnt a tight shoulder from swimming can impact on my heel, tight hip abductors from sitting on the TT bike for hours on end, can effect my heel.You get the picture.
So I agreed to Sarah's plan. Despite being super pumped up and eager to go full steam ahead following my win at WTS Leeds open age group event. I have stopped, taken a look at the bigger picture and replaced all my running with mobility work for the week. And yes, even though I know it's the right approach, I still have moments of thinking
"Maybe just one or two runs would be fine" and "But i just want to go run around on the trails, stuff this mobility"
It's hard, I am not going to lie, but it comes back to belief. I feel that If you truly believe and understand in what you are doing and why, you can do it. It has taken me a long time to understand what I need to do, how to do it and why. And I wouldn't be able to do it if I didn't have Sarah and Coach Lou keeping me on track. It seems so simple, don't run, get mobile, but it seems to take a lot of my willpower.
The more I work on my own body and mindset, the more apparently the general attitude appears within the athletic community to appear so crazy, yet so normal!
"My knee is a little sore, I will just do 5 miles today."
"My calf is killing me, I will see if it loosens off at the track tonight"
Yes I have been guilty of this in the past, and I see and hear it all the time, I wonder how and why this mentality exists.
I am spending 45 minutes to an hours each day in the gym, working through the mobility programme Sarah has set me. She gives me a new mobility programme every 4-5weeks, so I have just started a new plan. However I have also looked back at all the old plans and been incorporating previous exercises that i find particularly hard.
"If I am crap at it, I obviously need to do it" is my belief.
I spend my time in the gym, falling over, going bright red in the face trying to move in ways that just look plain stupid, but I tell myself It will be worth it and it is helping me better myself.
Here is a snippet of a typical morning in the gym.....