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Running is bad for you

When I started this fitness mission I just set off running and eating healthier. It made an enormous difference. I mean, jogging and less junk not only transformed my body but increased my fitness levels and dramatically improved my state of mind - so why have I just had 12 weeks off?

Over the years I have gradually increased my training volume… Intensity and frequency have risen to 5/6 sessions per week, plus running several times a week without any sign of injury really. People would often comment I was superhuman or something special, especially when they discovered how little sleep I had.

I’ve only ever run one marathon (105 laps of an athletics track) about this time last year, I didn’t really train for it specifically, but I completed in a reasonable time of 3hr 30mins. Yes, it was tough after 22 is miles I began ceasing up but I was back to normal squatting and sprinting etc after a few days. Most of my runs would typically be between 4-7miles with a mixture of road and trail. To give you some perspective my 10Km PB is around 39 minutes and I can blast a mile in around 5:35. These times and distances might sound impressive to some, but they are relatively modest to your Club and ultra-runners…

Each year the challenges and events I enter need to be bigger and better than the last and back in autumn, after signing up to the Hebden (22Mile Trail race Jan 2018) and some 200 Obstacle Rat Race (20miles May 2018) I drastically started increasing my miles, unbeknown to me I was causing more harm than good.

I was soon running 5km before and after the early morning gym sessions with an additional run at the weekend - feeling fine, taking my weekly average from 6-8ish miles way over a marathon equivalent. Along with a mixture of weight sessions, circuit training, rock climbing, trampolining, yoga and other activities there were little rest days…

It was Friday 3rd November and I completed the 5km run before the gym opened (average time of 21mins) and again after a weight session this time at a faster pace sub 20mins. I remember feeling a noticeable pain in my lower left inside calf; I ignored it. I suppose I assumed it would just be a niggle. The following Monday I did the same 5km loop at 5:30am (29Mins) then after a full hour Leg session followed by another 5km (27mins) I could already tell this injury was slowing me down but continued to push through the pain. After a full day at work I went out the same night with a good friend to help him nail his first 10km in years, we did two laps in 1hr7mins; the pain throughout that was excruciating and even though it was a lot steadier than normal I just knew every step was doing more damage. There were points where I tried powerwalking to keep up, but I couldn’t quite keep up with the pace. It was at this point I decided to stop and seek advice.

That 12 weeks could have been spent gradually building up the endurance and letting my body adapt to the longer stints..

Long story short I sought a physio and massage therapist both confirmed this was Medial Tibial Stress syndrome more commonly known as Shin Splints. This condition is caused basically from over use and impact from running, and my collapsed arches didn’t help. I had an X ray and MRI scan on the NHS it was confirmed there was no stress fracture or anything serious. However just dashing to chase my son would cause it to flare up straight away… By late January, after hours of deep tissue work and rehabilitation exercises and insoles for my shoes the pain began to reduce.

Sounds ridiculous now but at the time in autumn my focus was on getting distance under my belt. All in all, being too greedy with progress and neglecting warm ups and recovery time has cost me 3 Months of potential progress.

However, after completing the Mad Dog 10km Race just seconds behind my PB time last weekend after 12 weeks off running has proved to me that rest and rehabilitation really does work. Switching training methods can still yield you fitness gains that are universal and transferable to other fields and activities. It has helped me redefine the word ‘Training’, and that not every session is a competition or race and to reconsider some of the fundamentals around my fitness regime.

Also, to add to the pain I feel the withdrawal from running built up a form of anxiety, wondering if I would ever be right again and if I was back running would I never run as fast or as far. But now I am back feeling stronger and more positive than ever.

Thanks to everyone who’s supported and helped with my recovery you know who you are. Looking forward to the Rat Race in May and many other endurance events for 2018!

The key point to take away from this is: Running is not bad for you but listen to your body and know your current limits. Momentarily failure is an opportunity to learn and grow - Buck

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