I’m running the London Marathon for MIND this year. I’m doing this partly because I love running and partly because my life and the lives of those close to me have been bruised by spasmodic mental health. Things were going great but in the past few weeks, I’ve been injured….
Not in the “leg-hanging-off” sense of an injury, more in the frustratingly, irritatingly, minor and pathetic weak Gluteus Medius muscle causing lockdown knots in my calf. Now I know that injuries are a necessary evil for runners – they help us appreciate the injury-free periods and the more we run the sort of distances that seem nothing major to endurance runners (I know 13 miles sounds a long way to run but it isn’t really) the more likely our bodies are going to fray at the edges. The problem is that my mental predisposition makes an injury even more pervasive.
Let me share my current train of thoughts about this.
- I did so much running over Christmas, ate well and didn’t drink (not a training fanatic – I just don’t drink anymore) so it’s bloody frustrating and unfair to be injured now
- I wasn’t even running a long way when the calf started to hurt. It was 4 miles into a 5 mile run on a treadmill – too cold and wet to be outside – and I was focussing on technique so trying to be a better runner
- My marathon is twelve weeks away…12!!!!!! If I miss anymore long weekend runs I’ll find it really tough to be able to run 26.2 miles
- Not only am I missing new weekend runs, the longer I don’t run the more fitness I’ll lose from my Christmas training
- I could X-train but it is boring….I like running, I don’t like sweating it out on a x-trainer or rowing machine
- I’m raising money for MIND…..it is kind of relevant that I run the bloody race I am raising money for
- I had physio this week – he got to problem very quickly. A set of stretches was prescribed and some very painful massage….I did my stretches twice a day so why am I not better!
- My wife is running Brighton again this year – last year was her first marathon. Last week I crumbled 3 miles into a joint run with her…..she managed 14 miles. She is going out again today to run another 14 miles…maybe up to 16. I managed 5 minutes yesterday before the calf gave out
- Running helped me lose over 5 and a half stone in weight. If I don’t run I’ll get fat again
Now I know all of these thoughts are irrational but that is kind of the point. My particular failing is to wallow in frustrations that are irrational and nonsensical to others….hence my moodiness.
I read a tweet this morning by @matthaig1 that really grabbed my attention:
I am going to try and be more kind. I sometimes look at life – and myself- the way a teacher looks at an exam paper. I am looking for problems, flaws, ready to dismiss. I am working on being softer, more open, more forgiving, more a fan of people's difference to me.
— Matt Haig (@matthaig1) January 27, 2018
This is just a perfect example of my thoughts at the moment and sums up how I can and am really kind to others and yet a bit of a shit to myself. I would never speak to a student or friend with the critique that I impose on myself. So, if I take a different slant on my worries above, try a bit of internal coaching, I can change the perspective.
- I did train a lot over Christmas so I have a much better aerobic base than if I didn’t. So instead of it being a frustration I should be relieved I had the foresight to get some training in and manage my diet well
- Improving my technique will make me a better runner. If doing so exposed a flaw in my core strength or biomechanics then far better it comes out now rather than a months time
- 12 weeks is three months….If I rest well and recover then I will still have plenty of time to get ready for London. I know I can prepare well with 8 weeks of 40 miles a week if I need to…but fingers crossed I recover well inside 4 weeks
- Losing fitness is a concern. Also, running works well for me because I tend to be quite intense about my interest (NB I didn’t say manic out of kindness to myself) so perhaps I could use the time not training to be intense about other training. I should really do more Pilates and core training – focus on strengthening my muscles so that I don’t suffer the same injury in the future.
- I don’t enjoy x-training but I do enjoy riding my bike, it is starting to get a bit warmer and lighter so perhaps I could do longer bike rides, not quite the same as running but certainly better, and more social, than indoors on a rower
- Raising the money is still valid money for research and support even if I don’t get to run or run in the time I would like. People would still support me if I got injured and I could always raise the money and defer the run to next year if I really did not recover in time. This race is important but it is far more important I keep running. There will be many more races and events
- I knew i did feel right on Friday when I skirted around the treadmill so should I really be amazed that I wasn’t able to run yesterday? The physio said I could be able to run at the weekend but it was only 4 days ago….need to be far more patient
- Do I really expect my wife to run less just because I can’t? I should use this as a means to be more supportive…..sometimes my wife gets frustrated if I run further than her….she is very competitive :-), wouldn’t do any harm for me to be overly supportive of her running so that the next time she grumps at my long run…..
- I lost weight over 18 months…..I would really need to stop running for 3 years and completely ignore everything I have learnt about healthy eating to put 5 stone back on…..I can be a bit manic so I could use this injury to revisit my diet (which has been a bit liberal due to the amount of miles I have been running) and make sure I stay loyal to the plan that has brought so much success over the past few years.
So, thanks Matt…..I do feel a bit more positive this morning. The sun is out and I even feel a bit of a cold coming on….so perhaps I am getting a bit of good luck after all. Not running due to a cold is rubbish…..combining a cold and injury takes awesome skill so not a shabby day after all 🙂