Living in constant fear of injury


Its probably understandable after what happened last year that I worry about getting injured, first of all I just wanted to get through the London Winter Run, I had this weird reasoning going on in my head that if I could make it through the London Winter Run injury free I would make it to the marathon, but as the weeks have gone on the niggle that I have been trying to ignore while not feeling any worse is screaming a lot louder in my head

I am developing an irrational fear that each step I run could be my last, pop and my leg goes again, its not stopping me running but it is definitely making it less enjoyable so reluctantly this week I sort expert advice

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For those of you that don’t know last February while out on a training run for the London Marathon, I tore my Gastrocnemius calf muscle at the Soleus junction, leaving me in plaster for a week and a boot cast for another 10-12 weeks, looking back I wish I had sought more from the Drs, all through my treatment they kept telling me it may still be possible for me to take part in Aprils Marathon, yet it was March I was still in a cast and they had yet to refer me to physio

Even when I got to see a physio I made it clear my end goal was to run a marathon at some point and while the physio I saw was supportive (he had completed marathons himself) I always felt he wasn’t really listening to me that his end goal was to get me mobile rather than actually listen to my concerns that my leg still didn’t feel right, you see just before the accident, I have had this little niggle in my left calf, it had been there for months, I had had sports massages etc and had been assured it was nothing to worry about, well it turns out that niggle was the start of the tear & I still had exactly the same niggle

I asked time and time again for another scan to make sure the calf was healing properly but I kept being told it was booked then next appointment would be told it wasn’t required

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Eventually last November I decided to pay for my own scan to put my mind at rest, unfortunately the scan couldn’t really tell us much, there was still some seperation between the gastrocnemius & soleus muscle but because the NHS had refused to scan intermittently they couldn’t tell if it was still healing or me starting to run again (with my physios approval) was causing the muscle to tear again

I went back to my NHS physio with this news and was just told that he couldn’t comment on the scan because he had nothing inbetween to compare it to, erm hello, what had I been asking for for months & just suggested taking my running slowly, building up my mileage gradually

To be honest I lost heart with running for around 2 months, I didn’t want to say it out loud but I was scared the further into my marathon training I got the more likely it would be that I’d repeat the injury and have to pull out again

Christmas came and went, work was manic, I had all the excuses not to run, but I knew I had to start if I wanted to complete this years London Marathon, so I gradually started running again starting at 2 miles building up to 10 miles last weekend, unfortunately with each run this slight niggle in my calf was back & since the London Winter Run at the end of January my whole calf has just felt heavy and not right, its not painful, its never been painful its more uncomfortable so reluctantly this week I have sought professional advice again

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Now I don’t know why I have been so reluctant to do this, actually I do, one I am scared they will fiddle around with my leg (not a technical term) causing it to pop again or worse still will tell me I shouldn’t be running on it at all, but with the miles over the next few weeks really cranking up, it feels like its now or never & I really want to get to that start line and more importantly the finish line in one piece, so on Friday I visited Roy Knightsbridge of the Colin Dove Practice, Roy specialises in sports injuries especially in golfers and works on the PGA Golf Tours treating some of the best players in the world, and obviously while I am not a golfer he came very highly recommended by a friend who has completed many marathons and is training for his 2nd full Ironman, so I think I am in safe hands

Before my consultation we spoke at length on the phone and agreed I would need another scan unfortunately I couldn’t get booked in for a scan before my appointment, but decided to go ahead with my initial visit anyway, during my consultation I showed Roy all the notes from my previous scans and he looked at my posture and got me to try various exercises including squats and balance exercises, he said he could see my left side looked weak and when feeling my leg he said he could feel a definite difference and that he wouldn’t suggest massage treatment until he had seen the results of the scan and could see what was actually going on

So what happens now, well I have another appointment with Roy next Thursday in the meantime he has given me some strengthening exercises to do and suggested I do not do any other distance running for a week until he has seen the scan results, which is tough as I am meant to be doing a half marathon tomorrow & that when I do run I adopt a run walk strategy (but I already do that), instead he has suggested maybe doing one of my shorter runs on a treadmill, maybe do another on an exercise bike or rowing machine, some Pilates and Yoga classes to help build my core strength and maybe a dance class that will get my heart pumping so will be good cardio without me actually being out pounding the streets & that maybe on my next visit we play with my training so I am not doing a long run every week for the next five weeks

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The scan actually went better than I thought, things still aren’t perfect inside my leg, but they haven’t got any worse since my scan in November which is a huge positive and my haematoma has actually reduced from 39mm to 36mm, which they said is such a small improvement they wouldn’t usually even mention it but they did a they wanted to show that I definitely hadn’t done any more damage with my increase in mileage

This maybe stupid as I don’t see my physio again until next week but I have decided to do tomorrows half marathon, next weekend I am meant to do another half but I have the option to do a 5 or 10k instead so I think I reduce my mileage next weekend but with my physio’s approval, I will do the miles that I don’t run on an exercise bike at the gym

For the first time since I properly started my marathon training I feel positive, I feel I have always had the risk of injury hanging over me and while I still do just like every other runner I now don’t feel like I am at a disadvantage, like I am an injury waiting to happen

Have you ever had an injury while training for an event, how did you maintain or get your fitness back?





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