I am not talking about kale smoothies, the benefits of green vegetables or even the colour of a new pair of shorts. No, I’m talking about grass.
Since the marathon my calf/achilles issues seemed to be amplified and I have really struggles to get any sort of running done. The tarmac just aggravates my niggles and it results in me unable to run for 2-3 days afterwards. I had rested completely from running for over a month and yet my left achilles and right calf were still worrying me. I had tried running on pavements but they just haven’t felt comfortable and there is too much of a payback afterwards for me to persist. So I decided to try running on grass.
Running on grass has been an epiphany. I have no discomfort while I’m running and I don’t have the soreness in my achilles for days afterwards. I have stuck to a run/walk/jog routine as well, my own modified graded exposure* approach so that my tissues aren’t overexposed to too much in one go. Yesterday I managed 30 minutes: 2 minutes slow paced run and 1 minute walk. I was over the moon with that (which is probably odd for a veteran runner to say).
I have tried so many things for my calf/achilles and nothing has seemed to work for me. Too much rest can work against you. With rest your calf and achilles will weaken and that in itself does not help matters. Equally,strengthening exercises have also tended to aggravate the, and I’ve just found myself going round in a vicious circle.
So since I’ve rediscovered the green stuff I have managed to do some actual running and that spot on my achilles that I have a tendency to prod and check, doesn’t seem to be as bad. I’m also finding that I’m ok getting up in the morning, I don’t feel that I need to hobble my first few steps.
So I’m feeling so much more positive about things. The trouble is that my head and my heart and lungs are so willing to get going. It can be all too easy to just go for longer and further and risking making myself worse. Mentally I’ve been finding that quite tough, to hold myself back. I’ve also been finding social media tough, trying not to get bogged down in what other runners are doing right now. I think that’s why I throw myself into my amateur athletics punditry on Twitter!
So many injuries and so much time lost. I need to buckle down and keep slogging away at my rehab. For a while yet I think I’ll stick to grass.
*graded exposure is an approach used for people with phobias and and exercise approach for chronic pain. And now repeatedly injured mid thirties runner!
P.S I’m heading up to London this weekend and I happen to have a ticket for Write This Run Monoblogues. Hope to see some of you there!