“I don’t think there’s such a thing as the perfect marathon training plan.”
My physiotherapist said this to me at a recent session and I couldn’t agree more. We can spend time devising detailed training plans suitable to our goals – I’ve got a pretty good one drawn up for April’s Manchester marathon – but at the end of the day marathon training is really about taking it all in your stride, no pun intended.
Even if you’ve got the best plan drawn up, external factors can halt your plans such as work commitments or a niggling injury.
It’s the latter which has temporarily derailed my schedule but after a long awaited visit to the physiotherapist I’m here to tell you that if your marathon training is halted because of injury don’t panic, don’t hit the peanut butter and certainly don’t think that you’re out of the race. It can be quite the opposite in fact, unless your physio has advised against racing entirely obviously, but if your injury just requires rest for a couple of weeks then it’s still game on rather than game over.
Over the past couple of weeks I have experienced a pain in my knee similar to someone clamping it in a vice every time I’ve reached two miles on a run. It’s not a pain I have experienced from running before and it’s certainly not fun so I booked in to see Jeroen at Jorvik Physiotherapy who was fantastic.
I’ve got to rest for three weeks but luckily not entirely. I’m only allowed to do upper body weight training, cycle or go on the cross-trainer. I can also swim but no breaststroke. I can start running again after three weeks, or sooner if the swelling in my knee goes down before then, and I’ve been given some good stretches to do and told it needs massaging every day.
Jeroen was so positive which really kept me upbeat and he told me ways to keep my strength up without damaging my knee and was confident that I’d be back on track within a month or so. Personally I think that finding a good, positive physiotherapist makes a world of difference.
So even though I’ve been told to rest, I’m lucky enough that it’s not complete rest, which can often be the case with knee injuries. I plan on cycling a lot, getting my swim on (thanks Adidas for my new costume) and still bashing out pull-ups and what not at CrossFit, all the while keeping a mindful watch on my knee.
I’m also lucky enough to have been drawn up a prehab plan for my knee to hopefully prevent me from getting injured in the future. I’d definitely recommend having a coach draw one of these up for you too if you’re injured. It’s something you can incorporate in to a training plan and eventually doing the exercises will just become a habit.
Here’s a little snippet of what mine involves:
Single leg hip lifts
Seated leg lifts/L-sit progressions
Side plank with leg raise
3 point plank
Glute circuit of glute bridges, clam shells, fire hydrants and glute ham walks.
So, if it’s bad news from the physio don’t view it as bad news, view it as a new way to train. If you can’t run, yes it’s beyond frustrating, but look at what else you can do, talk it through with your physio and find new ways to keep strong, fit and healthy and I promise that when you get back to running it’ll all be worth it and you’ll still be feeling fit and ready to race.
Ps If anyone in York is in need of a physio visit Jorvik Physiotherapy in Fulford, Jeroen knows his stuff.