It was supposed to be a warm-up for my 5-mile race tomorrow – just a light 2-mile shuffle around the block a couple of evenings ago.
But after a mile I was aware of my right knee feeling tender, though not sore. The whole right leg seemed heavier, less flexible and carried differently to the left, and my right foot was touching the ground with a flat slap rather than a light tap.
Time to visit the sports physio again, then.
Having had problems in that knee a couple of years ago, successfully treated by the same physio, I was anxious to ensure that any recurrence was detected and treated again before I aggravated it. However, after an examination of my knee, the diagnosis was that my hamstring and calf muscles were excessively tight and therefore causing me to strain my leg and throw off my posture.
So, the physio manipulated my knee into shape, gave my hamstring and calf a thorough massage and recommended some new stretches to include in my routine.
As for running, I’ll sit out tomorrow’s Raheny 5 mile road race and rest up instead. Then on Tuesday evening I’ll venture out for a cautious lap of my usual route to see how the knee is bearing up. With luck, the treatment and rest this weekend should see everything cleared up by then.
If you have any persistent or recurring pain from running, especially in classic problem areas like the knee or Achilles tendon, you should take a break from training and visit a qualified and accredited physiotherapist who specialises in treating sports injuries. Anyone who’s ever tried to race on an injury or “run off” a niggle will tell you the hard lesson they learned about being sensible and not making an injury worse.
A good sports physio will treat your injury and also give you sound advice to prevent the injury recurring. Most of my pre- and post-run routine comes from advice that I got from my regular physio clinic – in particular, the importance of building core body strength and of doing dynamic stretches rather than static stretches before a run.
There’s no harm either, of course, in visiting a sports physio before you get injured – if you’re stepping up from 5K to your first marathon, for instance, or even for a regular check-up as you would the dentist or car mechanic. We marathon runners tend to think we’re indestructible machines of perpetual motion, when in fact we don’t always pay enough attention to the strain we put our bodies through. A physio’s bill today is a lot less than a hospital bill in years to come.
Here’s a short video of me before and after my visit to the physio: