So many years ago an unhappy a 17 stone girl recovering from Myalgic Encephalomyelitis went for a run. 7 seconds later, she came to a sudden halt. Flustered, heart pounding, head spinning breath beaten, I looked behind me. Do I go on, or go home? Quite possibly this was the biggest choice of my life. I could go home defeated and accept my overweight fate or I could listen to Dory.
When I first started running it was purely for weight loss. When I found out it burns more calories than any other exercise, I was in. What I didn’t expect was to find a whole new part of myself.
As a non runner, I though you guys were nuts. Who gets up on a Saturday morning to run three miles. (Go on, correct me and say it’s 3.1…) Why were runners always smiling out on a run? & what the hells a Garmin??
Now I’m one of these crazy loons. Yep, my washing basket smells like a septic tank, I have more running shoes than Sports Direct, I wear bright yellow shirts in public, I have one of those tiny back packs you fill with water, my toes sometimes look like I’ve been mauled by a bear & yes I have a Garmin tan line! I’m a runner & proud.
So how did running break my heart? I didn’t, I broke it myself. Alike a lot of relationships I fell head over heels & it became a runaway train. Before my first year was up I’d done a half marathon. I didn’t stop and because of that, I was plagued with repetitive injuries. PB’s became an acute obsession, even at ParkRun. I’d lost a lot of weight & I was gym training too which took its toll on my body.
Soon enough I reached that point that every runner reaches, the injury of no return. Determined for a ParkRun PB I ran round with some friends. They helped pace me & I was so close to breaking in sub 23. I was was running on ITBS (the side of your leg hurts like it’s been stapled together) & the pain was so excruciating….& then I heard it. RIP>>>>Tearing my right IT band was a whole new level of pain.
As most runners experience, once I’d gone too far, I’d seriously gone too far. I was done for. My marathon training went down from 40-60 miles a week to less than 10. Heart breaking. I had a place in Edinburgh Marathon waiting & time was ticking. But this wasn’t even the worst to come.
In the last few year I’ve met & worked with so many amazing athletes, trainer, coaches & tutors. But one of the biggest impacts in my life had been during my Sports Therapy training. I learned so much about the body I’d never knew before. I had no idea how effective preventative measures were when you get it right. I started to learn just what my body needed to heel stronger & how to change all the damage I’d done.
Education was one thing but being around people who saw your potential & didn’t give you any slack really helped shape me.
I’ve had confidence issues all my life. Learning how to run & getting good at it, meant I wanted to do the sh*t out of it. Oh & boy did I! But as always when you do too much, I burned out fast. I crashed spectacularly & the flame burned for quite a while. I didn’t give my body what it needed & soon I was out of running full stop.
Thanks to one of the best fitness tutors I’ve worked with, I learned what my body needed to recover & how to fit it in around my lifestyle. Once I started to see improvement, it became effortless to keep up & now its a standard in my routine.
To gain the qualifications I completed 500 hours of practical training. Over time, I was working with all kind of injuries, sports related complaints & common everyday problems. To be out of my own training was tough but being in clinic full time was everything I needed gain more experience.
Learning the hard way lost me my place in the Edinburgh Marathon. The day my number arrived in the post was brutal. Knowing I’d given up my training, even for the right reasons, really hurt. I knew there were people running that race with similar injuries. As a Sports Therapist I can only strongly advise, people make their own choices. It wasn’t worth the risk so I did what’s right for me.
Since being qualified, my study doesn’t stop. I like to read up & understand more about how the human body work. Having been through my own injury battles I feel stronger, not just physically but mentally. I feel confident when I see clients that there are always ways & means to improve. I know how it feels to have it taken away & what it feels like when your hearts broken. So to be able to use my experience as part of others healing process, make it a good lesson to learn.
Don’t ignore the warning signs. When the body needs extra help, it tells you. Don’t carry on training until it gets worse, get booked in & lets get it resolved for good.
In the meantime, here’s a runners stretch guide. Practice after every run (up to 5 times a week) for 6 weeks & commit to your recovery.
Yoga for Runners