It has been eight weeks since my hip injury. Eight weeks since, bar two runs that I’ve properly run without pain and eight weeks of physio appointments and silly physio exercises to rehab my poor little hip flexor.
It has been a gruelling eight weeks. I have watched my friends training for their first half marathon without even being able to run alongside them for fun. It’s been tough. But now, I am finally coming out the other side ever so slowly, but I’m still coming!
I am starting back at square one. I have just started my return from injury plan where I do walk/runs for the first five weeks before commencing full runs. Week one, walk 4mins, run 1min; week two, walk 3mins, run 2min, etc. Part of this plan is also to fundamentally change the way I run. I am working on shortening my stride (which is harder than it sounds), landing on my toes, tilting my upper body slightly forward and engaging my glutes. All of these things, HARD to change!
This technique decreases the impact that running puts on your joints (and your hip flexors) as well as engages your core and glutes when you run. In my last three runs it has been the weirdest feeling, I feel like I’m about to fall forwards flat on my face or I’m running like a fairy and about to bounce right off the treadmill. I can feel the difference in where the strength comes from and it feels better to run, so now I have to keep doing it until it is a habit and becomes slightly more natural. Running on a treadmill is not great or appealing, but it has been good for interval training and changing my running technique.
All in all, there has been no strong pains in my hip since starting my walk/runs, however, slight pains with running adjustments (you just cannot win!). I am taking it easy, staying dedicated to my physio exercises and also working on strengthening my glutes and core. Being patient, listening to my body and enjoying the recovery process has been key to this round of rehab and I can see myself coming back stronger than when I first started.
Yoga has also been a big part of my focus for the last few weeks and key to my recovery. I have been working on my core strength and I’ve dramatically improved holding my planks (currently at 2:31, YUS!) and my ability to control my head stands from beginning to end. My next goal for my headstands is to lift my head off the floor and use my forearms and shoulders for stability and strength to keep me upright.
Going back to basics was a hard concept for me to get excited about, especially with my friends ramping up their training for the half marathon in June; however, I keep coming back to the fact that this is about me and my body. I need to do what my body needs to repair itself and recover from an injury, I need to be patient and I need to set small goals that I can adjust as I continue to get better.
I may not be able to race the 10km in June as planned, but my long term objective and bucket list for running has now been set, it is – To race (10km or half marathon) in at least four European countries next year. So far I have decided on racing in London, Paris, Berlin and Switzerland. There are so many others, but these are my key places. Something to look forward to and something to train for!
I may not be ready to race this year but I have so much I want to achieve racing wise next year and so I am focusing on that and enjoying the journey of my recovery and learning to be patient with my little body.
What are your tips for someone coming back from injury?