I’ve not been enjoying running recently. To me, running is based on three key elements:-
I’m somewhat lacking in the first two elements.
I’ve been given some strength exercises to do. Last year, I attended a session held by Function Jigsaw, based in Wigston, talking about running injuries. I won a great prize in the raffle; a session with the guys from Optimal Strength.
Ironically, I was injured, and had to wait until February to use my prize.
I met Chris, the owner. We discussed my diet. As suspected, I wasn’t eating enough protein, and needed to increase that. I was then given a set of exercises targeting strengthening my quads and glutes. This would help to keep Kniggly Knee™ more stable.
The first couple of weeks were great. Running wise, I was finding it hard. We had switched our Sunday runs to longer off-road sessions with our club mates. It has been somewhat demoralising, as I struggle to keep up with everyone. But one Friday morning, a week before my birthday, my kneecap clicked back into position.
As you can imagine, after more than a year out of place, the area where my kneecap should’ve been has taken some time to get used to having it correctly positioned. The first couple of weeks, I had some nasty bruising to show for it.
That meant the strengthening work had to be put on hold. I also had to miss some runs. It was just too painful.
What I did notice almost straight away was how much easier my left leg is now moving. I hadn’t realised just how much I was struggling to move. Friends had been saying in the weeks leading to my kneecap reducing, I looked like I was running on one side, and my right leg was dragging. Now, I felt balanced and free. If that makes sense.
This has had little bearing on my overall running fitness. I’m still way off the pace when running with The Bloke and my friends. I struggle off-road because I have no strength. Running up the hills kills me. I attended a session run by Jason Williams, of Hermitage Harriers, where he imparted his knowledge on good hill running, and he praised my technique. I was gutted. I was hoping that I was crap because of the way I was tackling hills. Nope, I’m crap because I’m weak, and the only way to get better is to do more. I feel no stronger now than I did a few weeks ago.
As for parkrun, I’ve been struggling around the 26 minute mark for ages. This week, my 48th parkrun, I managed my quickest time of the year, at 25:03. I had no alcohol for 5 days, as I was feeling nauseous towards the end, and blamed my Friday night wine. I still wanted to hurl up the finish hill!
I now need to focus on getting my exercises completed, to build on the strength work of running off-road. Hopefully then, the speed element will kick back in.