It’s no secret that I am, errrrm, biomechanically challenged. Flat feet, hypermobile, severe overpronation – there is nothing about me that says “You should be a runner”. But there is nothing that says I can’t be either, and I really want to be, so I am.
In order to navigate the challenges I face caused by dead glutes, tight hip flexors and whatever else has made the list of “things that will try to stop you running” I have enlisted the help of the lovely Andy at the Berkshire Fitness Clinic. What this man doesn’t know about biomechanics or running isn’t really worth knowing. Within 40 minutes of my first assessment session with him, I was on a treadmill running faster than I ever had, pain free. Given that I’d limped around a short run just a couple of days earlier this was really amazing, and gave me the confidence that I should sign up for a 12 week block of personal training with him.
He’d advised on how to run more efficiently and safely, and diagnosed tight calves from overwork, tight hip flexors from years of sitting, glutes that are, well, sleepy to say the least, and he prescribed foam rolling, stretching and some exercises to do at home. Put off by previous experiences of foam rolling in which I had been told you had to apply your full body weight, I didn’t do the rolling and put off by the fact I can’t usually feel stretches working thanks to my hypermobility, I didn’t do the stretching. The form changes helped a bit but I was still ending up with tight calves on my runs.
Andy busted a few myths for me, and I started to follow the rolling/stretching/exercise routine.
This morning I woke up and didn’t have to limp to the bathroom with achilles that felt like they might snap. This was a first for some time.
And then I went out and ran, completely pain free. It was the longest distance I’ve done in this expedition into running, and it featured the shortest walking breaks. And it didn’t hurt. No knee pain, no twingy calfs, no sore Achilles. Nothing. Completely pain free.
Given that I employed Andy’s help to get me to be able to run pain free, this is a success. A massive one, and after only 2 sessions too. I’m so excited to see what might happen in the next 10 sessions.
Can I run a 5k yet? No.
Was this run as quick as I might like? No.
Did I have to keep stopping to walk? Yes.
If these things were how I defined success, I would have failed.
But success for me, right now, is pain free running and on that front, this morning, I totally won.