Tuesday, June 18, 2013


This week was three months since my knee op. I marked it by returning to running properly. Chalking up 30 miles over the week and topping out with a long run of 8 miles.

I know i can recover.

So what do i put this down to? A number of facors not least of all my fair share of knee injuries. I know what it feels like and i have the experience of coming back.

Cycling and maintaining fitness
I am a runner who cycles a bit. Over the last year i have been an unfulfilled runner who cycled a bit more. Whilst not totally in love with the bike i enjoy it enough to use it when i cannot run. This has helped with overall fitness and, of course, leg strength.

Starting Small
My first few runs were lessthan half a mile oh and very slow. Just to get the feel of running again and get the joints moving in that way. Using my experience of recovery i know that i can bounce back quite quickly but always there is the need to start sloooooow.

Listen to your body
When i started back running it was about stopping before it hurt. Then, as confidcnec grew, it was feasible to push it a bit and see how the knee and rest of my body held up.

Vibram Five Fingers
Read 'Born to Run' or indeed any pro-barefooting material and the talk is that barefooting improves foot strength, leg strength and therefore reduces the potential for injury. Big, foam-filled shoes make us weak. 

I've not been running in mine yet this year, but have walked miles in them over all sorts of terrain. After a day in them i can feel it in my legs. My lower leg in particular feels stronger. I genuinely believe that my use of these shoes has aided my recovery and continues to do so.

Strong feet rock!

Calf Guards
I have used these for a number of years, using them well ahead of the current popularity, and now swear by them. As a forefoot striker my calves take a hammering and these really help.

Experiment with Amino Acids
I was listening to the Ultra Runner Podcast and they were talking about MAP (Master Amino Acid Pattern). They guy was really waxing lyrical about them. I did some research and found a product by Sci-MX called Amino Fusion. They sell at the local Nutrition Centre, i bought them last weekend and used them on Sunday (09/06).

Five pills 45 minutes pre-workout and then five post workout. The feedback on the podcast was that during the effort there was little feeling of feeling battered with the recovery afterwards being significantly quicker. The amino acids helping to repair damaged muscles.

 I've used them once, on an 8 miler. I didn't notice anything during the run however on getting up the next day i did feel i could do it again. No residual pain at all. To put this in context 8 miles is not far but it is when you have not run that far in more than a year. It's also far when you ae in your 3rd week back to running after a long lay-off. 

I'll continue to use them and monitor the impact. As my runs get longer they  may become essential kit.

Next Steps
Reduced mileage this week and a planned shorter long run. Then next week i'll go again. I've entered a tough aquathon, The Devil's Aquathon, at the lido for October (2km swim in cold water followed by a 10km run with around 300m of ascent) and am considering the Cheltenham half marathon in September.

In March next year there's the Born to Run ultra in south Wales. I am desperate to do this and do it well. Everything between now and then is with this in mind.

It's good to be getting back.