“No one ever said it would be this hard” sings Chris Martin of Coldplay fame, this thought keeps going through my head and is something David Blackman highlighted in his blog blackersdoesbateman which is a great read if you are contemplating adjusting your running style to reduce heel strike and improve efficiency. Back to Chris and the next line is “Oh take me back to the start” which is precisely where I’m going.
I have found in my running experience some periods are much like the game of snakes and ladders where you quietly progress bit by bit getting a little faster or running a little further and then all of sudden you have a break through and get a phenomenal PB, much like landing on a ladder, or alternatively you pick up an injury and much like landing on a snake, find yourself going backwards and having to build up again. I feel like I’ve just landed on a mother of a snake.
Since December, I have been trying to adapt my running style so that I can run more efficiently, with less over striding and ultimately be a faster, injury free runner. I thought I was making good progress but then a few weeks ago I landed on my “snake”.
Over the past few months I had been nursing sore ankles, doing lots of calf stretching, foot exercises and stability work on a balance board to ease the discomfort but a couple of weeks ago I decided enough was enough and stopped running to focus on solving my sore ankle issue.
Armed with great advice from two physios and a bundle of internet research I began a process to heal and rehab my ankles. First off was to stop running – I was climbing the walls after two days
I then started a program of calf stretches, foot exercises and using a hard spiky ball to massage the bottom of my feet. I had been using a soft spiky ball since December but WOW what a difference the hard ball makes. After a couple of weeks of not running and doing the exercises both ankles were free from soreness and I was able to introduce single leg knee squats (3 sets of 30) to my routine. A week later and I’m about to add in double leg straight and bent leg calf raises.
Fingers crossed with another week or two of strengthening and exercises I’ll be able to introduce some light running into my routine and begin to slowly build back my speed and endurance.