Injury progess and other amusing stories

I was going to post on the training thread but I thought since I've been away that I would open a new one.

First of all happy new year to all - I hope you haven't reneged on your resolutions yet.

Prior to Christmas I was really suffering with the knee problem and had resolved not to run for a number of weeks - although had been substituting cross training. On my return to the UK for Christmas I was unable to find a gym that would let me use their equipment without having an (expensive) introduction or membership (sport for all anyone?). Anyway upshot was I ended up running everyday (including Christmas day) in varying degrees of pain. Trying my best to minimise further injury I did most of the running off-road which meant keeping a hose pipe by the back door of my in-laws house for an invigorating wash down before being allowed back in the house.

Since Christmas I have reverted to alternate running and cross training days allied to lots and lots of stretching. It may be too early to say but I do believe the cross training is beginning to work and over the last few days I have had less pain (although over the last six months I have had periods of remission with pain coming back a few days later so I'm not counting my chickens yet).

However, the following is relatively clear:

1. I cannot run two successive days at the moment and I would suggest am unlikely to in the immediate future.

2. Cross training is really good! I feel overall a lot stronger and more balanced.

3. I now spend a minimum 10 minutes stretching after each run.

4. Be careful taking off wet socks - mine were very tight and I ended up spraining my thumb after I bent it well back beyond its natural angle!


  • Welcome back Martin and happy new year!

    Sorry to hear the injury is still there, but glad to see it hasn't stopped you altogether.

    I swear by doing some cross-training. For me it stops me overtraining, which I know I'd do if I didn't have something else to give me a good work out.

    Hope the thumb gets better soon!

  • Nice to hear from you Martin, I've been wondering how you're getting on.

    Well done for keeping going with the cross training, that takes determination when you'd rather run. Glad to hear you're enjoying it, who knows, you may come out of this stronger.

    As for the thumb, file under 'daft stories heard in casualty'!
  • Great to hear you didn't get blown away in the hurricane winds, obviously you had already left for Blighty before they struck.

    I'm convinced cross-training is the way to go Martin, since I've been heavily involved in triathlon I've suffered a lot less injury and illness down-time, and when I have succumbed, the way back has been quicker and easier.
    Now that the snow's here, Pack Leader and I are using it to ice our legs down after exercise - works a treat!
  • Happy new year Martin; nice to have you back; keep plugging away & strengthen those quads.

    My mother-in-law would gladly have volunteered to operate the hose herself - particularly if attached to a high-pressure water source.
  • Hi martin
    sorry to hear about the injuries
    What cross training do you do?
  • HH - my cross training consists of:

    1. During the week - indoor static cycle, usually 30 minutes at level 7 (of 10) which I reckon is pretty close to running in terms of intensity. Ideal for stregthening the muscles that running doesn't reach.
    2. Follow the indoor cycling with 10-15 minutes on a rower - good for upper body and general fitness.
    3. At weekends I try and get out on the mountain bike for 1.5 - 2 hours over varied terrain -mostly very hilly.
    4. Other general stregth building e.g. situps, crunches, press ups etc.

    Also we've just bought a table tennis table - which is great fun but I'm not sure it qualifies!
  • Welcome back MartinH - I can now assume safely that since you're posting it wasn't you flying round Frankfurt the other day in a fit of depression about your running.

    I've been following the cross-training regime too for knee reasons. I use the static bike but also the elliptical machines - closer to running than bikes and on which I can create a reasonably challenging interval session - are you doing these at all or are you relying the MTB hills?

    My problem is that at the moment I can only see this as leading to a static situation ie race/cross train to allow short term recovery. Can't see it leading to full repair.
  • Sfh - I'm not using an elliptical at the moment as I'm not a member of a gym and all my cross training is done on my own equipment. I've never used an elliptical do you think they're good? What sort of sessions do you do?

    I tend to agree with you about the short term nature of cross training and recovery. Originally my doctor said the cause of the knee problem was due to poor knee-cap tracking due (probably) to muscle imbalance and overtight hamstrings and advised the exercises to correct. However prior to December my cross training had been a little cursory and I'm now taking it at least as seriously, if not more so, than running. After all I'm sure any corrections will take months rather than weeks. Therefore I'm determined to persevere for at least 6 months but will go back to the doctor after three months if nothing changes significantly. At least my current programme enables me to engage in some running!

    Good luck with your own injury.
  • Thanks martin, for the info
  • hi martin -

    bags of admiration for your determination and perseverance, and hope it all sorts itself out soon (ditto to you, sfh legs).

    you mention "exercises", but are you doing any form of strength training to correct the possible imbalances? I've found that when things go a bit wonky around the knees, it's a huge help to do some serious work on the quads. and I think if you can identify the muscles to work on, it needn't take a long time to get back to normal.

    all the best. s.
  • drewdrew ✭✭✭
    Martin, just to reiterate what I've said before. Try doing some leg extensions as I'm sure you will notice a difference after 3 or 4 weeks of doing them regularly. You may have to join a gym to get the correct equipment though.

    From my own experiences I've found that squats and leg presses can sometimes make knee problems worse.

    Hope you get back into running soon.

    Best wishes
  • Drew -

    oops - yes, I'd very much agree to be careful of what type of quad exercises you do (beware of leg presses at all costs!). step-ups with hand-held weights are the simplest and safest for me, but v. boring. any other recommendations? cos I know I ought to be doing more at the moment and can't face it.
  • Leg presses?
    they are easy, i can lift stupid weight s on those
    must be doing it wrong
  • Drew / achilles - Thanks for the advice, and especially Drew who keeps reminding me about leg extensions!! I think you're both right and I'm currently looking round for a gym.

    My knee suffers most when climbing stairs and I suspect that leg extensions and step ups might make things worse. I think what I need - and I'm not sure what its called - is a machine to do butterfly on i.e. to strengthen the muscles on the inner thigh.

    I am managing to run 3 days a week and by doing that its mostly pain free as after a warm up the knee stops hurting e.g. last Sunday I ran for an hour with no pain.

    Frustrating, frustrating, frustrating.

    Still I read Lance Armstrongs book over christmas and that has given me huge motivation.

    Thanks again.
  • Martin, I've also had knee problems, and after one operation, bad advice, recurrent pain and immobility etc (all very frustrating), I finally discovered the root cause. It was a strength imbalance between various muscles.

    This means I now do very little work on quads, only using low weights on machines that make my kneecap move, but instead I focus most on the muscles on the outside and inside of my legs - which in my gym are the two 'butterfly' machines - sorry I'm hopeless on technical terms. Oh, and lots of stretching with *warm* muscles.

    It has helped a lot and I'm still running, 5 months after starting again - a record without injury.

    Finding the cause was the hardest part. Good luck.
  • Martin/Helen - adductors and abductors, I think they're called. there are exercises you can do at home without weights, might need a Swiss Ball for one of them though, don't ask me which.
  • Some good advice here : I think I need to build leg extensions into my program, as well as calf raises (see other post).

    Regarding your question Martin, My intervals on the elliptical trainer are as follows.

    2mins @ level 5 at about 130strides/min : power ~ 90watts (as displayed)
    3 mins @ level 9 a about 150strides/min: power ~200watts (as displayed)

    I do 8-10 of these, first rep sees HR 135 at start of hard leg rising to 165, last rep 150 rising to about 180 - my max being 190

    I'm convinced that the watts readings are wrong on our kit by a factor of 4.2 due to the fact that some numbskull at Technogym doesn't know a calorie from a Joule.

    I guess I could do something on the static bike that was similar but I reckoned the ellpical was closer to "real" running. But I forgot about the calves - DOH!
  • elliptical trainers give a pretty good workout and the ones at my gym can vary the "slope" so you work all the muscle groups separately or independently (quads, calves, glutes, hams) which is useful for imbalances. (these machines also show miles which is useful, but I'm not sure quite what sort of "miles" they actually are, if you see what I mean?!)

    the problem re: running simulation is that it's very hard to get anywhere close to a similar stride rate, bearing in mind that for running we should be aiming for a stride rate of 180. I imagine, shf legs, that you are going fairly flat out at 150 s/p/m. any faster and you are probably risking some serious injury of another kind. so going back to running after, I always find my stride rate has suffered as a result.

    oh, leg presses are a no-no, because they place far too much undesirable stress on the knees and they savagely compress the spine and everything else - not a good thing in my book.
  • Achilles

    know what you mean about the "miles", the calories as dispalyed seem to correlate q well with my HRM calculation (which is HR based). 150spm isn't quite flat out, but if I upped the pace I'd need to drop the resistance.

    Would stepper machines be useful for calves?
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