Archive for the ‘Injury’ Category

Chafing:

I understand that this is a subject that may not appeal to many and it’s a sensitive issue in more ways than one but it has to be talked about. Chafing doesn’t just happen to men and fat people so suck it up and listen good.

The first time I went for a run that was longer than half an hour I was wearing a pair of Calvin Klein boxer shorts and some cut-off cargos. Unfortunately for me it started to rain quite badly and the friction began. Now my thighs are not chubby in the slightest (in fact I look like a bread-roll with two chop sticks jammed in it) but I came back walking like John Wayne with a melon between his legs. It hurt so much. It must be to do with the way I run (see blog post 2) but right up the inside of my thighs ended up looking like two raw steaks.

It helps...

First lesson learned, don’t wear boxer shorts. If your problem is material rubbing on skin then they aren’t going to help. The trick is to keep yourself as dry as possible and thick undergarments will make you sweat worse than Tom Jones. Materials like Lycra or spandex will help wick away sweat and stop the abrasion between material and body parts. Also (one for the lads) running in boxer shorts can lead to testicular torsion

… Another bollock drop would be to wear clothes on race day that you’ve never tried before. Unfortunately, stopping the effects of chafing takes a lot of experimentation and it doesn’t just happen on the legs. Mp3 players strapped to your arm, vests, running belts and new trainers or socks can cause unexpected pain or discomfort during and after a race has finished. Take the time during your training to try out different outfits and decide a month or two in advance on what you are going to wear on the race day.

After ditching the boxer shorts I moved on to briefs which then resulted in a whole new skin-on-skin problem (I’m sorry, I’m embarrassed as I’m writing this). Vaseline is the obvious choice and has worked well for me. The problem, however, with Vaseline is that it doesn’t last very long and by the 15th mile I’d imagine that most of it will have worn away. I believe that volunteers hand the stuff out along the course but, if I have anything to do with it, I won’t be stopping for anything other than a quick Paula Radcliffe dash! For longer lasting products use Body Glide or if you really want to last the distance try industrial strength Bag Balm (which is actually supposed to be used on cow’s udders!).

If you’re still reading this and all of this talk of rubbing and lubrication has had you one sexual innuendo away from closing this page down, then thanks for putting up with this udder rubbish…

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Treadmill Running:

'Checking it's real' at the Finsbury Cancer Research 10K 2008We’ve just had one of the coldest weather spikes in British history. For the first weeks of January 2009 the weather was so cold that worried pensioners up and down the country were given an extra £25 per week to help with their fuel bills.

Now, technically I’m a northerner. When I was a wee bairn I’d be fetching logs in for the fire in a pair of flip-flops and a tank top. But, one of the things they don’t tell you about moving to London is how hot the city can get and you quickly become acclimatised to it. So this cold spike hit ‘us’ southerners quite hard. I have a pair of jogging bottoms but they’re heavy and I haven’t quite plucked up enough courage to sport these ninja tights I keep seeing people wearing (I still look like a pigeon). So, to keep warm (and for convenience sake), I took up treadmill running at my local gym.

There are several advantages and disadvantages of running on a treadmill. But before we get on to these we first have to follow some rules:

  1. 20 minutes only at peak-time.
    From the hours of 5 – 7pm (in most gyms) you may run for a maximum of 20 minutes to allow others to have a turn. This rule is not displayed anywhere in the gym but is widely known (by everyone except yourself and will unwillingly be instructed to you by some know-it-all). I got thrown off the treadmill half way through a 40 minute stint the other day by a guy who then ran for 15 minutes at just above walking pace and did nothing but check out the local talent. Seething. My view is, if you can’t get to the gym fast enough to get a free treadmill then run faster.
  2. No comparing.
    You must never look at the runner next to you to compare their speed setting to yours. If you do you will instigate a level war. This is where you nonchalantly increase the speed of your treadmill to one setting above that of your neighbour. Your neighbour will respond but only when you’re looking the other way. This will continue until one party can take no more and hits the dreaded ‘Cool Down’ button.
  3. Look straight ahead.
    Look behind you or turn your head to the side at your peril. Your body will follow the direction of your head and before you know it you’ll be on the edge of the belt or falling off of the back.
  4. Let go of the hand-rails
    This is fine while walking, but if you hold on while running (some treadmills have heart-rate monitors that require you to hold on to two metal sections of the hand-rail) you’ll end up looking like either Frankenstein or the Lone Ranger.

If you follow these steps you’ll be able to reap the advantages of running indoors. You’ll be avoiding frostbite (in all seriousness), wind chill and, in wet weather, chafing. For advice on Winter running see this article from About.com. In the case of marathon runners, your training will take place in the Winter months. Then, come April and race day, the sun decides to shine like it did in the London Marathon 2007. All of a sudden you’re out of your comfort zone. You’re not used to the dry and hot conditions and you become dehydrated. Running indoors will acclimatise you to that heat.

The treadmill will also be softer on the joints than running on tarmac and can help you keep up the training while trying to relax those jarred bones. However, some experts tell us that it can be too soft on you. It’s all in the physics. When running on the ground, your legs are working hard to drive your centre of mass forward. You accelerate as you push off (when your leg is behind you) and decelerate as your front leg meets the ground. On a treadmill your centre of mass is static and your legs are positioned to keep your centre of mass stable. In essence, the ground is moving your legs, dramatically decreasing the work load. Where a treadmill is good for overall fitness, it may not be as beneficial to the competitive runner.

I’ll be sticking with it until the sun decides to shine after work. If it’s not your thing then I suggest you go out and buy eight treadmills and make yourself a kick-ass music video

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Recovering From Injury:

Unfortunately I think I’ve purchased my trainers and special double-layered socks a week too late. As a result of continued running with bad blisters (and adjusting my stride pattern to compensate) I think I’ve picked up a mild knee injury. It doesn’t feel that bad at all when I’m running (in fact the there is strangely hardly any pain at all). I only seem to feel it when I’m walking down hill or down steps. It one of life’s little ironies that I live at the top of a hill.

Greenwich Park

Injuries are a marathon trainer’s worst nightmare. I’ve been sticking to the training schedule like glue (see the useful sites page) and don’t want to be playing catch up in a few weeks time after I’ve recovered. It’s been hard enough getting used to the schedule and it’s only the 2nd week.

Runner’s World have a great section on dealing with injury and from it I’ve taken two key points:

  1. No complaining.
    Stay positive. Injury at some point is pretty much inevitable to those who are undertaking a marathon. The average marathon runner will complete over 500 miles of training runs in that 3-4 month build up to that big Sunday (over 800 for an advanced runner). That’s an average of 1,000,000 individual steps to avoid slipping on some grass, dodging a puddle or hopping over an uncontrollable Jack Russel on a long leash. The law of averages has to catch up with you. Complaining about it is only going to piss off those around you. Keep your cool, get better and carry on.
    .
  2. No slacking.
    Unless you’ve broken your back the chances are that you can still exercise and keep yourself active enough to stay in shape. If you have bad sores or blisters then use the stepping machine. If your upper body is injured then get on the bikes. Lift weights, walk, stretch or row, just maintain your basic level of fitness so that when you do recover you haven’t lost any ground. If your training plan says a 30 minute run then do something else for 30 minutes and don’t eat any differently to how you normally would.

I’m not sure if this knee ailment is going to cause a problem or not. I’ll keep a support on it but I think I’ve diagnosed it. I swear, all you need these days to be a doctor is a blackberry and google in your bookmarks. Google search ‘my knee hurts when running downhill’ and the second search result is this. Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome. Easy. Use this link at work when your colleague asks you a silly question. It’ll go down a treat I promise.

How is it treated? Ice-pack, ibuprofen and a knee support.
I’m such a wuss…

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