Practise makes Permanent
…especially with running.
When you practise something physical, you strengthen neural pathways between the brain and body. Electrical signals move faster down the axons.
I make around 120,000 running steps a week. Almost identical steps. So I have very entrenched neural patterns in my body that tell me exactly how to run.
When something is wrong, i.e. hamstring injury, and I have to adapt the way I run, it requires a lot of concentration. On every single step your body wants to go back to it’s automatic running style. But if I let this happen, my hamstring sends a very sharp pain response to my brain;
“carry on like that and I will snap, I’m warning you”
This means that running with an injury can be mentally exhausting. Time seems to stand still, I can’t let my mind wander. I can’t listen to music, I have to focus every step on how I am running. And I am running poorly. I avoid taking my bodyweight, and in doing so I avoid stress to legs. This means I have to increase my cadence, hips are sitting behind me. Looking in the mirror infront, I can’t stand the sight of myself.
It’s a very strange week for me. I am off work so my Dad and best bud, Paul, have come to help with renovating our new house. Meanwhile, Nina keeps the kids in London, which proves to be a very wise decision, as it’s colder and snowier here, schools are closed, and the water is not working. When I am in routine, I get up at 6am and do my running. That didn’t happen this week.
I am very relieved that my upcoming race, Trafford 10km, is cancelled due to the weather. This means I don’t have to try and hurry my body to be ready. The decision is taken out of my hands.
Wednesday morning, my ham is so cold and tight that I have to get off the treadmill and stretch after every mile, I manage 6 miles.
The pain finally starts to ease off by the end of the week, and I can gradually adopt my usual technique. I get a wonderful massage from Cerys at Bodywrcs on Saturday, it releases the tightness. Cerys also sorted me out before London Marathon last year, best physio in N.Wales.
Sunday and I am back in business! I can run totally pain-free. I sail through 21 miles like it is the easiest thing in the world, just so happy to be running properly. I am on 80 miles for the week. Sunday evening I am feeling good and seriously considering jumping on treadmill to do 20 more, making it a 100 mile week. Nina tells me not to be so ridiculous. And that is the end of it.
Best non-running related highlight of the week
Watch great movie, Last Flag Flying, it is a real buddy movie. And I realise, sitting on sofa, between my dad and best-man, huddling together in the cold, I’m in the middle of my own buddy movie!
Best thing on the internet this week:
In the most ridiculous Athletics competition in history, with something like 22 disqualifications in the Birmingham World Indoor, the final race ALMOST makes up for it. If you have 4 minutes to spare, the Mens 4x400m relay…
Thing I’m digging this week:
Inspired on Sunday by training partners Cal and Tom, who finish 1 & 2 in Anglesey Half Marathon. Fantastic shot by Sport Pictures Cymru.
|Monday||REST||Drive to Wales|
|Don’t feel as tired as expected, but legs are very sore. Family day|
|Get home 2.30am after driving through wind & snow. Ham v tight.|
|Ham very tight and cold AM. Hard to keep concentration|
|Ham much looser AM. Bit tight again PM, better than yest|
|Saturday||7tm + 3 outside||REST|
|Ham better again, v. happy. Sports massage, bit tender after, decide to rest it PM|
|Ham feels great|
|TOTAL:||80 miles||tm = treadmill|