Tag Archives: injury

Old Me vs New Me – The Importance of Recovering

Hey guys!

As I’m laying on the couch for the 7th day after my operation last Monday I’ve had some time to think and re-evaluate my goals for recovery. Before this operation my motivation was at an all time high for training hard and getting those PBs this year as I failed to get any last year.

When the surgery date was put in place the first thing I thought was “it’s gonna ruin all my pb attempts in the next few months”. Instead of thinking how the operation is going to make me better in the long run all I focused was the short-term and how it’s a nuisance in my training right now. Silly right? What’s even worse is that I started googleing the recovery times for my op and more importantly “When can I run after umbilical hernia repair”?

In case you wondered this is what the NHS says:

“Most people are able to do light activities after one or two weeks. Gentle exercise, such as walking, can help the healing process. Heavy lifting and strenuous activities should be avoided for about four to six weeks.”

First thought; Running isn’t strenuous though so probably less than the 4 weeks? Again, very silly to be focusing on that. I think one major thing that makes us want to speed the process up is the comparing game we do with others. I follow hundreds of runners on Instagram and see how their training is going and inevitably end up comparing myself with them. I’m not majorly competitive but I am to some extent and it kills me to see someone who is similar to me in running times progressing when I’m not. But why? Again, so stupid. What I do want to thank social media for is that it also opened my eyes to comparing other not so great circumstances. I follow a girl who had to take a year out from running because of overtraining. I follow another girl who had to take a year out because of a knee operation. All of these people are still alive, they survived their running break, and they can come back to running when they are ready. What about the elite athletes whose whole career is their sport? I’m sure the impact of taking time off is ten times worse for them. So why am I worrying over my potential one month break? It just sounds really silly when you put things into perspective. Instead of comparing myself to the ones who are training really well for their perfect race right now, I’m thinking about the ones who had to take a year or more out.  One month or even 6 weeks off running really isn’t a long time in the grand scheme of things.

However, as I’m still me and you can’t change yourself that quickly, my first question to the surgeon was “When can I run after this”? To my surprise, she said 2 weeks. I was momentarily really happy over this but when I asked other nurses and googled some more the general advice tends to be longer than that. Now the old me would 100% take the advice with the shortest possible time – I would probably even run after 10 days (as that’s almost 2 weeks right!). After my broken ankle few years ago my physio gave me one clear instruction: “don’t run yet” and I came back to the next appointment embarrassed having to admit I had run. What was the result? I ended up with few years of various injuries because I never strengthened my ankle properly and rushed into running way too early. I would like to say that I’m going to be smarter this time, not as smart as taking 2 months off but smart enough that I will listen to my body, I won’t take the 2 week advice and I won’t sign up to any races that would tempt me to start running sooner than I should.

Recovery is SO important, especially after injuries and illness, and the recovery time really isn’t THAT long even though at the time it seems like it. Don’t compare yourself with anyone, just focus on healing yourself 🙂

Have a great week everyone!

And please do share your recovery stories below.

A word or two about physiotherapists and other experts (plus few totally unrelated photos)

I don’t know what it is with me and medical professionals but I don’t like to seek help until I absolutely have to and genuinely think I might be dying. It’s the same with normal doctors as well as with sport specialists.

When I first started running I trained for a half and then full marathon without any niggles or injuries. I had hardly any muscle soreness after my runs and I remember thinking I must be some kind of special person who just doesn’t get injured (I was wrong).

Pretty ugly beach (near Margaret River, Australia)

I broke my ankle on New Years Eve 2012 (not even a cool accident but high heels and too much alcohol) and that’s when all the troubles started. I snapped bones on both inside and outside of my foot and had to have a surgery where a metal plate and 7 screws were placed in my ankle. Happy New Year to me! I had to be off running for few months but I was told it won’t affect my running afterwards.

This was NOT cool. Flying and Travelling all day on crutches is by far one of the worst things I’ve had to do.

Obviously after I got off the crutches I should’ve strengthened and mobilised my ankle first but instead I rushed into running almost immediately. It took about two weeks and a weird hip flexor pain appeared. After couple of weeks of resting the pain was still there even worse than before.

I went to see a physio (I have to say here that this was a free walk-in clinic where the patients are seen for about 15 min) and she told me I needed some movement on my leg and I should go to the swimming pool and walk around the pool and kick my legs in the water. I did that and you bet I looked stupid 😀

The pain didn’t go anywhere, it appeared as soon as I tried running. So I went to see an osteopath but they couldn’t figure it out either and told me to just rest more and alternate hot and cold compressions on it.  I did and it didn’t help. By the summer 2013 I had had this pain for about 2-3 months so I was getting slightly frustrated.

Fitzroy Island
Another beauty (Fitzroy Island near Cairns, Australia)

In Finland my friend Minna (who I’ve told you, knows everything) suggested I go and see a specialist who treats your body holistically for all sort of imbalances in your bones etc (For Finnish readers: Jäsenkorjaaja). It’s kind of like a chiropractor but milder version of that. I don’t know what it’s called in English but it’s a type of bonesetting or body joint manipulation (the one I went to here). She looked at my body and knew immediately what was wrong; my spine was twisted and was pressing on the nerve which then reflected on the front of my leg causing the pain. She said I had a mild scoliosis and it had all started when I fell and hit my tailbone really hard back in high school. The vertebrea had shifted then and due to my ankle operation I had been running with a slight limp (as I was still careful of the ankle) and that had twisted my spine even more. The treatment involved few hours of gently straightening my back and few days of resting afterwards because you are not allowed to lift anything heavy or twist and turn few days after the treatment. As soon as I went for my first run there was NO pain. After about 3 months I was finally pain free. Had I been listening to the physio and osteopath I would still be kicking my legs in the pool and putting hot/cold compressions on it 😀

I remember racing this with a very sore ITB.

In all fairness to the physio and osteopath, I’m sure if I had spent longer time with them they might’ve been able to help too but I am very impatient and want to get help immediately and not wait for many treatments. Because of that experience back then, everytime I get an injury I just google the symptoms and diagnose myself now. It has worked at times. I went to a physio this spring with an ITB issue because I really wanted help but all I got from there was a diagnosis I already knew and he told me to book another appointment for advise on some exercises. (I didn’t, I used google). The common answer to most running injuries is that you have weak glutes and they aren’t firing properly but the worst is when you pay to see someone and they tell you to just rest.

Once upon a time I was pretty close to a giraffe (Tanzania, Africa)

What I actually wanted to say with this post is that my faith in physiotherapists has been restored with my recent visit to a physio. I decided that my knee pain that I’ve been on about for a while now needs to be assessed by someone. I heard pretty good reviews about this particular physio in Cardiff called Andrew Seary so I booked a time to see him. And he is amazing. I instantly got the feeling that he knows exactly what he is doing. He checked everything and told me that my weak ankle that’s lacking strength and mobility has caused the trouble in my knee by shifting  my knee cap out of alignment. My flat feet, overpronation and leg length discrepancies don’t help the issue either 😀

The best thing is that he gave me diagnosis (that google couldn’t tell me), different exercises to do for my leg and for my ankle, recommended me some shoes, and showed me how to tape the knee. I was so happy that I finally got some answers and actual help so I could leave the appointment knowing what to do. It wasn’t expensive at all, and I’d been happy to pay even more for that sort of treatment.

Unfortunately he had an operation on his knee so he is away for few weeks now but if anyone in Cardiff ever needs a good physiotherapist then Andrew Seary is the person to go to (his clinic website is here).

Next time I get an injury I might actually get it checked before 3 months goes by in pain now that I know there are people who can help you immediately.

One of the best sunsets I’ve seen (Broome, Western Australia)


P.S. Can you tell I miss the summer and beaches and travelling just a tiny bit??

Chester Marathon week.. Not as excited as I should be

SO the week of the marathon is here and I don’t even know how I’m feeling.
I was meant to do my last “long” run on Sunday which was going to be 15km. My knee started hurting from the start and just got worse from then on. Normally I run through the pain if it’s mild and just try and stretch it out.. I could count with one hand the times I’ve cut a run short. Call it determination or stupidity but even when I’ve been in pain I have finished the distance I’ve planned to do. This Sunday I turned back and cut the run just under 2km short running 13.3km. My leg was in agony for the rest of the day.. even walking hurt.. So I obviously got a bit terrified as I knew it was just a week left for the marathon. I’ve had this similar knee/IT band pain before and also on my right leg and it took forever to completely disappear. I’m not sure what eventually made it go away as I did so many things, hence I’m trying everything possible now as well.

I’ve been icing the leg like there’s no tomorrow, stretching, foam rolling, wearing compression sleeves, spraying magnesium joint spray, using ice power gel, ibuprofein gel…kneepain
I’ve been doing glute and quad strengthening exercises and tried to mobilise my ankle in case it’s to do with some other weaknesses in the kinetic chain.. In case it’s inflammation I’ve been taking cod liver oil, turmeric and black pepper as they all have anti-inflammatory effects.


I tweeted about the pain asking advice using the hashtag  #ukrunchat (which is great for advice btw!) and many people recommend physios. I don’t think that a physio can necessarily help me this close to the day. Often when I’ve been to see any experts they take so long doing the first assessment of the injury, then diagnose it and tell you to come back for treatments.. Or even worse, they just tell you to rest. As I don’t really have time or money for that and I know vaguely what kind of exercises and stretches to do I decided not to go see anyone.

After the marathon (if I can run it) I have promised myself to take a good few weeks off running and let all my injuries properly heal. Then I might go and see a physio as well to get assessed and treated without relying on just google 🙂

Today I was going to run 8km but instead I used the crosstrainer for 45 minutes. Rest of the day will be resting..

At the moment I’m sitting here with a salt compression around my knee drinking ridiculous amounts of water. Who knows, maybe I just need to be hydrated and then the pain will disappear.. I’ll believe in anything right now 😀 Keep your fingers crossed for me so I can run the marathon on Sunday.

Do you have any quick fixes for knee/IT band pain??