Tag Archives: recovery

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.

Pain or not? And what do I do when I’m not running…

Hi again,

If you’ve read my blog or follow me on instagram you might be aware that I’m still struggling with a knee injury. It started in May but because I kept ignoring it the marathon at the beginning of October made it a lot worse. It’s been almost 6 weeks now since the marathon and I’ve gradually built myself up to running about 20 minutes. It’s been the slowest recovery process I’ve ever experienced. Even with the broken ankle once the boot and crutches were off I was almost immediately back to running 20-30 minute runs whereas this time I’ve had to start with little 5 min segments.

running

With the last few 20 min runs I’m not sure if they are pain-free either. I don’t know if anyone else gets this but when you’ve been injured for a long time or had an ongoing niggle can you almost feel it on every run? I’m not sure anymore if I have pain or is it just normal sensation on the knee or is it just because I’m so used to the pain that I think it’s still there? Does that make any sense? With my previous ITB injury I had the same thing; when I started back running I could “feel” the ITB on every run, it wasn’t pain but I was very aware of it for a long time. At the moment my knee isn’t hurting in a way that I would need to stop and it’s not uncomfortable but I am not running without noticing it either. Weird. Maybe that’s just me.

Anyhow so what have I been doing to keep some sort of overall fitness and more importantly how have I justified all the chocolate eating in the past 6 weeks?

The answer is gym, swimming and pilates.

gymbike

At the gym I’ve mainly focused on just maintaining fitness rather than pushing for improvement. I’ve done a lot of cycling on the bike, hill walking on the treadmill and crosstrainer. Plus this time around I’ve actually tried to do legs, arms and abs as well which I normally tend to ignore. I do find the bikes and crosstrainers quite boring, however, so occasionally I’ve done some intervals like 10*2 min hard with 1 min recovery for instance, just to keep the exercising a bit more exciting and exhausting.

I’ve also been going to pilates. I try to go once a week but it hasn’t happened every week just because.. well life.

pilates

As a new thing I’ve started going swimming. The pool is really far from where I live plus I lost my swimming suit so I haven’t been going before but I do like swimming because of the low impact. I originally went there because I wanted to go aquajogging; my favourite way to crosstrain, but turns out you need to bring your own belt. In Swansea the national pool let you borrow theirs and In Finland you can use theirs as well so I was a bit disappointed. Looks like I’m going to have to invest in one.

swimming

So an example training week for me:

Monday: Gym. Hard effort on cross trainer (plus warmup and cool down), legs & arms.

Tuesday: Hill walking + abs.

Wednesday: Off

Thursday: Gym. Easy 25 min bike, 20 min crosstrainer, legs & arms.

Friday: Gym. Easy 30 min bike, 30 min walking uphill on the treadmill, abs + back.

Saturday: Off.

Sunday: 2*5 min of running plus walking, total of 7km.

The following week included small attempts of running on Monday, Thursday, and Sunday, swimming on Tuesday and Gym on Saturday.

autumnpicture
I miss this weather already!

As you might notice, the training is quite easy and not as frequent at the moment. I have big plans for next year runningwise but for now I’m focusing on getting my knee better. I have no pressure to be exercising I’m just doing it to keep myself happy and half-fit  (and to be able to continue my chocolate-eating habits).

It’s completely normal to have a chocolate cupboard like this right?

chocolatecupboardP.S. I have to mention that my brother came 15th in his age group of up to 8-year olds in a Chess World Youth Championships in Greece last week! 🙂

(And I don’t even understand the rules of chess).