Category Archives: Marathon

Calf problems from posture: #03 Whales and Marlins

I feel it is no coincidence that this Christmas I was given two books which are undoubtedly related: Hemingway’s ‘The Old Man and the Sea’, and Melville’s ‘Moby Dick’. Both describe the immense efforts of people to overcome multifarious obstacles in order to capture a monster far bigger than themselves (although I haven’t read Moby Dick yet). It may be over-dramatic, but in some way this is how the marathon has become for me. Particularly since the calf problems, it has been a daily struggle to stay on top and build the mileage back up enough to make the marathon plausible. I put in calf-strengthening exercises daily, I now also slot in postural exercises and some ‘neural flossing’ as recommended by John. I am careful to warm up and down thoroughly around each run. I run three times per week, unsure each time whether the calf will fail again, but monitoring and adapting my runs accordingly. Add to this that I will not be satisfied purely with finishing the marathon, but I would like to run a reasonable time. My running is currently limited not by my fitness but by the leg, which sometimes does not allow me to run further. This is concerning given that my longest mileage since the injury is 15 miles. Still, I believe that my approach is giving me the best chance possible. It combines patience, determination, and discipline. Keep doing the exercises even though you may be bored. Keep training even though the weather may be terrible. Keep believing even though other people may not hide their doubt. There is never a guarantee of success, but you can always put in your best effort possible.

BEFORE:

AFTER:

Calf problems from posture: #01 Open Clinic

I went to the Moti running shop hoping for a recommendation for a physio to assess some problems with my calf. Lucky for me, John walked through the door at that moment and offered me a free assessment. With pause only to make a vital cup of tea, we got to work. John walked me through the issues with my body, step by logical step, gradually revealing a complete picture which I feel he knew practically from the start. Neither of my feet land in a straight line down from the knee. The two legs are different, with the right (where I have the calf issues) worse than the left. My right side is weaker than the left in certain areas: lifting the knee up towards the chest, and pushing down around the big toe. John traced these issues to the L2 and L5 vertebrae in my lumbar spine, and demonstrated that these were more tender than the others. Overall, I’m no longer surprised that I am having problems running! Whilst there is a considerable list of problems with the posture of my body, having them pointed out with such clarity has given me genuine optimism that something can be done about them. I hope that optimism is well founded.

From Marathon to Antarctic

image1

Will, after running the Berlin Marathon in September 2016.

 “Was a good run, quite sore from the outset but the cap, now known as ‘John’ worked very well to hold form. Hop flexors went to pieces around 32km but determination held it to the end!”

image2

Will has recently flown off to Antartica to film Penguins for the BBC Wildlife.

img_8047

Aspiring to twenty-six miling without expiring #04

Twenty six days to go and it hasn’t escaped my attention that there is one day left for every mile I will have to run. I feel that this is somehow apt – the marathon is not only run over the 26 miles on the day, but over the many more miles run over the days and months leading up to it. This miniature mountain of time and distance (and hills) already covered is what makes my sensations heighten as the event draws nearer – I have put in so much effort to get this far that I don’t want to miss out due to injury or illness at this late point.

The exercises John has recommended have adjusted my posture to the point that the right calf is much less problematic, although this adjustment does seem to have ignited soreness in the left achilles. I am working on my gait to push right through to the toes on the trailing leg, increasing speed and reducing effort in the legs. This weekend will be my last truly long run before the marathon. As long as that goes well it will be all about keeping the legs ticking over for a few weeks and giving absolutely everything on the big day.

Aspiring to twenty-six miling without expiring #03

COUNTDOWN TO MARATHON: 56 days

I feel it is no coincidence that this Christmas I was given two books which are undoubtedly related: Hemingway’s ‘The Old Man and the Sea’, and Melville’s ‘Moby Dick’. Both describe the immense efforts of people to overcome multifarious obstacles in order to capture a monster far bigger than themselves (although I haven’t read Moby Dick yet). It may be over-dramatic, but in some way this is how the marathon has become for me.

Particularly since the calf problems, it has been a daily struggle to stay on top and build the mileage back up enough to make the marathon plausible. I put in calf-strengthening exercises daily, I now also slot in postural exercises and some ‘neural flossing‘ as recommended by John. I am careful to warm up and down thoroughly around each run. I run three times per week, unsure each time whether the calf will fail again, but monitoring and adapting my runs accordingly.

Add to this that I will not be satisfied purely with finishing the marathon, but I would like to run a reasonable time. My running is currently limited not by my fitness but by the leg, which sometimes does not allow me to run further. This is concerning given that my longest mileage since the injury is 15 miles. Still, I believe that my approach is giving me the best chance possible. It combines patience, determination, and discipline. Keep doing the exercises even though you may be bored. Keep training even though the weather may be terrible. Keep believing even though other people may not hide their doubt. There is never a guarantee of success, but you can always put in your best effort possible.

Aspiring to twenty-six miling without expiring #02

COUNTDOWN TO MARATHON: 64 days

On my second appointment with John, he once again demonstrated to me the flaws in my posture. With me standing casually, a quick profile photo showed that my pelvis and nose stuck out in front of My forward-leaning neckthe rest of my body. I am curving my lower spine backwards and then my neck and head are pushing too far forwards from my shoulders (see photo); as John rightly pointed out, I am a two-pillow sleeper. These extra curves in my skeletal frame mean that the nerves strung over that frame have further to travel than they should, and therefore have less give in them.

 

 

My first prescription was to sort out my posture during the many hours I use a computer (at the office and particularly when using my laptop at home, for which my posture is really pretty terrible).

In the first photo you can see the sofa is low and I am hunched over; the second I am sitting more upright, although the screen still needs to be higher!Me using laptop on sofaIMG_1930

Following this, we tried some little hops as if skipping, first on both legs then switching to one leg, showing that this was much worse on my right side. Similarly, when balancing on one leg, I would lean my upper body much further to the side on the right leg than when balancing on the left. It seems I am literally a lazy arse, at least on the right side, where the upper glute muscles do not want to work to keep me balanced. Prescription two was the sitting-to-standing posture exercise from the physiotherapy.co.uk website to wake these muscles up. You or I may well ask what all this has to do with my calf injury? I believe John’s answer might be that you treat the body and not the symptoms of injury, and the rest follows…there is a logic to this, and as a scientist I see that you can only test this theory by following the advice, so fingers crossed and here goes…

Aspiring to twenty-six miling without expiring #01

COUNTDOWN TO MARATHON: 70 days

CALF PROBLEMS
I went to the Moti running shop hoping for a recommendation for a physio to assess some problems with my calf. Lucky for me, John walked through the door at that moment and offered me a free assessment. With pause only to make a vital cup of tea, we got to work.

pic moti_shop_2008
moti shop BS8 2LS

ASSESSMENT
John walked me through the issues with my body, step by logical step, gradually revealing a complete picture which I feel he knew practically from the start. Neither of my feet land in a straight line down from the knee. The two legs are different, with the right (where I have the calf issues) worse than the left. My right side is weaker than the left in certain areas: lifting the knee up towards the chest, and pushing down around the big toe.

ISSUES
John traced these issues to the L2 and L5 vertebrae in my lumbar spine, and demonstrated that these were more tender than the others. Overall, I’m no longer surprised that I am having problems running!

OPTIMISM & SOLUTION
Whilst there is a considerable list of problems with the posture of my body, having them pointed out with such clarity has given me genuine optimism that something can be done about them. I hope that optimism is well founded….

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Student Discount Physio in Bristol

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Screen shot of the AAA-Physio booking using our online diary
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This entry was posted in ankle, groin injury, heel pain, Neck Pain, overuse injury, pain – lower limb, Physio in Bristol, Plantar Fasciitis, run off road, Shoulder Physio Expert, Sports & running injury and tagged ankle and knee pain, Bristol half marathon, bristol physio, BS6, BS7, BS8, BS9, groin strain, help with running, Knee Pain, off peak discount, Shin pain and shin splints, sports injury clinic, Sports Injury Clinic in Bristol, student discount physio on by physiojohn.

 

Standing

Photo showing: Testing off road shoes with AAA-Physio @ Moti BS8. 14kmph : foot contact slightly ahead of body centre of gravity
Testing off road shoes with AAA-Physio @ Moti BS8. 14kmph : foot contact slightly ahead of body centre of gravity

Problem
Top of right glute painful, John has identified that my right foot veers left just at the end of my stride, meaning my hip twists probably causing the pain. It’s only in the last month.

Question is what causes it; shoes, stance or what?
Solutions
1. New tyres – popped in to Moti and the attentive chaps spent 45 mins sorting that in line with John’s instructions. Very different but comfy, hope an old foot injury in my foot isn’t aggravated as it always casts a shadow over new shoes.
2. Posture – while standing – ‘peering over cliff’, this is the one I’ve been concentrating on, feet, knees, pelvis and head, oh and chest and shoulders if a man can concentrate on more than 4 things at once! While sitting – pelvis, shoulders and head (superman eyes)
3. Running style – shorter stride landing on ball of foot not so heavily on heel, pelvis, elbows (pushing back and not too far forward), and the head, again. Needs working on at the next session.
Thoughts
I really should stretch more.
Been running and out on MTB, neither very good. Torn between resting and pain of getting fit again once John has worked his magic vs glute and back pain of continuing exercise.

Why no magic button John can crunch?