I just got my CT scan results. The radiologist found no indication of stress fractures in either shin or my left foot. This is excellent news because it means I can now work towards recovery without having to wait for bones to heal.
Having said that, I am still taking a break from running so that my legs can heal properly. There is definitely a problem with my legs and feet that needs to be repaired. A rest from running and physiotherapy are probably going to give me the best chance of recovery.
At this stage, I am totally taking a break from running and hiking until early December. Then, if I am pain free, I will follow the first 3-4 weeks of a post-stress fracture training program I found online and then blending that into a 9-week Couch-to-5km program. I once read that the biggest risk in running is listening to your aerobic ability because muscles and ligaments take longer to get strong than our hearts and lungs do.
So the Couch-to-5km will probably be a sensible move. I then found a really good 19 week kilometre build-up program that can take me from running about 20km a week to 40-50km a week. I don’t like programs but I like being injured even less. I hope I can discipline myself enough to spend the next 6-9 months building strength and endurance, not only aerobically but also in my legs.
I’m ready to be pain free and am ready to be a consistent runner not someone who relies almost solely on luck, pig-headedness and a sprinkling of natural ability.
I’m off to see my doctor on Wednesday morning to ask for a referral to get bone scans. My left foot hasn’t improved so it needs to be checked for a stress fracture. My left shin is starting show signs of trouble so I’m going to ask for a scan on it too. And my right shin, which was responding really well to treatment before I overdid it in the garden 2 weeks ago hasn’t settled since.
While MRIs would be a more appropriate test to check for stress fractures, I don’t want to pay upwards of $280 per scan. I’ve heard from other runners that bone scans can be used to check for stress fractures and that bone scans can be bulk billed through Medicare.
I’ve never been one to do things by halves so why start now.
I’m seeing this holding pattern as an excellent opportunity to develop into a much stronger, fitter and faster runner in future. By taking action now I have a better chance of running into retirement, rather than being a cripple at 35.
This current injury situation doesn’t come as a shock to me. I’ve been expecting it and am surprised I made it through the past 15 months without coming a busta earlier. I’ve had extreme shin splints for 15 years and a bad ITB for over 10. Even after not running or exercising for 6 years, my right shin and ITB still hurt every time I walked.
The ITB doesn’t hurt at all anymore and after my 12 weeks off I know I won’t have to worry about shin troubles anymore because I’m still going to attend my physio to get the underlying causes of the stress fractures fixed. Long story short is that my muscles and joints are ridiculously tight (e.g. my calf is only just 6cm long and my ankles almost don’t flex at all). Did I also mention I’ve neglected my core? Yoga, qi gong, pilates, weights and swimming are going to make all the difference.
My goal for 2013 is now much more modest. Rather than hoping to run my first 100 miler, I think I will spend:
- January working on a recovery phase that includes 4min walk / 1 min run combinations
- February and March completing the couch to 5km program (who would have thought given I’ve run a 50km and marathon this year)
- April to August doing a kilometre buildup program in which I hope to increase my weekly mileage to 50km and my long runs to 18km.
After that, I’ll find a 50km or 60km race to train for and I will stick to a 20 weeks program to slowly increase my mileage.
It means I won’t run another marathon or ultra until 2014 but it’s the only real way to do it safely. And besides, I’ve now run two ultras and a marathon without proper preparation and I enjoyed them all. Imagine how great I’m going to feel when I am properly prepared for the events instead of being on the verge of physical break down.
Part of the reason I’m writing this is to remind myself later when I get impatient again.
Posted in Injury, Physiotherapy, Ramblings, Running, Shin splints, Trail running, Ultra running
Tagged health, Injury, Ramblings, Running, Stress fracture, Stress fractures, Trail running, Ultra running