I saw my physio nine days ago and he said it was time to start building up my kilometres to about 75-85% of my normal training load. He also said I could do one 'light' speedwork session a week. This was the best news I've had in ages.
I had some dry needling (which is apparently great for high hamstring tendinopathy) and we also talked about how important it is for me to consistently do strength exercises - glutes, hamstrings, hip extension. I've got a whole lot of different ones to do, some using body weight, some using weights and some using resistance bands.
I had two new 'toys' delivered early last week - a 'power band' to use for resistance work (rather than the makeshift things I've been using) and a 'pocket physio' that I can use to release some of the pain and tightness I get (especially after sitting and driving - I actually sit on it in the car).
I got these online from Sport & Physio Supplies - I have absolutely no relationship with this business at all and I want to say how fantastic the service was. I ordered on Friday night and the parcel arrived on Tuesday. The price of the band was cheaper (in some cases much cheaper) than other places I looked and the quality seems good. (See the end of this post for a video of an exercise using the super band).
I'm really pleased to say my body has handled the increase in kilometres really well. Greta (Garmin) has come out of retirement once again and is back recording distances. Over four days last week (Sat-Wed) I clocked up 70.13km, including one small set of 6x2 min reps (with 2 min rest) at the track - my first time doing anything 'fast' since November last year. I had no idea what to expect in terms of pace when I was at the track. Part of me was really afraid I wouldn't even be able to get to 4min/k pace. Thankfully it wasn't as bad as I feared. My fastest rep was at 3:16k pace and my slowest was 3:32k pace. I felt strong through my glutes and I played it a little cautiously. I was prepared to call it quits if my hamstrings/glutes started to feel 'wrong' but it all went OK (even though the daylight suddenly disappeared and I found myself running in near darkness and guessing where the lane was. I was worried I was going to trip over because the grass track I go to is in crap condition and there were also water bottles and rubbish all over it).
After a great start to the week, getting sick wasn't the greatest thing to happen. Every second person seems to have a head cold or flu at the moment, including me. I didn't run Thursday, Friday or Saturday and today I did a slow 22k. My legs felt good (which is why I kept going to 22k) but I had a cracker of a headache and a bit of a cough. Nonetheless, it was very heartening to be out running without pain.
I know I have to be careful not to do too much too soon, but I have gradually been building up the running (on physio approval) over the last few weeks. I am paying close attention to how my body feels - I'm not going to jeopardise the last few months and set myself back again. If everything goes well over the next fortnight I'm hoping to be able to start proper training with Sean again (modified proper training, but at least following a program and starting to work towards goals other than 'fix injury) in about the second or third week of May.
Finally, here's an example (from YouTube) of another strength exercise my physio has me doing with the super band. The guy in the video talks too much but put up with it and you'll see the hip extension work I'm doing. The only difference with me is that I start with my knee bent (not straight like him) so it mimics the running motion.
Keep on keeping on.