Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Here we go again

I am officially on day two of 'proper' training. Woo hoo!

I finished with my physio last Friday - we just went through the exercises I needed to keep doing (as in, keep doing forever and ever, amen, if I want to continue running) and talked about the warning signs I had to look out for that would signal tendon problems.

The biggest warning sign is pain when I do my hamstring bridge - that's my number one test to make sure everything is still OK. If I get pain I have to back off the training until the pain goes away.

I am also about to start riding around on a scooter. You know, one of those push scooters that kids use. I thought my physio was joking when he told me to use one - he wasn't. It makes sense because it strengthens all the areas I need to work on. This weekend I'm going to go to my parents' place and dig out the (awesome) scooter my younger sister used. And yes, it will probably look like I'm a crazy lady trying to reclaim my youth. I don't care. I'll do anything if it helps my running!

Today I hit the track, as per my program. I've done some track work over the last month or so but they've been short sessions with decent recovery between reps (very basic - two mins fast, two min recovery, just so I felt I was doing something). Today that recovery time was cut in half (two mins fast, one min recovery) and we added some one minute reps (with 45 sec recovery) at the end.

Yes, it was tough for me - it's been at least six months since I've done this. Yes, some of the reps were a bit off the pace, but some were faster than the set pace. In all, I feel so positive and happy that I'm finally back to it.

Life is good.



  1. Hi Johanna, I'm going on four months no running and still experience pain (mainly when sitting). I was hoping you could please share the top 5 exercises that you did in physio that worked best for you. I'm wondering if there is anything I am missing in my routine that I could possibly benefit from.
    Glad to hear you are training again and things are going well.

    1. Hi Michelle,
      I had to have a think about your question... mainly because I really don't know what has worked and what hasn't because I was doing lots of different things at once. It could have been a combination of everything, or it could have only been one or two things.

      I do think one of the key things was rest - which isn't what any of us want to hear! My PT and my doctor both told me I had to rest the tendon to allow it to recover to the point it was strong enough to start doing the rehab/strength exercises properly.

      In terms of exercises, there are a few that I personally felt were working well for me. One was the bridge on the ball like in the photo I posted here: . I think one reason I liked that one was because I could feel it not only in my glutes but also through my core, which comes into play when you start running again.

      Another one I find helps is a one leg squat because it helps my body switch on the muscles I have to have 'on' when I run, especially when I do faster work at the track. I actually have to do a number of one leg squats at the track just before I do a speed session to try and make sure all the correct muscles are firing. You can do the one leg squat with the other leg supported on a chair/step behind you or with it dipping off the edge of a step (does that make sense?) but the important thing is you have to tilt forward slightly at the pelvis- kind of the same tilt you naturally do when you run up hill. This little tilt is actually supposed to be there all the time when I run and it's finally starting to feel more natural to me now (and it involves keeping your core on, which is why I said I liked the bridges off the ball - working the same muscles.

      With the squat, body alignment is really important - when I first did one for my PT he basically said I was abysmal because my hip was popping to the side and I was all wonky. I'm a lot stronger now and it's a lot more fluid, but it took practice.

      Last week my PT also told me I should start using a scooter (a kid's push scooter) to help strengthen everything.

      One other thing that I noticed has really helped, and other people have confirmed, is changing to a more minimalist shoe (i.e. one that has a lower heel profile). I used to train in Mizuno Nirvana (which were really supportive, so kept all my joints injury free but the higher profile wasn't good for this injury), but now I train in my distance racing shoes - Mizuno Elixir, which are based on the Nirvana but aren't as built up. I definitely feel a difference in my foot strike when I'm wearing the lower profile shoes and it seems easier for me to get into the 'right' running position. One thing I did notice was that the first week or so of wearing lower profile shoes my calves were burning - which indicated I was probably fore foot striking more which was what I was aiming for.

      This injury is so complicated - it seems like everything is related and if you do one thing there's a flow on to another thing which flows on to another thing, then another and another! It's frustrating. Like you, I still get pain when sitting (although it's not as bad) and my PT said that's something that may never go away entirely. No more long movies!

      I hope some of this has been helpful - good luck with it all. If you've got any other questions or you can't understand the way I tried to describe the exercises get in touch again. I'm no expert but I'm happy to share everything I've done in case it'll help anyone else.

      Hang in there,

  2. thank you for your response as that will help me too and they are some of the exercises my physio has me doing to get stronger as well. You are right, this is a very complicated injury and very difficult to treat. I'm 8 months in now and my biggest problem is physicians saying they know how to treat it but in fact dont.....treating only the symptoms but not the cause. I'm now seeing a new physio and I think they may have worked out why mine has not got better and whats causing it...I'm hoping they are right. Time will tell. Thank you for your blog, its been most helpful

    1. It's such a frustrating injury - probably for physios as well as us! I got really lucky when my coach put me on to Brent Kirkbride, a really great physio in Sydney that's dealt with HHT in runners a lot and also works with a doctor that deals with it. I actually had HHT a few years ago and, like you, I was given the run around by people who thought they knew how to treat it but didn't. At one stage I was being taped up all over my mid-section to try and hold things in place... it didn't work. I found a case study online that talked about certain strength exercises and that's what eventually got me through - although I've had pain in the butt when sitting for a long time ever since then.
      All the best of luck - it'll take time but don't give up - even when you have setbacks. If I had addressed it properly the first time it probably wouldn't have come back with such force this time.
      I'll keep adding any info I get to this blog - if you've got any questions about anything I did (PRP etc) just ask.

  3. Johanna-which case study did you find? Could you link it? Struggling with this for...ever... Thanks