Its been a roller coaster couple of weeks to say the least. It took a turn on saturday 11th when an examination from my sports masseuse determined that I had to pull out of the race that I was due to compete in the very next day. This was the first time I have been told to pull out of a race, and the first time I have sustained an injury that has halted training.
I cried. Then I pulled myself back together and went to find one of my coaches and formulate a plan.
David Sutton, my strength coach and I, met on the sunday. He said that although the ligament strain was relatively superficial, it was clearly still enough to cause a lot of pain and discomfort, the area was warm, therefore swollen, and a HUGE pack of ice was attached for the duration of the session. We worked on lower body strength, mainly working the other leg. By the end of the session i felt like I had been through a single leg marathon!
I visited the gym to see him again a few days later. The sessions were returned right back to basic plyometrics. I was told that unless I could hop and hold, single legged, there was no way I could run. Red rag=bull… I worked my butt off. By the second visit to the gym, I was asking him to make the sessions harder, and by the end, was able to step up onto a gym weights bench / seat, single legged, with a 20kg bag slung over my shoulder.
Cycling was restricted to the turbo trainer, so that if I had any trouble, I did not have to cycle back home from wherever I had got to on the road. After a days rest, I was told to try it out, very easy, and stop if I felt any pain. I built the cycling up over the next few days, from easy 20 minutes to a full Sufferfest training session, all be it still on medium effort and load. The main trouble was twisting my foot out of the cleat, but otherwise it seemed to be not too bad. Because the main pain was at full extension, it seemed to be ok with cycling, as the leg never fully extends when peddling. Ice was applied or a cyro wrap applied as much as I possibly could in between training and every day life and most of my spare time was spent on ice!
Swimming – business as usual.
Running was of the cards completely, and I spent the allotted time on the cross trainer in the gym. Very boring, but necessary, and wise I would say. still ice every time i trained and every time i had some time spare. I iced the knee regularly for about a week. 8 days after the original injury I tried a very easy run and it seemed to be ok. on day 9 I tried a brick session, fullly expecting to have to bail after the bike. Not only was it ok, but the pace was much better than I thought, nothing lost at all, in fact, I may be as bold as to say I am running quite well! My first full tilt training session (brick, with pace intervals) was this morning. day 11 after the injury was sustained. The session went very well, almost as if I have never even had any time off.
I am looking forwards, not back. Who knows what the difference is, who knows if i am slower, or in fact faster, for having altered the training. I did not stop, i merely adapted training to my circumstances. It was only 10 days, I will not have lost much, and maybe the difference did me good?
Europeans this weekend, and now I can turn my attention back to that confident that I will be ok, the knee will be ok, and I will be able to do my best. As always.