Ouch. Okay, I suppose it makes sense. I suppose really I should have seen this coming. I upped the mileage, I upped the effort, and now…I’m injured. Maybe it’s not too bad, but that’s five days without any running of significant note. About a mile into my recovery run on Monday morning after my first rest day in a month on Sunday, I got a sharp pain in my hip which made me almost immediately stop. Getting injured is part and parcel of running hard, but there are steps to avoiding it which in hindsight I should have taken. I’ve said it multiple times: a fit runner beats an injured runner to the finish line every time – but looks like I didn’t take my own advice. The week leading up to my injury I did far too many hard miles, not enough easy, not enough recovery. I’d like to say that now I won’t do it again, but honestly who knows? It’s tempting to get carried away when you’re on a roll.
But I’m staying positive. The injury only flares when I actually run, so there are other forms of training I have been doing in the meantime. For cardio I have been using an exercise bike, and to try and strengthen and stretch the injured muscles I have been doing some circuit training.
For instance, yesterday I did:
10-minute bike warm up.
(6-minute block of 2-minutes fat burn, 2-minutes aerobic effort, 2-minutes fat burn. Off bike: Bulgarian squats [a one-legged squat with the spare leg rested behind on a chair]. One leg balance [30 seconds each leg]. One leg squats [leg forward]) x6 repeats.
Then, 10 x 3 sets of push ups. 20 seconds of back extension stretching in between.
Finished up with spinning through to 21 miles total on the bike.
And that’s something. It’s not running though, and everyday I can’t put it in a decent session feels like a wasted moment, however I also know that gritting my teeth and knocking out a 10k time trail with my hip on fire isn’t going to do me any favours. So, I’ll take it a mile at a time, get out the foam roller, and keep my focus on strengthening, stretching, and conditioning my glutes and hip flexor so when the pain subsides, it doesn’t come back.
Although in my instance it is almost certainly not the case (my last three pairs have been the exact same model) wearing the right trainers can be a simple way to minimise injury risk, and now Nike are coming out with a new pair of runners designed specifically for hardcore athletes looking for some post-race comfort, or for lower mileage joggers looking to make their weekly route a bit more bearable.
My attention was brought to this new style by an Esquire article by Mike Kim, who runs but…begrudgingly. In the article he relays his experience with Nike’s newest proprietary cushioning system – Joyride.
What sets the Joyride apart is erm, beads. Beads in pods. In Nike’s own words:
‘The system creates a dynamic footbed that forms to your foot and feels personalized to you.’
‘The pod scale is based on how the foot strikes the ground when in motion. The heel pod, for example, is bigger to absorb impact, while those at the forefoot are prepared to facilitate a smooth transition forward.’
The Joyride (which we will see first in the lightweight Flyknit variety) isn’t necessarily about striving for peak performance, but about maximum comfort. In his review Kim notes that Nike have removed the sock-liner from the shoe, so your foot sits right above the beads, giving the impression of stepping into sand, but sand which bounces you back with each compression.
Worth noting that Nike themselves suggest that the sensation is more like running on bubbles, rather than sand, but frankly I can hardly imagine what walking on bubbles would actually feel like, other than just wet.
All I know is that right now, with the pain I’ve got, they do sound awfully convincing.
Use Your Senses 5k
Although I don’t feel much like racing, I might be convinced to give the event we’re focusing on this week a go, as The Use Your Senses 5k series aims to raise money to help change the lives of families living with sight loss.
Of course, the route is completely Guide Dog friendly, and along that route there’ll be colours, music, scented bubbles, foam, and even something to taste to ensure all the senses are covered. There’s a 2k mini route for the younger runners, and there’ll also be a chance to meet some off-duty Guide puppies in training. If that doesn’t sell you on it I don’t know what will.
The Manchester event this weekend is closed for registration, but head over to the website to see when and where the nearest event to you will be www.guidedogs.org.uk/how-you-can-help/fundraise/challenge-events/use-your-senses/