Dealing with injury

#Run1000Miles ambassador Paul Halford on what he has learned while out with a hamstring problem

Discovering a new trail a mile from my house

Discovering a new trail a mile from my house

As someone who hit four figures just in the build-up to the Virgin Money London Marathon last year, when I committed to #Run1000Miles I didn't view it as anything like a challenge.

However, out of nowhere during a Christmas Day parkrun last year came a hamstring strain which I stupidly ploughed through for a few miles and it has limited me to just 81 miles in the first seven weeks of 2018. If this were #Cycle1000Miles it would be a different story.

I eventually had one week of no running and that seems to have sorted it out, so I'm taking some tentative steps back on on to the trails.

At least I've had chance to learn a few things while injured, which I'll pass on for the benefit of those who end up at least briefly sidelined at some point during the year, which - let's face it - will be most of you.

  • First, I learned that cycling in a gym can be very boring. I managed to survive by browsing on my phone, although this made me feel like I wasn't working hard enough. It did, however, make me appreciate running far more.
  • Stretch to avoid injury and not when you're injured. It's noticeable how I suddenly start thinking about stretching when I have an injury, but it would have been better to have started earlier and sometimes could make matters worse.
  • Ice quickly. I tend to only start icing when I realise the problem is taking a while to go away, but the best time for RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation) is right after the damage is done.
  • Be careful with the foam roller. It can feel very satisfying to roll out a strained or tight muscle, but do it wrongly and you can do more harm than good. Wait for a few days at least before applying it to the area of pain, and check out how best to use it.
  • Don't let fear of getting behind in your #Run1000Miles schedule speed up your return to running. Ideally, your schedule will allow some time for inevitable injuries rather than lining up 19.1780821918 miles per day. So look at the big picture - you'll log fewer miles in the long run if you come back to soon.
  • It can be disheartening to see your fitness dissolve, but it can come back just as easily as it went. I know right now I am probably less fit than I have ever been, but I've been in this position before and I've bounced back. 

Happy running and don't get injured!