Gradually does it – a comeback?

Time for another update on what’s been going on recently with my knee.

So the last you heard on the blog was that I was getting some solid advice from Steve Bonthrone (Twitter: @pt_steveb) and I was planning another run.

Well, I attempted three miles after such a good week with my knee and it sort of blipped a bit and niggled a lot afterwards. I had a mini-meltdown (it was long-time coming to be honest). But after some ugly crying, I got a grip and re-assessed the situation (this was entirely down to some level-headed talking to from Kyle and my parents – I take no credit here in any rational arguments of the situation).

Essentially, what I assumed was a gradual comebackin my head was skewed with what “gradual” actually means to me. Three miles is not a wise move to attempt as a way to test my knee. I must remember I’m not the Anna fresh from marathon season with all the miles in my legs. With the time off I’ve had from running (10 weeks before I attempted to get back into things over Christmas) my body is no longer used to running. Trying to jump back in with what I consider to be short runs didn’t work because, no shit Anna, three miles is no longer a short run for me.

So I scaled it back, on Steve’s advice, and tried one single mile instead when my knee felt good again. The mile went fine. Afterwards it was much better so I felt very encouraged.

Two days later (Thursday) I tried two miles. Again it felt fine during the run. Afterwards it ached a bit and the next day (today) it aches a little. But it hasn’t got terribly worse and in general things feel OK. While this, I guess, is good news, I can’t get excited too quickly because my knee still isn’t as good as the other knee.

The thing is, I work in absolutes in my brain. Is my knee GOOD or is my knee BAD? There’s no in-between. However, there is in reality. I want a run to feel perfect or I want a run to feel rubbish. I can work that out in my brain how to feel then. But having the run feel good but still my knee is niggly or a bit achy after… what do I think?

I know my brain is over-analysing and over-thinking and I’m expecting too much from my comeback, so basically I need to CHILL OUT. The fact that running itself is feeling OK is a win, and unless it suddenly feels painful I think I can take it as a positive and continue building (G.R.A.D.U.A.L.L.Y) the miles up with no issues I’ll be OK.

So my plan is to continue with the good stuff Steve has advised me to do, the rehab I do at the gym and being less hyper-critical on how things feel. I’m hoping to attempt a gentle three mile parkrun tomorrow. If things continue with as they have been next week will be something similar… no sudden jump ups in mileage. Sensible Anna is back in town.

What’s a short run for you?

Do you ever have melt-downs? I’m a very emotional person it seems!

6 thoughts on “Gradually does it – a comeback?

  1. Hey Anna, love the blog it’s inspired me to get back into running and I recently completed the Portsmouth Coastal marathon because of it!

    For me 2-3 miles used to be short but a bit like you i have a calf injury that’s stopped me running. No meltdowns, even if I feel sad about missing parkrun, but I’ve been binging on Seth DeMoor (who’s going through your exact injury/recovery as a 2:20 marathoner) and Ben Parkes on Youtube to keep my spirits up and my passion for running alive. I find that keeps me level and makes me think of the better times when I get back to running! Check them out.

    • I still signed up for Man V Horse in June though, even though I can’t run at the moment! Got to have something to look forward to.

  2. You’ll get there with your knee and I’m glad you’re re-setting your thinking. Short really is all relative to the situation you’re in. For me right now, anything up to about 10k is probably “short”, but last year when I was ill a few times I would have thought that quite long.
    And yes, I do have the occasional meltdown. It tends to be when there’s a bit too much going on or when the reality of an injury sets in. Usually once I’ve let that emotion out I can regroup and make a plan to move forward.
    Allison recently posted…Week In Review – Normal Service ResumesMy Profile

  3. Like you say, it’s all relative. When I started running, 3 miles was the end goal, so then there was no way it was a short run, but it does take time to adjust back to that way of thinking. But now I don’t want to run for less time than it takes me to wash my hair so 3 miles tends to be my shortest run.
    Time between runs to recover is so important too, so just keep the longer goal in mind and the time will pass.
    I do a lot of what Andy calls catastrophising, because I often jump to the worst case scenario (eg if I am out running and see a dog, usually the thought runs through my mind of what if the dog bites me, and I fall and hit my head, and the person walking the dog doesn’t call an ambulance, and how long would it be before someone found me etc) – usually they are all in my head though.

  4. I love the idea of not wanting to run for less time than it takes me to wash my hair (but, then again, it only takes about 5 minutes to wash my hair if I’m quick in the shower. And a bit more to towel off, then I’m done with the whole shebang)!

    It’s so hard to be sensible. And so worthwhile when you are.

  5. I never run long distances so for me a short run is usually 1.5 miles. I think it’s natural for you to have had a meltdown. We all know how much running means to you so you’re bound to feel emotional when your knee doesn’t play ball.

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