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VLOG: Getting Over Injury


Hello it’s Angela Isherwood here from I Run Success and I want to welcome you to my vlog.

Today i want to talk about something that I haven’t really talked about much because it’s been quite a difficult journey for me, but some of you may or may not know that in March this year I had an injury to my ankle and it meant I had to pull out of this year’s London Marathon.

I’ve come to terms with it but it has taken me quite some time, and I just wanted to go through what happened and the process and actually the difficulty I had in dealing with it, especially whilst running a business where I am always trying to motivate and inspire runners.

What I’m going to do is pretty much tell the story of what happened and when, the causes and the actions I’ve taken that have gotten me finally back to running again and enjoying running again.

Aching and Immobility

So I guess it started as usual, during the high volume of marathon training you always get aches and niggles and generally in the past, 5 years I’ve always managed these really well by having regular sports massage, by committing to a regular stretching and mobility programme and also using the foam roller and other devices as and when needed.  And being honest, this year I probably didn’t keep this up as often as I should have in this year’s marathon preparation; my business was the busiest it’s ever been and frankly that’s what took over so much of my time.  But I should really have been the example and I wasn’t.

I remember I would be talking to personal training clients and saying my ankles are really immobile, and they’re really stiff and achey, but then not putting 2 and 2 together that was a sign that something was going on.

I also did a lot of training runs for groups in Colchester on the Colchester Half Marathon route, and as a Roman town, a lot of our roads have quite a severe camber, and on the colchester Half marathon route I was always running on this part of the road, right on the edge because there are no footpaths, so you’re always on that slant.

The race when it happened

Now I naturally have more pronation in my right foot than in my left, and that slant going downhill that way meant that that slant was exacerbated.  Basically what happened is I ran so much on that route, where usually I vary my routes more, that when I came to doing the Colchester Half Marathon Race, and I was running that route at my top intensity, by the time I finished the race, I was limping.  

I did the whole race; I ran it all. I had no signs of aches and pains during the run but literally the moment I got off the finish line and crossed it, when I slowed down to a walk to get the water and medal and everything, I was limping.  There was obviously something wrong with my foot.  

That’s when the injury occurred, and looking back on it, it’s obvious that was an overuse injury and that race was just the thing that pushed it over the edge.

There was nothing that happened in the race particularly that would have caused the injury.  I didn’t step on a rock or anything like that, and there was no need to stop during the race at all. I did run the whole thing.


Now, the next step is recovery.  After that race I was limping; I was 2 miles away from home and I did walk home.  It was down and uphill and I was limping the whole way.  

Could I have recovered better?  Yes.  The thing to do would be to get that leg elevated as soon as possible and get ice on it as soon as possible.  But instead, as you do, you hang around at the end of the race, cheering and congratulating people and then it was a long walk home.

When I got home I showered and everything, then got ice on it and elevated it, but very soon I went to meet some friends in town and because we were going to meet at a pub, we walked into town too.  So 2 miles walking home, 2 miles into town and later that evening a further 2 miles walking back home again and with no ice on it all throughout the day.

The next day, it was still sore, and I did tape it up but didn’t think too much of it.  I decided that I’d done a hard race, I could have the week to recover so that I’d be ready for the marathon again, but then the athletics club I was a part of were doing a team relay race on the Saturday and they asked if I would take part.

Race again?

It was a 5km relay – each person does 5km  – I thought it’s not too far, and even if I just jogged around it then I should be fine.  I went along to the race – I’d been managing the injury through the week, resting as much as I could – obviously on the Wednesday evening I had to run the Goodgym run, but it was a short run and I stayed at the back. But I was still icing it daily and had tape on it – I was doing all I could to manage that injury.

I drove to the race on the Saturday morning. I was the 2nd leg on the relay of 3 and I actually did a fast 5km for me at that time.  And again, no real effects as I was running, my foot was fine.  But again, the moment I crossed the finish line I was limping, and this time it was agony.

I had done TOO MUCH TOO SOON and had created further damage.  I was limping to the car; I had to drive home so I couldn’t ice it immediately.  I had to drive so I couldn’t use that foot and when I got home, I was really quite upset, but then I had arranged to meet someone for something to do with Goodgym and I had to walk there. So I had another mile long walk after aggravating that injury again.  These are all things that if I had been sensible I wouldn’t have done:

  • Getting injured after a race then 6 miles of walking that day
  • Doing another race so soon
  • Then more walking after aggravating the injury

When I got to that point, I was hopeful it would solve itself after a week or two, but reality set in pretty quickly – if you’re limping when you walk, you’re unlikely to be running well.

Reality Set In

I couldn’t run – I was trying to do short runs at Goodgym, but I had to stay at the back and do backmarking and walking because my foot was so bad and achey and I couldn’t run with a natural gait.

This was by about 6 weeks to go to the marathon when I really should have been up to those 20+ mile runs in my prep that reality started to set in.  I was not able run 3 miles at this point without being in pain.  How was I ever going to get to the London marathon in 6 weeks.  I was fit – my training had been going very well up until that point, but I hadn’t been putting the distances in that would have enabled me to have a good marathon.

I spoke to a physiotherapist family friend and asked her advice.  I said what’s the chances of me being on the start line for London?  And she said what I knew already in my mind.  I probably get there and get ready to run at the start but I wouldn’t have the race I was looking for, which was to do a good time, and I time worthy of my fitness, I would probably end up having a really horrible time afterwards, much like I had previously.

Pulling out of the marathon

Because my husband and I had planned a holiday for the day immediately after the London Marathon, I couldn’t imagine getting on a plane with my ankle reacting the way it had previously to a  5km, let alone after a marathon and all the detrimental effects to your physiology of a marathon anyway with flying, I didn’t want to take an injury onto a plane, so that’s where I decided to pull out of the marathon.  

I made the decision, and sat with it for a while, and then 2 weeks later I did make contact with the race organisers and officially defer my place, so that there was no way I would have been tempted to run on the morning of the race, because knowing myself (and how much I love the London Marathon), I would have been.

Not Running

After this though, and this is really strange because whenever I’ve had runners come to me who are injured we always talk about cross training.  And I didn’t do anything.  I literally did nothing except for that one Goodgym run a week – I would try and do things like Insanity DVDs, but obviously a lot of that’s jumping – if you can’t run, you can’t jump. So I’d to modify them slightly, but eventually it all felt a little bit pointless.  And I didn’t at the time have access to a crosstrainer; I wasn’t interested in swimming or doing anything else and it was still quite cold so I wasn’t even getting on the bike.

That’s fine.  When you have an injury absolute rest is fine for a short while, but this was more than that.

It took me until the week of the London marathon to realise and question why I really hadn’t done anything when I totally could have.  I totally could have done kettlebell training – I have a course on it – there’s no reason I couldn’t get my kettlebells out and use them on a regular basis.  There’s no real reason I couldn’t have gone for a walk because it was healing, it was improving, it just couldn’t take that impact yet.

Not running – no reason

We got back from our holiday and joined a new gym and I still wasn’t really running and I wasn’t interested in running (I was scared), but there were all these other things to take my mind off it.  So I tried a spin class, I tried some yoga and really enjoyed that.  I’ve also taken up tennis lessons and I’m continuing with that and really enjoying this other sport.

But, my business is running and it’s a sport I absolutely love, but I still wasn’t doing it.  And this has been a difficult thing for me to understand and come to terms with.  

First Steps

So I started to take a few of the first steps.  When I joined this gym I started doing some of the rehabilitation exercises I should have been doing all along. Lots of single leg strength work, balance work, using the BOSU ball standing on that leg and moving around and just trying to get the function back in those muscles and in that ligament, and then I was at that gym in the cafe and I met a sports massage therapist.

Sports Massage

I had not seen a sports massage therapist throughout this whole period – I lie, I saw one a few days after I injured it.  Anyway, I met this new sports massage therapist and we were talking about the activity we do, and I was here saying I’m a runner, but in my mind I’m thinking, “Angela, you haven’t run for months; you’ve done the running you have to do; you’ve done the runs that you lead, but you haven’t run yourself for pleasure for months.”.

And that’s when reality really started to set in. At the same time, I was confirming my place for the 2018 London Marathon, as I was able to defer, and again, I was thinking to myself, do I really want to do this?

Anyway, I had a sports massage with Nick, and gosh the entirety of that right leg, just everything was tight, so it had been taking on a lot of the strain where the ankle wasn’t doing its job and I have had a few sports massages, and the running still hasn’t really come back until last week.

An actual plan

So, what I do when I start working with a new customer is we discuss what a plan could look like.  And what I do when I’m trying to figure out anything in my life is I start writing. I started writing in my journal.  I wrote that if I’m going to do the London Marathon next year, I really need to start training now because I’ve been out of it for so long and you’ve got an injury to rehabilitate.  So whilst it’s not painful all the time, there are still limitations.  I was doing perhaps a 5 miles run, and my foot would ache the whole of the next day.

So I went on amazon and looking what I could do about it and I found this:

This is a training log.  I do a lot of my training plans online for my runners but find when I do it myself, I need to write. So I write it out, and I thought I’ll get this diary and keep a log of it.

I’m 2 weeks in and the first week I set the goal of doing 15 miles, but I didn’t complete it; I only did 6 but the point is I started and I did some runs that are for me.

This week the goal is 17 miles and I’ve just had a sports massage this morning and again that right leg was really sore in the calf, but the rest of it was ok.  So the hamstrings aren’t taking on so much, and the quads and the glutes weren’t quite as bad as they had been previously, and the ankle’s moving better.

So all of these things are improving, so what’s really key now, is setting the plan.  The fact that I have the actual plan is what’s really going to bring me back to it.

What about you?

And the reason for doing the vlog today is that I know a lot of the time I talk to injured runners and can seem a little bit blaze saying there’s no reason to be injured; you don’t have to be injured.  If you’re doing your stretching, if you’re doing your strength training there’s no reason.

And I’m completely the same – the only reason I got injured is I wasn’t paying attention to those things frankly. I was stupid by going to run too hard on it after I had the initial injury.  That’s fine – the time is passed.  But, if I want to be a runner it’s down to me to get back into it.  And the only way I’m going to get back into it is following a plan, sticking with it, holding myself accountable, and monitoring what my body is doing.

And continuing to do those things I forgot about, so getting a regular sports massage, managing the stretching, the mobility, using the foam roller, continuing with strength training – that’s the one thing that I have brought back in fairly meticulously now is doing the strength training regularly because that had also fallen by the wayside, and in actual fact, if I hadn’t let that go, and even without the sports massage and mobility, I suspect I wouldn’t be injured because the glutes would have taken on more than the ankle on those cambered roads.

So what about you? Have you been through a similar situation?  Are you going through this situation right now? Do you need some help getting you back on track after your injuries?

If you have any questions, pop them in the comments below; I’d love to hear them. I know that I’m not alone in this but actually because of what I do supporting others, often there aren’t people to listen to me talk about my difficulties with getting through this injury.  But perhaps you’d like to reach out and have a chat with me and we can talk about how we can help you through it as well.

So, have a fantastic day. Happy running. Hopefully I will get that 17 miles this week and increase beyond there, so you’ll see me on the start line of the London marathon in 2018.

Bye x

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Angela Isherwood

Angela Isherwood is the founder of I Run Success
She is a REPs Level 3 Personal Trainer, a Run England Running coach, and a multiple marathon runner. She is a London Marathon Good for Age runner, a Boston Marathon Qualifier, a parkrun Run Director and Trainer for Goodgym Colchester.

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