21 weeks after being diagnosed with a stress fracture and I’m back doing something resembling running again! From my understanding, this was a 8-10 week break from running. Well double that! If I’d known at the time, I would have struggled with the prospect of that long out. I’m not sure what the learning is here – ignorance is bliss? For any break or bone fracture, there is the initial healing period and then there is the gradual increase in running volume to avoid re-fracturing – that bit I didn’t appreciate!
So I’m no closer to knowing the exact cause of the fracture but I’ve narrowed it down to two main culprits;
– low vitamin D
– increase in training intensity
The first is an easy fix; supplement! Allegedly we should all be on a vitamin D boost between October and March because our weather is shite! For me, this will need to be all year round and for now it’s an aggressive 4,000iu dose. Apparently if you were to scan the shins of professional footballers at the end of a football season, they would all show high levels of stress reaction – the preceding stage to fracture. But these guys are on protectively high doses of vitamin D. Tip: if you consider yourself to be any more than a recreational runner, get a blood test to check your levels!
The second – training intensity – is more complex. I had no warnings, no pain to tell me to back off. Clearly going from two to four hard sessions a week happened too quickly for my bones to adjust. I do know that I was running well at this level and my cardio system responded very well! But it all happened a bit too quickly.
Assuming I don’t get any warning signals, I have to err on the side of caution. This doesn’t mean I can’t get back to those intensity levels, I just have to do it in a more sustainable way.
I’m now running 45mins every day without complaints – life is good! Long terms targets are London (April) and Frankfurt (October) marathons. In the meantime, my next target is something a bit different.
On Sunday 10th February, Phil, Nick and I are taking on a world record. The current world record for the fastest half-marathon wheelchair push is 1hr 35. At the Worthing Half Marathon, we’re going for it! And in the process raising awareness for motor neurone disease (MND) and Crohn’s Disease.
Phil has MND and has lost the use of much of his body. He is also unable to breath without the help of a ventilator. And so the challenge before the three of us is as follows;
– Phil has to make himself as streamlined as possible in the wheelchair
– Nick is going to run alongside us with a spare ventilator in a backpack weighing a stone
– I have to push around 12 stone of total weight without the use of my arms for running
– all three of us need to travel at more than 8.13mph over 13.1 miles for up to 1 hour 35 minutes.
Worthing Half Marathon have been fantastic. The race director is allowing us to start 10 seconds before the rest of the 5,000 strong field. This means we’ll get in the way of around 100 runners rather than 4,900 runners getting in our way!
The course has a few twists and turns but is almost completely flat. And as it’s measured and we’ll have timing chips, we only need a few witnesses and this will fairly easily be verified as a legitimate attempt on the world record.
In a few weeks, we’ll practice on a flat 2km loop around Norman Park in London. After that, we should have a better idea of our chances on the day. I best continue my comeback!