Wednesday, September 28, 2016


Photo by Peter Murphy
When I finished Sunday's long run I thought I had gotten through the most brutal set of training I had ever done completely unscathed. I knew there were still a few tough workouts left but I felt the back of it was broken and the taper was getting close.

Just then, during Sunday evening, my right knee started to stiffen up. It did not hurt, and since Monday was a rest day I just hoped that things would clear up over the next 36 hours. Well, unfortunately they did not. If anything, the knee got worse during Monday. I think sitting in the office chair did not do it any favours (I sure have experienced that before). Any time I got up from my chair my knee felt very stiff, but it did loosen up somewhat after a minute of walking around.

It did not hurt as such. It just felt very stiff. But I find any issues related to the knee scary, so I was freaked out about it. I have certainly run through much worse pain and gotten away with it (expect for the one time when I did not get away with it), but with 4 weeks to go until the Euros I certainly wanted to err on the side of caution.

Probably my favourite photo from Tralee
Photo by Peter Murphy
When I got home I put on a knee strap. It immediately felt better, which made me question how much of it was psychological. I had a Yoga class that evening, and after consulting with my Yoga teacher I went ahead and got through it just fine.

I could not tell if it was any better on Tuesday morning but I binned the run. I did my usual dynamic stretching exercises (usual since I got the coach that is) and when doing lunges there was a tiny bit of discomfort when the right leg was bent, maybe 1 or 2 out of 10. Single leg squats on the right leg hurt more (3 or 4 out of 10) so I stopped immediately, not because the pain was bad but because I did not want to take any risks.

Googling symptoms can be a bad idea but it seems to match patellofemoral pain syndrome, though that is a bit of an umbrella term for various knee issues and not overly helpful (apart from the advice to rest or at least cut back, which is pretty much universal).

The coach advised me to go for a test run on Wednesday morning because full rest can often be counterproductive to healing (something I have found to be true on many occasions, even if it is counter-intuitive). As soon as I woke on Wednesday morning I noticed that the knee felt better, which pretty much made my day already. I did the same dynamic stretching exercises again and this time got through the entire set without discomfort.

Photo by Peter Murphy
However, running wasn't quite so straightforward. While the knee did not hurt as such, it was definitely not quite right. But things did get better as the run went on and there was no discomfort afterwards, which I take as a very positive result - I sure would gladly have accepted such an outcome before the run. In general I felt really stiff, awkward and unfit in this run, which is a bit weird after only 2 days of no running.

It looks like I'm in for an extended taper after all. The last few hard-ish workouts that had been planned for this week are off the table and there won't be time to do them, which basically means that the hard training is over and done with. Now it is a question of getting to the start line uninjured but after today I am feeling rather optimistic about that - a lot more so that I would have been yesterday.

Apart from that, I want to wish all the best to Anto, Rolando, Billy, Keith, Vilnis, Eoin, Bob, Pam, Harald, Andreas, Sung and every other runner in this year's Spartathlon. I really wish I would be there with you, guys!
26 Sep
0 (planned rest day)
27 Sep
0 (knee issues)
28 Sep
3+ miles, 30:23, 9:46 pace, HR 131

1 comment:

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