Having spent most of January out of action due to a hamstring injury I was hopeful that February would see me return to running. After 2 weeks of complete rest I started my rehabilitation with some strengthening exercises for my hamstring and core. The cause of my hamstring injury was not, as I first thought, purely my over exuberance during a track session on New Years Eve, but actually caused partly by a mechanical issue linked to a weakness in my lower back and right hip, which in turn was most likely the result of poor rehabilitation after surgery in 2013.
Early February, then, involved, amongst other things, lots of squats, lunges, glute bridging, prone kicks, and the plank. Ugh, the plank. If there was one exercise I wish hadn’t been invented it would be the plank. It should be easy. It looks easy. But it isn’t.
By mid February I was ready to try running. I started tentatively by hitting the treadmill for 2 miles at a very easy pace. The only positive thing I can say about this run was that I finished it. Along with the plank, I hate treadmills. I love running for the freedom it affords me. I love the feel of the wind in my hair and the undulations of the road beneath my feet. This is in stark contrast to the humidity of the gym and monotony of staring at a wall whilst basically running on the spot. I’m not surprised all those people who go to the gym and run on a treadmill say they hate running. It’s seriously dull.
Actually, scratch that, it’s not entirely dull. There is some interest to be found in the gym from people watching. So I spent the next 2 weeks churning out dull miles on the treadmill whilst people watching, observing the absolute idiocy of some people in the gym. For example, I recall a guy turning up and hitting the treadmill. After absolutely no warm up at all he ran fast for 30 seconds, then jumped of the treadmill for 30 seconds, before jumping back on and hitting it hard again. His workout lasted exactly three and a half minutes and ended with him ‘high fiveing’ his mate. Awesome workout, dude! I also recall many people walking on the treadmill on a maximum incline whilst holding on for dear life. These observations made me wonder whats wrong with just running on a treadmill?
Don’t get me wrong, treadmills are useful tools for runners, especially when you’re returning from injury or the weather prevents you from running outside. But for me thats all they are – an alternative to running outdoors when running outdoors isn’t a viable option.
Towards the end of February, as I gained confidence that my injury was behind me, I ventured out to try some running outdoors myself. This started well until I pushed it a little too hard and aggravated my hamstring forcing me to take another weeks rest. This was an important lesson for me. One that I really should have learnt by now. When you’re coming back from an injury coming back slowly is the fastest way to come back. If you rush it, you’ll just aggravate your injury and put your recovery back a week or two. The secret to recovering from injury really is to take it slowly.