Many get the training balance wrong when it comes to miles and sessions over recovery and maintenance, and Kris Jones is no different.
Training well, ticking off the miles without fuss. Improvements starting to show in racing, one good result after another. Looking forward to the early mornings when you pull on your running shoes and escape for an hour.
Everything falling in to place; until it is not.
It starts with a little pain, barely worth mentioning. After the run you forget about it. “How did the run go?” “Fine.”
Next day, same pain, but is it worse now? Skip a session, take it easy instead, but the pain remains and it’s definitely worse now. A full rest then. Remembering the stretching and strengthening that you’ve been neglecting.
How long have I had these shoes? Hindsight is clear; as easy as it has felt, you have been working hard recently. Those extra miles looking like a bad choice.
No matter the injury, no runner likes being side-lined. Missing out on the thrill of racing, the camaraderie of the training group or the simple pleasures that come with getting out the door.
Motivation and confidence seep away quickly, disappearing with every passing day; fitness too. What running you can manage feels awkward and uncomfortable. Those mornings of escape feeling like a distant memory.
Races will be cancelled, plans remade. Time will be spent correcting imbalances and weaknesses, staring at the blank wall in the gym as the seconds tick by excruciating slowly.
It’s not glamorous, it won’t get kudos and it won’t make the Rocky training montage, but it is necessary.
It’s a story that will probably be all too familiar. About getting carried away. About getting the balance wrong.
Thinking that training is about miles and sessions, not about recovery and maintenance. Unfortunately, it is the story of my last month; hampered by an Achilles that doesn’t want to play. I’m not the first and I won’t be the last.
I should know better
The most galling part of it; I should know better, I’ve been here before.
I should have recognised the signs and been more conservative, but now I can only deal with it as best as I can.
It’s not that bad in the grand scheme of things, there will be runners out there to whom a few weeks off will seem like small fry. It’s down to me to make sure that it doesn’t develop into something bigger.
Frustratingly, it is one of those injuries which gets better quickly, only to return with a vengeance soon enough. A false sense of security, an invitation to get carried away once more.
I’ll build back into running slowly now, cautioned by the false dawns I’ve had over the past few weeks. I’ll reassess racing plans and continue to work on my weaknesses.
I love racing and I hate missing out, but the long-term view is always better in running; despite how rubbish this can seem. I have been relatively lucky with injuries over the years.
What issues I have had, have been small and relatively short-lived.
I hope that this setback will serve as a reminder: Don’t chase miles, take care of yourself, do the unglamorous work.
Improvements in running don’t often come quickly, and there is no shortcut. Consistency is always the goal.
Kris Jones features in the ‘Fast 10: class of 2019’ and over the course of the year will share his running journey. You can follow Kris on Instagram and Twitter, while further information about the ‘class of 2019’ can be found here.
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