In the middle of October I was told to lay off running, to lay off just about anything strenuous on my right leg for six weeks. The detail is in October’s run note. So November has been a waiting game, an observation game, a little trial game.

In November I can count the runs on one hand: One on Saturday 21 November, the second on Sunday 29 November. Both were trial sessions, a week apart, to see how the injured area feels. Both had a warm up walk for about ten minutes down to the canal, then 10 repetitions of 1 minute of gentle running and 1 minute of walking, followed by a cool down walk back up the hill. And both were had strong ABORT mechanisms if anything didn’t feel right. The first I could feel a slight dull pain in my leg, but nothing really notable. The second run even less so. It felt like progress. I have a third similar run lined up later this week, see how that goes. Symptoms-wise the pain feels “numbed”, the lump is still there.

The turbo trainer for the bike — something I got earlier to year to help keep me fit while I had my calf injury — would have been super helpful during November. The physio specfically recommenced cycling as exercise to keep me going. But the turbo trainer decided to fault, erratically turning off during rides, no matter what app I used to connect to it. Getting off the bike and having to unplug the trainer, wait a few seconds and plug it back was just about bearable until one hour long session I dismounted at least 12 times. I got in touch with the shop I bought the trainer from and they’ve taken it back. (On the flip, Rutland Cycles provided one of the best customer experiences I’ve had for a long time, mainly by email, liaising with their warranty team, asking me for a description of what wasn’t right, sorting a pick up of the trainer, and all with a really helpful tone. Without wanting to sound work me, it was a really good service.) Just awaiting the outcome of their evaluation now. And now been without a trainer for three weeks, when I have needed it the most. (Thought: A turbo trainer as a service is a thing I’d totally buy into right now, a fault trainer is immediately replaced by a new one, delivered straightaway to plug any potential gap from a faulty product. Where is this?)

As it’s been lockdown in England during November the gyms — my back-up — have also been closed.

Stretches have been a part of the physio’s programme too, but nothing too “load bearing”. There’s plenty of steps in the garden to stand over and do tip-toes on. Planks, sure. Sadly burpees have been off the menu, the shame. But stretches are just… stretches.

I was also advised to wear tight longer socks if I can or my running leggings to help the shin. If we’ve had meetings the last month, just think back. Strong chance I was sat wearing either of these. This is why video chats are top half only.

I’ve tried to go for longer walks when I can, but the short weekday daylight hours make them usually short, in the near-dark of dawn and past-dusk. Not as fun and not as motivating.

The worst thing has been seeing people, on the streets or along the canal, going for jogs and runs, and personally feeling… left out, of a mainly solo activity I know I know.

During this drop in my physical activity my body weight has increased. I have put on a stone — a stone! — and I am now just nudging 14 stone, unravelling a lot of the work I have put in to get to this point. Before the odd Tunnock’s tea cake, no probs, but now that teacake is a part of me (along with the other several I had during November). It’s a downer for sure, but not one to spiral me into continual depression.

But it’s December. I’ve got my six week check with the physio at the end of this week. Hoping hopefully the hope is I get an let’s move things up a bit. Getting back “almost be like Couch to 5k, if you’ve ever done that” the physio warned at the start of all of this. I’ve done some researching into what like Couch to 5k will be like. I just need to make sure my body is ready to get back to regular running first. Hopefully it is definitely confirmed as just a stress fracture and it’s healed. I’ve had one building-back-up-from-a-bad-injury this year, so it won’t be the first time. But, that go light… I need that.

As things stand I’m at 1528km for the year. For a moment I wondered if the activity in a Couch to 5k-esque programme would nudge me over 1600km, but as a few friends have said: Forget about the numbers for now.

Original source – Simon Wilson

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