August 20, 2012

Dealing with injury - water running plan

It has been eight weeks since I finished the Scotiabank Half Marathon in 87:02. Later that day, my body signalled something was seriously wrong, and I needed to pay attention.

Nine days off running, stretching in Bikram Yoga sessions, didn't help to fix the problem.

My superb sponsors at Chief Chiro, Drs Leah Stadelmann and Paul Fleming, have since been working tirelessly with Active Release Technique treatments as well as some adjustments (chiropractic moves). Their support, treating me two or three times a week, has been nothing short of fantastic.

Dealing with an injury, my first in nine years, is mentally draining. As things like Achilles tendinitis, tendinosis, tendinopaty; and plantar fasciitis, were thankfully ruled out, expectations were for me to be able to return to training relatively soon. While there is definitely progress, the pace has been slow.

Long story short for now, the key symptoms occur on the inner (medial) side of my right heel, varying from a pulling sensation to outright pain. While I have been allowed and able to do some running, Leah and Paul have also encouraged me to turn to the pool, especially now that it's become increasingly clear that it's a stubborn problem.

Two days ago -- emotionally exhausted from starting my outdoor runs full of hope before my heel reminded me, typically within 20 minutes, that my body is not quite ready yet -- I finally decided to commit to the pool, very much encouraged by Leah the previous weekend, and inspired by this nine-week Pete Pfitzinger water running program I found online (here's an accompanying article).

It's specific and challenging.

"To get through the doldrums of your non-running days, you need a schedule that provides structure and poses a challenge. With this program, you don’t have to worry about losing fitness -- if approached aggressively, you may come out of the water fitter than before your injury," Pfitzinger writes.

As it turns out, our pool has a great selection of water running belts including the Aquajogger. A 10-visit pass was also easily purchased for $40.

With this program, the dread of running in the pool became a lot easier to deal with; specific, short, challenging sessions that cover a full nine weeks. I am glad I overcame my initial reluctance, even if I am still hopeful I won't need to complete the entire program. But if I do, at least I have something to keep me focused.