On the brink

Last Friday, I had the fourth in series of physio appointments directed at resolving an ongoing problem with a bursa on my right knee. In the few days preceding the appointment I had been reflecting on the minimal improvement in my knee since the previous appointment two weeks earlier. I had decided that, unless my physio had a much more positive perspective than I did, I should expect to start yet another month as a non-running runner and would have to defer my Brighton marathon entry; race day is now less than 12 weeks away. I had already accepted a few weeks ago that I certainly won’t be racing my Silverstone half marathon; that race is now less than 8 weeks away.

Fortunately, my physio’s perception of progress was more positive than my mine. He was confident that cumulatively the swelling had improved significantly and that I should try an easy, flat 5k and review the effect of my knee after that.

And so it was that on Saturday I went for my first run since the last day of October. In normal circumstances my easy pace defaults to around 4:50/km and although on long runs I try to run significantly more slowly, 20 seconds per kilometre or so, I often end up averaging within a few seconds either side of 5:00/km. I wanted to run closer to 5:30/km and was mildly concerned that my natural rhythm and enthusiasm would push me along too quickly. I needn’t have worried. Three months without running, or any significant exercise, meant that my cardiovascular system ably limited me to an average of 5:20/km. And my quads, hamstrings and bizarrely, albeit to a lesser degree, my biceps have been noticeably stiff over the two days since.

As for my knee; although I can sense some swelling – perhaps a slight increase since the run – there doesn’t seem to have been a catastrophic relapse. Having said that I am currently sensing this through a layer of tape – my physio has applied tape at each of the last three appointments to offload some of the stress on my knee. I am going to repeat Saturday’s run tomorrow morning – Tuesday – with the tape still in place and then remove it immediately afterward. I will then have a further two days rest to review any reaction in my knee. If all seems well I shall repeat the run again on Friday. And then probably start tinkering with 12 week marathon training plans …

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