Blog 33- Recovery, Reflections and Where to next? By Dane Verwey
To blog or not to blog?
The whole idea of setting up Run Culture was to pump out interesting running content for as many ‘passionate’, ‘like-minded’ runners as possible, on a weekly basis.
Now that, ‘The Breaking 2:24 project’ has been completed (on that: I’m still basking on cloud 9, will likely be here for a while) what should I blog about? It’s a question that I have mulled over for the past several weeks, what direction do I go after Berlin?
I do know that I still want to keep you all in undated about how my weekly running training is progressing or digressing. In the running podcasts that I listen to, this is the part I enjoy the most, it gives people ideas and shows first hand the ups and downs every runner experiences. I do feel this aspect of the blog kept me very accountable and focussed too.
What I am most excited to start blogging about in the coming months is to cover more and more content related to my field of expertise; running injuries! To do this, I am hoping to pair up with another class running physio that I utterly respect. We are still undecided as to what medium to pursue; be it blog, podcast or video. Nonetheless, brainstorming and planning has begun.
There are several myths, misnomers and mistakes that I see on a weekly basis as a running physio. I want to tackle these. I want people to listen to what I have to say, I want to dispel some of these maldaptive beliefs. I feel I can help some runners prevent some very avoidable injuries through this educational service. Prevention is better than having to find a cure on just so many fronts; days missed running, financially, emotionally and psychologically. Wholistically, it leads to consistency, robustness and better performance.
I want to cover potential topics that I feel will make a difference and are cardinal mistakes I see time and time again. However, I also do want to make the topics engrossing and intriguing.
In regards to topics, I am very much open to suggestions? Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any topics you’d like me to cover? A few examples of topics I want to cover so far are;
-I want to set the record straight in regards to the following myth; ‘I have pain because I pronate and or my knees roll in’. I perhaps have heard this quote hundreds if not thousands of times over the past decade. I want to put it to bed. I’m regarded as a very happy person, people who know me will attest to this but this quote just really irritates me, it’s one of the few things that do. I suppose it’s because I know it’s such an deeply ingrained, out-dated and limiting conceptual belief that I desperately want to blow the doors off and free people from.
Other potential topics include…
-I don’t have much pain but my joints ‘click’, what is this? Should I be worried? Why does this happen?
-The contentious and dividing debate about using orthotics or not? My views on this debate.
-Myth: ‘I’ve got a good core for running, I do sit ups and planks.’ I really want to debunk this one.
– My view on; ‘The number one reason why just about every runner I see gets injured?’ Be it plantarfasciitis, Achilles tendinopathy, ITBS, patella maltracking pain, bone stress reactions or fractures, shin splints or lateral hip pain.
-An informative chat about ‘biomechanics versus training load’ in regards to injury.
-How do you pick a running shoe? What the latest evidence suggests.
-An informative chat about; ‘Barefoot running’.
-Lets discuss, the key role the brain can have in pain. As well as the effect emotion, sleep, fatigue, anxiety, stress, depression, and past experience can have on pain.
-Lets talk about the fact that ‘gut health can even play a role in general feelings of malaise, fatigue and pain?’
-Lets talk about the white elephant in the room. So many of us runners, undervalue be it our obsessive nature or not, the necessity of a rest day! What happens physiologically and even psychologically.
-As a runner should I have a massage or hit the gym or both?
-Tendon rehab 101. A chat about the current best evidence and practice in regards to ‘tendon rehab’
-Why ‘we all should exercise some constraint and train in 4th gear.’
– Lets discuss a cold, hard fact: ‘Consistent, smart, hard training makes runners more injury proof. The hard part is getting there.’
-Lets talk about the dreaded; ‘Old man’s calf’ in running and the concept of sarcopenia.
-Let’s talk about the natural bodily process of ‘mechanotransduction’. A beautiful phenomenon that more people need to know about. So many systems, organs and structures in our body respond and grow to movement and stress.
-Lets dispel this myth: ‘I have a ½ mm leg length discrepancy, my hips are twisted to the right, I have a slight scoliosis, I have hypermobility, I can’t run, I’m not designed to run……Well, I am here to say, sometimes being slightly less vigilant and analytical and perhaps more naïve for some of us is a ‘godsend’. Usain Bolt had a 11cm stride length discrepancy, he dominated! No one is made perfectly. By focusing on these imperfections, we aren’t running consistently, if we aren’t running consistently of course we aren’t going to progress with running and we are going to remain sore. I am here to say ‘You can run!’ It all boils down to patience, buy-in and a well-pitched conditioning program. The fundamental principle of adaptation and preparation.
-And this Myth: ‘I love running it makes me feel healthy and really good about myself but I have pain and degeneration in my joints, my doctor said I shouldn’t run as it will get worse.’ When contemplating this decision has your Doctor thought about your mental health or the 26 preventable diseases running has shown to help with? Has your doctor looked at any strength deficits in your kinetic chain and how focusing on these could off load your degenerative joint? Has your doctor looked at your running style and how you could off load this joint through biomechanical shifts and some simple cues? Does your Doctor understand that no activity is as bad as too much activity for degenerative joints? There will be a happy medium, a running load you can handle, a load that is actually beneficial for your leg fitness, health and general well being!
– Aaaaand this Myth: the bigger the pathology, the bigger the pain! I am here to say there is a mismatch between pathology and pain. I see patient’s with horrible looking scans with no pain, I see patients with horrible pain and scans with no pathology. You can’t see, training overload, biomechanical failings, fear, weakness, tightness, maldaptive beliefs, past experiences, stress or fatigue on a scan. Pain is a complex phenomenon.
Etc… I’m just getting started, that took me 10 minutes, there’s so much I want to get off my chest in regards to running, running injuries and the need for appropriate education.
I also really want to get back to interviewing runners that I feel have an interesting or valuable story or message to share. I already have 4 interviews in the pipeline that I am excited to explore. I want to keep doing this with a variety of runners, it’s the beauty of the internet and my position as a runner with over 20 years of networks and friends in the sport. I feel this process of sharing running experiences and stories, can motivate, inspire and assist us all with our running journeys. As a running fan, I get as much intrigue, joy and ’bang’ hearing these personal anecdotes, as I hope you guys do too. As a health practitioner, if I am inspiring other run culture readers to deepen their love of running, this has a ripple effect. Inspired readers will inspire their immediate network. Voila, we are promoting a healthy way (culture) of living in todays sedentary world.
For those interested, as weird as it sounds, I definitely experienced an element of the post marathon blues last week. As good as my life is at the moment, I achieved a long term personal goal in berlin, one that was 4 years in the making! This is intrinsically just so gratifying, I proved to myself I could do something that at times felt unattainable. I questioned my ability the whole way but I think this is just human nature. On top of this, I have been flooded with just too many amazing messages of support and congratulations. For example, cards and messages like the one below, make you just feel astounded by the incredible sense of human spirit and genuine courtesy that still exists on earth. This card is just one of many, from a young boy of one of my patients at work. Getting messages like this or ‘you are an inspiration to me and my whole family’ is so surreal. When you see yourself as a mere mortal just having a good old crack and having fun following your passion, it adds a whole extra sense of fulfilment to your achievement! I’m not a talented runner just a bloody passionate runner. Want and desire can get you a long way in marathoning and life!
Then there is the fact that Jess and my wedding is fast approaching! How could I feel the post marathon blues? Well, I certainly did for several days last week, I felt like a huge part of me and what drove me was gone. I suppose you work so hard for so long for something and then suddenly you do it, you really don’t prepare for the week or two after where you just don’t have that driving force or direction ‘chasing a running goal’ provides. I remember the same feeling after VCE, as glad as I was to finish, I remember going up stairs to my desk automatically sitting down and preparing to study only to suddenly feel incredibly lost.
Nonetheless, after several days of adjustment, the body and brain soon orientates itself and you soon get used to the whole post marathon recovery period; the abundance of time, freedom to live a little and enjoy the perks of life.
I plan to take the next 4 weeks easy. The first two will largely be jogging and then I will roll some short easy threshold sessions a couple of times a week in week 3 and 4 of my recovery phase. This being my 8th marathon, I have perfected my recovery over time. This is the same recovery I used after Canberra and Hobart marathons this year. The mileage for each of these weeks will be from 70-90km per week, so half of what I have been doing weekly all year.
A couple of people ask why run so much still, aren’t you suppose to be recovering? Well, it’s just like how AFL footballers run in their off season now rather than doing nothing than party for 4 weeks as they used to do. It means when I get back into it I’m less likely to get injured as my legs are still used to running. I feel that if your body is accustomed to doing twice the load I am currently doing, I am resting enough. When you are used to running 160kms a week, 80kms feels like nothing. Just as an easy rest day for me when I am training hard is a 60 minute easy jog, through the process of adaptation the threshold as to what constitutes rest changes.
Why do a couple of threshold sessions in week 3 and 4, as I have planned? I am used to doing 40-60 minute threshold sessions, so doing a couple of 15-20 minute workouts in week 3 and 4 keeps some turnover/cadence and neuromuscular rhythm in the legs while still being an easy workout. It also loads up different muscles/structures in the legs eg. my achillies, I liken this inclusion of up tempo work to flicking through the gears of a mountain bike with some WD-40. Once again I am ensuring that my body is more likely to cope with faster running on my return to full training, than it would be if I just jogged for the month.
I have jogged easy every day since the marathon, clocking ; 30mins easy, 30mins easy , 40mins easy, 40mins easy, 50mins easy, 50 mins easy, 60 mins easy, 60mins easy, 60 mins easy, 60mins easy. The first three days were very slow and I averaged about 6mins/km- my calf and quad muscles wouldn’t stand for anything faster. By Thursday, as usual, I felt a lot better and was largely recovered from my post marathon leg soreness. I got back down to 4:20-30/km pace. The purpose of all these jogs were to promote some bloodflow to aid recovery in the first week or two, especially given Brady and I had a tedious and lengthy 4 pronged flight home.
We both got a grand total of 8 hours of sleep on the journey back which we were pretty pleased about (thanks to Brady’s sleeping tablets). Once back in Oz, Thursday morning at 4:45 am, it was a long day of staying up, fortunately unlike Brady, I had the day off work. It was so good seeing Jess again! I had an amazing sleep Thursday night and then it was straight back into work Friday and Saturday. The jetlag kicked in over the next day or two, as I felt tired during the day and completely alert at night. By about Tuesday/Wednesday this week I finally felt as though my circadian rhythm was back in sync with AEST.
In the meantime I am enjoying some down time. Jess and I made huge progress on the wedding organisation front this week. It was great catching up with mum and dad and debriefing about the whole trip. Over the long weekend I am looking forward to going to Mornington races with my brothers on grandfinal day and then catching up with some of my closest mates for dinner Sunday night!
I have been asked by many, what’s next? Well, I’ll be just concentrating on recovering, then staying fit over the next two months and enjoying running and life. I have the most amazing day of my life 2 months away and then it will be off to Vanuatu for a ridiculously cool honeymoon in January. I hope I can stay fit over this period and pending on progress, I’ll either aim for Tokyo marathon or the 6 foot trail marathon in March 2019! That’s all the ‘direction’ I need at the momentJ
So that’s all for this week, I’ll be back next week with my blog and a new direction, be it an interview or some injury related content. So please stay tuned and enjoy the ride!
Like always, I hope you all continue to…