Trials and tribulations of the KSR trail running team.
I’m long overdue for a training diary, but to be honest my last fortnight’s training diary wouldn’t look too flash. Despite recovering surprisingly well from the Kokoda Challenge, I’ve since been brought to a halt by the flu, a gastric bug and a brand new calf injury (possibly skiing related).
But now that the worst of the illness is over and the calf is starting to mend, my mind turns to the road to recovery. I’ve done this more than a few times in my running career, so I thought I’d share my 5 (very generic) tips to help you get back to where you were as quickly and safely as possible, once – and only once – you’ve made sure you’re not still sick or injured…
Make Sure You’re Not Still Sick Or Injured
Not, that’s not a typo, it’s just worth repeating. I’ve trodded off down the road just to limp home seconds later too many times not to add this one. Calf felt a bit funny on the bus home? Still hacking up a lung every morning? You should probably reassess whether you’re actually recovered and ready to build up again. ‘Not On Crutches Anymore’ or ‘Temperature Back Under 39 Degrees Celsius’ are not synonyms for ‘fully recovered’.
Run Slow, Homie
Just because you’ve got the all clear to run again, don’t get tempted to race a 5k just to ‘blow the cobwebs off’. This is distance running, not pest control.
You’ve no doubt spent a fair bit of time on the couch or laid up in bed, so don’t shock your system or your stiff legs by flooring it just because you got your running licence back.
Run Often, Homie
You’ve got to get that mileage up eventually, but you can’t expect to fare well jumping up to your old long run standards straight away. So if you’re a one-run-a-day guy like I am, make the time to put in a couple of efforts a day where you can. So where you’d normally run for three hours, try an hour in the morning, then an hour in the afternoon at your usual long run pace. It’s surprisingly fatiguing (especially so if you haven’t been running much), but it gives your body a chance to recover in between efforts. And if turns out you’re not as fit as you were hoping – can or shorten the second run.
You should be meticulous all the time. But let’s face it, most of us would prefer to spend non-running time working that groove into the couch. This is not the time for that. Eat right! Strengthen! Stretch!
Have Fun Again!
Remember three months ago when it felt like all you had to do was tie your laces up and you could float around the trails like Kilian wearing a jet-pack? You probably don’t have access to that same type of instantaneous running fun any more – so make it interesting. Run tracks with a great view at the top; do a beach run instead of the road; strap the headlamp on and hit the trail in the dark. The last thing you want to do is get bored of running the same 20 minute suburban loop over and over again when you’re trying to build back to your old fitness level.
Improving should be fun itself, right? And if you don’t run for fun, you’re just a sweaty weirdo who wears short shorts.