Back in Black

….or bright yellow, to be more precise. As that’s the colour of my awesome new running jacket.

After ten full days of resting, my calf was finally fully healed and I was ready to put my running shoes back on after what seemed an interminable lifetime of being cooped up indoors (that’s something I never thought I’d find myself typing). Lo and behold, a new quandary arrives in my brain!

My first run in ten days – will I have lost the progress I’ve made so far? Would it be wise to redo week four of C25K? Should I at least go back to the last run I did and do that again? Or do I just go full pelt into week five? This was one of those occasions when I found myself seeking the advice of more experienced runners.

One of the good things about Facebook (there aren’t many, I know) is that sometimes you will find a group set up for people with a shared interest or pastime and depending on how well that group is set up and the ethos it adheres to, it can be the most supportive and motivating source of advice and information you will ever come across. I’m lucky to have found such a group that shares my burgeoning enthusiasm for running. It’s a group for women runner who are primarily (but not limited to) parents based in the UK. The group comprises of runners of all levels and ability. There are many like me who are starting their running journey with C25K, and the membership goes all the way up to seasoned marathon runners, triathletes and beyond. Considering the huge range of members the group has, with all of their different backgrounds and life experiences and personalities, the group is *incredible*. There is nothing but genuine support and encouragement for all members – so much positivity in one place, it’s hard not to get carried away by it all and start signing yourself up to many, many races.

Naturally I turned to this group for advice on how to get back in to C25K and they didn’t let me down! The consensus overall was to just get straight back into it where I left off – that there was no sense in going backwards unless you *really* have to following a serious injury or similar. To go at a steady pace and not push myself, to listen to my body, and if my calf started to hurt again – slow it right down and walk more than planned. All excellent advice which may seem simplistic but for me, it gave me clarity and almost permission to say “yeah, I can still do it – I don’t need to go backwards!”

week5day1

So off I went, calf firmly enveloped in a Tubigrip bandage (which I think will become my new best friend) and a calm sense of “it’s all going to be okay”. As you can see from the pic above, I did it! Not only did I do it, I got back to over 4k again, my split times have decreased (even to below eight minutes, which is a PB for little ole me!), and I completed every running section in full. I don’t know what I was so worried about….

This experience (which I will force myself to remember and will read this post should I pick up more injuries in the future) taught me the following:

  • Be patient. Resting an injury may seem like a total drag and a complete ball-ache but it’s necessary. Especially if you want to get back out there without further complications, which will only serve to hinder your healing and lengthen your wait even more.
  • Listen to your body and support it! Do what you need to do to help yourself, whether it’s wearing an unflattering compression bandage or slowing your pace right down in order to make your run more manageable, just do it. No blame, no shame! Look after your body and it will look after you. It doesn’t matter if every other runner you see is bounding along with their hair flying free in the breeze like a majestic horse or something – you are on your own journey and you make it the best journey for you.
  • You can do the thing! Let others tell you that you can do the thing too! Don’t be afraid to take advice from others. You’ll most likely pick up some very useful tips that will serve you well. Learn from both your own experience and that of others. One day it will be you passing your tips on to someone starting their journey.
  • Bright yellow running jackets are the best for making you feel positive and energetic. You’ll have to take my word for it.

Happy running! x

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