“Roll like you’ve never rolled before,” rang the physio’s words.
Great, I hate the foam roller, I thought to myself.
Foam rolling is one of those things it’s easy to make promises to yourself to do religiously, but in reality isn’t that easy to carry through. There are far too many viable excuses as to why you won’t be inflicting pain on yourself any time soon…”I should be running not laying on a roller!”, “I’ll do it later”, “I’ll do it tomorrow”…and of course, tomorrow never comes.
Well after the latest and ongoing episode in the right hip/ hamstring/ back sage, I’ve been trying to stick to my rollering program.
The prognosis as to why my right hammy has gone askew – I’d skipped physio core work for three weeks, I’d hit the hills too hard, I hadn’t warmed up properly (despite doing my usual warm up program; I couldn’t warm up because it was too darn cold in the UK), I was running on gravel, I’ve got a bit of a change going on in my right hip which is reflecting in the hammies (tell me something I didn’t already know!) – which all underlines why I’ve got to find time every day to do the physio exercises and deknot those muscles, however painful it may be, on the roller.
Jill, at Grantham Physio Centre, added an extra exercise to my core work. I now have to lay face down, with my hands under my hips before lifting one leg at a time to right angles, bracing my core, and then rolling the foot in and out at the knee without letting the hip join in and lift off the ground.
This is actually pretty difficult and after a hard run, more often than not, is accompanied by a bone cracking sound effect from my right hip. She reckons this is okay, as it means I am self-aligning my hip and releasing those rebelling hip flexors. The crunch emitted is a nails on blackboard moment!
Following the Canalthon 100km and a change of location which warranted seeing a different physio, it was then that I was advised to get rollering more. Kate at Loughborough Walk-in-Physio, said Jill had done a great job but now it was up to me to continue my rehab.
I was to get back running, long and slow, and knocking speed work on the head for a couple of weeks until I returned to Doha. There was some hip joint pain, and my hammies were generally tight both side.
Now, back in Qatar, I’m building some speed back into my schedule. Running a 9km tempo in a race in 32C heat didn’t seem to cause any major issues; hammies were tight as expected but there was no hip pain whatsoever; which does seem to indicate a cold-induced-arthritis-joint change. Since then, my right hammy has been niggling in morning hill sessions. It’s okay on the hills, kicking in before this at around 4km. I think it’s rebelling about the early starts since my hill sessions are run pre-dawn.
And yes I’m hitting the roller like never before. Ideally, I should be doing this before running but the hours I have to
go out mean I’d be rolling at 3.30am and that’s just too insane for me (which is saying something), so I’m ensuring I’m getting a good hour in later in the day.
Is it working? Well, it’s all just too early to say.