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  • Writer's pictureMike Douglas

Still No Running

It's been 3 months and still no running. But, there is hope for a April return.

If you follow my social media you may have previously seen my weekly running posts, as I made my way around Fareham. Those running posts have since become walking posts, but thinking back; it seems hard to believe that just a year ago, I was on a high after completing my 500k or rather 311 miles in a year challenge. That seems like such as long time ago now. I think after the New Year I had 1 or 2 weeks off and then carried on running.

Running during 2020 had it's challenges. First the gyms closed, so I had to readjust to running outside. Then I tried running with a face covering, which was quite a change.

After a couple of months the lack of movement during the day (because of home working) really started to have an impact too. Running became harder and, for a short period, less enjoyable.

During 2020 though running was frequently my escape. Some weeks it was the only time I was leaving the house. The weeks it wasn't were only due to a walk on the weekend and or a trip to the supermarket. So the outside because a bit of a rarity. Running was my reminder there was a world outside my home. It was an opportunity to move, to run, walk, jump and to breathe. I have found 2020 pretty anxiety provoking and found some situations I previously wouldn't have worried (or maybe even thought) about very scary. Going out for a run helped prevent my isolation becoming even more impactful that it had already become.

Running was also an opportunity to think, to sometimes be creative, to listen to podcasts, to take photos of random things I saw (or just the outside). Running... it was an opportunity to tread a path, but also to make my own.

I have enjoyed running since being a teenager. My interest and active participation has varied massively over the years, but I have never hated going for a run. I still remember being mid teens and going for a run after, I guess college but maybe school, and on the way home the rain turned to sizeable hailstones. It was one of the funniest things. I think in my late twenties I ran 5-6 miles on a snowy weekend, and I remember having to try and run in the snow because the ice was too slippery.

I guess in short I enjoy a bit of running. That doesn't mean I'm 'good' at running or super fit, far from it. But I enjoy/ed running.

So far there's been a lot of past tense. That's because of this break, it's unplanned and unwanted. It's kind of felt like a reflective time to consider what running has and does mean to me. As someone affected by depression physical activity, particularly running, has been and is an important part of my coping strategies to manage my mental health and my illness. Not being able to run has been hard, especially so because my knee has been so bad walking has at times been quite a challenge.

The knee. In a recent post about feeling a little flat (I'm doing ok at the moment, but it's still there sometimes), I mentioned the knee situation and seeing a Physio. Well, after a couple of sessions I can say it's feeling better, but I'm still not there yet. At some stage I have obviously sustained quite a bad injury, it just wasn't noticeable at the time. Because there was no obvious 'event' I continued moving when I should likely have rested. During that time I have become over reliant on my other leg/ knee to protect my injured one, which now means I need to rebuild the muscle and realign my knee cap. Nice.

I am stretching and trying to move a little more during the day, and that seems to be helping. I have continued walking once or twice twice a week, which is supporting my mental health as well as my physical.

I had been hoping that March was a realistic target for a return to running, or maybe light jogging to start with. However having read a little about Grade one strains, it seems a 6 to 12 month recovery is common. I am hopeful that around April time gyms will be open, safe and I feel comfortable to go, as being able to walk/ jog on a steady flat surface would be helpful for recovery and mentally to be able to get moving. Fingers crossed.

This post feels like a slightly strange one, but I have missed running and it's been such a big part of my life particularly in the last two years. I think not running this winter, during the pandemic, has been hard because it likely equates to 50% plus of my time outside.

I am also seeing lots of 'get moving', 'January running' type social media posts, which on reflection hasn't really helped my mentality.

On the positive side, Laura got me a light armband for Christmas which means I can still walk after work and be a bit safer during the 'it's still dark at 5pm months'.

If you are struggling with an injury I would recommend you get it checked before it gets worse. I'm sure there are other ways, but I just checked Google for Physio near me and looked at their websites and sent a couple of email questions to find the right person for me. My requirements were them having a covid safe space, being within a 10 mile radius, and them having good knowledge of knee injuries. Your needs will likely be different, but just check their website and ask some questions.

I am noticing a difference already and finding it easier to move around, but it's going to be a while before I'm running again. Hopefully April!


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