I’ve hit a snag / bump in the road in my training – quite a large one that has left me cancelling 4 races (a 10k, 2 mile races and the Snowdon 40K) with a potential fifth being left alone as well (the Hackney half). I’ve spent the last 2 years working with the excellent Dom Koch – https://www.decrypt-bodywork.com/ to help initially help remove a shooting pain that would occasionally arise through the upper right hand side of the back of my neck. Over time, this has been pretty much removed and other things have come to light, in how I move and we have worked together at correcting movement patterns, engraining new patterns in and helping my body settle into a place, where it moves more effectively and results in less pain presenting. An area that we had been focusing on was around my ribs (specifically my right hand side) and allowing my pelvis to hike / drop around a more central axis. Initially when trying to resolve this I found it hard and my body was particularly uncooperative. Diligently following the exercises prescribed I found my pelvis begun to move differently, my spine became looser (something it hasn’t been for many years) and my weight slipped back and forth, as it was meant too, from one leg to another as I hiked / dropped my pelvis. SUCCESS – in this yes, but like anything in the body, once you uncover or correct one thing it can unpeel a layer that reveals a separate compensation that is now no longer helpful.
The first sign of this was doing speedwork on the track. I could feel slight stabbing pain in my right calf / right achilles. Rather than try to force through the run (this was a couple of weeks ago) I decided to call the session to a halt and stop. Pleased with being brave – and stopping rather than running into something worse I happily got home. The next day I left running purely to do weights, with Friday off I was confident that everything would have sorted itself out. Saturday came round and the first 3.5k to the park resulted in pulling the plug and walking home. At this point I hadn’t made the connection between changing my pelvic range and my running, which in all honesty, with hindsight was glaringly obvious. I was seeing Dom on the Sunday and he checked my feet, where it was clear they weren’t really pronating or supinating. However why was really unclear. Over the next week or so, directed by Dom I explored what the problem could be. Was it the ankle, overly anterior tilt of the pelvis, problems at the knee? trying to figure this out was challenging , initially frustrating, then hugely engaging. The next time I saw Dom we investigated my knee rotating, which found that it could, but didn’t really want to, being led by the foot. What was very clear was I had poor flexion in my hip and an inability to properly rotate my femur, which in turn fed all the way down my leg, resulting not in a foot pronating or supinating, but a fixed paddle that moved as one – in turn forcing my calf (soleus) to have to grab my foot and pull it up. With the change in my pelvis, this job was just too challenging for the calf and it had to break down.
After doing some hard hip flexion / mobilisation exercises when I tested the amount of external / internal rotation in my right hip it was like light and day. My right foot has had a long term tendency to roll like a paddle, as opposed to properly pronate and supinate. Once I had worked on my hip the change was astounding. The femur rotated, the knee rotated and the joints in the foot could then open and allow proper pronation. As I reversed the action I could feel the foot supinate (and more importantly my right foot wanted to stay on the ground for a lot longer).
This change feels great – but has resulted in my coming off my feet and getting on my bike. I need to let my calf heal and also let me body physically and neurologically absorb the change in how I would like my right femur to be positioned within the hip capsule. This may take a long time, it may take as short time. What I am hoping is that time off my feet and on the bike (at least 2-3 weeks) is a good starting point, so when I resume running everything can be absorbed into new movement patterns. I’m certainly confident that my running will be easier and better as a result. I also believe that this is key to allowing me to train more effectively. It builds upon the belief I have the running / gait / movement mechanics that we have are critical in allowing us to train & move whist navigating injury and good health. some good, sensible time now will really allow me to be properly set up by June to train through to London and then Nepal in November.