It all went wrong. But that's ok.

I have not written here in a long while, simply because I did not have too much to say.

- Late Spring, early summer was busy with work and heavy training - so there was not much to write.

- Summer brought about injury and frustration, and I didn`t want to write.

I had been on a hiking expedition when I began to notice the aching pang in my heel. I have had Plantar Fasciitis before, so I instantly recognised it, but it was not so bad at the time. Besides, I had 40km of training to do on the Saturday of that week, and a back to back run the day after…so I needed to not let it bother me.

The 40km training I probably shouldn’t have done.

The 40km training I probably shouldn’t have done.

It`s a boring story to prattle on about how annoying and frustrating the pain became, so I won`t.

One thing I have discovered is that it is better to just “get on with” whatever the predicament turns out to be, rather than dwell on it or try and fight it. I went to the specialist already knowing racing was a bad idea - so I had shed the tears of frustration beforehand. I just need to get rid of the darn pain - and a change in plans was the best course of action.

I am extremely grateful to friends and family for their advice and support, including lending me a bike, as well as words of encouragement (and giving me golf balls, more about that later…) and I have my kept mind and body active. My aim is actually to get a bit stronger - I have become aware of some of my muscle weaknesses and it is a wake up call to now deal with them. I`m learning that I can`t really push as hard as I endeavour to without the back up, so I`m working on getting some muscle groups a bit stronger.

I have just entered a 60km race for October in the Swiss mountains which is my recovery goal now and my motivation for Autumn.I am looking forward to building up to that.

Meanwhile, I have created a little video about some of the home remedies I have given a bit of a go for PF. Not revolutionary, but a couple of things that have helped or been recommended.

To anyone facing setbacks, injury or otherwise - this idea helped me: An arrow can only be shot by pulling it backwards

Have a great rest of the week.

Sports Injury: a warning sign about your sport?

Some of you may need some motivating this week, as you have been dealing with injury. Yup, I've been there too.

So, let's get some perspective with it. Is is the mark of a bad sportsman? Is the experience a sign that your sport might not be all it's cracked up to be?

I have had a few run ins (pardon the pun) with injury, and this isn’t the first time I have mentioned it on the blog.  I have had moments prior to races where I have experienced those intense concerns of whether that ‘small pain’ is just nerves, a fuss over nothing or a genuine issue that could affect me and my performance.I have also in the past, felt quite embarrassed about injury, as if its something I shouldn’t be experiencing. Surely it’ssign I’ve done something wrong - that I am not up to this kind of thing.

And yet I ran this morning, I ran the day before, and even though sometimes it can be mentally and physically challenging - I'm not about to give up. Am I obsessed with my sport? Do I hate my body to carry on despite what injury risks there might be?

Quite the opposite.

My body is fallible, full stop. So’s every 'body'.  Even the fastest, most athletic and talented sports people throughout history – no matter how efficient, how strong or how capable, are not superhuman. If we work on that premise, then it’s about making the most of who we are with the resources we individually have. If you enjoy running; then run. If skiing, then ski. Horseback riding? Reading? Singing? You have to follow what the things that enrich your life and interest you the most.

Which is where the phrase ‘ get back in the saddle’ comes from. Life can be hard, unpredictable and sometimes, painful.  Sometimes,  no matter how strong or methodical you have been in your training, your body signals a change of plan. But this situation, or even the possibility of it, shouldn’t dictate the passions that should interest you. You may need to take steps to recover, but it doesn't mean you have reached the end of the road with your running.

I take a lot of inspiration from the courage and honesty of others on this matter, who show their true strength in their humility. One is my dear friend Nikki Barnard, one of the toughest and most inspiring long distance runners I know.  Nikki has battled 2015 with a considerable sports injury, having to re think adventures, plans and goals. Both of us have had good chats together about injury.

Photo: Nikki Barnard

Photo: Nikki Barnard

It’s not stopped her though. Give up where her interests lie? Not likely matey - after all, have you seen her run?

All being well, she anticipates running the UTMB in 2016. We are both helping with the running of a training camp in the Atlas Mountains in 2016.

I was also encouraged recently listening to some of the GB Park and Pipe team at the Telegraph Ski and Snowboard Event in Manchester. Some of them discussed the time they have had to take out due to injury, humbly admitting the struggles this brings and I found their openness and honesty encouraging and motivating. They still love their sport, they deal with challenges as they approach, and they keep following their passions.

Sometimes I think there is a pressure, especially in sport, to be a shining example of health, fitness and vitality. We all aim for these things, of course. But we have got to be real. Guess what, sometimes I find running mentally challenging. Sometimes, it's the physical struggle.

That's ok. It's all ok.

If you are going through injury – get help. In the form of support from great running communities like #ukrunchat on twitter for example, where so many others can share their advice and expertise on what you might be experiencing. It’s also worth, when thinking carefully about future training, to speak to a physiotherapist who specialises in your sport.

Tim Budd, from Global Therapies is someone I really rely on not just for coaching, but also in times of injury/ trying to prevent injury. As a runner (and a very strong one at that to!) he ‘gets’ it both in terms of physiology, the discipline and the passion of the sport. Seeking professional advice is a must if you are experiencing any pain while running. On his personal blog, he has also written some really insightful things about his own experience with injury.

Sometimes excrement hits the fan- as they say. Sporting injury can get you down, but don’t let it affect your strength – by this I mean, the strength in yourself to be who you are, and to follow your passions and interests.