Is it possible, as an amateur runner/jogger, to train properly for a marathon and not get injured at sometime during your schedule? I’m beginning to think it isn’t. I’ve run three marathons (I know that isn’t many compared to some!) and each time, as I’ve tried to progress from regular 10k runner to marathon runner, I’ve managed to pick up some sort of injury that has affected my training plan and therefore influenced my finishing time.
I should make the point here that I wasn’t putting my ‘heart and soul’ into this year’s training. I didn’t get a ballot place (see previous entries on this subject) and I was struggling to find a charity that didn’t want £2k or more raised for their organisation. I appreciate that the London Marathon charge charities for the places and that most charities supply ‘goodies’ like running shirts to their dedicated runners but do they really need £2k raised? I think I have an average number of friends, most of whom are on above average salaries, but I seriously doubt my ability to squeeze that much out of them collectively. I digress.
Despite my reservations about whether I would run this year or not, I was building up my mileage. I’d already run 20k on one of my Sunday long runs and have a place in the Reading Half Marathon in four weeks time. I had still planned, if charities started offering places for smaller pledges as the race got closer, to throw caution to the wind and attempt my fourth London Marathon. Then the inevitable happened…..
About a month ago I started to feel what I thought was a minor groin strain. Like many regular runners I decided to ignore it and hope it would go away. Sadly what started as just a slight irritation that I could screen out if I concentrated on the music or audio book I was listening to turned into a fully fledged pain that didn’t go away after the run or even after taking a rest day. Foolishly, instead of going straight to the doctor, I started researching such pains and Google succeeded in finding all manner of life-threatening illnesses that I might have had. So despite knowing that getting an appointment with my GP was more difficult than running the marathon itself, I booked an appointment to see her during my week off for the children’s half-term.
Thankfully I don’t have any of the exotic maladies thrown up by Google when I searched my symptoms: I actually have an inguinal hernia. Hopefully it will be mended with a minor surgical procedure and, thanks to private health insurance, that will be done relatively quickly. However with only about eight weeks to go to the London Marathon I really can’t see me getting it fixed and recovering in time to get enough distance running in to be certain of completing the 26.2 miles. I have therefore resolved to stay up until after midnight on the relevant day to ensure that I at least have a chance in the 2016 web-based ballot and I may have to re-join my old running club to increase my chances of a ‘runner’s place’. If all that fails I may have to take a charity place after all.
The irony in all of this is that this time the injury I’ve sustained wouldn’t seem to be related to marathon training at all – just old age. So in the meantime, if anyone reading this (Does anyone actually read this far into my blog entries?) has experience of running with an inguinal hernia I’d be grateful for any advice between now and my anticipated operation. It definitely hasn’t affected my fitness or my appetite for running as I ran a post-diagnosis Parkrun PB on Saturday. My GP assured me that running wouldn’t do it any harm but intuitively I am nervous of doing too much until it’s fixed.
In other news (as they say in the news bulletins) my generous family bought me a Fitbit HR for my birthday yesterday. It is far too early to write a realistic critique of such a complicated gadget fewer than 24 hours after I first put it on but I have to say that early indications are that it is an excellent tool. I have successfully linked the Fitbit website and iPhone App to my use of both Myfitnesspal (for calorie counting) and Endomondo (for exercise). I went for my first run wearing it this morning and it appears to have recorded my heart rate throughout the run and Endomondo has transferred the calories burned to the website and app. So far it also appears to have been monitoring my steps and the floors I’ve climbed. I will give regular updates on how I’m getting on with it on this blog.