Couch to 5K

How To Get Injured Without Even Trying

There has been a number of posts where people ask about niggles and injuries and I have certain qualifications on that front that some may find useful. If bored with nothing to do, you may as well read my long-ish post. Enjoy!

1. Why initial lifestyle change?

On the outset all looked fine. I never had issues with any excess weight, always exercised albeit only at home with weights, watched my diet, life was fun.......except l enjoyed it a bit too much. Let's just explain it with appropriate lifestyle l led at the time. Music & very late nights. For decades.

A single visit to A&E in the back of a speeding ambulance, Doc asking questions, tubes attached, lights blinking, consciousness leaving, beep machines beeping, fear of dying creeping in, and the tests which weren't complimentary, prompted an imminent change. Blood pressure was up a lot, stroke history in the family and l was medicated. The Fun Left The Building. Or so l thought....

2. What did the Doc advise?

Soo. I had to take up proper cardio exercise. Cancers sticks, booze and l sadly went separate ways on that lovely afternoon while having a doctor probing me and pointing light to my scared face.

a) Cycling? What? In London? You're kidding me, mate. I said l wanted to live!

b) Swimming? Yeah, maybe. My kid does that in a serious way but l enjoy open sea swim only and, again, l live in London... Pool? Nah. Don't like crowds and lanes. Boring.

c) Gym? Whaaa? No, no and nope! No gym, no Sky news, no aircon and no 'that' music.

d) Well, how about running then? Running? Hmm. I did run before, l was alright at school. Tall, slim kid, good at 1500m and 3000m, before l discovered rockin' bands and fun. Alright then, l last ran in 1982 so let's give it a shot.

3. Why didn't I ask for any advice?

Well, l ran before, didn't l. I 'knew' things. I went to a shop and asked for cheap black shoes to complement my all black gear. Image, innit. Looking cool.

What about gait analysis? You what? Ain't paying for that, mate.

Why didn't you ask two of your marathon running friends for tips? 'cause they run marathons. I only want to jog around Dulwich Park. With squirrels and funny looking dogs. And rats.

And what about this Forum? Ah, too many words, and, as l said, l only want to jog.

4. Injury

And jog l did. Discomfort in my spine, hips, thighs, knees, calves and ankles was immediate. Teething problems. Into the second week l ditched the program, l knew better, and was soon running 30min 5K. Discomfort increased. I then, check this out, decided to skip the rest day. That was it. The left knee gave in mid run. Could hardly drive home. Fast forward to the following morning, the knee ballooned, searing pain that ignored pain killers, sheer agony.

A GP gave me a referral to see a physio but 'could take months'. Cue googling for a physio or an osteopath in my area. To cut it short, l found both, they fixed me, it took a while, months, at times two visits per week, £40 each pop, and yes, they also take American Express. Madness.

5. Second attempt

Months later, healed, l was ready for the second go. This time l will follow the C25K book and won't stray. Errrm, to an extent, I won't. Gait analysis and proper shoes? Nope, too expensive, and l only got injured because l pushed it too hard. Riiight......

6. Graduation injury

Discomfort immediately resurfaced but not as bad as before because l took it easy. Discomfort persisted and got worse. I carried on. Discomfort became occasional pain. Still, I went on.

5 January 2017, The Graduation Run. Beads of sweat on my forehead but not because l was running 5k below 30min but because of pain in my ankle. Got home and my wife immediately spotted that my right ankle was the size of a newborn child.

Repeat. Credit cards, physio, firm, narrow treatment table and paying for Trudy's new car deposit. And we weren't even lovers. I seriously considered changing careers and becoming a physio, there's some wicked money in that game.

Oh, and l was out, off running, for three months.

And then she asked me if I'd seen a sports specialist who would also recommend the shoes. Gait analysis. I then remembered IannodaTruffe posts and advise. ''There is a very good one, here's the number, he's not cheap but knows his stuff. Former pro runner''.

Did l feel stupid? Did my arrogance evaporate? Did humility kick in? What do you think?

7. Gait analysis, great shoes

The session took an hour. The guy knew his chops. I did a hamster run on his treadmill and around the lab, and the man showed me the results. I was an unmitigated rack. Body utterly unaligned, feet were s mess, l was a sorry sight. A marionette in a harlequin's outfit. If l were a horse they would have had me shot there and then, in the yard behind the clinic.

8. Third attempt

New shoes. New exercises in place. Proper regime. Hydration. Sleep. Everything proper. Fear of another injury.

The first run was sensational. For the first time there was no pain, no strain, great comfort. You know when an arrogant idiot feels stupid? That's how l felt.

Every subsequent run was revelation. No pain. No discomfort. I finally got it.

9. Conclusion

Arrogance and stubbornness, not listening, ignoring logic and common sense helped me discover patience, open mindedness and humility. The hard way. I discovered running and better life. I value what others say more than ever. And l ain't even religious! ;)

Anyone can get injured but at least you can try and be as careful as possible. I had a minor Achilles strain recently as l was working my way up from 10K to 21K but this time l knew what to do. Trudy gave me more advise and exercises and l was fine in no time. I also went back to the lab and got myself a pair of walking trainers with great support, just in case. I walk a lot anyway.

Respect yourself and listen to your body. Don't ignore warning signs and do read what experienced guys say on this forum and beyond. Don't push yourself silly, you're not a trained, Olympic, 21 year old athlete. You are here to enjoy yourself, get fit and healthy and stay that way & injury free.

And for God's sake, don't follow a 53 year old idiot's path to injuries that he so carelessly designed.

All the best & stay well!

nb: Oh, and my physio referral, requested by the GP came through 7 (seven) months later. Lol. Would have been quicker to amputate the leg.

48 Replies
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Loving the lessons learned, and so glad amputation was avoided!

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The way the pain went l nearly did it myself. Man, what a fool l was.....

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Hard lessons learned........... the hard way.

Thanks for this warning to us all to stay slow and steady in our progress.

I am having to fight my urges to go out and do a 10k, after several layoffs, and am back on the gentle build up of distance..........yet again!

Patience wins the day.

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I'm sure you'll make it. After all, hey, even l did ;).

Best!

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This is the post to tag on the end of the one I mentioned to you before. Thanks again.

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You are welcome!

And Trudy takes credit too. A human mechanic who brought a smashed up old car back to its (relative) glory!

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This is a great post, especially for me! Very noble of you to post this and be so open and honest about it. Thank you and if it only prevents one person from doing the same then it's worth it.

Shitty that you went through all that but you're running now and pain and cost free!

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At times we all need harsh lessons. I was the sole creator of my problems and managed to get through to the other side in one piece.

And l thought that 'fun left the building' lol. I have never felt better than l do now! ;)

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Fantastic post & well worth reading & so right i pushed myself too much first time & thought after graduation in oct 16, i could run for miles after c25k, well after a lot of knee & hip pain restarted c25k this year and just graduated again last week no injuries apart from niggles & not rushing things as id never ran before so loving it now & il stick to 3 runs a week & vary it till i get to 5km😊

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You go further and faster if you go slower. Chapter 1, The Book of Truth by Oldfloss. :)

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Thank you so much for posting this; truly helpful. I am currently nursing a pulled muscle in back of thigh. Will not be running for a while, sadly, but am in it for the long haul, so rest I will. 😐

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Pulled muscle? Ouch. I remember that too, unrelated to running. Sorry to hear!

All you need to do is opposite to what l did, and you will gazelle down the park in no time again! ;)

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Thanks mrrun. Am feeling impatient, but it's no gazelling until completely better. Your post came at a pertinent time for me - I shall take heed sir!

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Great post and thank you for your honesty. I know sometimes people think we Nanny them too much but as your post highlights we only ever try to look after eveyone with words of caution. By the way I love the wildlife in Dulwich Park, my local Park Run.

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Rats on the bridge over the pond? Well, at least they are friendly. ;)

Great park for 5K runs! Watch out for a tall guy, all in black with basketball gear, as graceful in his moves as a wounded wildebeest.

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It is the 300th next week trying to move things around to go and race walk it. Should be fun.

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Thank you - an entertaining and educational post! Thanks for your candour and all the good advice.

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Let's just say I'd hate to see anyone go through that, unless you're a masochist, in which case that would be an ace journey.

Stay well!

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Tee, hee.

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Excellent post! Thanks for putting this up, it is so easy to overdo it. I have been very fortunate in never having had an injury. I have niggles, but I had those before and if anything my knees are better since running. If you build up sensibly and consistently then your muscles, tendons, ligaments and whatever else holds us all together can adapt slowly.

Glad you managed to turn your life around! I hope there is still a lot of fun to come! And more posts.

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Thank you! There wasn't any other way but to turn it around. Too much fun inevitably brings back payments...

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Sounds familiar.

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We should start an exclusive club. Only the battered should apply.

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What a fabulous post and so so true. Wise words there, and this time long may your running journey continue....!!

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Many thanks. Yeah, things changed radically and for better in my headquarters. I don't even shout the way l did. I save that energy for longer runs. :)

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And good news about the amputation too 😉

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I got away with that one.

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.... just

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Thank you for such an honest and inspiring post, glad to hear all is well x

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Oh, l thank you!

With all that cash spent on running gear and treatments l couldn't afford a therapist on top, hence the post.

Confession brings relief at times. ;)

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Great post. I hope lots of people read this and take heed as there seems to be a plethora of "gung ho" attitudes doing the rounds recently. Running is such a high impact sport and one that most of us haven't done before and then we wonder why we get injured 😕

Your journey sounds like mine and the path's been a bit bumpy but after four years I now at least know when to ease off and get something checked rather than carrying on. A hard lesson.

I hope your future running is as injury-free as possible 🙂

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Gung ho gangs of my generation and older, l often call 'middle aged charging rynos".

Lots of puffing, very little on show, lol.

Bad experience puts a stop to that nonsense. ;)

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Great post mrrun...I hope this points people towards a gait analysis as a first port of call should they still be getting niggles by Week 3.

Its free in a good sports shop and could prove to be vital for some.

You paid the price of being a man who knows best....😊x

You haven't looked back since...

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More than anything it's about listening to what people with knowledge and experience have got on offer, rather than stubbornly going through the wall, head on first.

I deserved every single step of the way. Considering the possibilities l got off lightly.

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AAh! - but you still left out one little way you can get injured without really trying. It is very simple but it took me 3.5 years and 4000 klms of running before I found it.

WATCH WHERE YOU ARE GOING!!!!!! KEEP YOUR EYES OPEN. :(

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I remembered you this morning when crossing Lambeth bridge, running to Battersea park. I looked towards the river then spotted a rotting banana skin right ahead. That would have been a real parody! ;)

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Yes - just one little banana skin can change the entire course of your running career !! :( In my case it was a roadside gutter edge in the Cathedral precinct of Wells, Somerset

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This is a brilliant post. You're right about the gait analysis. I had it done seven weeks into the programme after suddenly suffering from knee and foot pain, in spite of always feeling that my old trainers were comfortable. The new ones were a revelation to me. I swear I actually feel joy putting them on as I know how good they are for me and what a difference they make.

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I'm glad you've liked it, thank you. This morning I finished a 14K spin around the Thames embankment and thought about what l could have easily missed on through past carelessness. Well, for as long as the lesson is learned, all shall be well. ;)

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Great post! Thank you.

Except I am now deafened by the sound of bells ringing.

The only reason I am running is that I can't swim at the moment. You see, I never rated 'technique' as a tool that I wanted in my box: I was a farmer, son of sweat and toil, ex rugby forward, a bludgeoner of things rather than a pretty boy that looked 'cool in the pool'. So, I smashed through 1, 2, 3, 4 km and beyond through willpower and strong shoulders. For years I powered instead of purred, grafted instead of glided.

What a dope.

When my first rotator cuff tore I knew something was bad: the pain should have been a clue. But, me being me, I just trained harder. I managed to completely mangle that little set of muscles. The imbalance and now one-sided stroke soon led to a complete tear in the other one: I couldn't even raise my arms let alone swim. My superspinatus wasn't so super any more. Not only could I not swim I probably couldn't even get my arms into a life jacket in an emergency. Life was miserable. Until I stumbled across this programme and now have a new challenge.

So, here I am, chastened and unlikely to smell of chlorine for some considerable time. I am determined not to do the same thing with running so your post-and inummerable other pieces of advice and direction on here-are most welcome.

Thanks again.

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Oh man... You are welcome, I'm really glad that other runners can relate to it and, hopefully, learn from my stupidity.

I wish you all the best, fully understand your frustration, with you 100%.

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mrrun and Pm3eak , those are very inspiring and chastening posts. They're also brilliantly written. It's very noble to write in a way that entertains others about things which were pretty unpleasant for you.

I have mild Piriformis Syndrome as a useful reminder to me of a previous ignoring of good advice.

I've been toying with doing the "marcothon" this month, and have begun it. But I haven't committed myself to it publicly because I want it to be easier to stop the minute I suspect I might be doing myself more harm than good. If no one knows I'm doing it, I've no one to impress by persevering into the danger zone for injury.

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All ended up well, thankfully!

I also wish you all success with your own quest, I'm sure you'll get where you want to be, too!

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You have been to the edge and back again my friend! That post made me cringe and made me smile. Mostly because I could identify with so much of it. Posts like this make this forum a special place. You won’t get this kind of intimate, experienced insight in most places. For someone who runs alone this knowledge is invaluable. Thanks for your honesty and hard-earned wisdom. Happy trails to you.

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I had to read your post twice to make sure you really replied to me, ;).

Wisdom? I am humbled, many thanks. Going to the edge, yes, but wisdom? You've made my day, buddy! :)

Stay well!

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Yep that was for you pal. Hey, the wisdom comes from not falling right off that edge, and knowing where it ends the next time around, right? Absolutely, wisdom!

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A great lesson for everyone! Our experts advised gait analysis on my very first post and after reading your running story, I’m so glad I took their advice. Expensive but couldn’t have run the course with ye olde trainers. May you remain injury free forever😊

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I will certainly make an effort to stay out of trouble! Many thanks!

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