Mile 24 of last year’s London Marathon was undoubtedly the nadir of my marathon “fun-running” career as it is the first time I have ever had to stop during a marathon because of an injury. Given that I have run 13 marathons, I consider myself to be very lucky.
I am actually not sure at what point during the race that I tore the cartilage in my left-knee, but that it was at Mile 24 when the pain became excruciating. My legs started yelling out to me to stop, so I did. I felt a momentary sense of powerlessness, but fortunately, a few minutes later, I was able to hobble to the finish-line. I can remember every step of those last 2.2 miles. I think that I simultaneously cried and hugged one of the marshals at the end.
Since tearing my cartilage last year, and having key-hole surgery at the Princess Margaret Hospital in Windsor (I can’t praise the surgeon Dr Martin Logan and his team highly enough), I have been trying to build up the strength in my left leg again. My recovery has been good, and has been helped a great deal by my physiotherapy sessions with Jon Cooke, who used to be part of the Arsenal medical-team, and is not only patience personified but extremely knowledgeable.
Despite my good recovery, I don’t feel as though I am running as well as I did before the London Marathon. I think that I have lost a lot of my fitness and the muscle strength in my left leg. So when my friend Bridget recommended visiting Alex at the Drummond Clinic in Maidenhead, I heeded her advice. I spent an hour with him analysing my running technique, and it was an incredibly good use of an hour. Here were some of Alex’s key recommendations:
* Making a technical change to my running. He said that I should increase my cadence from 175 to 180 strides per minute. It looks like I might need to change the style of music I listen to when I am running – no more ballads!
* Trying to improve the hip and pelvic instability on the right side of my body.
* Making my roller “my best friend” as it will enable my body to work more efficiently.
* Opting for a supportive shoe. I have worn Brooks shoes for all 13 marathons, so I am going to stick with that brand, but it seems that I need to be more careful about the style of shoe I choose.