Runner’s knee 😠

After a few weeks of relatively heavy running load… I have runner’s knee 🤦‍♂️. Which is to say a vague ache around the kneecap. I don’t think I’ve ever had this before. My hip and hamstring had been tight for a week or so, so that’s probably what caused it, along with high volume. I did intervals on Wednesday (3x1km, 2x400m, 4x200m) which felt OK while I was running but on the dog walk later I could feel some pressure around the kneecap so I haven’t run since. I bought some resistance bands and have been doing lateral walks and monster walks all round the house to work my hips, so I’m hoping that will fix it. It feels OK again now, except it was a tiny bit achy when I woke up this morning. I’ll try a few kilometres later and see how it feels…

The Conservative leadership election! Is it just me or do the candidates seem a bit… low quality? And there are so many of them! We have Sunak, who raised taxes during a period of high inflation, while his wife was using non-domiciled status to avoid taxes. Oh and he also broke the law while chancellor, and he’s campaigning on a ticket of fixing the economy… despite being in charge of the economy for the last few years 😕. He has strong backing within the party 😕😕😕, which I can only infer is the result of widespread substance abuse in Westminster. Javid has previously avoided taxes by claiming non-dom status. Zawahi is currently under investigation over his tax arrangements. Then we’ve got Hunt whose entire thing is standing at the side trying to look like the adult in the room, rather than doing anything to prove that he is – remember how that worked out with Theresa May? Braverman seems to think the right to be horrible to trans people is the most pressing political issue of our time, which I find completely baffling because a) it’s really nasty, and b) it’s a total fringe issue that affects so few people. Grant Shapps somehow managed to be the only candidate to say something sensible on the trans matter (“I don’t think it’s important, let people live their lives”) but he has rather a dubious history in other matters. And then finally Liz Truss just comes across as a simpleton.

They go through multiple rounds of MPs voting until there’s only two left, then it goes to the membership, who tend to have substantially different (read: more insane) opinions than MPs. It looks like it’ll be Rishi Sunak vs someone else, and I think it’s fairly likely that Rishi will lose because he’s not insane. I hope it’s not Braverman.

These hips don’t lie

I had to miss Parkrun last weekend because I strained something in my hip, again. I did it this weekend but I took it a bit slower than usual, and it was still quite uncomfortable Saturday afternoon. I kept waking up during the night and my lower back felt really tight as well.

My hips are soooo tight. I stretch and foam roll but it seems like a losing battle as I sit down all day.

So I took the radical step of investing in a standing desk converter, which is basically a platform that sits on your regular desk that can be raised or lowered back down to desk level.

(Please don’t judge the dust on the right monitor’s base.)

I’m quite impressed with it so far, but I don’t tend to use my PC over the weekends so I haven’t actually tested it in actual use yet. Hopefully it will help!

Monday

I’m in a lot less pain than I was last week since I started stretching my hips out more. My lower back is feeling a lot better and so is my hamstring. Unfortunately my hip is not showing the same improvement and I’m not sure whether it just needs a bit more time or a bit of rest or what. My timing here is pretty terrible as we are going into another lockdown this week, so whether I’d be able to see a physio – who knows at the moment. Though I actually had a fairly pain free 12k run on Sunday by 1. Stopping and stretching every couple of kilometres, and 2. Trying to keep my cadence high.

Cadence (number of steps per minute) is a weird thing. If you ever try running without shoes you will naturally hit a very high cadence because your body will make sure that the ball of your foot is striking the ground underneath you. But as soon as you put shoes on, most people’s cadence slows right down and their heel hits the ground in front of them, with the leg outstretched. There’s a lot of debate about foot strike, but I think everyone agrees that a stride length that has your contact point much in front of you is a bad thing because it puts everything through a greater range of motion than it’s really ‘designed’ for.

Usually my fast pace cadence is about 180, which is the magic number that comes up a lot in the literature, but my leisurely slow runs can drop down to about 168 easily. Anyway, on Sunday my pace was slow but my cadence was 174, which is pretty good and might be why it felt better.

So, job seeking:

Awkwardly, my boss has added me to LinkedIn. I got the email on Friday but I’ve been so bored of the whole thing that I haven’t logged in since then so I haven’t accepted yet. If he’s actually looked at my profile he might cotton onto the fact I’m starting to look around. We’ll see if he mentions this… probably not.

The recruiter from last week still keeps trying to phone me but today he finally left a voicemail. He rambles a bit and then says “I don’t know where you are with your job search, but if you could give me a call back that’d be great”. Whyyyyyy.

The thing I’m noticing is that salaries are lower than when I looked previously and I wouldn’t move unless it was a decent pay jump. Or rather, some salaries are the same, but there’s a lot more at the lower end of the market. Sad though it is, it might just be best to sit tight for a few months and wait for things to pick up. Because, obviously, in a few months, COVID will be over and brexit will have transformed the UK into a glorious, prosperous nation again.

This is what happened last time though. I tried, I failed, I got bored, then a few months later I tried much harder and succeeded. Though I was on antidepressants the second time around.

Everything hurts #2

Not everything. My hip and my butt and my hamstring. Or maybe it’s not my hamstring, maybe it’s just my butt. I don’t really know. I felt it was improving. I was running. Not as much as I wanted, but not that far off. I was doing daily hip strength exercises, planks etc and even deadlifts every couple of days.

Then disaster yesterday morning as after about 20 seconds of running my butt and or/hamstring cramped. Ouch.

So anyway I got a tennis ball into my hip and it now feels a lot better, and I’ve been trying to foam roll the very top of my hamstrings (which is actually not very easy to do effectively, because it’s a big and soft area). I still have some discomfort there but everything feels a lot looser now.

I’ll find out over the weekend if this is enough. If not then I’ve decided I’ll just bite the bullet and book a physio appointment on Monday.

Injuries 🤔

Sooo, I decided to stop running and doing any kind of strength training for a few weeks, to try to get my tendon strain (?) to heal itself a bit quicker. There is a half-marathon I want to do in April, and it’d be nice to get a few solid months of training in.

A week later…

I used to get some pains in every day life, like when getting out of bed (sit up type movements). I’m not getting those anymore, which suggests it’s improving.

I don’t know when to try running again though. Is this weekend too early? Maybe I will leave it until next weekend.

In the meantime I am trying to open up my hips a bit. I discovered that the left (the painful side) is much tighter than the right, so I have been foam rolling and stretching with some gentle yoga poses. I’m not sure it’s having any effect so far…

When I get back running, I must be more diligent about strength training and stretching. The routine might work pretty well if I can run at lunch times and then have the evenings for rolling/strength/stretching.