Mind games and injuries

Oh what a week,

It's amazing how some weeks really go up and down the array of emotions are present throughout doubt , anger, Mistrust, Loyalty. So in my world they're really only one thing that brings my physio world down and that's when my athletes players or clients get injured or recur with pain.

It does happen and in the running community it happens more often. As Kevin will have mentioned he picked up an injury during the week that prevented him from doing his home half marathon. Now a lot of people reading will think that's not a big deal but if you were up in the harriers on Saturday morning and witnessed the sense of community, belonging it becomes a big deal to miss your home race.

It was my second time helping at the Tullamore harriers half marathon, we set up a 5 strong team to discuss injuries, give out free NIOS MO Protein balls and also free massage was thrown in as well. No surprise calves were massaged 99%of the time because they are the enemy of all long distance runners. It was a great event, very well organised with nothing but smiling faces. It was great to see clients that I have treated over the last two or three months that didn't think they would run this race getting their post race massage INJURY FREE.

So the down is Kevin getting injured and the up is seeing several others get over the line.This is Kevin's first Injury since he has took up running, He has a bruised 5th metatarsal which prevents him from being able to push off that foot pain free.

Why did this happen?

Over the long mileage a lot of pressure is being put on the foot. If the muscle on the base of the foot is not treated or stretched you are going to develop a foot Injury. In Kevin's case it is on the outside of his foot along his little toe area. This is due shortening of the muscles underneath your foot (plantar fascia) which will not allow Kevin to flatten his foot properly and in turn he was running too much on the outside of his foot. Over time the build up of mileage caused a bone bruise and left him in a lot of pain.

How Long will it take to fix ?

I would expect to have Kevin back running pain free within two weeks, This gives him loads of time to get back on track for the long road to Frankfurt. But if only things were that easy.

What does he need to do to fix it?

He needs to listen to me.

Monday after the half marathon

Monday Kevin and I met in clinic to see how his foot was doing. It wasn't good news as Kevin had developed a lot of swelling in that area. This made me change my approach to this injury and we have arranged for Kevin to get an MRI Scan just to make sure he doesn't have a stress fracture.


Since the injury last week Kevin has being in touch to try and get himself in a good place to run the half marathon. The exchange of messages I have had with Kevin is the perfect anecdote of panic and when an injury occurs. As two runners I was chatting with at the half said “it's a mental battle, anyone can run it and you have to be head strong to finish it”. This is the primary difference between runners, as they are on their own trying to compete with others, with no one to help or give out to, its all mental.

The simple truth is running is so much different than playing a field sport and the difference in mindset is vast. So many long distance runners I treat have ran at least 2 - 3 weeks with an injury before they even think of contacting me. They are just hoping it will subside but it doesn't and they are just making it worse, they simply love to run.

Kevin is no different, he really wanted to run the half marathon and he didn't want this injury to stop him. I knew he needed to be shown rather than told, as sometimes being told you can't do something is not enough. I treated Kevin on Wednesday and we arranged to meet before the half marathon for a quick picture and we would see how his warm up would go. I seen Kevin walking in and knew he wouldn't be able to run the half marathon but I let him try the warm up as this would show him he wasn't able.

He couldn't complete the warm up and knew it was pointless. In the coming weeks we are going to discuss more about the mindset of a runner.

The hard part for Kevin now is to rest and recover he doesn't want to do a Fra on it. Whats a Fra on it? It's a small funny true story about one of my clients also a good friend of Kevin's.

A Fra on it:

Anyways Fra rang me on a Monday one month before the Dublin marathon in a panic saying his knee had given way and he was in agony. We arranged to meet the next night, he limped in but skipped out. We got him pain free, turned that frown upside down, after that session.

So we made a plan that he would gradually go back to running on Saturday, take a few days off and try 5 miles on Saturday. He told me the group were doing 15 - 20 and could he do that?. We decided 5 was the best option and ease back up the mileage and he would get through the marathon.

Monday Fra rang me and explained he had ran the 5 miles and his knee was in agony so the marathon dream was over. I wasn't happy with myself as when I give someone a promise or a goal I like to achieve them, I pride myself on making promises and delivering on them. In this occasion I was wrong and Fra was out.

2 weeks later Kevin came in for some final checks before the Dublin marathon and hesitantly I brought up FRA. This is how the conversation went:

T: “ Unfortunate that Fra couldn't do the marathon, i was convinced that he would get through that 5 mile of Saturday pain free?
K: 5 miles?
T: Yea 5 miles that's what he ran and was broke up after it?
K: Tommy he ran 5 no problem, he ran 10 no problem, he ran 15 no problem, he was broke up after the 20th mile.

We both laughed and I still treat Fra today and the first thing he said to Kevin after he heard he was injured and couldn't race in the half was.

“Kevin don't do a FRA on it.”

And I won’t let him.

Tommy ConwayComment