‘Flexibility’, in every sense of the word is something all runners have to master. Our running requires our constant love and attention, it demands that we work on our form, strengthen our core, be flexible with our social arrangements, stretch our muscles and push our bodies. And yet despite the occasional injuries and moments of anguish ‘running’ is a kind, benevolent hobby which gives us runners so much. For me it is the little things, the beautiful sunsets, the interaction with animals, the friendly morning greetings from dog walkers, the discovery of new areas in the place I have lived for years. And the simple satisfaction of moving my body, feeling the sweat on my brow and speeding places quickly. Put simply I love it, I am a running addict.

But December has been a hard month for my running. On the 1st December I had my disappointing Ashford Half Marathon (I finished) where I pulled my calf muscle badly. This led to a 19 day lay off from running until this Friday where I finally was able to get back out there putting in a nice steady 5.3 mile run with my friend Clare and her dog Watson. This month has required me to be flexible in order to stay on top of my fitness, with Christmas around the corner it would have been easy to slip back into bad habits.

The injury has forced me to be flexible about how I keep fit. Running is my number one sport of choice which I usually top up by commuting locally on my bike. My minimal amount of cycling wasn’t going to be enough to keep me feeling great. So I decided to go swimming again. I have to be honest I find swimming  hard work, I try to space out but I find it relatively boring but I afterwards I always feel great. I am going to try and make sure I go to the pool more regularly in 2014.

I also went spinning at London Fields Fitness Studio. My only previous spinning class was 7 years ago in David Lloyd gym and it was not an enjoyable experience, very eye of the tiger music wise. The vibe at London Fields Fitness located in a railway arch was chilled the lights were low and the instructor Manya was great. I couldn’t believe how much I was sweating. I looked up after 15 minutes and I remember thinking how the hell am I going to keep going for another 30 minutes but I did and I loved it. Everyone was sweating and smiling as they left the studio and at £10 a class it offers great value and an alternative way for me to keep fit.

Today I cycled in the pouring rain to Shoreditch to take part in a dynamic stretch class at Frame with my friend and runner Sam (she has a great running blog). I first heard about Frame on Kelsey (Running on Coffee blog). I was by far the least flexible person in the class, the instructor picked up that is was my tight hamstrings holding me back. But after yesterdays run I was feeling a slight tightness in my calf and this disappeared after the class. I think increased flexibility in my body, my  training plans and my approach to running is going to be the key for staying fit and running fast in 2014.

I am also putting a lot of time into my YouTube channel, please subscribe and give me feedback on the videos. If you want me to talk about a running/nutrition related topic just let me know.

Damien x

3 thoughts on “Flexibility

  1. Great post! I had my first real injury when I came down with runners knee TWO WEEKS before my first marathon after my final long run. I was so mad that I had made it through the training plan, only to get injured right before the taper two weeks before the race. I have since learned to add more cross training in, which has helped a lot. Like you, I would much rather run everyday then change up my workout, but I have learned that I need to switch it up in order to avoid injury. I love using the elliptical, because it gives my joints a break while still giving me that feeling of running. Plus, I can go a lot faster on the elliptical, so it has actually helped me gain VO2 MAX and speed! I have also added in some core/strength training, which has also seemed to help. I really think cross training is the key! Glad you have been able to get back out there, and can’t wait to see you kick butt in your marathon! Good luck! 🙂

    • Thanks Allyson, I really hope I will be able to kick butt. I had exactly the same thing with my last half getting injured on my last long run 9 days before the race. I shouldn’t have ran it but you know I am kinda stubborn. I do really enjoy cycling but it is second to running, I think what it has made me realise as well that on running rest days i need to be doing something else. I need to strengthening my core and muscles all round. Runners knee must have been really painful, has it stayed away since? D

  2. This message rings very true with me at the moment! I have always been quite stiff, and a few weeks ago I pulled a muscle (not when running)- I could not put weight on one leg as it was so painful. The physio said to me I was just so stiff that I caused more damage whereas if I was more flexible it would not have been so bad. I went back this week and she told me it was my lower back that is the stiffest part, which puts extra pressure on my hamstrings when I stretch over. So I have some stretches to do and I am following her programme properly as a preventative measure. I think I always focused on the running- so long as I could do that I was OK, whereas really being flexible is important, it just isn’t as obvious perhaps.
    I think for 2014 I have a similar goal-I want to work on being more flexible and hopefully that will transfer over into my running.

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