I'm staying optimistic, though. I have 6 weeks until race day to fully recover, which should be long enough to feel comfortable to run. I'm being sensible on this one and I'm not rushing back to running before my sprained ankle is ready. So how, then, am I going to train for my first ever race? How am I going to train for running without running?
After having a bit of a strop last week (without the stress release of a really good run, I'm an emotional mess!) I did some research into injury rehab and running training. Number one (which, as I just mentioned, I've wobbled a bit on) is keeping a positive attitude. You're never going to get through injury by moping about. Similarly, you're never going to get through a race if you tell yourself you can't. It takes a lot of patience and determination to come out the other side and to put the work in to bring your body back to speed. So keeping positive and working on not just physical but mental strength is an absolute must. And now I have something to work towards, I definitely feel my mood lifting and beast mode setting in!
It seems that runners often neglect cross-training, favouring to pound the streets rather than spend time in the gym or classes strengthening up those essential core and leg muscles that enhance your run. So, for now, I'm going to be a cross-trainer who neglects running. My current schedule already seems to be pretty varied – swim on Monday, aerial workout on Wednesday, core conditioning/yoga/Pilates on Thursday and a full body workout on Saturday, with the odd bonus 15 mins here and there – pat on the back for me. But certainly since my injury, maybe even before, I've not necessarily ignored working on my legs but I've chosen to focus more on core and upper body as they're top priority for flying trapeze. This has to change if my legs are going to carry me over 10,000 metres! So here is my plan of action...
This is vital if I'm going to avoid future injuries. The tendons in my ankle are now loose so are more prone to spraining again. Strengthening the muscles around them will help protect them. This will mainly be done through balancing exercises. I've been just working on the floor whilst it's really weak but now I'm ready to introduce a Bosu ball (flat on one side, round and a bit squishy on the other), which helps you develop stability.
Continue my core training but with an emphasis on lower core – the parts that really work with the legs to give a more powerful, more stable ride. Crunches, planks and v-sits, here I come!
I already swim regularly, which offers a perfect non-impact cardio workout. But it doesn't quite use the muscles in the same way as running, so I'm introducing pool running to my training... Yes! I am kinda, sorta running! And, although I'm not travelling any distance, the water adds resistance to strengthen my running muscles. As my ankle begins to feel more mobile, I'll also introduce elliptical machines, cycling and very light jogging.
THE LEFTFIELD APPROACH
Failing the above there's always horizontal running...!