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[EN] Anna’s London Marathon Journey, part 3

Last summer, I started with more rigorous training when preparing for my second half marathon in October 2018. Previously, my only activity was running and yoga. Later on, I realised that there is no problem for me to breathe, but to keep the legs painless all the distance, so I started with circuit training to strengthen my legs.

Last autumn I went through a whole-body training program (total body training from Aaptiv). I had good control over my food intake and lost some weight, but pre-Christmas stress at work, dinners, irregular food and repeated overeating (because of Christmas!) resulted in Yo-yo effect.

In January, I was motivated all the more because it is not only about me, but also about all the people who supported me and I think about every one of them when training. I was working so hard that I ignored the increasing pain in various parts of my body, especially the ankle. My January motto was ‘no pain, no gain’.

After one of my intensive runs, my left inner ankle was no longer visible through the rising swelling. I let it go for a few days and then went running again, which turned out to be a mistake because the ankle was even more swollen. I started researching what it could be. Ondra had advised me to visit a physio clinic in the centre of Hertford. Bandage and Voltarol were my best friends already.

The nurse I met at the physio clinic was very friendly. She discussed the symptoms and my current condition, then told me to give it more time as it seems that the area surrounding my ankle hurts because of stretched ligaments, however, if my situation does not get any better within a week, I shall visit my GP to get Xray scan based on which I can get appropriate treatment.

Five long years, I have never had any major issue and now this. I realised that I was very fortunate, especially after I learned how common injuries are in the life of runners. I was living with the illusion of invulnerability and eternal youth but when you undertake in one week alpine climbing on a bike, strenuous interval runs and strength training without proper rest and care, your body will sooner or later refuse to work as it should. So I understood that with increasing age, regeneration is all the more crucial. 

Don’t get me wrong, I have no problem with running, cycling and strength training within one week but not if all the activities are equally strenuous all the time. I did not give any time for my body to recover so sooner or later, I had to face the consequences which hit me at the least suitable time.

The week passed quickly and the ankle swelling was nearly gone. We flew to Barcelona, where we walked over a hundred thousand steps in three days, fortunately without any consequences this time. The left leg improved slightly, but I still did not dare to walk without a bandage.

I know I’ll be able to train again soon. This time, however, it will be much more humble and especially in compression socks. I also intend to stretch both before and after. Stretching was another thing I neglected a lot and if you have not started doing it yet, now is the best time to start.

When in Brno a week later, Vitek Kněžínek (thanks!) from the TriExpert shop did some running diagnostics, and most importantly, provided me with a contact for physio in Brno, a lovely therapist then supplied me with useful tips and exercises which are now helping me to get back to full training.

The planned week of recovery became a full month. I have missed running desperately, and I am looking forward to getting back to form. Nevertheless this time, I want to listen to my body, not ignoring the messages it was sending me the whole time. There is nothing more important than your body and its health and this is what I have learnt from my long recovery. I will also never underestimate the power of stretching and rest again.

A couple of months ago, I hoped the London Marathon would be about breaking my records, but I realised that I am not a professional runner with an athletic figure and the necessary attributes to have an impressive time. I have to be honest with myself and work with the things I have got so I stopped making it something more than it is.

I already know that my run won’t be about the time, I will go to enjoy the stunning atmosphere, this is all the expectation I have. I will do my best to be physically and mentally ready for that run anyway. I am just happy for this chance to be part of it.

This article was translated from Czech.

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