Day 5 of my “Plan B” completed yesterday. After picking up the soreness between my 1st and 2nd metatarsal (between the big toe and the 2nd toe), I decided to do only a 28 minute test run. All goals and schedules have been suspended this week as I evaluate the extent of the damage. (ed: the soreness has shifted around from the 1st to 2nd to 2nd to 3rd and back over the week).
If I exit this week without any discomfort, the experiment will continue where it left off. If I exit the week with soreness, the experiment will terminate and I will move to a “run as you can” basis to maintain as much fitness gained as possible while allowing the cause of the soreness to repair.
Now, at this stage I am being hyper-cautious as the sensation does in no way stop me from running at this stage and can only be called an “injury” at a stretch. Given the sensitive nature of the foot, however, I think extreme care is needed. From Monday to Tuesday the symptoms alleviated and I could complete a good 69 minutes of running without sensation Wednesday. I stopped before any symptoms became apparent although I had originally set out to try and run to the point of discomfort. (The discomfort appeared after 45-minutes of trail running on Sunday and about 80 minutes of fast track running on Tuesday).
It has to be remembered that the goal of a competitive runner is not to remain injury-free it’s only to remain free on injuries that hamper training and performance. Therefore I’m now injury managing myself by looking out for the three categories of activities:
1. Harmful: These make the existing injury worse. Stop and/or avoid.
2. Neutral: These make the injury neither worse nor better. Continue.
3. Restorative: These make the injury better. Continue and/or begin.
So every day I try to log what is happening to see what I can get away with safely. A perfect balance between keeping as much fitness as possible while allowing the injury to heal must be found.
Wednesday had the symptoms at its worst so I only did my customary mile. Thursday morning was slightly worse. This perhaps a result of trying alternating heat/cold treatment rather than just cold. I also subjected the area to heavy tapping with the backend of a kitchen knife in order to establish where the exact soreness seems to appear. Towards evening time it was better and I did 54 minutes in the dark at Ticknock without any obvious ill effects.
Loosely at the moment it seems I can run some but not risk faster running. The jury is out whether or not heat/cold treatment will be effective or not, so I am not committed to either yet. As this case seems particularly mysterious, I have book myself in with the Carysfort Clinic in case the symptoms are still there Monday and will meet John Murphy for a damage assessment Wednesday. With his help I should be able to diagnose the problem and make a more specific action plan for getting back on the road to 120k.