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James Renwick’s duathlon training diary: Undergoing treatment

09:30 22nd December 2011 by David Arthur @davearthur
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For those of you unfortunate enough to have cast an eye over my Duathlon Training” updates here on BM, you may have been wondering what I’ve been doing since I diagnosed myself with a combination of shin splints and stress factures a few weeks back.

First up, as it happens I was a bit hasty with my diagnosis, it appears I fell for the classic “my shin hurts, it must be shin splints” situation, when in fact on going to see a physio it turns out I had in fact pulled a muscle. Lesson learnt – seek professional advice rather than make feckless assumptions. Secondly, it turns out that my cavalier attitude to stretching came back and bit me on the arse. Apparently, my calf muscles were as tight as a nat’s chuff.

In hindsight, I would suggest that anyone thinking of embarking on a training program should visit a qualified physio beforehand, if you can afford it. Seeing a professional with years of experience of working with sports injuries can and will provide invaluable guidance when it comes to conditioning and preparing your body for increased levels of exercise.

Within 10 minutes of my first appointment I had undergone a series of diagnostic procedures, including ultrasound, that quickly pinpointed both the problem (torn, overly tight muscles) and the likely cause (lack of stretching and overdoing it). Within 20 minutes my calf muscle felt like it had been put through a meat tenderiser and I was lying face down with eight pins in my leg that were being slowly, and occasionally very painfully, worked around and around in situ. Every so often the pin would spike a muscle fibre which made my foot twitch, a feeling I can only liken to a short, sharp electric shock.

Having since completed my third session and been prescribed with stretching three times a day I am just hours away from going for my first run in four weeks. My physio has told me to join a gym as treadmills are a great way of moderating running speed, preventing the over enthusiastic from doing too much too soon. And do you know what else, at some leisure centres you can get membership for half price if you can produce a legit doctor’s note.

Swapping in swimming for running in my training program has actually proved a master stroke, after my initial week of chlorine guzzling gave way to what could almost be described as a half decent front crawl. I’m going to take it really easy with my running and may not make any of the winter duathlon series’, but come Spring I’m now hoping to race my first triathlon.

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