Booty Building

This week has been a bit of a wake-up call for me. I have finally had my gammy right leg looked at by a physio who has, luckily, not called time on my marathon goal, but has told me that my right buttock is ‘scooped in’. Meaning that it is very under-used and is the cause of the pain in my knee when I go up and down the stairs. I’m a bit gutted but am taking the clam and glute bridge exercises that she has given me very seriously.

I have always considered this spring marathon to be my ‘shake out’ marathon. Just to use it to build my body up to a basic level of ability before I really go for a time goal in the autumn. I had anticipated it to be tough, and expected to go through a phase of hating the training when it got hard, because that’s how it went the last time I gave this marathon lark a go. I’ve been surprised though, that nearly all my runs have been a lot of fun. Apart from that wobbly moment in Birkenhead Park a few weeks back, I’ve been enjoying going out and feeling the incremental improvements that I’m making, so this does feel like a setback.

I’m also aware of the fact that I’m eight years older than the last time and heading into menopause, and I had hoped to put more into place to help with my running. The cycling, which had been my cross-training, has gone a bit by the wayside because of a variety of factors such as: weather, life, laziness. I’m going to try and jump back on this when I start to taper. And the yoga, which I had begun in earnest at the beginning of January has lapsed, like most things begun at the beginning of January. I have though, in the last week or so, dusted down my laptop and got Yoga With Adriene back on the channel. What has been a constant, more or less, has been Nigel’s strength, balance and mobility class on Wednesday afternoons. I always feel like I’ve had a work out at the end of this, and I do feel like I’m getting a bit stronger in some parts of my body. Except for my glutes apparently, even though there are a whole load of exercises that work the glutes in his class. But I guess it’s also about where you start from.

I’m in the middle of reading Richard Askwith’s The Race Against Time this week and that has brought to light at least one thing I am doing right. His book is about the ageing process, on people in general but on runners specifically. He looked at the lifestyle of Masters (older than 40) athletes, such as the amazing Ed Whitlock and the still strong Kathrine Switzer and tried to see what he could learn from them and the current science around how the body ages. He spoke to Professor Jamie McPhee who distilled much of his studies into two helpful words for people to work on:

Strength and Balance.

A suggested check for balance was to see how long you can stand on one leg with your eyes closed. A young, heathy person should be able to do this for around 27 seconds on average. A much older healthy person drops down to about 8 seconds. It’s to do with the decreasing message connections between brain and body as you age. It’s a good one to try. I had a go, and after a wobbly first couple of goes, I managed about 30 seconds which is great. I attribute this to my on/off yoga and Nigel’s class which does have a lot of single leg movements in it. We’re not doing those movements with our eyes closed but we’re building that underlying strength in our legs. I’m building some strength with my class but I am wondering whether I need to add to this a little more, and to check out if there are other under-utilised muscles in me that need building up.

Although my marathon training has not been scuppered, my very slow canter this morning was a painful affair and it’s a sign that my next long run won’t be for a couple of days at least. Both my left and right quads were particularly sore alongside most of my right leg and my breathing was laboured at 13 minute miles. I know exactly why. My physio appointment was on Thursday lunchtime, and she did quite a lot of manipulation and deep massage on it. Then I went to the club track session that night and loved it, and gave it my all. This is a good thing long-term and will be switching on those fast-twitch fibres in my muscles. Short-term though, it means I need a lie down in dark room.

4 thoughts on “Booty Building”

  1. yes, that balance thing..I keep trying to improve on mine….the worse, or maybe the best, after a bad fall where I actually fractured my head (occipital) I’ve kept at it……

  2. I never understand how one of two glutes could be under-used, unless the owner hops a lot. I think most fashionable people are wearing their buttocks ‘scooped in’ this year

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