Marlborough, Physio and Stretching

I've been laid low with sciatica. Some months ago I decided I was going to have to bail out of the Marlborough Downs 33 mile challenge.
Very disappointing, especially as I'd persuaded / challenged my brother to run it this year. We're looking to raise money for the Kenya Community Education Project - a small non-profit school funding project that my brother's been involved with.

I'd seen the doctor about my sciatica, and been told to rest and take ibuprofen. The NHS website has a few stretches to combat sciatica, which I was trying to remember to do regularly. Nothing was getting better - in fact, with work requiring me to drive assorted hire cars with badly adjusted seats on long hauls, and my lab stool being badly set for typing up reports, I was getting worse.

One day I was in such agony that I just made a private appointment for a physiotherpay session, then went home, calling in sick for the rest of the day.
That was my best move of this saga!

Physio at Daventry's  Heartlands Physiotherapy (not a sponsored plug, just a genuinely grateful nod) discovered a bunch of things wrong with me that were causing the sciatica - but which all boil down to one overall issue: I'm not supple, and running was tightening everything up.

When I first satarted running, I used to stretch a bit afterwards. I seem to have stopped bothering at some point. Part of the reason I was doing it was to strengthen my knees - but the knee troubles of my novice days seemed to have disappeared, so I suppose that's why I stopped.

I've never been able to touch my toes with my knees straight - but I'd been gradually getting worse. Toughening up my legs with long distances was also shortening my muscles and ligaments. I was less and less flexible.
When the sciatica hit, I could hardly even touch my knees! (Exaggeration, but not much.) And putting on socks was a real struggle.
I'm not actually this skinny

So I was prescribed a bunch of stretches - hamstring, piriformis, side core, knee - and some strengthening exercises - squats. Twice a day. The pain started to go away. I need less ibuprofen.
I have a couple of pages of diagrams like this

After a couple of appointments to check progress, I got back to running short distances, and have built up the miles gently. I've got back into a routine, but added to it, too - now I'm running shorter distances at the weekend, but more often. Instead of running 30km in one go, I'm doing two lots of 15km - one in the morning, and one in the evening, and then again the next day.

So now, after 3 months, I'm ready for the biggest run of the year.

Click here to sponsor me (or my brother - the choice of charity was his).

I'll never neglect my stretching again!

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