The not so long marathon training run

With 5 weeks to go until the New York marathon I had a 17 mile run planned on Sunday. I woke up at 7.30; had by peanut butter on toast and a cup of tea, and watched Saturday night’s X Factor. I was out the door by 9.30am along with what felt like a whole fridge of Orange SIS gels, Orange Lucozade gels and Cliff Shot Blocks.

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After asking some twitter friends for some route inspiration I decided to head to the Limehouse basin via Tower Bridge. My run was going really well, I was keeping a steady pace of between 10.10 and 10.30 per mile (slower than usual, but this was all part of my endurance plan). I had to stop to check google maps once as I wasn’t quite sure where the Limehouse Basin was, although it turns out I’ve run passed it quite a few times… the canal leads you up towards Victoria Park or Bromley-by-Bow. I thought I was heading up towards Victoria Park, turns out I went to Bromley (I have only just┬árealized┬áthis!).

Eek 17 miles!


The route was really beautiful and peaceful. I enjoyed being nosy and comparing house-boats. I got lost in thoughts about what it would be like to live in one and then got the Rosie and Jim sound track stuck in my head. I’m so cool…
Limehouse Basin
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The path was a little gravely at times, but on the whole it was flat and didn’t cause me any problems.

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It was a little annoying on my way back when the crossing was down to let a boat through as it meant I had to stop for about 3 or 4 minutes. I kept myself moving by jogging on the spot. By the time the barriers went back up again there were about 10 runners raring to go.

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As I ran back through the streets of Wapping towards Tower Bridge I was thinking, only 5 miles to go from Tower Bridge – that’s nothing! It’s great thinking that 5 miles is no distance at all, I used to see that distance as my marathon so I’ve definitely come a long way.


At 12 miles, just before climbing the ramp up to Tower Bridge I felt a sharp pain in my right glute. Having experienced this pain before I knew that it should be alright if I just massage it out a little. I paused my Garmin and gave the right side of my bottom a rub with my water bottle! I then tried to run – it was painful. I then decided to walk up to the middle of the bridge to see if it would help release the pain, but no joy. I tried to run one last time and just couldn’t. The tears started, both from the pain and disappointment.
As I was wearing only a singlet and shorts I started to get cold. I started doing some glute exercises to see if it would help, but nothing was doing the trick. Tears trickling down my face, I called my boyfriend and sobbed a little. I hobbled over the bridge and headed towards the bus stop. I knew it was about a 5 minute walk, but it felt like half an hour as every step was excrutiatingly painful. I spotted a chinese medicine place that was open that had ‘deep tissue massages’ advertised in the window. In a last ditch attempt to get rid of the pain (clearly I was disillusion as it wouldn’t work that quickly) I had a massage. It was painful! Half an hour later I dragged my legs over to the bus stop – luckily the bus came quickly. I was in constant pain and couldn’t stop the tears even though I wanted to! Once off the bus I tried to get a taxi to take me to my front door, but alas there were none. Once home I swallowed some ibuprofen and ran myself a bath. For the remainder of the day I was stuck to the sofa a moving was proving impossible. My boyfriend had been away for the weekend so I was pleased to see him when he arrived home in the evening!
My route – it’s a massive shame that the red dot isn’t right by the green dot…
In the morning I could walk with less pain, but it felt like someone had punched me in my lower back and glute about 20 times. I called the physio and booked myself in for an appointment that day (luckily I have my physio covered by Bupa through work which is a huge help).
The physio at Pure Sport Medicine diagnosed me with, prepare for medical language, ‘hypertonicity through right quadratus lumbroum and overactivity through right glutes medius, which is a sign of lumbar spine overload which has resulted in irritation of the sciatic nerve’. In English, my lower back and right side of my bottom are very sore and I have a constant ache. Obviously my first question was, can I run? What about my marathon? My physio assured me that with the right care and attention I should be alright. I am banned from running until Friday, but can do some gentle cross training and strength exercises (no weights). She did some needling in my lower back and then strapped me up with KT-tape.
I went back to the physio today (Wednesday). Luckily the pain is easing off and the pain is becoming more localised. This, however, meant some more needling, this time in the bottom. I did a lot of heavy breathing and clutching of the bed, but I got through it with recovery at the forefront of my mind.
The plan is to do a little cross training in the morning and then a run on Friday before seeing the physio again. My body is telling me to rest, so that’s what I’m doing. I’m also giving myself my own advice, avoid self-doubt and be positive.
Has anyone else had to tackle injury whilst marathon training?


  1. October 3, 2013 / 5:57 am

    Definitely stay positive.
    I had issues with my right glute over the Summer. The first time I'd ever been injured and I panicked that I wouldn't be able to run my upcoming ultra. I have been working hard at my core and massaging my bum with a golf ball, and although a few hours into a long run my bum still feels a little uncomfortable I'm no longer in pain.
    The good news is your physio said you should be fine for your marathon, so hold onto that. Fingers crossed for a speedy recovery! :)

    • October 3, 2013 / 1:03 pm

      Thanks Mary :) Very impressed you are doing an Ultra – which one is it? Glad to hear the pain has eased for you. I have been using a tennis ball, but might try a golf ball next!

  2. October 3, 2013 / 9:02 am

    I'm sorry to hear your run ended in pain – that must be awful. There's still time for you to get back to speed (literally) before NYC. Keep smiling even though it must be hard! You'll be out there again in no time.


    • October 3, 2013 / 1:05 pm

      It was just disappointing not to be able to get the full 17 miles in. But, like you say – I'll keep smiling and that will help, as will the new shorts I bought!x

  3. October 10, 2013 / 11:07 am

    What made it go? Sounds horrible!!!

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