Published: 28/03/2019

Hi, my name is Soph and I am running the London Marathon on the 28th April 2019 in aid of Lepra.

After securing a place to run the London Marathon to support Lepra, to say I felt a sense of thrill and gratitude, would be an understatement. I felt ecstatic!

Interning at Lepra – Fundraising and Communications Intern

I learned more about leprosy and lymphatic filariasis during my time as an intern at Lepra, gaining in-depth knowledge about what they do to help those affected. What shocked me most was learning that leprosy is a curable disease. However, due to a lack of education and awareness there is frequently prejudice attached to the disease - over 3 million people are still living with undiagnosed leprosy globally. Consequently, they do not receive the treatment and care they need.


Starting Training

In my eagerness to start training, I set up the goal on the Nike Running App, made an additional training plan that was flexible around my work and social activities, and increased the amount of carbohydrates in my diet.

However, during a weekly hockey match, I twisted my knee. I didn’t think much of it apart from thinking ‘ouch, that hurt’ at the time, and continued to play the remainder of the game. I realised I had done some serious damage after driving home; I could barely move my leg and could not weight bear on my left knee to walk into my house.

The GP later told me I had sprained my knee and needed to take time out of marathon training, or even defer my place until 2020, in order for my knee to recover. Referring my place to me was not an option. I went to see a physiotherapist who gave me exercises and a whole new altered training plan. He told me I needed to do these exercises at least 3 times a week, and to R.I.C.E – rest, ice, compress, and elevate my knee. Yet, once he realised I was training for the marathon, he insisted that I do these exercises twice daily!

Maintaining Motivation After Injury - Accept that you will fall behind your ‘ideal’ training regime

If you are a very sporty person like me, having an injury can feel like a major set-back, but it really is not the end of the world. If your training continues as it was before your injury, then you are essentially setting yourself up for a lot of disappointment, and risk further injury. This is why it is vital to adapt your training regime to one that is realistic, it will actually fuel your fire again because you will feel satisfied that you can accomplish it. After I accepted that this was my time to regain strength, by building up my muscles around my sprained knee, the road to recovery became much easier.

Me starting training again, with my very supportive knee brace!

Try not to over-exert yourself – Baby steps are better than no steps!

Although my motivation to train was back again, and my knee was feeling a lot better from the daily physio exercises and using weights and machines in the gym as instructed. I was aware that I shouldn’t set my expectations too high. Admittedly, it feels amazing when a short walk/run/physio exercises no longer causes knee pain, and it is hard not to get carried away and push yourself even further straight away. This is why patience is truly a virtue, and will help your future training and your performance during the end goal – the small matter of 26.2miles!

Remember your whyYou are raising crucial funds for a great cause

Together we can #BeatLeprosy

Top tips for training after injury:

  1. Accept that you will have to compromise your way of training before the injury. Your priority is your long-term health!
  2. Re-set your goals and training regime so that it is realistic and achievable (‘SMART’ is a useful tool for setting specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound goals)
  3. Reward yourself for resting, completing your physio exercises, as well as, increasing your mileage
  4. Hold your ‘why’ close to your heart throughout your training – this will keep you going on race day

 

You can show support for Soph by visiting her fundraising page:

Beat Leprosy