Will a fitness MOT break the cycle of competence, then laziness?
- Fitness tips: injury-preventing exercises for runners
“What’s your running goal?” says Rob, still in the consulting-room phase of my running MOT. I can’t immediately think of one, and maybe that’s the problem, but I arrive at it eventually. I want to stop giving up. I’m trapped in a cycle of getting quite competent – a half-hour 5k that doesn’t kill me, then tailing off and having to start from scratch. Laziness is like gravity: obviously I am lazy, but I think of my laziness as a constant, so it can’t explain why I sometimes run and other times don’t.
I find it hard to imagine how examining my technique will help, but that’s because I’m not imagining hard enough. Any improvement in style will make running less taxing. I start with a moderate walk along a corridor. My arches are fine. (But maybe yours aren’t: a lot of strain and injury, the main causes of losing your running mojo, can be prevented by orthopaedic insoles.) I do a couple of squats, a lunge and a half squat. My left side is weaker than my right, which I knew (old traffic injury, 1978!). But I did not know the degree to which this had altered the muscle balance in my right leg, so that the outer muscle was stronger than the inner, which has given me “patella maltracking”, ie my kneecap doesn’t fit congruently with the femur groove. I love the language of physios, somewhere between grammar and discos. This is why I occasionally feel like my knee will give out and never be the same again; this is also why I sometimes but not always I tail off with my regime.