I finally saw a physio on Friday and it was both enlightening and reassuring. I had to wait 7 weeks for the appointment which was frustrating in one sense but at least it gave my back time to seemingly get better and then regress a second time so I knew the problem wasn’t a one off. However on the morning of my appointment I felt better than I had done for many weeks. The physio wasn’t too bothered about all my ailments of a couple of months ago and only assessed me as I stood that morning. It was great to hear that there was no underlying skeletal problem; no slipped discs etc. but he quickly spotted some muscular issues. By pushing my legs back over me as I lay facing upwards he found that my hamstrings were tight and my left much more so than my right which might explain the recent twist in my body. My calves are tight too.
The physio was a dualthlete himself and very understanding of what I have been doing over the last few months so there was no mention of me cutting out any of my activities. I’d mistakenly thought that running might counter my cycling and lengthen my hamstrings but no, running was just compounding the tightening that had occurred over months and years of regular cycling. The answer is simply to stretch regularly. Later that day I spoke to a very keen cycling colleague (and sometime track racer) and asked him whether he stretched. Ben showed me that he could easily bend and place his palms on the floor. He doesn’t stretch regularly but his natural body shape is such that he doesn’t have to worry about tight hamstrings. I will naturally ease off cycling and running over the next few weeks, especially with snow and ice on the roads and pavements but whilst indoors I’ll have to develop the discipline of stretching a few times a day. I was tight again on Sunday morning so had an early morning soak in a hot Radox bath, gently kneading my legs and then spent 20 minutes stretching straight afterwards, that seemed to help.
The Orca S2 wetsuit I ordered from Wiggle arrived today ready to be forwarded on to Santa. They had a £20 reduction on orders over £100 this weekend so just had to find a pair of Aqua sphere open water goggles to take me over the threshold. I tried it on tonight and it took about 20 minutes to get to the point where I could finally zip it up – it’s rather a snug fit. The first transition requires you remove it in a matter of seconds and this is going to take some practice. I’ve got about 5 months to prepare for the first training open water swim in Salford Quays and the water wasn’t looking too inviting today as I walked past en-route to the Lowry for a lunchtime doner kebab (The Brownlees swear by them – honest!).