What’s the worst injury you’ve had?
The worst injury I've ever had has been a tear in my lateral meniscal cartilage in my right knee. It stems from an old american football injury and I had surgery in 2009 and 2016 on the same knee. It flared up again after a fall in the mountains in 2016, but only became a proper issue a few months later at the European 24hr Champs. The worst injury during a race has been chaffing, so I'm lucky like that. I'm pretty strong for a long distance runner so I think that helps.
Physically I had surgery and then three months off. I work really closely with Sarah Tunstall in Chamonix, a friend and physio who helped me build a stronger core during the time off and then strengthen and ease back into my running. Working with an excellent physio like Sarah really helped me ease back into running.
How did you recover physically and mentally?
It was was a bit boost mentally to be working on weaknesses and not feel like I was just waiting for an injury to heal. I like to have a plan and Sarah helped me with that. We knew what we were aiming towards and as a high level mountain runner herself, Sarah knew the thought processes I would be going through, that I'd be itching to get back into running and might rush it a little.
What are your thoughts on Sportsinjuryfix.com?
Sportsinjuryfix.com, a search engine for local experts is a great idea. I've always just asked on twitter etc. There is so much self-diagnosis and random people diagnosis on the internet. I am often telling people to seek help from a specialist when they ask me about injuries. I know my areas of knowledge. I'll definitley be making sure to let the athletes I work with know about sportsinjuryfix.com and others that ask. I often get stuck as my contacts are mainly SE based so when I coach an athlete elsewhere I am unable to recommend someone.
What are your top tips for staying injury free for ultras?
See a physio or sports therapist on a regular basis. Prehab is better than rehab and a physio can help spot imbalances and weaknesses before they become a problem. Don't neglect things like core work, strength & conditioning, stretching, drills and a bit of foam rolling. All this little things keep you healthy in the long term. Also don't rush back after races. Your body and mind need a rest after an ultra and rushing back too quickly is a sure fire route onto the injury table.
Any further tips?
You don't have to run 100s & 100s of miles to be an ultra runner. Find out what works for you and understand that we all have different limits, normally down to the lifestyle we lead, genetics and a bit of luck. Run fast every now and again, it's good for you and will keep the injuries away if done correctly.
Find your nearest running injury specialist at sportsinjuryfix.com