#360fit: Countdown to Cape Town training diary

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Stuart talks through his recovery process.

A fracture of my middle metatarsal, the main load-bearing part of the foot, has realistically shattered my ambition to run a sub-3 marathon for the first time and made it unlikely I can even run in Cape Town on September 18.

I’m two weeks into a recovery programme that usually lasts six weeks minimum and my scheduled fourth marathon of 2016 is a similar length of time away. I’m not going to completely rule myself out yet and I will make a final decision on my participation around the end of August.

I feel like I’ve made some good progress in the early stages of getting back to full fitness and if I relinquished all hopes of competing now, it would deflate my motivation to return again quickly.

Whilst I’ve been trying to ensure my foot gets the rest it needs, it can be difficult given the fast-paced nature of working life in Dubai and everything else going on day-to-day.

My left foot is still strapped up in an Airboot and will be until I feel I can put more pressure on it and visit a specialist again.

Read my two previous diary entries, click on the links below:

1. #360fit: Countdown to Cape Town training diary – Chasing the sub-3 hour marathon running dream

2. #360fit: Countdown to Cape Town Marathon diary – Stress fracture of Metatarsal in left foot, start of recovery process

I’ve been trying a few interesting practices to help boost my recovery.

A friend of mine, Bryce Alford, who is a Dubai-based mind and body coach, motivational speaker and experienced runner, has been taking me through a series of mental visualization and stimulation techniques.

One of these is called ‘Tapping’ – which is known as a psychological acupuncture, without needles.

It uses acupressure points on the body by tapping on for example, the top of the head or collarbone area focusing on ‘the problem’, through the use of positive phrases and ridding yourself of the injury critics in your head. This helps to overcome physical, mental and emotional issues. In a way, it’s a kind of rewiring for the brain, sending shock waves, helping the body to speed up the recovery process.

Helping to alleviate thoughts of any anxiety around an injury can help you mentally stay fresh and although positive thoughts aren’t going to necessarily speed up the healing process, tapping has helped me to address the injury clearly.

It’s still early days for me and ‘Tapping’ but you will find more information on it, click here.

Nutritionally, I eat well generally but have tried to boost my fibre and protein intake with whole wheat, more fruit and vegetables. It’s more or less common sense but making that a greater effort can give me an extra few per cent.

Fluid-wise, keeping hydrated has been my main focus and my craving for sugar and energy drinks, which I tend to drink a lot of especially when training in the UAE summer, is not there because I’ve not been able to complete my normal level of cardio activity.

But on recommendation from Bryce again – my caffeine boost if you like has come from Ganoderma, which is the nutritional supplement known as the number one superfood and has been shown in studies to aid recovery – it can be found in Organo Gold Gourmet Black Coffee Cafe Noir along with other drinks. It’s obviously too early to say whether it has had any effect yet or will in the future, but it is definitely worth pursuing due to some of the nutritional and biological molecule advantages making up the coffee. I will provide an update on its effectiveness in the coming weeks but the chart below clearly reveals its benefits, with it containing ingredient the Ganoderma:


Moreover, with any injury, it creates a good excuse to maybe neglect exercise completely. And while I’ve continued to go for upper body strength sessions in the gym and light swimming, it’s obviously not easy for me to get around and as a result has made me realise that if you’re a bit creative you can work out almost just as well from the comfort of your own bedroom or living area.

It’s easy to work the core muscle groups with various sit-up exercises, involving bicycle crunches, leg raises, cross punch sit ups and planks – from just lying down on the floor.

Press-ups, tricep dips (literally on any small counter or window ledge you have in your home) and pull-ups can provide a great, free easy workout. Post-workout, I’ve been drinking a protein shake to aid recovery and build muscle, and I also spend time in the sauna to help flush the toxins from my body and eliminate fatigue.

As you can see from the headline picture, foam rollers and hard balls for the joints are also an important aid in my recovery plan – they are crucial to help free up the muscles and reduce any strain.

I’ve covered a breadth of processes I’m going through to boost my recovery, and although most are trial and error, I’ve enjoyed the challenge of staying pro-active and not letting my injury get the best of me.

Mind and body coach Bryce Alford is a two-time Guinness World Record Holder for completing 50 miles and 100kms on a treadmill, has completed a mega run for charity which saw him run 200kms non-stop in 24 hours and he was a finalist in BBC3’s ultra endurance competition Hercules. You can visit his ‘Running Genius’ Facebook Page.

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