British 10K- Training Diary

London British 10K: 14 Days to go!

On Sunday 9th July, I will be running 10K for the Scoliosis Campaign Fund in the iconic London British 10k! This will involve a flat, fast 10K through London’s most famed sites.

I have also signed up for another challenge for scoliosis after this. In October, I will be taking on a trek of the Great Wall of China. This will involve 9 days of hiking on challenging and uphill terrain (a post on this is coming soon!)

Through these activities, I want to raise money and much needed awareness of scoliosis. But not only that, I want to inspire others who are suffering with the condition and show that having scoliosis doesn’t have to stop you from achieving your dreams.

The Scoliosis Campaign Fund raises money to support people with scoliosis and their families, and fund research into finding the causes of scoliosis and treatments to improve quality of life for patients.

So, with just 14 days to go until my first scoliosis challenge, I thought I’d write a post to share my training over the last few weeks!

Luckily, I have Strava to help keep a record of everything I do so I can remember… 🙂


Sunday 28th May: Great Manchester Run (10K)

Great Manchester Run

I have already written a blog post on the Great Manchester Run so I won’t repeat myself too much! I spent months training for this event, which I wanted to use as a kind of practice for the London British 10K in July. This was my first ever timed 10K race and I had an amazing time. It was tough as it was quite a humid day but the atmosphere was incredible. I managed to finish under 60 minutes too which was a huge achievement for me (and a PB!)

Thursday 1st June: BODYPUMP

BodyPump

After the Great Manchester Run, I had seriously bad DOMs (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) in my legs and the running also took its toll on my back and shoulders! For this reason, I had a few days off from training.

On the Thursday after, I started feeling ok again and headed to the gym for BodyPump. I love BodyPump and have written a few posts on it before.

For me, BodyPump is a great complement to running as it helps to strengthen all the muscles in the body, which is crucial to prevent injuries,

 

Saturday 3rd June: 7.7Km run

7.7km Run

 

This was the first training run that I did after the Great Manchester Run, almost a week after the event. I was surprised how much this event took it out of me!

I managed a steady 7.7km which took me 45 minutes – even if I did get a bit wet in the rain!

Theatening Clouds on my run

 

Sunday 4th June: 9.2km walk up and down hills

Instead of running again today, I decided on a walk with a friend as it’s important to mix things up.

We walked a part of the Sandstone Trail in Cheshire – Bickerton Hill. I’ve done this walk a few times so it wasn’t too challenging, although there were a few steep climbs and steps. The views across Cheshire are amazing though, so it’s worth it 🙂

Bickerton Hill

 

Tuesday 6th June: 7.3km run

Windy Run

I had Monday as a rest day, then on the Tuesday I went for a run after work. It was a really windy day so I struggled quite a bit and my pace was a bit slower than usual.

 

Thursday 8th June: 7.4km run

7.4k run

Wednesday was a rest day, so I headed out for another run on Thursday evening after work. I managed 7.4km which I was pretty pleased with!

 

Sunday 11th June: Tatton Park 10K

 

My friend asked me to do the Tatton Park 10K with her and, in a moment of madness after the Manchester 10K, I booked it! To be honest, I wasn’t really looking forward to it as the Manchester 10K really took it out of me. But I thought it would be good as a longer training run for the British 10K. It was a horrifically early start for a Sunday too – I had to get up at 6.30am for an 8.30am race start!

Tatton Park 10K

It was a really nice course though through pretty grounds and mostly flat. Tatton Park is a historic estate with 1,000 acres of lavish gardens and a deer park, so the views were lovely, although I was disappointed that I didn’t spot any deer!

I ran the race with my friend, she is much faster than me but wanted to take it easy so ran at my pace. Although I think running with her must have sped me up as I managed to complete this 10K even quicker than the Manchester one. My time was 57.22 – a new PB. Either that or early morning running could be my new thing (I normally run in the evening).

Considering the first 10K I ever did took me 1hr 20 minutes, I was pretty chuffed with this improvement in my time! Actually, scratch that, I was in total shock!

Overall, I was really impressed with this event. It was really well organised and the grounds were awesome, not to mention the friendly marshalls. They have another 10K here in November which I might sign up for when it’s closer.

Tatton Park

Thursday 15th June: 7km Run

After the Tatton Park 10K, I had a few days off from training to let my body recover and headed out for an evening run on the Thursday after the Tatton Park event.

Run 7Km

 

Saturday 17th June: Mount Snowdon!

Mount Snowdon

Now, this was a challenge! I was on holiday in Wales this weekend (glamping!) and we were staying right by Mount Snowdon (the highest mountain in Wales!) So we (stupidly?) decided to trek up (and down!) it while we were there. The weather was a challenge, as it was a hot day, but other than that conditions were pretty good. Clear blue skies = amazing views!

I have actually walked up Snowdon before when I was only 1 year, 8 months post my scoliosis surgery so I kind of knew what to expect. Although on reflection, the first time was much harder because the weather was poor (rainy and misty with it being March) and I was much weaker than I am now, so I struggled much more the first time.

This time, I still struggled with the steep climbs despite all the running I do. However, I found the “scrambling” parts much easier. I think the months of body pump squats and lunges have made me much stronger!

It was about 6 hours of walking overall (3 hours up, 3 hours down) and it gave me a bit of an insight into what the Great Wall of China might be like. It also made me realise that I’m not as fit as I like to think as I am, as I did struggle with some of the steepest parts. I think it’s great training for China though and I might try and fit another training hike up Snowdon in before my China trip.

 

Monday 19th June: 6.4km Run

Evening Run

Anyone that lives in the UK will know we had a bit of a heatwave this week, well a heatwave by UK standards anyway!  So it was still around 28 degrees Celsius when I went out for my evening run, which was a bit hot for me to run in as I’m not used to running in the heat. I still gave it a good go though as I didn’t want to let my training slip!

I managed to do 6.4km, although the heat did affect me and I did struggle to run at my usual pace.

 

 

Wednesday 21st June: 5.5km Run

Sweaty Run

This was another scorcher of a day for the UK and it was another hot evening run, I think it was about 28/29 degrees Celsius when I went out after work. I didn’t really feel like going out tonight as I was too hot and bothered and feeling sluggish from work.

To be honest, I really had to force myself but I still went out as I wanted to keep on top of my training for the British 10K. I struggled in the heat though and kept my pace fairly steady. I was a right sweaty mess after this one I can tell you!

 

Friday 23rd June: BODYPUMP

Body Pump

I decided to take a break from running tonight and go to a BodyPump class at my gym. I try to go to BodyPump once or twice a week usually but have struggled to fit it in over the past few weeks. It felt great to get back to BodyPump tonight as it’s one of my favourite classes.

I love the feeling of getting my body stronger and I really do think that going to BodyPump classes over the past year has contributed to the improvement in my running.

 

Sunday 25th June: Colshaw Hall 10K

So, this morning I was kind of regretting the Friday night Body Pump as I had seriously bad DOMS/muscle pain in my legs from all the squats!  I could hardly walk let alone run 😉

Despite this though,  this morning I took part in the Colshaw Hall 10K in Knustford (my third chip timed race this year and ever). Unlike the Tatton Park 10K, I’ve had this one booked for a fair while and wanted to use it as part of my training for the British 10K.

Overall, I really enjoyed it! It was fairly flat (apart from a killer hill at the 7km mark which I was pre-warned about!!). It took us through some rather plush areas of Cheshire, down the leafy country lanes – we ran past some rather nice big houses and also Jodrell Bank, which was pretty cool.

I decided not to push myself with this one, as I didn’t want to injure myself before the British 10K.

I wasn’t trying for a PB or anything, I just wanted to complete it!  So I took a steady pace and in the end I finished 59.05, which was similar to the Great Manchester Run (59.09) but not as quick as the Tatton Park 10K (57.22). Still, I’m really pleased that I managed to get under an hour and that it didn’t actually feel too bad at all! I have definitely come a long way with my running. Plus, my legs were ok once I got going, tomorrow may be a different story though…!

I was also glad that the mini heatwave we were having in the UK last week finished in time for this event. It was actually perfect running temperature for me, about 15C and cloudy!

Colshaw Hall 10K

The only downside was that I had to run with a full bladder because the queues for the toilets at the start were mahoosive! Note to self: leave earlier next time…

It was worth it for the huge medal though!

Colshaw Hall 10K medal


Please help me to support the Scoliosis Campaign Fund! 🙂

Phew! It’s only writing it all down that I’ve realised how much I’ve actually been doing. No wonder I’m always hungry..

Seriously though, this is pretty much a standard month for me. When I’m not training for a specific event I usually have more of a mix of different gym classes thrown in too. This month though, I’ve been focusing on running and running events in preparation for the British 10K.

After the British 10K, I will most likely tone down the running and focus more on hikes and trekking to prepare for my Great Wall of China challenge in October.


If you’d like to sponsor me for these events and raise money for those affected by scoliosis, I have set up a Virgin Money Giving page for both events below:

Make a donation using Virgin Money Giving

 

Through Virgin Money Giving, donations will be quickly processed and passed to the Scoliosis Campaign Fund.

Virgin Money Giving is a not for profit organisation and will claim gift aid on a charity’s behalf where the donor is eligible for this.

I really appreciate all your support and thank you in advance for any donations.

 

Louise X

China Trek Day 2 - Gubeikou

I had scoliosis surgery in 2010 and blog about my experiences living with scoliosis. My aim is to raise awareness of scoliosis and help and inspire others with the condition.

British 10K Scoliosis

British 10K – 9th July 2017

British 10K – 9th July 2017

It’s getting closer now!

In just under a month’s time, I will be running the British 10K in London to raise money for the Scoliosis Campaign Fund. Eeeek!

After everything that has happened in London recently, I’m excited and proud to be involved in this event. It will be good to come together in a celebration of London and everything British. In light of the recent events, I imagine the atmosphere will be even more incredible and similar to that of the Great Manchester Run.


 

Why am I running this event?

After being diagnosed with severe scoliosis at 14 and later having scoliosis surgery at age 24, I have always wanted to do something to raise money for the Scoliosis Campaign Fund.

Now, 7 years after my scoliosis surgery, I am doing something that I never thought I’d be able to do. I am running 10K in the British 10K event in a bid to raise awareness of scoliosis and to raise money for the Scoliosis Campaign Fund.

The Scoliosis Campaign Fund raises money to support people with scoliosis and their families. They also fund research into finding the causes of scoliosis and treatments to improve quality of life for patients.


Training

 

I won’t lie, running doesn’t come naturally to me and training has been hard.

I have been running several times a week since January, in combination with Body Pump and other classes at the gym. I have also been going to Park Run most Saturdays which has helped me loads. I took part in the Great Manchester 10K a couple of weeks ago and I have another couple of 10K events before the British 10K as practice.

I am concerned about over-doing things though.  The Great Manchester 10K really took it out of me. Ever since the Great Manchester run, my shoulder is sore, my lower back is sore and I get stitch every time I run. I also have a disgusting blood blister on my toe!

However, all of this is worth it if I can raise funds and awareness of scoliosis.

There’s not long to go now so if you’d like to support me and the scoliosis campaign fund you can do so by sponsoring me below… I’d be forever grateful!!


Make a donation using Virgin Money Giving

Louise X

China Trek Day 2 - Gubeikou

I had scoliosis surgery in 2010 and blog about my experiences living with scoliosis. My aim is to raise awareness of scoliosis and help and inspire others with the condition.

Great Manchester Run

The Great Manchester Run… Wow!

I had an absolutely AMAZING day yesterday and just felt like I had to share it on my blog. Yesterday I took part in the Great Manchester Run (10K). This was the first ever competitive timed race that I have ever taken part in. I have done fun runs before but this year I decided that I wanted to push myself even further and get serious about my running.

When I signed up to the Great Manchester run back in January, I could only just about run 5K and I had no idea how big of an event it was! I was really nervous when I realised that it was a huge event, that it was televised on BBC1 and that there were even celebrities running!

After the horrific terror attack in Manchester last week, I wasn’t sure if the run would go ahead and if it did, I wasn’t sure at first if I should still run in the event. But do you know what? I am so glad that it went ahead and I’m glad I did the run.

I will admit that Monday’s events did make me anxious about taking part but I’m so honoured and proud to have been involved. The atmosphere and support from the crowd was just INCREDIBLE, it’s hard to put into words.

Great Manchester Run

As I was in the “green” wave, my start time was quite late (14.40) and so we arrived around lunch time and watched a few of the other “waves” of runners set off. It was such an incredible and inspirational sight to see thousands of defiant runners raising money for great causes, in spite of the tragic events of last week.

Many of the runners (including myself) wore yellow ribbons to show support to those who lost their lives in the terror attack and there was a minutes silence before the start of each “wave.” It was a very emotional day.

Great Manchester Run

 Great Manchester Run

When it was my turn, I was incredibly nervous but determined to give it a go and do the city proud.

I have been training hard since January, attending Park Run most Saturday’s and doing several short runs a week. However, I still wasn’t sure if I’d be able to complete the 10K distance. I decided though to just go and show my support to the city, enjoy the atmosphere and not aim for a specific time.

Once I set off, I had no idea what pace I was running as I failed to start my run keeper app at the start, which made it difficult to know if I was running at my usual pace or quicker/slower.

I won’t lie, I did find the run incredibly difficult. I got stitch half way round but the cheering of the crowd, high fives and the support from the other runners kept me going.

When I got close to the finish line and could see the timer counting down for my wave, I was shocked to see that it said 59 minutes!

I have never completed 10K in less than 60 minutes, in fact the last 10K I did for Race for Life two years ago, took me 1 hour 17 minutes!

As soon as I saw the timer counting down, I sprinted hard towards the finish line to try and get below 60 minutes and I managed it – just. My final “official” time was 59:09.

I’m super proud of myself and of all the other runners that took part in yesterday’s event. The atmosphere is something I will never forget and I hope to take part again next year 🙂 Plus, I managed to raise over £250 for The Christie – wahey!

I love you, Manchester <3

Great Manchester Run


If you’d like to support the families affected by the Manchester terror attack, the Manchester Evening news have set up a crowdfunding page where you can donate to help support the families of those killed and injured in the attack.

Louise X

China Trek Day 2 - Gubeikou

I had scoliosis surgery in 2010 and blog about my experiences living with scoliosis. My aim is to raise awareness of scoliosis and help and inspire others with the condition.

RunforManchester

I’m proud to be running the Great Manchester Run

When I signed up for The Great Manchester Run back in January, I could never have predicted the horrific events that would happen in Manchester in the days leading up to it.

I first signed up as a personal challenge for myself and as training for the London Run in July, which I’m doing to raise money for the Scoliosis Association UK.

A few months ago, I couldn’t even run 10K. I have been training hard since January, attending Park Run most Saturdays and running several times a week in the rain, wind, cold and sun to try and get my fitness levels (and back) up to running the 10K distance.

As with most of the UK (and the rest of the world), this week I have felt shocked, confused, upset and numb after the events in Manchester on Monday. Living in Cheshire, Manchester is not far from me, I go there all the time and was in the Manchester Arena myself only a few weeks ago. Like many others, I still can’t get my head around what has happened and why it happened.

I do not find running easy and I have only just about managed to run 10K once in the past couple of weeks.

I will struggle, there’s no doubt about it! But I’m glad the run is still going ahead and the tragic events have made me even more determined to run then ever before. I think the atmosphere will be emotional and incredible and I’m proud to be part of it and show my support to the city.

I’ll be running on Sunday for The Christie but also for Manchester and all those affected by the tragic events this week.  If you’d like to sponsor me, I’d be eternally grateful 🙂 you can do so here.


#RunForManchester

China Trek Day 2 - Gubeikou

I had scoliosis surgery in 2010 and blog about my experiences living with scoliosis. My aim is to raise awareness of scoliosis and help and inspire others with the condition.

Running Park Run Quote

Park Run Progress – 3 PB’s in a row (wow)

This morning I did Park Run and I thought I’d just do a quick update on how I’m getting on. 🙂

Park Run has recently become a bit of a Saturday morning routine for me. I get up early (7am), have breakfast and head over to Delamere Forest for the start time of 9am.

It’s funny how much I’ve changed recently but I’d actually much rather do Park Run than go out partying on a Friday night (what’s happened to my life?)

Anyways…I have now done 4 Park Runs at Delamere Forest AND I’ve managed to get PB’s on the last 3 runs! (Not quite sure how that’s happened…)

Why Park Run?

It was my New Year Resolution this year to start going to Park Run. The main reason behind it was to help with training for the London 10K race I have signed up to to raise money for the Scoliosis Association in July. I have also signed up to the Great Manchester Run (10K) in May. In a way though, I am now dreading this as I’m not sure I’m ready for 10K yet…

My first Park Run was back in January and at the time, I was so pleased with my time (33.27).  For me, it was a huge achievement to actually attend a Park Run and get a “decent” time (i.e somewhere in the middle of the pack!) It highlighted to me that my fitness was relatively good and that my back could cope ok with running 5K (wahoo!)

Since January, I have done 3 more Park Runs and my times are as follows:

Park Run Stats

So I’ve managed to shave 3 minutes off my time since January!

Now, I’m fully aware that these times are probably crap for some people! When I first started running a couple of years ago though, I was running 5K in around 40 minutes. So it just shows how far I’ve come. 🙂 I believe that anything is possible if you work hard enough.

I have been supplementing my running training with Body Pump classes, spin classes and HIIT training at my gym. Walking is also important, most days I try to get my goal of 10K steps. I truly believe that this extra training has helped to improve my fitness and 5K times.

Don’t get me wrong, today’s Park Run was not easy. I pushed myself HARD to get that time and it wasn’t exactly comfortable (this wasn’t down to my back though!) But it’s a start and I can now work on improving each week. The good thing about Park Run is it’s highly motivating and it makes me push myself more than if I was running alone.

For me, it also shows that anything is possible after scoliosis surgery. 


If you are interested in finding out more about Park Run, check out their website here – Park Run. It’s free to register and you can walk, jog or run 5K (you don’t have to run).  They have free, weekly timed 5K’s around the world!

China Trek Day 2 - Gubeikou

I had scoliosis surgery in 2010 and blog about my experiences living with scoliosis. My aim is to raise awareness of scoliosis and help and inspire others with the condition.

parkrun

Park Run Delamere Forest…a new PB!!

I’m so happy right now!

I just came home from my second Park Run at Delamere Forest and I managed to get a new PB!

Back in January, I went to my first ever Park Run at Delamere Forest. It was cold, dark, raining and generally bad conditions for running.

Despite this though, I still managed to get a time of 33 minutes and I was so proud of myself.

I haven’t managed to get back to Park Run since January as life has kind of got in the way. I was determined to go this weekend though as I’m conscious that my 10K London race for the Scoliosis Campaign Fund is coming up and Park Run is great training for that. Plus, it was a lovely sunny morning and perfect conditions for running.

This time, I was much more organised as I knew the drill. I arrived 10 minutes before the start time of 9am and made sure I was wearing my heart rate monitor and that my Runkeeper app was ready to go. I also made sure I had my headphones on ready so I could listen to my music and Runkeeper progress. Last time I didn’t get myself sorted in time and so had no music to listen to!

This time there were also A LOT more runners there, I think because it was such a sunny day compared to last time.

Park Run

I also wore better trainers this time. Last time I wore my gym trainers and they pretty much got ruined as it was sooo wet and muddy. I also nearly slipped on the mud last time and nearly twisted my ankle a few times too as it’s quite rocky underfoot and there are tree roots and things sticking out.  After my first Park Run, I bought some Karrimor trail runner trainers which are much better for the off-road conditions, like those at Delamere Forest.

park run

It was the first time I wore these trainers but I have to say I was impressed. They weren’t particularly expensive but the grip made such a difference. They are also waterproof too so if I do go on a wet day again in future, I don’t need to worry. The other thing I did was purchase a Park Run card. This is basically just a card with your name, phone number and barcode on the back. It just makes it easier as if you pop it in your purse you never have to worry about forgetting your barcode in future. I got one because on the first Park Run it was so wet that my paper barcode wouldn’t scan properly which caused a bit of delay at the finish line. So all in all, I felt like this time everything went much more smoothly!

A new PB

Last time my time was 33 minutes and 27 seconds. For me, this was a HUGE achievement! I didn’t even know if I’d be able to run the full 5K let alone finish at a decent time. This time last year, it took my around 40 minutes to run 5K, so I’ve improved so much. Today, I did push myself. I knew I wanted to beat my last time, the conditions were better this time and I was better prepared.

Today, I managed to get a time of 31 minutes!

I’m so pleased with this, although it wasn’t easy. Especially the last hill at the end! I did push myself quite a bit and I’m slightly worried how I will manage to do my 10K race as I was completely knackered after running 5K at this pace… I’m going to keep going though and will hopefully find it easier over time and keep improving. The best thing is that, even though it was a struggle, my back felt great! It may have been down to the adrenaline, or maybe the trainers I’m not sure but my back didn’t hurt one bit. I have been working on strengthening my back over the last 9 months so I feel like this is really paying off. Although, of course I have good and bad days and it will probably start hurting tomorrow!

#LoveParkRun

Overall, I think I run much better in a group like Park Run than when I run by myself. I think it’s because my competitive side comes out and I push myself more. It’s a fantastic, friendly atmosphere and I really can’t recommend it enough. I feel on a high all day 🙂

Have you ever been to Park Run? Tell me about your experiences in the comments below!

Until next time!

Louise X

Park Run

China Trek Day 2 - Gubeikou

I had scoliosis surgery in 2010 and blog about my experiences living with scoliosis. My aim is to raise awareness of scoliosis and help and inspire others with the condition.

British London 10K Run - Westminster

British 10k London Run

I’m so excited!

This week it was confirmed that I have a place in the British 10K London run on 9th July and I’ll be running to raise money for the Scoliosis Campaign Fund.

The British 10K London run takes runners through some of  London’s most iconic sites, such as Trafalgar Square, the Embankment, Big Ben and more.

The Scoliosis Campaign Fund raises money to support people with scoliosis and their families, and fund research into finding the causes of scoliosis and treatments to improve quality of life for patients. There is more information on the great work the Scoliosis Campaign Fund do in this useful information sheet.

Raising money for scoliosis…

I’ve been wanting to do something to raise awareness of scoliosis and raise money for the Scoliosis Campaign Fund for absolutely ages, I just wasn’t sure what to do. When I saw an article in BackBone magazine about the British 10K London run last year, it inspired me to get involved and I knew that 2017 had to be the year.

It would be my ultimate dream to run the London Marathon for the Scoliosis Campaign Fund, but I am nowhere near ready in terms of fitness and honestly, I don’t think my back could take it.

At the moment, I can just about run 5K and will need to train over the coming weeks in order to work myself up to 10K, so I’m ready for the event.

Scoliosis Campaign Fund T Shirt
Scoliosis Campaign Fund T Shirt

10K Training

As part of my training, I plan to follow a 10K training plan online, whilst also attending any Park Run I can and doing my usual spin classes and Body Pump classes at the gym. Over the past few weeks, I have been running (or jogging!) about 20-30minutes several times a week, as I am also doing the Great Manchester Run in May.

I do find running difficult at times with my back but I am determined to do this in order to raise money and awareness of scoliosis, especially as I never thought I’d ever be able to do anything like this following my scoliosis surgery.

A personal achievement

After my scoliosis surgery, I had to learn to walk all over again. I couldn’t bathe or dress myself and had to have help just getting out of bed. Running a 10K race for the Scoliosis Campaign Fund shows how far I’ve come and I will continue to keep pushing and challenging myself further to achieve my goals.

The British 10k London Run is a major fundraising event for the Scoliosis Campaign Fun and I’m really excited to be involved! I plan on posting regular updates on here with my progress and how I’m getting on with my training.

If you’d like to sponsor me and help to support the fantastic work of the Scoliosis Campaign Fund, you can do so by clicking the button below 🙂

Sponsor me on Virgin Money Giving

Thank you!

Louise X

P.s. if you’d also like to get involved in raising money for the Scoliosis Campaign Fund, there are loads of great fundraising ideas, resources and events you could get involved with available here – Scoliosis Campaign Fund – Fundraising Ideas.

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British 10k London Run - Support the Scoliosis Campaign Fund

China Trek Day 2 - Gubeikou

I had scoliosis surgery in 2010 and blog about my experiences living with scoliosis. My aim is to raise awareness of scoliosis and help and inspire others with the condition.

Running with Scoliosis

Running with Scoliosis: My Top Tips

This post contains affiliate links.


Recently, I’ve been doing quite a bit of running. I completed my first Park Run in January and signed up to a few 10K races plus a 5K fun run this year.

So, should I be running with scoliosis?

The honest answer is I don’t really know.

I enjoy it, which is why I do it. I love the feeling I get after a run and the endorphins. It’s a great stress reliever and I love the fact that I can do it despite my scoliosis. I also love seeing myself improve and getting fitter and faster – especially because running is something I had always thought I wouldn’t be able to do post scoliosis surgery.

I do find running hard when I’m doing it but the sense of achievement I feel afterwards is addictive. Sometimes I worry that I’m putting pressure on the lower discs in my spine (that are unfused) by running. When I had my final post surgery checkup about a year after my surgery though, I asked my surgeon whether there was anything I can’t do. His answer was no – you can do anything. So that’s exactly what I do…!

I must admit I only started running a couple of years ago, which was 5 years after my scoliosis surgery. It did feel a bit strange at first and I had to gradually build up to running longer distances by mixing walking and running.


My top tips for running with scoliosis

I’m of the opinion that scoliosis shouldn’t stop anyone from running if they want to and feel able. However, scoliosis causes muscle in-balances, which can make those of us with scoliosis more prone to injury. I myself have injured my shoulder muscles as a result of running and as a result I’m learning to adapt my running and training regime to put less strain on my back.

These are a few tips I’ve learnt over the past couple of years running with scoliosis (post scoliosis surgery):


Don’t push yourself too hard

This is really important and I learnt this the hard way. It’s important to build up gradually – don’t try to run too far and too fast too soon. I injured my shoulder muscles by pushing myself too hard. I stupidly gave myself a few weeks to train for a 10K race having never ran in my life. Don’t do this!! If you are used to running, that’s different. But when you have scoliosis you need to be patient with yourself and pushing yourself could cause injury. Try a couch to 5K programme or mix running with walking to start with. Listen to your body and if your back starts hurting stop or take a rest.


Build up your strength

Having strong muscles is vital for running to prevent injury. Again, I learnt this the hard way and have always been afraid of weights etc in case I damage my back. This was the WRONG thing to do as it left me very weak and vulnerable to injury. I now know that it’s vital to complement running with strengthening exercises such as Pilates or any exercises focusing on the core muscles. I have been doing Body Pump classes for about 6 months now and am looking to start a class that just focuses on the core muscles soon. Exercises like The Plank are fantastic for building core strength.


Wear decent trainers

 

Decent trainers can make a HUGE difference to the impact on your spine and help to reduce back pain. I love Skechers memory foam trainers (I have a couple of pairs now) as they absorb the impact on your spine.


Make sure you stretch regularly

This is important for any runner but when you have scoliosis, the muscle in-balances can make your muscles feel extra tight. This is because one side often has to work harder than the other side and as a result the muscles become overworked and tired. I get really tight muscles down one side of my back due to this and a good stretch really helps. I really like the bottom to heels stretch and this Pilates for scoliosis book has some great stretches for scoliosis.


Take rest days and mix it up!

 

Make sure you rest in between runs. After a 5K or 10K run my lower back DOES hurt and I need a rest. I find if I run 30 or 40 minutes for say two days in a row, my back will start to hurt and my shoulder starts twinging. I’m not sure I could run every day for example. I think it’s the repetitiveness of running that my back muscles don’t like, as I injured my shoulder when I was running almost every day training for a 10K. So I now try to vary my cardio by mixing running with other exercises such as the cross trainer and spin classes.  I think it’s important to not overdo running and mix it in with other things to reduce the strain on your back muscles.


Don’t compare yourself to others

This is the crucial one! I am so guilty of this. I compare myself to everyone all the time. For example, there’s people who I go to the gym with who can run faster than me and I hate it. I wish I could run as fast as the people at Park Run who can finish a 5K in under 20 minutes. It’s important though to remember your limitations. Running with scoliosis doesn’t mean you can’t run as fast as others but you should pace yourself. And be proud of what you CAN do!

Running with Scoliosis

 

I personally find running fast very difficult and it feels more comfortable on my back when I am jogging at a gentle pace. When I try to go faster I end up hurting myself or feeling pain. Everyone’s different and I am just SO grateful that I can even run 5K, 10K etc, as I never thought it would even be possible.

The important thing when running with scoliosis is to start gradually and build strength in the back, core and legs which will help to build up speed and distance safely over time.


Do you have scoliosis and do any running? What are your experiences and have you got any tips? I would love to hear from you – let me know in the comments below 🙂

Louise x


Disclaimers:

This article is not intended to substitute for informed medical advice. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or condition. Always check with your doctor before changing or starting a new fitness routine.

 I accept no responsibility or liability for any injuries caused directly or indirectly through the performing of the exercises described. If you feel any discomfort or pain during any exercise, stop immediately.

If you have recently had scoliosis surgery, speak to your Dr/physiotherapist in order to get tailored exercises for you while you recover. You will need to be very careful and it will probably be difficult to do anything other than walking and simple exercises for a while. (Remember NO bending, lifting or twisting for at least 6 months following scoliosis surgery).

China Trek Day 2 - Gubeikou

I had scoliosis surgery in 2010 and blog about my experiences living with scoliosis. My aim is to raise awareness of scoliosis and help and inspire others with the condition.

My First Park Run

My First Park Run: Delamere Forest

I’ve been meaning to go to a Park Run for the last 6 months (since I registered last year). I’ve been putting it off though, mainly because I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to run the full 5K without stopping.

I got into running about two years ago now, when a friend invited me to run a 10K Race for Life for Cancer Research. That was my first ever organised race and I had about 5 weeks to train (from never having done any running in my life)!! I managed to do it in about 1 hour 17 minutes though and was pretty chuffed with myself.


Running with scoliosis…

After this, I got the running bug and continued to run in my spare time and at the gym. Unfortunately though, I injured my shoulder shortly after this and had to take a break from running for a while. I attended physio and was told my injury was due to my scoliosis. As scoliosis is a side-ways curvature of the spine, and mine is pretty severe, one side of my back has muscles that are more developed than the other side. The more developed side has to over-compensate for the weaker side, which means I am more vulnerable to pain and injuries.

Due to the pain, I decided to stop running for a while and focused on getting my back and shoulders stronger. I started going to Body Pump classes to improve my strength and spin classes to improve my fitness while I wasn’t running. I got a bit impatient though and signed up to a 5K mud run last year. I found the running part very tough though and had to stop a few times on the way round.


New Year, new running goals…

This year, after 6 months of body pump classes, I felt like my back was finally ready to cope with running again. So as part of my New Year Resolutions, I decided to try and get back into running. Earlier this month, I signed up to a couple of 10K races later in the year for motivation and vowed to finally make it to a Park Run.

Park Run Quote Scoliosis


The moment of truth…

The day I chose (Saturday 28th January) wasn’t exactly the best weather wise. It was freezing and chucking it down with rain. Nevertheless, I dragged myself and my boyfriend out of bed at 7am, determined to do it.

When we arrived at Delamere, I was a bit nervous. I didn’t know what to expect or whether I’d be able to make it round without stopping. I’ve ran/jogged 5K on the treadmill a few times recently but there’s a difference from being on a treadmill to being outside in the freezing cold rain and mud.

I needn’t have worried though.

As soon as we arrived I was put at ease. As we all gathered by the start line, one of the friendly volunteers asked if there was anyone there who hadn’t done it before and explained everything to us. We basically just had to run/jog/walk round and at the end they scanned our bar code and gave us our time. It wasn’t a race and there were people there of all abilities and ages (even dogs!)

I was totally unorganised in the excitement of it all and forgot to turn my RunKeeper app on until about 0.5Km of the way round. I also couldn’t get my headphones on quick enough as the run started, so I had to run with no music, which I’m not used to!

In the end though, I thoroughly enjoyed it. The weather was bad which made the track very wet and slippy but despite this, I managed to RUN THE WHOLE 5K WITHOUT STOPPING!!

Not only that, my time was pretty good (for me!) at 33 minutes. This to me is a HUGE achievement and I cannot tell you how proud I am of myself for doing it and finishing at this time. To be honest, I didn’t care about the time I just wanted to get round without stopping.

There were 280 runners and I wasn’t last! Woohoo!


Park Run Results Delamere
My Park Run Results

I have ran 5K before but a year ago it would take me around 40 minutes, so I have really improved. Plus, I think if the weather and conditions were better I may have been able to get round even quicker. We also started at the back (as we didn’t know what to expect) which made it harder to get past people at the start.

I really think the Body Pump and spin classes have improved my fitness and running capabilities. This was the first run in a long time where it actually felt comfortable, easy-ish and I actually enjoyed myself. I love the endorphins I get after a good run and felt on a high for a good few hours after I finished. I think it was endorphins that kept me going in the end.

Delamere is a lovely venue for Park Run and I really enjoyed the scenery of the forest and lake (even if it was ridiculously muddy!) There were also a few hills thrown in! The volunteers and other runners were all really friendly too and it’s like a lovely community. I especially loved how some runners who had finished quickly stayed and cheered the rest of us on.

I NEVER EVER thought that I’d be able to run 5K after I had my scoliosis surgery 6 years ago. However, I have continued to train and push myself and continue to improve as the years go on. It’s an amazing feeling!

I would highly recommend Park Run to anyone. It’s free and really well organised with loads of friendly people. I am definitely planning on going regularly so that I can keep on improving! I’ll also try and take more pictures next time.

ParkRun


China Trek Day 2 - Gubeikou

I had scoliosis surgery in 2010 and blog about my experiences living with scoliosis. My aim is to raise awareness of scoliosis and help and inspire others with the condition.

Fitbit quote

I heart my Fitbit <3

This post contains affiliate links

It’s a known fact that sitting down all day is bad for us and this especially true for those of us with scoliosis  – personally I find that my back hurts a lot more and feels much stiffer if I don’t move around regularly. Walking is a fantastic way for most people with scoliosis to stay in shape as it doesn’t put too much pressure on the back and over time it can help to keep the back and core strong, which can help to protect the discs in lumbar spine and reduce pain. This is vital if, like me, you have had spinal fusion, as staying fit and strong can help to prevent disc wear and tear below the fusion. Walking can even help with losing weight, which inadvertently may help to reduce back pain over time by reducing the amount of pressure on the spine.

Now, I have always considered myself pretty active and it is because of my scoliosis that I try to go to the gym 3-4 times a week, but the problem is that (like a lot of people) I drive to work and then I work in an office and so I’m sat down for the majority of the day Monday – Friday, which does not help my back or core muscles at all.

So, in a bid to move more, in January this year I bought myself a Fitbit Charge HR. The reason I bought the HR version initially was not to purely monitor my steps, but to also monitor my heart rate at the gym, as I wanted to make sure my heart rate was in the right “zone” for working out and I wanted to know how far I could safely push myself to get fitter. The HR version also monitors your sleep which is pretty cool.

As soon as I started using it though, I got addicted to counting my steps and it came as a bit of a shock to see how few steps I actually did in a day. I knew that sitting down all day in an office was bad for my back and that I did most of my activity after work, but having my Fitbit really highlighted how bleak my average daily step count was.

With the Fitbit you can set yourself a step goal for each day, and the recommended number of steps is 10,000 per day (about 5 miles). What became quickly apparent, was that in an average work day, I was struggling to even reach 3,000 steps, plus I had long periods of time throughout the day where I was inactive.

I find that having my Fitbit on really does encourage me to get up and move around more often at work, even if it’s just to go and make a cup of tea or walk the longer way back to my desk. I now make sure that I go for a 30 minute walk everyday at lunchtime and I go to the gym after work everyday if I can. I find that if I can do these two things, I usually meet my 10,000 a day step goal quite easily in the week and I can often get up to 15K steps on a “gym day” depending on what I do (the Fitbit doesn’t record steps for things like indoor cycling or spin classes).

What’s worrying though, is that in an average work week, if I DON’T go for a walk at lunchtime or go to the gym I will get around 2-3K steps in a day, which I think is pretty poor. If I go for a 30 minute walk at lunchtime but don’t go to the gym I will get around 6K steps, which is better but still a far cry from the recommended 10K. This is worrying because the majority of office workers will be in the same boat and probably getting around 3-4K steps a day, which is not even half of what they should be getting. I think it highlights that, for people with sedentary jobs like myself, you really do have to make a conscious effort to fit exercise into your daily routine.

I’ll be honest, having my pitiful step count on my wrist and on the app (especially when compared to my friends who have more active jobs) really does push me to go for a walk everyday at lunchtime, or head out for a walk/run at the weekends, even if it’s cold or raining! Whereas pre-Fitbit, on an average workday I would have happily worked through lunch or just sat at my desk, in my car or in the kitchen at work to eat my lunch, which would not have done anything to help me or my back.

I do find that getting 10,000 steps is much easier for me at the weekends, I usually find that a 90 minute walk does the job nicely and this can be fitted in fairly easily. What’s interesting though, is how many steps I do when I’m out shopping at the weekend, out for the day, or away on holiday – for example, it’s not unusual for me to do up to 25,000 steps a day when I’m out shopping, which goes to show how bad office work can be (I now use it as an excuse to go shopping at the weekends!)

Another good thing about the Fitbit, is the fantastic app which features a dashboard of your daily stats and some challenges (workweek hustle, weekend warrior and goal day), so you can basically compete with friends to get the most steps in a day, work week or weekend. I must admit this really brings out my competitive side and I have often found myself walking/running up and down the corridor of my flat or running furiously on the treadmill at the gym to get more steps and win the challenges (or just not come last)!! Plus, competing with friends and earning the various Fitbit trophies and badges that are on offer also helps with keeping motivated.

I would go as far to say that my Fitbit has been once of the best things I’ve bought this year, it’s changed my life and sadly I think I would find it difficult to live without it now, or particularly to exercise without it – I feel a bit lost if I’m not wearing it and I hate having to take it off to charge it.

Fitbit quote

If you are into running, it’s also fantastic for that as the HR Fitbit also monitors your heart rate and can be used in conjunction with apps like Runkeeper.

Fitbit dashboard
Fitbit dashboard

If you don’t fancy splashing out on a Fitbit there are also plenty of free apps out there that count your steps. The health apps that come free with most smartphones now are pretty good and will do the job nicely, for example the iPhone Health app, the only downside is that you need to remember to have your phone on you all the time.

There are also Fitbits that will simply track your steps, so if you’re not bothered about the sleep tracking and the heart rate monitor that come with the HR Fitbits, these are an alternative lower cost option. There are of course lots of other fitness trackers out there, my advice would be to do your research and get the one that looks right for you.

Why not give it a go and see just how many steps you do in a day?

You could start by using an app on your phone – it may just surprise you. I guarantee walking more (if you can) will help you to feel fitter and stronger, which may help your back pain over time as you get stronger :-). One word of warning though – getting your daily step goal can become highly addictive!!

If you are new to walking or struggle with walking, even just improving a bit on what you do now each day will help. The Mayo Clinic recommend adding 1000 daily steps each week, so if you start monitoring your steps and find you are doing 4000 steps per day now, simply set your goal at 5000 steps each day. I know increasing my daily steps has helped me and I’m definitely more active and feel fitter now than before I started tracking my steps.

Also, if you’ve recently had scoliosis surgery it’s important to try and move around as much as possible and I think that having a fitness tracker could help with that. I’m not suggesting you try and do 10,000 steps early on in your recovery as that will be far too much at first but it’s important to try and walk a bit each day in the first few months post surgery and make sure you move around the house frequently if you can – whatever feels comfortable for you. I say this because when I was recovering from scoliosis surgery I actually developed Oedema in my leg because I was sat down too much and not moving enough. So it’s important to try and keep moving during recovery, even if it’s just a little bit when you can to limit the chance of developing Oedema or something more serious (such as a blood clot).  You can read more about my recovery from scoliosis surgery here.

P.S In case you are interested, the Fitbit I have is the one below (I have it in purple :)). I bought mine from Argos in the sale but they are cheaper on Amazon at the moment. If you already have a Fitbit and want to challenge me please do contact me and I’ll add you on there :0)

 

 

P.P.S

Get some decent trainers!

It’s important to note just before I go, that whilst walking can be a great, low impact way for me to stay in shape post spinal fusion, it’s also important that I protect the un-fused lower discs in my back (L3 and below, as I’m fused T3-L3) and avoid putting too much strain on them.

As an extra precaution, if I’m walking long distances I usually wear my Skechers memory foam trainers, which I originally bought to do the Cancer Research 26 mile Shine Walk a couple of years back (I now have two pairs!) I love them because they are sooo comfy and the memory foam helps to absorb some of the impact, which I find helps with the lower back pain I sometimes get after walking long distances. Plus, I think that they look great too as there are lots of vibrant colours and designs to choose from. I really can’t recommend memory foam trainers enough if you have scoliosis or suffer from low back pain – I don’t think I could go back to wearing “non-memory foam” trainers now.

You can buy the Skechers memory foam trainers from any Skechers store but they are also available from Amazon and tend to be much cheaper online in general.

Keep on movin’

Louise X

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to substitute for informed medical advice. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or condition. Always check with your doctor before changing or starting a new fitness routine.

China Trek Day 2 - Gubeikou

I had scoliosis surgery in 2010 and blog about my experiences living with scoliosis. My aim is to raise awareness of scoliosis and help and inspire others with the condition.