Back pain

I’m injured. And in possibly the most absurd and ignominious manner. The cause? Rolling over in bed. The result? Classic upper back muscle strain in the supraspinatus and infraspinatus area.


Upper back skeletal and musculature


The large muscles around the scapula are often injured through repetitive movement, over-exertion or as a result of lack of strength. My back muscle tone is good, but I suspect more strength work on core and upper body musculature will be important for the Ironman. 

If you’ve had back pain before, you’ll be familiar with the debilitating robot-like movements and hunched-back feeling it causes. For muscle pain I find the best self-help treatments – in addition to rest – are icing and applying Biofreeze, an ibuprofen gel designed for relief from minor aches and pains throughout the body.



If the problem persists, a massage or medical advice will be required. Knowing my own body I’m confident it will heal with a few days rest – as frustrating as that is.

3 weeks later

Recovering from the London Marathon

A lot can happen in three weeks! My plan post-London was to rest up for a few days, consuming lots of protein, vegetables and a modicum of alcohol to sooth mind and body, before easing back into cycling, swimming and finally running. The first two days were spent hobbling around with pretty sore quads: struggling to disembark the 38 bus or climb the stairs at Highbury & Islington tube station; opting for the office lift when my desk is only two flights up; perfecting the embarassed sideways glances when knee inexplicably buckles mid-stride in a busy thoroughfare. I once read a book by Ultra-Marathoner Dean Karnazes advocating running as soon as possible – ideally the next day – after a major event; I’m sure his wisdom is sound, but I prefer cross-training at best coupled with proper relaxation over beers with recently neglected friends!

The next key phase of my build up to Ironman 2010 is a series of sportives at the beginning of June, so on the Friday I hit my Hills of North London route – feeling surprisingly strong. The focus for weeks one and two was to flush out the marathon toxins, rebuild my damaged muscles and keep fitness loss to a minimum during recovery.

I then enjoyed – or rather, endured – an unusual type of cross-training over the bank holiday weekend: moving house! I wasn’t moving far: the other side of a cross-roads. Lugging boxes, sofas, matresses, wardrobes, bikes – you name it – across two roads and (Vietnamese style) through streaming traffic into my newly purchased flat was both physically and mentally exhausting. Here I’ll add that this – not laziness, drunkeness or diminished enthusiasm for this blog – is the reason for a 3-week hiatus in posts. Broadband takes so long to set up!

A few more 2-hour rides have followed – one with my uni friend and close mate Fordy, the latest member of the triathlon fraternity – mostly around London, mixing hills with some flat out work around Regents Park. I’ve also encountered several riders during these rides who are embarking on triathlon for the first time this year; it’s great to feel part of a growing sport. I’ve run for the first time: a 45 minute tempo run at 7.15s, my heart rate slightly higher than pre-London – although that’s to be expected, as my steady runs are normally at a lower pace within a training zone after 2-3 weeks off running – and I’ve been in the pool for an easy 30-minutes. Week 3 marks the return to daily training, and then tri-specific work through to the London Triathlon August 2nd.

Meanwhile in other news…

Al endured a very tough Fred Whitton ride, whilst Fordy competed in the Stratford triathlon and Jonny battled through a wet and windy King of the Downs Sportive; Protesters sabotaged the Etape Caledonia with carpet tacks, and Tom Boonen potentially sabotaged his career with recreational drugs.

Yep, a lot can happen in three weeks!