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Phantom Pain

As the sun goes down towards the end of my training run, I find myself pondering the series of weird sensations I have felt over the past ten miles.

Our subconscious mind has a way of raising its concerns in the form of apparent physical discomforts and these can seem very real at times.

The classic example is of ‘butterflies in the stomach’ feeling and subsequent tummy upsets at stressful times, like around exams.

In the days leading up to a race, many runners experience ‘phantom’ pains in various parts of the body but most notably the legs and feet.  Two miles into a run and a part of the foot feels painful like never before or the knee suddenly seems to give way as it did when it was genuinely injured. Cramps in muscles that have never before declared themselves…….

I know that it is a consequence of the weeks and months of training coming together towards this one big goal, and my mind’s way of relieving the pressure of whether I am ready for it by giving me an ‘injury’ as an excuse not to do it.

I’m wondering whether the bigger the event, the longer the lead time for these phantom pains as I still have six weeks to go before my 840 mile skip down the length of the country but I am already experiencing concerns. So much so, that I am being respectful to each pain or niggle that raises its head.

RICE, (rest, ice, compression and elevation), taping and/or massage or whatever due process is demanded by each occurrence. I cannot afford to take any chances. I have trained long and hard for this, although I’m sure no amount of training would ever be enough. It has taken over my life and impacted on family and friends. Normally I would ignore these niggles but not this time.

I won’t bother you with the detail – these pains are not real but I will pretend that they are to appease my over-anxious subconscious mind. Of course, I could also theorise that they are a consequence of my body recovering and repairing the impact of training on those areas, in which case, I should welcome the experience.

Don’t give me sympathy, kick me in the shins (metaphorically speaking) and tell me to ‘get on with it’. One foot in front of the other!

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