Nikki: I am now into the second quarter of this trip and it’s been a funny old trip so far because I think everything has been thrown at me including storm Ellen which we were facing outside, and as we were all set up, the storm blew through and broke the gazebo so I then had to move it all inside which again we had to set everything up again we are constantly trying to fix problems but that’s what adventure running is all about is having to alterations and being flexible enough to say it’s okay and you just keep finding the ways to make it happen.
Tim: Yep and hopefully we will have the gazebo sorted and have that back to you by the end of the week. But obviously usually your challenges are ‘real world’ ones so other than having to deal with the elements that the UK has brought you, what else is different in terms of challenges and things you are finding easier and harder with the sort of static, virtual running vs the live one.
Nikki: This is something I knew anyway but I’ve now felt the impact of it and this is very much a repetitive motion, there is no variation, I can put the incline up and down but there is no variation in the running and so therefore your ankles are not moving any differently as you would get running outside or even running on a road from lumps and bumps, so yes I had a little but of a strain in my, I’m going to say it was my tilbilias posterior which is a tendon, and it is between the shin and the achilles tendon, just above the ankle bone. The problem was my ankle wasn’t going through the motion of flexion and extension which then caused it to swell a lot due to repetitive movement. I’ve had to be in rehab for most of the time while actually still running and these things (black and pink compression socks) have come into play so I don’t know if you want to describe what they do because all I know that they do is they work!!
Tim: Absolutely, I am assuming they are probably the two biggest things that you will be getting from the infrared tech in your compression socks is the reduction in inflammation which then exasperates any feeling of pain in the connective tissue but also directly address the niggle itself in terms of the levels of pain you are getting.
Nikki: Yep, so there was definitely the cooling effect there, I’m still doing it now when I take a break I am icing my ankle, I would love to be able to run in these (black and pink compression socks) but due to having big calves I tend not to as they are too tight but I put them on straight after exercise and then I have a shower and put my leggings on so that is how I have been trying to deal with it with those two.
Tim: We will send you some crew socks and see if those are more comfortable on your calves. We are obviously this time round focusing more on the performance side of prep and how you are managing that rehab so that you can continue performing as best as you can. Are you using any different things as last time we touched base we spoke about hydration and the mental prep, in terms of what would you normally have done before the main run.
Nikki: A friend of mine posted a picture of what Australia, the air highway, which is where I was going to be running, the air highway is boring, there are no trees its only shrubs and scrubs and plain so basically desert and it’s a road that you look down and other than signs there is very little visual encouragement in terms of “I’ll get to that tree”, nothing like that so it’s a simulation of that and I’m trying to sort of cope with the monotony and it is hard so I’ve been listening to audio books which are things to try and keep my head focused on what it is that I am trying to achieve and staying true to that so even when things hurt and things aren’t going right I am still staying focussed.
Tim: Are there any audio books you are listening to that you would recommend for other adventure runners?
Nikki: I am currently listening to Winners by Alistair Campbell, so he did research on what the term winners means and his perspective of what a winner is. It’s his sort of take on winners and not necessarily coming first but the theme of mental strength and I just find it really interesting and it helps me process so you make your definition of success and if you know that from the start even if you have to make amends to it , so long as its your version of what success is then you really can’t lose can you.
Tim: Yea I agree. Going back to earlier, you spoke about how you are finishing off and going straight into the compression socks and then having a shower and then putting the KYMIRA leggings on, we are often asked do we make performance products or do we make recovery products and for me and the team the answer is both but for you what specifically measures wise do you take to prepare yourself like you mentioned you walk your dog.
Nikki: Unfortunately the dog walking part has had to have been knocked on the head as I wasn’t able to track my distance and therefore was falling behind. My warm up has changed so I do a yoga flow and then I get on the machine and walk the first kilometre which is what I would have been doing with the dog and then I start running and I am taking a break at every 10k to get back into my stretch position again because I am quite flexible and this whole pattern of me not using full range of motion, I have to factor that in and get all the range going in just a simple yogary type movement and then get back on the machine again so that’s sort of how to keep the body going, keep everything working to its best ability.
Tim: So how does this run compare to other challenges you have done in terms of the different injuries like the niggle you have in your ankle.
Nikki: It obviously is not natural just running on a treadmill but my menopause has caused the drop is oestrogen which does impact the body, and in particular ligaments and tendons so I am aware of that and trying to tract what’s happening as I am now on HT and I’m having a cycle, and it is a forced cycle so the last couple of days, I have been very emotional and also is when my ligaments started hurting so could be connected and I’m just trying to keep an eye on everything and the upside of this is that it is a long campaign so I am going to have several weeks or several cycles to watch and see if there is a repeat pattern there and therefore how I will fix it or improve it actually when I’m in Australia. It’s a 4 week cycle, so one week beforehand so I am now into my second cycle so I will just see how it flows, how my hormones flow and how my body reacts and having many things to pull on so like the recovery side, the technology in your products, using my knowledge of sports physiology, trying to string it all together and hopefully I come out in one piece at the end.
Tim: That is one of the key things is having a plan of A, B and C; different things to bring just in case.
Nikki: Yes, never get to the end if you are going to give up and it is always best to be able to play another day so you’ve got to get through a day to be able to play another day so I just use those two things.
Tim: Very very true and it is definitely a challenge for you
Nikki: One of the questions I did get asked was in terms of recovery how long should you keep the kit on, and I’ve got a fairly good idea that you are going to tell me as long as possible but somebody else has asked me that question
Tim: So to answer that, on the recovery side you should wear your kit for at least an hour after finishing your exercise but individuals do also have to take into account what they are doing for the rest of the day as in if its possible for them to wear the kit however the first 4 hours is the really key period. As we are getting into followers questions we also had one say how has KYMIRA helped you with ankle injury?
Nikki: KYMIRA helped with everything, like you said it reduces the swelling a lot due to the increase in circulation but you could probably explain it better than me!
Tim: Well especially through KYMIRA medical, the compression socks or leggings aren’t necessarily preventing the body’s immune response of inflammatory but just speeding up the process by increasing the blood flow to the site of injury.
Nikki: I think they are really smart it will clock the injury and go fix it and throws everything at it, and it will over exerts and wants to fix things and therefore the controlling of the inflammation is key.
Tim: Inflammation is always going to be one of the nature processes that the body uses for recovery and when you are doing something as monumental as you are doing it becomes a really key aspect and even people who are training 2/3 times a week have to stay on top of inflammation, from personal experience, I know the way that my body works I know for my own personal area I have to stay on top of that.
Nikki: So to improve your body and to make your muscles stronger etc etc you have to break it to let it build and so that’s a natural process. You can change the natural process you can only help it.
Tim: One of the followers asked what keeps you going during your most challenging moments specifically in this challenge and other challenges you have done?
Nikki: It helps to be very very stubborn, but what also helps me is to have an extrinsic reason and I’ve committed to raising money for Cancer UK and I think about that and I think about I’m just doing something pretty simple really, all I have to do is go for a run whereas the people that I am raising money for, that money is going into the research and finding something to treat them, you know it’s an external reason and I’m like okay I won’t give up because I can make a difference that’s not all I can do but this is one thing I can do so I say just get on with it, get on with it and it also sucks if you set out a goal and you don’t quite make it and you reflect back and it is purely because it kinda hurt and you kick yourself and I’ve been there quite a few times and there is no other reason aside from it hurt at the time so can I get past that and this is, having this knowledge of or a little but of understanding of the body is knowing between a hurt, an ache, some pain as opposed to a full blown injury. If it’s not physical and not life threatening then it’s good to find a way to work through it.
Tim: Well we’ll let you get back to it
Nikki: I will just do a bit of stretching and putting my legs into all different positions but mostly at the moment it is the ankle rotation because that is still a little painful so working it will actually ease it.
Tim: For everybody watching, as Nikki said before she is doing this for Cancer UK so please please support her if that’s on her Instagram giving her a thumbs up or donating!