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Injury to FKT: and how to use training to come back from injury

Updated: Apr 16, 2023

Most of you have probably heard of the 7 training principles:

Individuality

Specificity

Progression

Overload

Adaptation

Recovery

Reversibility


and there's one in here that runners specifically really struggle at following properly and that's Overload (In order to increase strength and endurance, Marty Gaal said you must add new resistance or time/intensity to your training session.)


Now unfortunately most people take Overload to an extent in running that does not allow their muscles and tissues enough time to adapt and build tolerance to the increase of time/intensity added to them and injury results.


How do we measure the load that's been put on our tissues? And how much stress, inflammation, and cell death can our tissues take before they hit their breaking point?


The hardest part is without a special lab and fancy equipment we really can't measure this. So we listen to our body... or at least we try too. And things always seem to be going really good... until there not and we are sitting there injured again from an overuse injury thinking how unlucky are we! But what if we could turn the luck onto ourside. And it's really not that difficult all it requires is PATIENCE!


Overload does not have to happen quick to be effective. I see so many runners want to ramp up by 3,4,5 and some even more :/ (don't do that...) kilometres per week and while that may work for a while and some may have no issues with it, some eventually get injured and they wonder why, but the answer is simple, your tissues didn't get enough time to adapt to the stimulus and compounding stress over time.


We get too caught up in wanting to progress as quick as possible that we forget if we slow down be patient and decrease the amount of stress we are adding to our bodies per week or block, then ULTIMATELY we decrease our chance of injury significantly by giving our tissues more time to adapt and recover from the stimulus we have put on it.


Now I know what you're thinking and the answer is yes, this will take you longer, and yes it will still get you to the same goal but just a little bit longer AND with much less chance of injury flooring all you efforts. So I would say the extra time is worth it. And realistically when You put it into the big picture it's not that long.


Ex: let's say you start at 1 km per week of running and only add one extra km onto your total weekly mileage each week, which a lot of people would probably think that that's not gonna get them anywhere... but come two years later (104 weeks) you'd be running, that right you got it, 104 kms per week!


Now idk about you but to go from 0 kms to 104 per week that is some super impressive mileage. Now obviously to add just one a week could be very boring and monotonous but that's where the other training principles would come into play but we can get into those another time now here's how I used this above to come back from 14 months battling the same ankle injury that at times left me not being able to run 1km (and after MRI's and Ultrasounds no one was able to give me a proper diagnosis I even went to see a top pedi artist in Brisbane) so I realised there was no rush and patience was going to be my friend...


Once I had my ankle close to feeling recovered and identified so shoe issues I was having.

I started 34 weeks ago at 40 minutes of running duration p/w and built to about 4 hours on average p/w (some a little more some a little less) which averaged and increase of only 6.2 minutes per week of increased time on the feet running.


I started at 7kms of running distance and built over the 34 weeks to on average of 50kms per week. This was an average weekly increase of 1.26kms per week.


As one my goals was to build my body back up into a position where I could run some of these amazing great walks around queensland and australia which all involve running Ultras and wanting to do it in a way that didn't floor my training for the next month I knew that my focus had to be getting lots of time on the feet. As my job is always on my feet that plays to my advantage but the main focus in my training was every second weekend I would plan a big long run on terrain with lots of elevation where the distance may not be that far but the time on the feet was a lot because I would do it at a slow pace and HR so it didn't have as much damage in the body (ex: 20-30 kms 1000m+ elevation gain and 3-4 hours)


And some weeks when I was at 20kms of mileage that would be the only run I did all week and the rest of the week is focus on some swimming cycling or strength sessions to keep fitness but reduce stress and impact on the tissues.


And boy did my body feel good. And because I had lots of recovery time I didn't have to take a single taper week over the 34 weeks because I had lots of room for proper recovery to be built within the weeks. (Which we can talk about at another time as well just comment if interested)


And this led me to beating my first Fastest Known Time by 32 minutes on the beautiful Conondale National Park Great Walk.


Pre run Prep

The week leading in obviously I didn't want to do a full week of mileage before running 56kms so I only did one run of about 6kms and then did a couple strength sessions.


We camped at Booloumba Creek campsite 3 the night before and I woke at 3:30am to get an early jump on the day. I had the course GPX map downloaded into my Coros Vertix 2 so that I had no doubts at all as to where I was running.



Nutrition

My nutrition for this run was absolutely on point until... it wasn't haha but that didn't happen until about 45kms. My goal was to drink 500ml per hour and a salt pill and gel every 30 mins. Aiming for about 6 hours of running as the FKT current time for the route was 6h 16 minutes.

  • I drank about 500ml before the run with some trail mix. And stashed the other 500ml near the trail head so I had water after

  • I then brought 12 hammer nutrition endurolytes

  • 6 hammer nutrition gels (3 apple cinnamon, 3 tropical) *TGF10* for 10% OFF

  • 4 spring energy gels (2 awesome sauce, 2 hill aids

  • 2 Maurten gels (1 caffeine)

  • 2 stroop waffles from GU

  • 3 litres of water

Gear

  • Fractel hat

  • Solomon trail shirt

  • Nike 1inch running shorts

  • High ankle Injinji socks with padded cushion

  • Altra Mont Blanc Boas trail shoes

  • Solomon advanced 12 skin hydration vest

  • Naked belt

  • Coros Vertix 2 watch

  • iPhone 13

  • Head Torch

  • 3 Plastic bags for salt pills/ phone/ and biodegradeable tissues


The Run


Started the run at 4:15am and ran the loop clockwise. The first 6 kms were very obvious single track winding long Booloumba Creek. The first big climb takes you along the side of the mountain to the top of Booloumba Falls and Carpark. I new that I had a big day so I kept the first bit really relaxed and just sunk into some podcasts.

From the Carpark you head across the roadway and start a slow continuous climb for the next 13kms following the green great walk NP signs and going through a little bit of overgrown fire trail sections and some clear single track but the trail was still very obvious and never had me doubting where I was going.


24km in the gradual decent begins all the way to summer creek falls. Through this section you follow down some open fire trail and single trail and at the point I was feeling fantastic the legs felt great the sun had come out and gave me a little more motivation. And I knew at this point if I wanted to make some extra time on the FKT with out blowing myself up this would be the time to do it so I put the pedal down a little⚡️. I also had a stroop waffle at 2 and 4 hour mark which I really looked forward too. They are delicious 👌


As I made it to the 42 km mark at summer creek I still felt fantastic but I noticed my legs were starting to tighten up before I was hitting my 30 minute salt pill and gel intervals and I ended up having to take the last two pills a little bit early to combat cramping from starting. I also realised I was getting low on water so starting the final climb to mount Allen I took my 10th gel which was the Maurten caffeine gel with a little water and the last salt pill to try and keep the the body feeling as fresh as it did up the final climb to the Mount Allen Fire Tower.


Trying to spare my water I just barelyyyyyy made it to the top of the climb near mount Allen voiding all cramps but now I had no water for my remaining gels and no salt pills to finish the last 5kms back down to the start of the walk and I would be lying if I said this was comfortable. I could tell my body was in a big need of water and electrolytes, however my energy levels felt really good still. But every km from that point on I could feel my muscles getting stiffer and tighter and mouth getting dry. Lucky it was mainly downhill and I knew that I Was almost 30 mins ahead of the record pace so I could focus on my breathing and slowing down to cruise into the finish of the Conondale National Park Great walk finishing in 5h44m45s and now holding the fastest recorded time around the walk.


It was an amazing day in the National Park and my body did not let me down I can't remember the last time I felt that good into 40kms of running so I take it as huge win coming out with not a single injury or niggle

as well. 💪


Learning Points

  • Drank 3.5 litres but 4 litres would have been a perfect amount for ME for that distance time and temperature

  • Always bring more than what's planned I planned for 12 salt pills only brought 12 and needed about 14

  • where in my new shoes a little more than I did, had a couple hotspots

  • Fill up with my water filter at every creek don't skip them even if your feeling good.


If you read this far I hope you enjoyed and can take something from it to add to your training or life. But remember this is what worked for me, while some of it might work for you ultimately you need to experiment and practice what works for you.


Take Care and Scenic Rim Trail you are next!

Quinton Gill


My Strava Segmemt Link.


GPX file can be downloaded on Strava on your desktop and opened with your gps watch app to save course to your watch. If you plan on doing it just reach out!

@thegillygoat


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