5 tips on how to make the most of your physiotherapy

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

For nearly two years, I have been working with Function360 #gifted. Initially, they developed a pre-habiliation program for me to work on imbalances in order to become a faster runner.  Then a few niggles and slight injuries also had me trying out their sports massages, osteopaths, and physiotherapy.  Some people might think physiotherapy is a luxury, but I would argue it is essential for people who are very active.

If you are thinking about signing up for physiotherapy, I thought I would offer my tips on how to get your money's worth and see great success.
  • Come dressed for your appointment- Don't waste precious time changing in and out of your shorts or t-shirt.  If your time slot is only 30 minutes long, you will get a few more minutes updating your physiotherapist or receiving manual therapy.
  • Arrive on time- On a recent leadership training course, it was impressed upon the attendees that arriving on time demonstrates respect for the others involved.  Being late implies that your time is more valuable than others.  Plus, it can have a knock-on effect for the rest of the day or subsequently shortens your appointment.
  • Do your homework- If your therapist gives you stretches or exercises to do at home, do them!  Be honest when agreeing on a treatment plan. If your physio wants you to go to the gym for an hour five times a week, let them know that two is all you can squeeze in.  That might change what they want you to do and how often your recovery may take.  Take videos or photos so that you can remember how to perform the exercises correctly.
  • Keep a diary of symptoms/workouts- This has been really useful for me with my mystery niggle on my heel.  Pay attention to when the pain or stiffness comes and goes and then write down what you were doing, what time of day, how the pain felt (sharp or dull), and how intense it was on a scale of one to ten.  Having this info can help your physiotherapist put the pieces together if they cannot recreate the problem in your appointments.
  • Schedule an appointment when the problem normally occurs (if possible)-  Looking back at the notes in your diary, consider scheduling an appointment when the pain is most likely to occur.  If you are always stiff the morning after a six-a-side game, book in for the first appointment.  If running triggers pain in your knee, run to your appointment or just before.

  • Stick to the treatment plan-  If your physiotherapist wants to see you again in two weeks, try not to cancel and re-book for much later.  When booking appointments, the therapist has a long-term plan in their head.  Usually, they will need to see you more often at first and as your condition improves, more time may pass between appointments.  However, if the treatments are too far apart from what they had originally intended, this could delay your recovery.
If you enjoy moving without pain, whether in daily life or in an athletic pursuit, a physiotherapist can help you.  Personally, I consider my health to be priceless, don't you?

If you have a niggle or reoccurring pain, I highly recommend Function360 in London, UK.  Their team is friendly and helpful and willing to get you to the start line. It is a one-stop-shop for physiotherapy, osteopathy, sports massage, gait analysis, acupuncture, and more.  You can receive 15% off your first appointment using code #F360MM15.  I do not receive any compensation for the referral so feel free to share with friends.

Let's go streaking

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

At the end of July, I knew I needed to start running again.  Injuries and persistent pain have made me a bit scared about running.  My trip to Malawi, which includes three 20km trails runs, means I need to be fit and healthy.  In order to get over my fear and slowly build up my fitness again, I decided to do a run streak in August.  My commitment was to run only one mile a day but I could run more if I felt like it.  The goal was to keep it low pressure and use it as a way to explore all the places I was visiting in early August.

Photo by Kate of Cakes V Scales
After sharing my plans and progress on social media, I am happy to report that several people joined me on #augustrunstreak.  Being on holiday made it really easy to fit the runs into my schedule and also go a little bit further if the mood struck me.  Returning to London and a full work week in the middle of a heatwave has made it hard to get out for much more than one mile to five kilometers a day.  I was trying not to be competitive but in the last few days of the streak, I am worried that I haven't got any faster.  But I need to remember that my original intention was never to get faster but just to enjoy running again.  

And I think I do.  There is still a bit of pain when I run but a referral for further diagnostics should give me some clues.  Mentally, I am ready to start really putting work into my Malawi preparation- both in terms of running and physical strength.  Fifty three plus miles as of yesterday for the month is a not a bad place to start (see the Instagram post below for the final updates). 

Photo by Katie by Cakes V Scales
A few people were asking me if I would keep my streak going once August was over.  I feel like that would put more pressure on me that what I had originally planned when I started.  Instead, I am going to start a #septemberplankstreak.  Every day in September, I am going to hold a plank for as long as I can.  Maybe I will record the times, maybe not.  Core strength is very important for running.  And something I always slack on.

Care to join me for a September streak?  Let me know in the comments below if you want to run, plank, or streak another way.  If you prefer a variety, check out the Strava Escape Plan.  All 32 of their sports count towards a five days per week challenge throughout September.

Do you have what it takes?  Commit to 30 seconds a day or one hour a day.  It is up to you and what you enjoy.  See you at the finish!

View this post on Instagram

Although I enjoyed @thelondontri it didn't lift me out of my training funk. I think after being off injured for so long, I am scared to start running again. However, I need to start up again so that I am prepared for my trip to Malawi in October. How am I going to overcome my fear? . . By having a run streak! . . Every day in August, I am going to run 1 mile. This should only take about 15 minutes including changing clothes. I won't need water or a phone. It can be done on my lunch break or when I get up in the morning. There is no time pressure and the distance is achievable. Half of the month I will be on holiday, so it is a great opportunity to explore new places. Plus, I hope my nephews will join me for one or two of the days. If I feel good after my mile, I can run a little more but there is no obligation. . . I think this is the trick I need to retrain my mindset about running. It needs to be fun again. I need to believe I can do it. Will you be joining me in August? . . . . Day 1- 1.0 miles road Day 2- 1.07 miles treadmill Day 3- 1.15 miles road Day 4- 2.0 miles road Day 5- 2.0 miles road with dog Day 6- 2.0 road miles with friend and dog, pit stop then 1.1 miles Day 7- 2.94 total miles on the road and 6 reps of the Rocky Steps Day 8- 1.1 road miles Day 9- 3.6 + 1 road miles Day 10- 3.77 miles road and track session Day 11- 3.18 miles road Day 12- 1 mile road Day 13- 4 miles road Day 14- 2 miles road Day 15- 3.3 miles road Day 16- 1.2 miles slightly hungover Day 17- 1.2 miles very jet lagged Day 18- 6.1 miles road. Still jet lagged because I thought it was 10k! Day 19- 1 mile treadmill Day 20- 3.1 miles road Day 21- 1 mile treadmill Day 22- 2 + 2 miles road with backpack Day 23- 1 mile treadmill Day 24- 1.5 miles road with backpack Day 25- 1 mile road Day 26- 3.1 miles road Day 27- 3.1 miles road . . 📸 By @cakevsscales
A post shared by Mollie, Happiness PT (@ptmollie) on

Race report: London Triathlon Super Sprint

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

In an effort to rekindle my running mojo, I signed up for the London Triathlon* rather last minute.  To keep it a realistic goal after my running injury, I selected the shortest distance. The Super Sprint course is 400m swim, 10km bike, and 2.5km run.  For a short moment, I considered bumping up to the sprint distance (750m, 20km bike, 5km run) to challenge my PR from 2012.  But I decided to keep it safe/play it smart by sticking to the shortest distance to avoid re-injury.

My entry wave was at 3:10pm on Saturday afternoon.  About 95% of the women in my group (I chose women-only vs mixed start) were first timers.  The London Triathlon is a great race if you are tri-curious.

Entries and fees:  The race doesn't sell out (it is held over two days with lots of entries available) and entries are available close to the event.  There are different fees depending on the distance you sign up for.  It ranges from £40+.  Remember that triathlons tend to be more expensive due to the amount of logistics required to set up swimming, cycling, and running courses.  Personally, I think the London Tri is very reasonable considering the scale of the event (the race takes up half of the ExCel Centre).

Course and bogs: The course starts and ends at the ExCel Centre.  The swim is in the Royal Docks and the longer bike course goes to Big Ben (the super sprint course is only 10km).  All bike segments are on closed roads, which is great.  The run is along the Royal Docks on paths of varying width.  Different distances compete at the same time, so you will have different abilities on the course with you.  I did shout to a few people who were walking three abreast to keep to the left as no one could get by.

This year, it was almost so warm we didn't have to wear wet suits.  I really like my Aptonia wet suit from Decathlon.*  It fit me perfectly, which is hard for a woman as our body shapes are so diverse.  The zipper is a bit tricky to zip up as it is designed to unzip bottom to shoulders, but I think that might make it faster to remove.

Location: Unfortunately, there isn't anything glamorous about the ExCel Centre in East London.  However, the location is super convenient for anyone in London and especially for me as I live about five miles from the start line.  Inside the ExCel, there is a small amount of vendors if you need to pick up gels or a few pieces of run kit, including official merchandise.

Atmosphere: There are not many cheer points along the route.  Many friends and family were cheering at the swim and at the finish line.  The transition area is really big, so it is hard for your fans to see you as you switch disciplines.  Otherwise, you are on your own out on the course

Race bling and goody bag:  No goody bag but you receive a medal just after you cross the finish line.  You also get to pick up the official race t-shirt (which I really like) and the Tenzing team was there to hand you a can as you walked out of the finish area.

Tips if you want to take part next time:  If you are coming back from injury, triathlons are great as the cross-training allows 2/3 of the training to be low impact.  That is one of the big reasons why I signed up. Also, make sure you try open water swimming at least five times before the race.  This gives you a chance to get over the fear of not seeing the bottom, learn how your wet suit fills up, and get used to having to swim continuously.  Finally, do some brick sessions (two disciplines back to back) to get your muscles used to working differently and to try out different outfit combinations.  My kneesuit with sports bra underneath worked perfectly!  You can also use bricks to think about water food and drinks you will need during the race.

Feeling inspired and want to give London Triathlon 2020 a "tri"?  Register your interest now.

*Thanks to London Triathlon for the complimentary race entry and Decathlon for the wet suit.  All opinions are honest and my own.

Enjoying summertime

Monday, August 19, 2019

It has been a while since I posted.  Of course, I feel guilty about this because a "good" blogger posts on a regular basis.  When you don't see me much on the blog, that is because I am out living life in a big way.  This month has been no different.  Most of my time outside work as been spent outside.  I had the London Triathlon (race report coming soon!) and then was in the USA for a week visiting family and friends before a week-long course in Bar Harbor, Maine.  I had never been to that part of Maine before and highly recommend for those who also love the great outdoors.

The sun was shining something fierce on the East Coast during our stay and I have happily developed a slight tan despite wearing sunscreen every day.  My time was spent hiking up mountains, swimming in lakes, exploring American history, shopping at Goodwill (an American charity shop) and eating a lot of donuts.  The #augustrunstreak has been a success so far too.  Having an aim of just one mile a day made it very achievable and dare I say, fun.  Check out my Strava profile to see the places I explored on foot.

I am now back in London, feeling refreshed and excited about the things to come.  My list of blog posts to write is long and there are a few more adventures I have booked in that need some additional planning.  Somehow, I will find the time as all of these things make me happy.  I am also re-branding and can't wait for you to see the fantastic design ThinkMarsh Studio has come up with.

As my tan starts to fade, I will be thinking fondly of the good times I had in Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Maine this summer.  Hopefully you were able to follow the highlights of each location on Facebook and Instagram.  If there is anything in particular from these trips you would like me to write about, please leave a comment below and I will do my best to get an answer up by September.

Photos by Eileen at Crooked Flight.  Dress from Goodwill shop in Quincy, MA.

Join me for 30 Days To Happy

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Everyone deserves to be happy.  As the Happiness Personal Trainer and a qualified health coach, I have the tools to guide you through small changes that can add up to make a big difference in your daily life.  Why not join me for a unique online training program that I developed to cultivate happiness through fitness, food, feelings and fun?  I will be there to hold your hand, cheer you on, and guide you through some of your roadblocks as we work together over 30 days.

'30 Days To Happy' is conducted online, meaning anyone in the world can join as long as they have access to the internet.  Held over email and Facebook, we will touch upon attributes of fitness, food, fun and feelings, learning healthy ways to incorporate each into our daily lives by gently stepping in and out of our comfort zones. 

For only £59, you'll get a introductory webinar to learn more about the program and meet others in the group; a weekly challenge video and worksheet to complete; personalized coaching via the Nudge app on your Smartphone, and community support in a private Facebook group.  We will wrap it up with another video call to see what each participant learned through the course. Overall, it only takes a few minutes a day to complete the weekly challenge.

Testimonials from my pilot session:

"I really enjoyed working with Mollie on the 30 days to happy programme, I learned a lot about my habits and had fun trying new things."    -Julie

"Mollie's 30 Days to Happy is like a gentle nudge from a friend. She provides really great prompts to dig a bit deeper and really think about your day-to-day mood. It challenges you to find happiness is all aspects of life and see how it all relates. I liked meeting new people through the program too and hope to continue using her tips throughout the year!"    -Eileen

Are you in?  

The program runs 23 August- 21 September 2019, costing just £59.  The strategies you will learn will last a lifetime, so invest in yourself and sign up today. Registration closes 23 August 2019.  Sign up via the button below. I am once again limiting the session to 30 people to ensure you get the attention you deserve, so don't wait. :)

Taking triathlon training to the next level

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Waiting to scan my barcode at parkun

On the morning of 13th July, I slotted in some time to dedicate to my triathlon training even though the Super Sprint should only take me an hour or so (the course is a 450m swim, 10K bike, and 2.5K run).  My training plan was a brick session, which meant I had to complete two disciplines back to back.  I took my bike out for an eight mile cycle before parkrun which was nice as the roads were fairly quiet.  I also tried to only turn left so that I could keep my momentum going.  Parkrun is always 5K, twice the distance I needed to run.  Conveniently, my parkrun is two laps so I took the first lap what I thought was pretty fast (for me) to replicate what the London Triathlon will be like.  After looking at my splits on Strava, it turns out the second lap was faster for me.  My legs must have been feeling it from the bike ride.  That is one of the great things about brick sessions is that you have an idea of how your body will feel switching disciplines.  You can mentally and physically prepare yourself for the race, knowing that you will come out the other side.

Kneesuit for me is function over fashion
In order to stick to my rule of "nothing new on race day," I tried out a kneesuit from Simply Swim* as part of this session.  This suit appealed to me because I could wear it under my wet suit and not waste time in transition changing my outfit.  Padded shorts are not my thing, which is why I didn't go for a traditional tri suit.  Of course, I needed to wear a sports bra under the suit because it only had a shelf bra but this would be the case if I wore a regular swim suit too. 

Usually, I prefer to wear clothes that cover the areas of my body that make me insecure (primarily my stomach).  This kneesuit leaves nothing to the imagination in terms of my body shape but at least it is all black.  The light blue on the top is a nice detail too.  While I don't think it is flattering on me (some swimsuits may have shaping material but the kneesuit did not), it did not cause any chafing or get pulled into an uncomfortable position.  Not once did I have to adjust it while on the bike or run.  That makes it a winner in my book and perfect for the tri.

Although I was self-conscious at first of this form-fitting suit, I quickly realized that I actually looked pretty bad-ass in it.  I was training for a triathlon! The people around me didn't know what distance I was doing.  I just looked like I meant business in my knee-length-swimming-costume-turned-run-kit. As my mindset changed, I carried my head a little higher and slowly started to pass people, though the passing people bit was probably due to my legs recovering from my bike ride.

There are two downsides to the kneesuit.  The first is that I don't have anything to wipe my sweat or snot on (this is where a sleeve comes in handy).  The other is that it is hard to stop for a pee in the suit as the entire top needs to be pulled down to use the bathroom.  Luckily, this was never an issue during my training sessions in the kneesuit.  With an aim of finishing the Super Sprint in 60 minutes or less, so I should be able to hold it.  It would be something to consider if I up my distance next year. Many times during my marathons, I have to stop and use with bathroom.  Some athletes, who take their racing much more serious than I do,will urinate on their bike or while running.  I don't think I can do that on purpose.  If I start coughing while running, it might happen but be out of my control.  We shall see what happens on race day.

The kneesuit worked great with my Aptonia triathlon wetsuit* when I finally tried them both in the open water.  While I am a fairly confident swimmer in the pool, mentally everything changed for me in the open water when I couldn't see the bottom.  It took a few sessions in the open water to calm my nerves and figure out that I needed to pull my neck and sleeves a bit open to ensure water entered my wet suit.  Again, no chaffing from either piece of kit during the swim, which was a relief.  Having tried these together makes me more confident for the London Triathlon* on Saturday.

What do you wear for a triathlon?  Do you change your outfit depending on the distance?

*Thanks to Simply Swim for gifting me the kneesuit, Decathlon for the wet suit, and Limelight Sports for the London Triathlon entry.  All opinions are honest and my own.

Have you tried plastic fishing?

Friday, July 19, 2019

Caring for the environment is something I have always felt strongly about.  There wasn't any recycling on campus when I went to university so my first trip home (a six hour drive) I brought a laundry basket full of recycling (and another full of dirty clothes).  Living in London, I am amazed at how many people litter and how much rubbish ends up all over the place.  Some of it may be due to lack of public rubbish bins (there are reduced numbers available due to security), but I think it is primarily down to laziness and lack of respect.  When I used to go on dog walks, I would pick up crisp packets and empty bottles to help keep the local parks clean.

A brand I am quite fond of, Keen Europe, has started up their own initiative to keep our water ways clean.  Their new campaign, #bettertakesaction, had a boat tour all over Europe to encourage people to get outside, explore, and protect the planet (which is a big part of my own brand's ethos).  Did you know that 60% of the European population is not active enough and do not spend enough time outdoors to keep healthy?  Along with that 18 billion pounds of plastic ends up in the ocean every year.  80% of this waste comes from land.  People- we can do better on both accounts.

Sadly the tour is over now, but Cal Majors, of Paddle Against Plastic, is continuing her own campaign.  She stand up paddle-boarded (SUPed) from Land's End to John O'Groats over two months.  Plastic Whale came over from The Netherlands to help us collect the plastic we found in the canal around Hackney Wick.  This company takes plastic bottles (like water and soft drink bottles) to make their boats as this type of plastic can be made into the correct material.  The other waste we collected was sorted into "other plastic" and "garbage" for various recycling efforts or the landfill.

Between the kayaks and the Keen boat, we found all sorts of stuff- shoes, noise makers, bottles, watering cans, a pregnancy test, candy wrappers and a ceramic vase.  You can see that some stuff gets blown in if the bins are full.  There were also a lot of small pieces of plastic that went right through the nets which we were unable to remove.  The bigger stuff eventually gets broken down, which makes it harder to remove and easier for animals in ingest.

Personally, I think there are two simple things you can do to greatly reduce your impact on the environment.  First, carry a reusable water bottle (I love my Hydroflasks) or just drink tap water.  If you can't find a water bottle that is convenient to carry, dust off your flask and simply fill it with water.  It will fit easily into your pocket or a small bag.  Second, don't buy takeaway coffee or if you must, use a reusable cup.  My husband has several of these collapsible silicone cups and leaves them around so he always has one handy.  There are lots of other things you can do to help too, but from what I see in London, these two would have a significant impact.  Keen was kind enough to give us a reusable water bottle, metal straws, and canvas bags to us to get started.

I am hoping to continue #bettertakesaction in the local London waterways on a SUP board ramping up to the London Regatta.  There are a few bits to put into place before I can announce anything formally. 

My Keen Ethos with the bottle cap boat floor
If you are a long-time reader of my blog, you may remember I reviewed the Keen Ethos last summer.  Their range of shoes are versatile for adventures on land and water.  While already a big name in the USA, they are steadily finding their way into the European adventurer's closets.  A lot of my outdoorsy friends have their kids kitted out in Keens as the sandals have reinforced toes and the soles are thick plastic and very durable.  For those who prefer hiking, you can also read my review of the Terradora boots.

As a consumer, it is important to me to support brands that align with my values.  Keen is one of those.  Since the company was founded in 2003, Keen has donated more than $17 million to chariites and non-profits that work for people, animals, and the environment.  I hope you spend some time getting to know them too.  If you enjoy being outdoors and active (whether in the mountains or on the water), you will also love their shoes.

Before you go, here is a minute-long time lapse of our group going through the lock on the canal.  I can't remember the last time I was in a lock.  It was so cool!

Thanks to Keen and Plastic Whale for inviting me along to this event.  All opinions are honest and my own.  This post contains affiliate links which cost the buyer nothing additional but help contribute to the costs for running this site.