Training For IronMan: Injury

Read part 1 of my IronMan journey here, my training food diary here, and my January motivation diary here.

By now you will have gathered that I have a strong mind. There is very little – in fact, there is nothing – I tell myself I can’t do. But I have to be honest; I’ve had a bad month. It’s taken so much willpower – more than I thought I had – not to burst into tears when I see people running and can’t join in. That might sound extreme, but serious runners will understand my pain – that feeling of climbing the walls because all you want to do is run, clear your mind, have some time all to yourself.

I didn’t think I would have to write this article in the lead-up to IronMan but this is real life; injuries happen. I have now not run for almost seven weeks.
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A photo posted by Jess Moloney (@jmoloney1) on

Let's take it back to just before I went on my dream trip to Asia. The day before I left, I got up from my chair in the office to answer the door and felt a stabbing pain in my right foot. I thought I must have twisted it and put it to the back of my mind. My boss (who has the BEST little black book) told me I should see her acupuncturist before I left but, thinking I knew best and thinking it was nothing, off I went on the holiday of dreams.

While away, it got progressively worse, to the point where I was barely able to put any pressure through the mid area of my foot. I developed a bop when I walked; Bangkok probably thought I was some kind of rude girl.

After two and a half weeks of not running and the swelling on my foot not going down, I started to get fucked off. I landed home and went straight to the acupuncturist, who told me to go to A&E as it sounded like problems with my tendon. After a joyous six hours, I finally saw a doctor (incidentally, a sports specialist) and before she even touched my foot she said it was probably a stress fracture. Stress fractures aren't picked up on X-rays but nonetheless she wanted me to have one just to check there was no other damage. Then I was sent for an MRI – I get the results in a few weeks.
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A photo posted by Jess Moloney (@jmoloney1) on

A photo posted by Jess Moloney (@jmoloney1) on

Stress fractures are common in runners and athletes. They are small cracks or severe bruising in the bone and, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, occur "when muscles become fatigued and are unable to absorb added shock. Eventually, the fatigued muscle transfers the overload of stress to the bone, causing a tiny crack.”

Most stress fractures are caused by repetitive activity, intensifying training quickly, overuse and ill-fitting shoes. Recovery can be anything from four weeks to four months but until I get my results, I can’t be 100% sure. Thankfully, I can still swim, cycle and do weight training. The injury has actually allowed me to try things that I may not have thought to do before. Instead of pounding the pavements, my new happy place has become Boom Cycle in Holborn. I CANNOT express how much I love it. I do a triple class in the morning; my alarm is set for 4.45am and by 6.30am I’m on a bike, in a dark room, music blaring, sweating… It reminds me of Ibiza but instead of being the end of my night, it’s the start of my day.
The team at Boom Cycle are seriously friendly and what’s more, Scotch (my dog) can come and they watch him while I train (which is a saviour as fitting training in around a dog can be a nightmare).

The instructors are all super motivating, too. My new favourite person is @bangsandabun because she always incorporates grime music into her sets – and we all know my love for grime!

I’ve started with a new trainer but because of my injury, she isn’t seeing me at my full potential. My Nike fam introduced me to Joslyn Thompson Rule; she’s a Nike Global Master Trainer and a badass female. It sounds cringe, but I’m honoured to be training with her. She’s given me great tips to help my recovery and, having had a recent injury herself, made me feel super confident that I will come back from this just fine, maybe even stronger!

So it’s with a heavy heart that I’ve had to pull out of the Barcelona marathon in March – I can’t put added stress and pressure on my mind and my body when a marathon is not my true focus. Only time (and my MRI results) can tell how bad my injury is. What have I learned from all this? TO LISTEN TO MY BODY.
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