Room to move

There is a room at work, the Wellness Room. It’s the room the massage therapist who used to come into work each month used (she left the organisation that we had the agreement with and they haven’t replaced her – we miss you Daniela!).


The room looks like all of our glass offices, but the Wellness Room glass has a floor to ceiling opaque coating. It has a bed and a small sink and gets used by new mums who are still breastfeeding and need a place to express breastmilk. It’s got a little mini fridge, a full length mirror, one of the firm’s first aid kits and the defibrillator hangs on the wall.

It’s also where I go when I need to stretch out muscles. Or roll around on a massage ball. You see, you can’t just lie down on the carpet behind your desk and roll around on a massage ball to try and release a niggle. If you need to do more than lean against a wall with a massage ball jammed in your upper glute, some people think lying on the ground between the shelves making faint whimpering noises is ‘unprofessional’.

I was ecstatic to have our first session of pilates since before Christmas on Monday morning, because I’d had a persistent ache in my glutes. The cheap Chinese massage place in the retail space below work was only about 60% successful to clear the problem last Wednesday; the worst was gone, but parkrun on Saturday and then 9k on Sunday probably didn’t help me work the rest of it out.

Anyway, Lauren explained that there are about 8 muscles that make up the glutes, and showed me a couple more stretches that worked that sucker out almost immediately. The only issue is, unless you’re in trousers or shorts, glute stretches aren’t something that you can do in the aisle next to the legal encyclopaedia. And I tend to wear skirts.

Now I have been able to run without issue, I’ve been stagnant when it came to speed – I’d push at parkrun and still sit around the same times. It means it’s time to start speed work. I was going to run intervals last Thursday, but it was baking hot at 6:30pm, so I decided against it, and ran intervals on Tuesday night instead. It felt pretty good, except cardiovascularly, as you’d imagine. The field laps totaled a mile, then on the main course a 2 km warm-up with the collie dog loops, then I went off by myself to do 6 by 1 minute, with 30 seconds float, and rejoined the group for a further 2 km to the finish. I had to walk the last two or three floats. But I didn’t die, so that’s a win.

On Wednesday at lunch I sat down and worked out four more interval workouts – some simple, one slightly more elaborate and a pyramid session. They’re loaded on my Garmin along with a Cooper Test workout, so now when it comes to Tuesdays I can pick one out and do that. To get faster, you have to run faster. It’s a pretty simple principle, but it’s true.

Last night I lay in bed and felt the most amazing ache in a belt around my hips – not quite as bad as it was after I did the first 5km of Six Inch out and back, but it was close. It’s a sign I have been using my glutes – more than before – and the niggles and aches it causes are persistent buggers, so I think I’m going to be using the Wellness Room floor for a while yet.

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