Running with Hypermobility

A little post about how having hypermobile joints affects my running

Why do I run?

I’ll start off with a little introduction. I have been running for 7 years, so unlike a lot of people it isn’t something I have always done or enjoyed. I preferred swimming when I was younger. I started running by completing the Couch to 5k with my friend and we celebrated by doing the Big Fun Run in Roundhay park. Although I always had in my head from that point that I wanted to get to 10k distance, I also thought I would never go further than 10k…..oh how things changed. But more to the why; time with friends, quality time with Rich not talking about work. I love the social side of being part of a club as well as the encouragement to do your best from all in that club. Running also really helps me cope with the stresses of work.

In those 7 years, I got to 10k and further. With the encouragement of Richard I joined the aforementioned running club, Hyde Park Harriers, something else I said I wouldn’t do, as the clubs I had come into contact with running near my home had put me off. They were not as good as HPH at moving over and giving other footpath users space. In doing so though I met loads of amazing and inspiring people, many of whom I am now proud to call my friends.

Lockdown, although difficult, gave me the time to put in to following a half marathon plan and I ran my first half marathon distance from my front door. I then smashed that time with Sarah Underwood pacing me a few months later, after following another plan created for me by Steve Rhodes. I have more recently joined the committee in an attempt to give back some of what the club has given me over the years.

Why no further than 10k?

I have hypermobile joints, as many people do. Unfortunately mine causes me issues, not just being able to bend my thumb onto my wrist as a party trick…..It seemed like a good thing to do as a kid. I didn’t find this out though until I was in my 30’s but it was good to know the reason why I went over on my ankle all the time and why joints will just randomly hurt for a few days/weeks or longer and then stop again.

At the time I started running the physio I was seeing encouraged it but had to show me how to tape my shoulder and knee for a bit of extra support. All of this built up into my head that I wouldn’t be able to run further than 10k, to be fair as a new runner that seemed like a big distance, it still does.

What does that mean for me and running?

I have had 3 surgeries on my shoulder and one on my hip and I am in pain constantly from one joint or another. Currently it’s my knee and foot and sometimes my hip and shoulder join in the party. It’s one I’d rather they missed! 

To be able to run I have to manage that pain and ensure I do strengthening exercises for my joints. They let me know when I’ve been slacking with those exercises, although sometimes it’s not what I want to be doing at 6:30am before work, and I really need to get better at realising when I am pushing it a bit too much. Err, around the park around the clock was a good idea, right? Although when you’re married to someone who does a Garratt (thanks Lizzie) fairly frequently, it’s hard to not think you aren’t achieving very much.

Sometimes I just accept that I will pay for a few days after doing any run/challenge I sign up to and just go and enjoy it. Ilkley Fell Race was one of those days, a great day out running with and supported by friends from HPH. Plus food after, what’s not to love?

Having said all that, I love being outside and active, I love the feeling I get after running (it really does help my mental health), the camaraderie and support from the running club is also amazing and has helped me push the boundaries of what I thought I could do.

My next aim is to get back up to half marathon distance this year, hopeful that my knee agrees. Munich here we come, and who knows after that?

I am trying to learn to see what I can do rather than focusing on what I can’t. I can’t wait to find out!