From the sandpit to the grass pitches!

First time I put my boots on!

It has been 2-weeks since my last blog and the time is flying by. The reason for my blog absence last week was due to the medical department giving me a pre-planned 5-days away from the training ground.

Costa Del Wolverhampton
Costa Del Wolverhampton

Giving me the chance to rest up a bit both physically and mentally so I didn’t have a great deal of information to write about. It was always the plan to have a break at 6-weeks, and with my progress being on track it was nice to switch off for a few days and it left me feeling recharged and raring to get back into things this week!

I was back in the training ground on Saturday and my main aim was to get myself running at 90% of my body weight on the Alter G Anti Gravity treadmill, which I successfully did. This was the last bit of rehab I needed to tick off before the holy grail of being allowed back outside running on the grass. I also started doing some plyometric work in the sandpit at the training ground, this felt really good as I was really starting to load my foot in more multi directional jumps and hops, although finishing the session with 3 sets of 30 seconds high knee running wasn’t so fun!

First time I put my boots on!
First time I put my boots on!

Monday morning couldn’t come fast enough, being able to put your boots back on to go for a run on the grass is one of the huge milestones of a lengthy injury. I had done my early morning swim at Nuffield Health in Wolverhampton, I then went through my normal routine before heading outside about 11am. The plan was to do 4-sets of 4-minute runs at a jogging pace with very early stage agility and ball work in between these sets.

Me and Nouha Dicko doing our runs

Just to be running outside in a pair of boots felt incredible although I did feel very apprehensive as I started but thankfully the session went to plan and most importantly I had no pain at all. From Monday the week built up really nicely, I was outside again on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday with a lighter day on Wednesday. Each outdoor session progressed every day and by the end of the week I was doing some slalom runs over 80 metres loading more through the outside of the foot (5th metatarsal region) and this was at a good 80% of my maximum pace. Also the agility work was getting a bit more intense, I was picking up the speed through different ladder and hurdle drills and with that the ball work was increasing.

Mentally this has all been great, it really picks up your mood seeing that the end is almost in sight. It has also been nice to do a lot of my work with Nouha Dicko this week. We are at a similar level in what we can do now although Nouha will obviously be a bit further away from full fitness due to the severity of his injury but it is nice to be working alongside him, as it seems a long time since we were playing together at Molineux!

Apart from the obvious highs of the outdoor rehab, I have still been having all my treatments off the medical staff, doing specific rehab in the gym mainly balance and proprioception work, upper and lower body conditioning session 3 times a week, high intensity interval training twice this week, sand pit plyometric sessions 3 times this week and also 3 early morning swimming sessions. I absolutely love the swimming and have been doing it 4 weeks now, my first session was doing sets of 6 lengths (20 metre pool I think) and I was absolutely knackered after that but on Friday I did 50 lengths straight off which is 1000 metres and I did it in less than 20 minutes. I think I could end up being a triathlete after this last 8 weeks!

Me, Mikey and Matt against Blues
Me, Mikey and Matt against Blues

This week also saw me make my debut in the Molineux press box. I was lucky enough to be asked by to join him and Matt Murray to commentate on Wolves’ game against Birmingham on Sunday. It was a typically tight derby game with no one wanted to give too much away but it was very enjoyable to watch. It was very different to be sat up in the top tier of the Billy Wright Stand watching the game, it definitely looks a lot easier to play from up there and it seems like there is more space than when you are actually down on the pitch in the thick of the action but it does allow you to accurately see what is happening tactically and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience on giving my thoughts and opinions on the game. I have also been asked by BBC Wales to be a guest on their coverage of Wales’ game with Northern Ireland on Thursday which is another great chance for me to get some more media experience.

I’m really looking forward to another week of progress and I’m sure by the time I write next weeks blog I will have a good idea of how far away from training I am.

Thanks as always for taking the time to read this!



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