I am not doing much running at the moment. I am “recovering” from a stress fracture on my right tibia, which my doctor believes is just from doing a lot of running.

My doctor and physio want to help me to get back to running regularly. As part of that they want me, my body to do work that 1. isn’t running and 2. running. But they also want me to 3. rest.

As part of my recovery I work closely with the physio. I work in three day cycles:

Day 1: Some stretches, pushes, jumping. A long walk or a bike session.

Day 2: A run*.

Day 3: Rest, in that do nothing or a walk.

Then I go back to day 1. This next time round on day 1 I might do the same as I did in the previous cycle or a little more (as agreed with my physio) — but nothing but a little more. Day 2 the same. Day 3 I must take it easy again, let my body recover, to rebuild.

We have a programme that I am following. Less guidelines, more rules. I need to stick to these, do nothing more than planned, don’t push it. It’s very deliberate, very gradual, very measured. If I feel any pain in the bones stop, take a break.

I have regular catch ups with my physio, over the phone. I keep a light record of how it is going and because I track my activity — runs on Strava, exercise in a notebook — we can keep it deliberate, gradual and measured.

Last summer I was wondering about how we “recover”, how we feel we must always be doing something, something light to recover rather than resting to recover. Recover as a verb versus recover as a noun. My tibia recovery cycle has Rest very much baked in. Over time my doctor hopes I could be back to running every two days — a shorter cycle — but I need to make sure my right tibia is strong before I do that. Any post-recovery cycles I will need to make sure I bake some rest in. Running every two days might fit into a wider six day cycle. Cycles fitting around the activities though.

This made me think of the cycles that usually shape our planning.

A lot of running planning is automatically tuned to a seven day cycle, a weekly cycle. My physio believes a two or three day cycle repeated would be best, get your mind and body into that a rhythm, help my body — any body — to work and rest. Put the onus on the needs and what works best for those, not existing systems and structures.

It also made me think about the way “agile” ways of work default into two week sprints. How often do we have a cycle for design work that doesn’t fit the allotted fortnight cycle? Sometimes we “fall short”, sometimes need a longer cycle. The acts of reflection and planning at the end of the sprint (our “rest time”) become less relevant, governed by management cycles rather than the needs of the actions.

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