Steven Taylor

Centre-back Steven Taylor is currently working his way back from a ruptured Achilles, but during his recovery is writing an exclusive blog for nufc.co.uk. In his latest instalment, Taylor talks about just what he's been doing to ensure he's fighting fit for next season and why wearing a tutu is helping him do exactly that...

While most of the lads are on their holidays, since the end of the season I've been coming into the training ground every day and working closely with our physio Derek Wright on our AlterG anti-gravity treadmill (I'll explain what that is later!).

I've also been doing a lot of 'boxercise' with Michael Harding because there's two ways you can go when you're injured - you can hit the weights and bulk up or you can keep yourself lean with lots of cardio work, which is what I've been doing.

The physios have encouraged me to stick to the cardio side of things and I've been running outside a lot on the training pitches, which has good because I didn't think I'd be able to crack on as quickly as I have.

It's also about training my brain to do what it was doing before I ruptured my Achilles, and it's important I get back in that mode again. You can train and run as much as you like, but matches are what get you really fit and that's what I'm working towards.

This time last year I needed to get a good pre-season under my belt having been out for four months with a hamstring injury, and that's exactly what I need again this time around.

The injury I suffered against Chelsea in December was a freak accident that I couldn't do anything about, but I believe I can get back to where I was and that's what I'm trying to do.

It's an intense time for me, but I've kept in touch with most of the lads and they're obviously enjoying themselves on their holidays. I'm having an eight-day break over the next few weeks and I'm heading to America for some rest, but I have to keep myself ticking over and make sure I don't let myself go after all the work I've done.

I'm also going away with Derek Wright to Portugal for five days, and we'll be doing a lot of running in some proper heat. That will be difficult, but it can only benefit me in the long term.

The Club Doctor has got our fitness team working around my schedule, even though it's the close season. They should be having some time of as well but they've been coming in to help me and I can't thank them enough.

Everyone has stayed positive since the injury happened, but I've been a bit like a nagging wife to them over the past few months and they are probably sick to death of me!

I give them grief because I'm eager to get fully fit, but they work with smiles on their faces and they keep me going and keep on encouraging me, so I must be doing something right.

I'm confident that I'll be back in the swing of things in time for pre-season training, and while I might stick with Derek for the first week as a precaution, I can't wait to be back to 100 per cent again.

I've also had a ball at my feet once more, and that felt a bit weird as I hadn't kicked a football since that game against Chelsea almost six months ago. That was a big moment in the process for me and I'm getting used to it all over again.

It works in stages - on the first day I got 15 minutes with the ball, then half-an-hour the next day and so on. The staff here are great at knowing when to step things up and they've been amazing.

Before I go I should explain this AlterG machine, which has played a big part in my recovery. You have to wear these special shorts, and they look a bit like a tutu so you can imagine the stick I've been getting in the dressing room!

You put them on and get inside an inflatable treadmill which then zips up. Once you press the start button, a vacuum of air pumps into it and it helps to control your body weight.

At first that air lifts you up and protects you, but as I've got better and stronger on my feet it's given me the confidence to step things up and without it I wouldn't be where I am in terms of my fitness.

It's a very clever machine and I've been on it every day for the last four months - tutu and all!

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