While running with my bff Meggan the other day we started talking about injuries and about the fact that she has NEVER had one. WHAT? A runner that hasn’t seriously damaged their body because they think that they are invincible and then have to sit and cry into their ice cream container when they can’t run for 3 months? I asked her a trillion questions about her routine, running habits, nutrition, stretching and everything else under the sun related to our beloved sport of running.
It was crazy because a lot of her answers went right along with my running bible, “Running for Women” by Kara Goucher. Main tips straight from Kara, randomness from me:
1. Be careful with your knees! Protect them by getting your quads strong…SQUATS!
2. Stop running for at LEAST two days if you feel persistent pain after running. If you feel pain after a run (deciding whether it is soreness or pain is up to you) then take at least 2 days off and if the pain isn’t gone then take another two days off. Enjoy your time on the couch with some popcorn. Running will always be there for you, come back to it when your body is ready.
3. Soak in ice-cold water once a week. First, I am so proud of my MIL because she took her first ice bath after a long run last week. Atta Girl. This is an incredible way to help you with soreness and inflammation after a tough run.
4. Run on softer surfaces such as dirt trails rather than asphalt when-ever possible. Grass is the best surface (as long as it is even). Less pounding= less injuries.
5. Stretch and strength train regularly to keep our body in balance. I don’t know why this is so hard for us ya know? We are fine setting out for a 2 hour run but ask me to take 10 minutes after to stretch and I will roll my eyes. Gotta work on this one.
6. Take the gradual approach. ‘Make a plan with step-by-step increases from week to week. Every third or fourth week, cut back your mileage to give your body a chance to catch up.”
7. Listen to your body: ‘The most common overuse injuries don’t happen suddenly; they develop slowly over a period of many days or even weeks. Thus you usually have plenty of warning, but you need to heed that warning.”
8. Learn to distinguish garden-variety soreness from the pain that signifies an injury. Sometimes we listen to our bodies a little too much when we are training, a little soreness is good for us.
9. Ask questions and get help. I actually had to beg one of my doctors for another X-ray because I was sure my problem wasn’t a muscle injury and it turned out it was a stress fracture. Be persistent and if you don’t like the treatment/ideas from your doctor, ask more questions or go to a new doctor. Do your research too!
10. Consider dropping down to 3 or 4 days a week of running if you keep getting injured at 5 to 7 days a week. “Make adjustments if something isn’t working, like running every day.”
Anyone else watching the Tour de France?
What running related injuries have you had and what do you think you could have done to prevent them?
What tip do you need to work on?
How many days a week of running works for you?