How I went from injured all of the time to never injured anymore + yesterday’s recap!

When I walked in the door from 7 miles with my friends, Brooke asked me if we could go out for a run together before she went to school.

Ummmmmm YES!  She is already so excited about this soccer season and she told me she wants to get fast for her games so here we go… As you can tell, I’m in heaven.

I asked her if she could give me some lessons on running form because this girl has it DOWN.

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1/2 a mile for her!

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My body was feeling pretty tired from speed the day before and whenever I feel that way I always grab the Glycerins.  They are so extremely comfortable and they make it feel like I’m running with pillows wrapped around my feet.

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Skye read to Andrew yesterday, he loves it when the book is two inches from his eyeballs.

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A big highlight of the day was going over to my parents’ house for dinner.   Everything was so delicious and we had the best time with them.

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We also did some puzzles and a lot of chatting.

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THIS FELT SO GOOD.

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And one of my running partners made freeze dried candy (bit o’ honey, skittles, taffy and peachios) and I had to try them!

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Amber asked a question yesterday that I thought I would respond to in a blog post because I have a lot to say about it all.  She asked yesterday how I am able to run so much without being injured!

First, I will say that I do think that certain people are more prone to injuries and I have no idea why, it’s not fair and that is so incredibly frustrating.  I have friends that do EVERYTHING right with their training and yet they still get injured.  Even the best athletes in the world get injured at times… Sometimes life is just mean to us!

But I will share for me what has worked over the years to stay injury free.  For the first five years of blogging I was injured all of the time—> multiple stress fractures, shin splints, one of my knees had issues, plantar fasciitis, IT band syndrome and hamstring issues.  I was constantly dropping out of races, having to halt training and it was SO so annoying to put in a lot of work only to be injured and on the sidelines again.

Flashback to my sis and I being injured at the same time….

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These are the things that helped me and I’d love to hear what helps other people to stay injury free!

*Variety variety variety of surfaces!  Right now I am not really on the trails as much as I would like to but when I was running back to back weeks of 85 miles, a good chunk of those miles were on the trails.  If we can mix up the surfaces we run on, we lower the chances of having overuse injuries from all of the monotony.  My highest mileage weeks included—> dirt, gravel, grass, track, cement and pavement.   If you can’t get out on trails often then try things like jumping on and off the sidewalk, running on the grass, ducking under things, running over some rocks, switch up the side of the road you run on etc.  Oh and random thought if you do run on a track often, make sure to switch up the direction you run on the track to avoid injury!

*Variety variety variety of paces!  For me, running the same pace every day really did not help me to stay injury free (especially because none of them I ran easy).   My miles range from in the 5’s to the 9’s now and I think the variety helps me to stay injury free.  The days after I run hard I really make sure to run easy and a lot of times even easier than I would think I need to.  Having a coach that really helps you stay accountable to taking your easy days easy can be super helpful.  PS my running team does go through weeks where we run hard the day after a speed workout but it is a different type of hard using different muscle groups—> ie a lot of elevation gain the day after a speed workout.

*I stopped eating salads ALL of the time.  There is nothing wrong with salads in the slightest and I still love a good salad but I make sure I’m eating a lot more calorie dense meals than I used to.  I really think that for me this is the one that has made the biggest difference in my running and my injuries personally.  I switched from salads for meals to things like burritos, burgers, pasta, rice bowls etc.  I probably eat double the calories I used to and that has made all of the difference for me.   Increasing my body fat made a big difference for me.

*I’m pretty careful now… probably to the extreme.  In 2019 right before my marathon I was feeling a bit of pain in my calf.  I had a few people tell me to just do the workout we had planned on it anyway because it probably wasn’t anything (and it probably wasn’t ha) BUT I stopped running right away just in case it was.  So many times in the past I would feel something that didn’t feel right and I would keep running on it and then it would turn into something so much worse.  I would much rather take off 3 days right away than keep running on it and have to take weeks/months off!

*Sleep.  Right now it isn’t happening as much as I would love but when I am really training hard, I make sleep a huge priority.  If I am not sleeping well, I am much more likely to get injured!  I keep referring to 2019 because that was my best year of running but I was getting on average 9 hours of sleep each night and sometimes even more!

*I take a day off from running each week!  I know plenty of healthy runners that don’t need to do this and run great 7 days a week but for my body, I know I need a complete day with a lot of downtime!

*I do think that using different types of shoes throughout the week helps.  I think that switching around my shoes helps my feet to develop different muscles to keep them strong.  I rotate between the Glycerin, Launch, Hyperion (the racing flat ones and the Elite), Ghosts and Cascadia the most.

*I use all of the tools to help my body to recover faster and I have a full post HERE on those tools!

*If you live in Utah, I cannot recommend Dr. Bennett enough.  I can’t tell you how many times over the years I have gone into get help from him and he is able to fix an issue… it’s basically magic. 801-513-1078

These two slides below are from a presentation I went to from Golden Harper (the founder of Altra)!

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Injuries are really hard.  I am so sorry if anyone is going through one right now.  Cry when you need to, feel what you need to feel and you can 1000% come back stronger and faster than ever from your injury!  I’m always here if you need a cheerleader to get you through your injury because I know how hard they are!

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What about you—> What are some things that help you to stay injury free?  What has been your worst running injury?

What surface do you run on the most often and what is your favorite surface for running?

Who was the last person (or people) you ate a meal with?

What is something active you do besides running?

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46 comments

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Oh I just love you. Thank you so much!! This was all so helpful. I will try switching shoes too! I do a lot of trail running so that was comforting. But a lot of times I am sticking with the same pace days in a row. I should switch that up! You’re the best!

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Thank you for the question and I wish we could go out for a trail run together today! Hoping you are able to stay injury free and keep up your awesome training! Thank you friend, have a beautiful day!

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Right now we’re in the middle of a step challenge for our wellness program at work, so I’ve been walking like crazy! Some days I’m getting triple the steps I normally do, so honestly I haven’t been running a ton this month because of that. I miss the running, but with all this walking, I’m actually sore some days. If anything, it’s made me happy to realize that when/if my running days ever do end, I can embrace walking knowing it’s a great workout too!
Other than running, I love to use my spin bike, and just yesterday I ordered our Concept2 rower! We have been on the waitlist for a while, so I can’t wait for it to arrive!

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Hey Amanda! That is awesome that your work is doing this program. I have absolutely been sore from walking before too, it really is such a great workout. Let me know what you think of the rower, we think ours is even better than we thought it would be! Happy Thursday friend.

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Such a good post today, thank you!!
I have learned that adding in strength training and pilates or yoga, has been a game changer for me. Making sure to strengthen and engage the supporting muscles has really helped. The one thing I struggle with is pace… I seem to always run hard. So I am definitely working on that. And thank you for sharing that you do run easy paces, and look how fast you can be!
How fun to have dinner with your parents! It’s nice to be close enough to be able to do that in the middle of the week.
Have a great day!

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HEY YOU! You seriously are my inspiration to do more of the strength/pilates/yoga stuff! I just wish we were neighbors so I could come do it with you. Yes to all of the paces… let me know how that goes. It really is so nice to be able to pop on over whenever. Thanks Wendy, you too!

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Eating enough calories I know plays a piece in injury, a big factor. I do stretch and foam roll but I will be honest, I never notice a huge difference but I will keep doing it. Strength training I know is a big factor, for me getting my core in shape has been important. I have no idea how it played into it but ever since I started working on my core a year ago, my problem knee has not been a problem! Go figure. Of course I have let strength training slide a little with marathon training. I got to those heavy mileage weeks (heavy for me) and I just didn’t want to do it. But I am giving myself a little grace.
I run on my treadmill and the road. This might not make sense but I love running on soft roads, you know the roads that have been paved in the past few months and aren’t super hard? Once I take a little time off after my marathon I do want to hit the trails more often.
I so wish the Glycerins worked for me, they give me blisters… I am doing my marathon in the Ghosts though but I vary between Ghosts, Suacony truimph, Hoka Mach 4, Brooks Richochet and on rare occasions Hoka Bondi.

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HEY Carrie, thank you so much for sharing with us what you do to stay injury free. That is incredible to hear about the connection between your core and your knee and I absolutely believe it… I think a lot of problems can be helped when we strengthen our core. I think I give myself a little too much grace with my strength training haha. That makes 100% sense, I love the softer roads too. Boo to the blisters but I am so glad that the Ghosts, triumph, Mach 4 and ricochet are working well for you! Have a great day friend.

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Eating well is a huge one! Whenever I used to train and try to lose weight at the same time, I would get injured. And incorporating non-running activities like yoga and strength training!

I run on the sidewalk or street most often. I should run on soft surfaces more though!

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Right?! It’s sad to me that running has been marketed as a way to lose weight because when people diet and run it just ends in an injury so often! Way to go getting in the yoga and strength! I hope your day is off to a great start!

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Yessssssssssss to running easy when it’s time to run easy! On my speed/tempo workouts now, I even WALK part of my recovery to get myself reset for the next interval. It helps me to faster during the hard work, which makes me faster on race day!

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VICTORIA. I love that idea so so much. I can’t wait to try it. Letting yourself be able to run the interval faster makes it so we race faster… AMEN. Happy Thursday friend, I have some Kneaders sugar cookies in my pantry if you want to come over?!

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How does Brooke run without her hair tied back? I would be able to take 2 steps before I would be complaining! :)

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Hahah we totally forgot to and we didn’t realize until we got home… we were confused how she handled it too! Have the best day Bethany!

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Hi Janae! I love these ideas, I think I’ll hit up a gravel trail for today’s warmup and cool down. The hip strengthening stuff makes a lot of sense to me, I’ve noticed a lot less issues once I started doing clamshells and hip CARs every day (I just do one set before my run to activate the muscle). You got any pre run drills?
Have a great day!

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YAY for those gravel trails! Sooooo I need to be much better at those. I sometimes do squats and lunges to get my glutes activating but I need to do more. You inspired me to do some clamshells today! PS what are hip CARs?! Thanks Amy, you too!

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CARs are Controlled Articulate Rotations, so basically taking a joint through the entire range of motion. In less fancy words hip CARs are basically hip circles! I’ve heard people say before doing CARs for your joints is basically like flossing your teeth, so that motivates me to do them. I like them for warmup or to loosen up if my hip is sore.

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Good morning!! I am blessed to have remained free of any major injuries. Little, nagging things on occasion, but otherwise, I have been lucky – think the worst was a badly strained quad muscle. I do rotate shoes (Glycerins are the fave!) and am a big believer in stretching. Yoga and Pilates help strengthen supporting muscles and keep them flexible. When I was able to do kettlebells regularly, I felt like that overall, functional strength really helped me remain injury free. Sadly, the gym closed permanently because of COVID. I am an avid skier, golfer, and hiker too – I think it all helps :o)
My favorite running surface is dirt, but most of my miles end up being road miles. Oh well; just mix it up when I can.
The last people I had a meal (more like a large snack, actually) with were the women from my weekly hiking group. We always enjoy a bit of a tailgate after our hike and being with them is one of the highlights of my week. It’s so nice that you live close enough to your family that you can see them regularly :o) Have a fantastic Thursday!!

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Yay for staying injury free Janine! Seriously I need to jump on the yoga/pilates train and strengthen these muscles of mine! You are doing an amazing job with it all! I love that you also ski, golf and hike… you are living life to the fullest! Can I come to your hiking group? That sounds like a blast! Thank you, you too Janine!

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Thank you for these great ideas!! I was wondering if you could share in a future post your strength routine. I always seem to run out of ideas. Also, do you stretch/foam roll? Or do any mobility exercises? I would love to hear your thoughts on those.

I naturally vary my running surfaces only because I often run with my dog. So we prefer gravel, grass and trail. But when I run solo, I’ll hit the bike path. I also walk A LOT… bike path, fields, trails… I love hiking!! So this forces me to switch shoes according to the surface I’m running on. I do love the very aggressive Speedcross for trails as very often, my dog is also pulling me… so I need to stay on my feet! lol

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HEY! I seriously struggle with strength at this point BUT I will put together a post with some awesome resources! I do stretch and foam roll and I will sometimes do squats and lunges before a run to get my glutes activated! Really though, these things are my weakness so I need to turn them into my strength!
That is awesome that you vary your running surfaces so much! I am positive all of your hiking keeps you injury free too. Have the best day and I would love to try the Speedcross!

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Hi Janae,
This was a great post! Things I have learned (mostly from you and then other runners agree when I bring it up;
-increase slowly, but have a target running mileage weekly/monthly/yearly broken down to hit your goals.
-speed, recovery, hills, tempo, recovery…repeat!
-running is still fun like when you were a kid-dodge sprinklers, run toward sprinklers, leap over stuff.
-2 days off for me weekly from running, but I play soccer or tennis with my kids for fast short movement and to have fun!
-I eat 2 “clean meals” and one “monster meal” daily (usually)

My favorite thing recently is the laying on the ground/feet up the wall recovery after running…i haven’t had the heavy leg feeling since I started. Thanks for the recommendation!
Have a great day!

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THANK YOU for sharing these with us and I especially love the one about running like a kid more! Doesn’t that feel so good to do?! I need to do that one myself right now. Thanks Jenny, you too!

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Oh Janae, it was like this post was speaking to me directly! I just got back in to running after an injury and I have been sticking to the track (and the path that is around the track) because of my fear of falling. Why didn’t I think to change directions??? Thank you! I see some people using the field in the center of the track, so I think I will make use of that too!
My injury was from falling and not overuse, but I do strength training just about every day and pilates is my saving grace from overuse injury! I cannot recommend that enough to everyone…not just runners. Have a great day! (Our spring break is next week…finally!!!)

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HEY CRISSY! I am so glad you are back to running post injury and I’m stoked you are going to switch directions and use the middle of the track too! I really need to follow your lead with pilates… it is so hard but SO needed for everyone. Happy spring break next week!

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My doctor once told me ” Your body will whisper to you long before it screams.” and that has made all the difference in staying injury free. Just because we can mentally run through the pain doesn’t mean we should.

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Okay, that is PERFECT. I will be remembering that from here on out now. Have the best day!

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Thank you for this post! Currently dealing with a hamstring strain that isn’t letting me run *tears* but doing my best to strength train/cross train, going for bike rides to keep up the cardio fitness so hopefully able to run again soon, especially now that it’s getting nice!

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You are so welcome Allison! I am SO sorry about your hamstring strain, those hamstrings can be cruel and so painful! You are doing an awesome job as you get through this and you will come back stronger and faster than ever. I’m cheering for you Allison!

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Interesting that you bring up salads. I agree – you have to fuel that body! You are in a good place with your running right now. I hope you will be running those miles for a long, long time! Runner for life, right? Have a great day!

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Thank you so much Lisa! Yep, salads can be great but if we aren’t getting enough calories, we can’t run healthy! Have a beautiful day!

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Such a great post Janae and I’ve been following you since we were both injured before Boston long ago! I had a stress fracture and haven’t gotten one since although I have had a few other issues , to me bone health is the big one.

For me, I needed to not “just” run (again we are all different so whatever works for you!) so I also swim and cycle, fortunately I love that. But most importantly I weight training a little, and it took a few sessions with a PT to make sure I was getting it right and doing the right things to combat my imbalances. Actually balance is huge!

I also like to mix it up on trails and even the beach if I can get there!

And yes, I love a good salad, but trust me on this as I have a good ten ish years on you- feed your body! We are all putting in a lot of miles and hours. Food is not a reward we need to earn.

Can’t wait to see you hit your next goal, Janae!

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KATE!! We have been friends for a very long time, I love it. I agree, bone health is so so important. I am so glad that you haven’t had a stress fracture since! I love that you swim and cycle and that you love it too… those things make us SO strong and what a great idea to take a few sessions to make sure you were lifting properly. I need to do that. Thank you friend and please keep me updated with how you are doing and I wish we could get in a beach run together!

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This is such great advice for avoiding injury!

I take at least one day off a week and more if I’m tired or feel off. I bike and lift weights at least once a week. I’ve had a few bad injuries: broke my hand (fell while running), tore my plantar fascia, and I’ve sprained my ankle a few times.

I run on a lot of blacktop and sidewalk. I really need to find some more dirt!

I have dinner with my sis and mom each Tuesday and with my husband’s fam on Sundays. It is the best!

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Do you have any advice for recovering from a stress fracture? I technically have a stress reaction vs. fracture. My doc says there are 4 levels of a stress reaction/fracture and it’s not technically a fracture until it’s a grade 4. Mine is a grade 3. He recommended 3 months of no running. Monday will be 8 weeks, so I have at least 4 to go. I’ve been riding a stationary bike in the meantime but I hate it! Lol. I would appreciate any tips to help with my recovery. I’ve had multiple MRI’s, x-rays, etc. so I’m seeing professionals but would love any advice you have to offer.

Thanks!
Adam

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Adam! I am really so so sorry about what you have been going through the last 8 weeks! I hope that you are feeling like yourself again asap! My best advice isn’t fun advice ha but I just had to learn to truly let my body rest. Less was more for me, I kept trying to do more and more exercise and I don’t think that helped the healing process. I wish I had better pointers to help you but the stress fracture recovery was all about patience for me which is not something I like…

Good luck and PLEASE let me know how your first run back goes!

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Hi Janae. Thanks so much. At some stage could you maybe do a post on your brooks shoes and what you use each for? Eg I know the Hyperion are for speed but how long a session would you use them for – eg mile reps , longer tempo runs etc, do you always race in them – and any distance (when we can race!). Do you only use them for the speed portion as you sometimes change shoes after the warm up? Is this to make them last longer? What’s your go to for easy days, normal days.

Am new to brooks and so a bit overwhelmed with all the lingo. Thanks a mill

Sarah

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ABSOLUTELY. Such a great idea! I’ll get on this starting today, expect it soon. So glad you are wearing Brooks! Thanks Sarah!

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HEY! I just wrote the post so it will go up tomorrow! Thanks for the idea!

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Ah brill! Thank you so much – looking forward to reading it :)

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I live downtown, so my runs are mostly on sidewalks but whenever it is safe to, I run in the opposite bike lane (facing traffic) because then I get the little bit of bounce from asphalt rather than concrete. I have been lucky to not really be injured, but I can quickly tell when to replace my shoes bc my calves and shins will ache. I only wear my running shoes for running, and I keep 2 or 3 pairs in rotation at a time.

We don’t have a car, so we walk or bike everywhere! I love it, because I don’t even think about things being too far, I just get on my bike and go! Our grocery store is a mile away, our dentist and workplaces are less than a mile, and for anything else I will just grab a ride from a friend, but it’s definitely made us realize we were going out so much just to go out, and we didn’t really need to. It also helps to avoid over buying at the store bc we have to carry all those groceries home! If we go on vacation we rent a car.

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Omg I love these tips (rather a strategy) to stay injury free! Mine are quite similar: good quality food that will help my body to recover better, cross training (big word for 20 min workouts 3 times a week for different muscle group) and stretching. The last one is huge for me and I laugh at myself that I discovered it 10 years into running. I wated to buy some expensive tools like compex but then I thought I won’t use it if I don’t have even patience to strech after running. I introduced 10 min of stretching after each run and boom, I don’t need compex any more!

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I love all of these tips, I need to bookmark this post so I remember all of them! Thank you so much!

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You are SO welcome! I’m glad it helped. Have a beautiful weekend Barbie!

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Thanks for this! I tore some cartilage in my knee a couple of years ago and am just getting back to running so this is really helpful. The second slide you posted had a statistic about the importance of hip strengthening. I’d love to know more about that if you have any insights.

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A well detailed and helpful post. Thank you for sharing, it’s bound
to help plenty of people out there. You always post handy information, some of which I share on Twitter.

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