Injuries are a daunting thing for me and I have a feeling most runners. All we want to be able to do is run and not have our bodies betray us, even when we do stupid stuff or neglect to take of them the way we should.
I am and always have been a boom and then break runner. I run well for a while, don’t do the maintenance stuff that I need to in order to remain a healthy runner and then I for lack of a better word, I break something – usually not too badly or too seriously. More likely it is an overuse injury that causes me to take time off or diminish my training enough to be able to “run through” what niggle or whatnot is going on this time.
After my most recent pain in the arse (most likely a balky Periformis strangling a certain Sciatic nerve), I had to do something different and so far I am doing better than I thought I would be a week ago.
Today I ran 3.0 miles down to the end of Pepin and half-way up Philbrick Hill, when I stopped when the watch beeped at that point. I stopped even though I was feeling good, with acceptable discomfort levels in my right leg and could have finished my test course run. No, it was not fast, not always with the form focus that I wanted, but I ran 3.0 miles and that is enough to keep me smiling.
What do I attribute the turn-around to:
- Doing the work beyond my running
- Using Chi Running methods to make myself focus on my posture and stride more than I have before, while I have done some of the work to improve things, but never really done all the work or done more than the minimum before going back to Harold running.
- Warming up before running physically and mentally. I do the body loosening and am thinking about looking at pre-run yoga a couple of times a week as a variety to the body loosening before my runs. Also instead of just popping out the door and heading down the road, I am attempting to put myself into a good frame of mind to start the run and to think more about what I want to accomplish during it, versus just winging it once I get going.
- Walking for a bit after finishing running, letting the body cool-down before I move on to something else.
- Doing Running Yoga versus a post-run stretching routine – doing the Yoga practice forces me to slow down and take the time to do it correctly versus rushing through the post-run stretches if I would them at all
- Once finishing the Yoga, jumping on the foam roller and screaming at the ceiling for a few minutes in painful bliss.
- Oh yeah, I am watching a lot more carefully what goes down the pie hole and even how much (which has always been a problem). My birthday cake is now gone and it is time to loose those 15 pounds that need to go away – 3 of which did leave this week. 🙂 Less weight means less Harold to haul around and better running.
It does take me longer to do my workouts this way, but I also have a feeling that this the stuff that I need to do if I want to keep running with fewer runs missed due to injury or discomfort levels. It is all about time and what we consider to be important and for now I have both the time and mindset to do the work to improve my body’s resiliency.
Sometimes we runners need to slow down think about what we really want from our running, what is important to us, how to get there and think about things we can do better or change that would help us grow as runners. After all I plan to run for as long as my body and mind will let me and in order to do that I must take care of both.
Personally, I would prefer to just freaking run, but at this point in my running life, I have to do more than that if I want to keep running for as long as I can.