Today’s Training: 8.5 mile tempo run DONE! Even though I love having it done and out of the way in the morning, this may have been close to my last very early morning for the summer- I went out at 5:20, and it was pitch dark until after 6am. I’m not a fan of that- even with the street lights. Stupid sun and its phase shenanigans. Today, we’ll talk about the not-so-fun things that can happen while running.
Have you ever wondered what the cure is for a bad night of sleep, a bad day at work, a bad mood?! I know, you’re thinking I’m going to say running- and you’re right. But there’s something else. Something so deliciously wonderful, it works every time with just one dose…
The baby foot. Just knowing I get to wake up to, leave a bad day at work and come home to, and get to kiss these little piggies every day makes anything better. Try a dose of baby feet and see for yourself! 100% mommy guaranteed.
BUT. Some injuries take a little more than a few tiny toes. Thanks to pure luck, the only injury from running I have ever suffered was a tiny stress fracture way back in my wee days- I increased miles too fast. I’m sure due to fate, I will now suffer something after writing this. It’s like the time I boasted proudly as a child, “I have NEVER broken a bone!” and proceeded to crash into a road sign that very night on a four wheeler and break my foot. Ahh, the good old days.
First of all, some prevention guidelines:
1. Wear the correct shoes. I’ve talked about how to find them. A great idea is to have two pairs you rotate between. They will last longer. I have a pair of “sloppy” shoes I wear when it’s muddy or rainy.
2. Replace them as needed. The common rule is between 350-550 miles, depending how you run. I’ve heard of people running their shoes far past this. Use your judgement. Shoes do wear out, and you can tell by looking at the sole.
3. Cross Train. This way you bring different muscle groups into the picture, so both your body and mind do not burn out. You can get bored doing the same thing every day, and you’ll see results faster with a switch up every now and then. Plus, if an injury does occur, you can still work out.
4. Avoid overtraining. Follow a plan. You can only do so much. It’s easy to want to do more and more and more, but you have to be smart about it. Always check your running surfaces, and follow the 10% rule (increase running 10% a week). DO NOT IGNORE INJURY SIGNS EVER- you will end up more hurt- believe me, I’ve been there.
If you ever feel sick- stick with the rule that it’s ok to run if it’s in your head (runny nose, headache, etc). But if it’s in your chest- skip it. I learned this the hard way when I ran a half marathon with bronchitis and almost developed phemonia. My Doc just loved me. Ok, so I lied. I’m not always smart about running.
I’ve scoured around for the most common injuries among runners, and I’m going to summarize very briefly what I’ve found for your reading pleasure- and I hope we all stay away from all of these!
-Achilles Tendonitis: Pain in the back of the ankle caused by overuse. Cut back on training if you feel it. Avoid hills and speed and do slight calf stretches.
-Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome (Shin Splints): Pain along the inside front of the lower leg. You’re at risk if you overpronate (feet roll inward a lot), and the tendon has to work more. Wear good shoes, strenghten your calves (weights calf raises), and if it persists- see a Doc to rule out a stress fracture (small cracks in the bone). Then, you NEED to take some time off. This is the one that happened to me. Not fun.
-Blisters: Caused by friction. Prevented by wearing the right shoes and socks. Preferably moisture wicking socks.
-DOMS: Delayed onset muscle soreness. (Also- Dirty Old Man Syndrome. Unrelated to running, but we all know one). Do you ever work out and wonder why you feel the pain the next day, or even the day after that? It’s this. It is thought to be little tears in the muscle fibers that are new to being used. Nothing really cures it, it’s going to happen, and it sometimes feels good to feel your hard work! But foam rollers can help ease some pain.
-Iliotibial Band Syndrome: A friction syndrome that is a knee pain on the outside of the knee and lower thigh. The IT band is a stabilizer and can become irratated due to overuse, increasing training too fast, and overtraining. Another reason is overuse of one leg more than another (say, running the same crowned road on the same side every time.) Treatments include R.I.C.E. (Rest, ice, compression, elevation), PT, reduced activity, and rest.
-Runner’s Knee: Constant ache underneath the kneecap. Caused from overtraining, running on uneven surfaces, wrong shoes. Try to change your form, take a rest if it persists, ice. Strenghthen your hamstrings and quads!
-Plantar Fasciitis: Most common cause of heel pain. Felt along inside heel and foot. Wear the correct shoes! Rest, use ice, and once the pain has subsided, stretch the toes toward the calf.
-Muscle Cramps: Usually caused by dehydration, so drink before, during, and after a long run. Then treat yourself to a massage!
-Side Stitch: That ache in your side when running- sometimes so bad you have to stop. (This is how I found out I was pregnant. I actually got one of these SUPER bad while running one day, so I bought a test because I was curious. Positive! B wanted to let me know he was in there!). Due most likely to poor running posture (or babies, obviously). Run up straight, tighten the core!
-Chafing: Kind of self explanatory. Avoid cotton- or anything that causes skin on skin action. Get some Bodyglide!
There we are- the things we hope to avoid when we run- but sometimes it happens. Train smart, rest smart, and you should have a long-lived happy, healthy, spectacular, grand, and supreme running career! Now I’m going to go kiss me some baby feet!