No matter if you are a new or veteran runner, injuries eventually will take all of us out of commission for a time. Ideally we all listen to our bodies and train smart to prevent injuries, unfortunately life happens and brings surprises along the way. Much like my recent mishap while moving scrap wood from the basement and a section of counter top landed square on the tip of one toe. This little bump has single-handedly halted my 100 Miler training for a couple of weeks.
Assess the Pain
Before training after an injury, it is best to determine if you are still injured or just experiencing discomfort? If still an injury, you will note a lingering or sharp pain that causes gait change, compensation and stress in other areas of the body. If not still injured, there may some discomfort which does not change your gait, dissipates with movement or over time, low level pain that dissipates, or slightly uncomfortable but not stressful.
Returning to Training
- Don’t overdo it, don’t compensate, don’t run with a limp or gait change.
- If 1 to 3 days of training are missed, it is probably safe to return to your normal training routine/schedule without set back.
- If 4 to 7 days of training are missed, spend 1 to 4 days of easy mileage before trying to run faster, racing or attempting any long runs.
- If a week or more of training is missed, spend equal amount of days doing easy mileage as time missed due to injury for up to a couple of weeks.
- Avoid over training. A coach can help manage the risk of injury by adjusting workout intensity and duration. Overtraining can lead to many different injuries. Stress fractures are one of these injuries which can seriously impact training for months.
- Warm-up. While some may argue warm ups are over rated, with lines like “Have you ever seen a Lion stretch before attacking its prey?” This is not applicable to the average runner. Most individuals today spend a large amount of their time in sedentary jobs or lifestyles in front of the TV, eating, drinking, and relaxing after a day at work. Warm ups should include dynamic routines such as Leg Swings, Knee Grab, Butt Kicks, Walking Lunges, High Knees, Skipping, and Strides.
- Wear Proper Footwear. Even though those shoes are “cool”, “cute”, and “awesome” they may not be the proper footwear for your training and racing. Before buying a new pair of running shoes, it is highly recommended to try them out at a running specialty store first. Be sure to speak to the trained employees about the fit and support of the shoe in regards to your foot needs.
- Keep muscles balanced. This goes for runners but more importantly for runners cross training workouts, or other workouts. Over working or development of a particular muscle group may affect other muscles unintentionally. It is wise to work with your coach, and possibly a physical therapist and personal trainer to keep your muscles in balance.
Wishing you safe and happy training as you Run The Ville!