So much has been said and written about how best to prevent injuries, how to treat them, what to do to avoid its recurrence. There are, it seems, a hundred advises from fellow runners, coaches, doctors who have given suggestions on stretching, cross-training, massage, rest days, those sort of things to control injuries.
You feel a bit overwhelmed by an overload of information, advice and opinions on how to stay healthy but often times, we concentrate on the physical, the result— instead of the root problem which is lying inside our psyche. Often, we get injured because we ignore the warning signs and we try to run through pain even if most of these injuries can be prevented before they happen.
I’ve had my own experiences of upsides and downsides and while i feel that i may have a greater grasp on how to avoid these injuries because of my many years of experience in running, i sometimes fall into traps and loopholes, like the fear of failure in races, ignoring a pain thinking it will go away, guilt of not being able to run because we do not want to miss a day of running even if we’re tired or just lazy—all these things can lead to injury.
The following strategies are not secrets, although we often ignore them because of our false sense of invincibility. As i contemplate on my past experiences, trying to make sense of the mistakes i did while i’m coming back putting my stark heel pain a thing of the past, the following may help you avoid the mistakes i did:
- TRAIN SENSIBLY — increase your weekly mileage and speed training gradually. Abrupt increase in mileage, hill training and speed work may set you up to injury so proceed with caution.
- STRETCH REGULARLY AND PROPERLY — Do them before you run to loosen and warm-up your muscles and afterward to relieve muscle tension that builds during exercise.
- RETURN TO RUNNING GRADUALLY AFTER A LAY-OFF — If you’ve been sidelined for four or five days with a cold, you can probably go back to regular training. But if you missed a couple of weeks due to injury or whatever reason, approach your return with caution. Cut your mileage down by two-thirds then see how it goes.
- REST — take a day off after a long or particularly hard run to avoid overtraining.
- INVEST IN A GOOD PAIR OF SHOES — get the style that fits you and discard them after about 600-700 kms of use when midsoles appear to crinkle and loose its cushioning.
- CROSS TRAIN — To relieve the stress of running. Cycling, swimming, aerobic workouts or strength traning in the gym, once or twice a week gives the body that needed break and flexibility.
- ENJOY YOUR RUNS — Being a stickler to training schedules, running programs and the like only rubs you the joy of running. Go on out-of-town runs, run on trails and engaging in other activities will give your running another meaning.
The absence of pain symptoms does not always mean normal function so runners have to always be pro-active and listen to their bodies. Weigh the possibilities, consider the options and think ahead.