- May 6, 2004 at 11:06 am #1480
In our sport, it seems that most of the keys to running well are fairly simple. Having been repeatedly hit with long lasting, nagging injuries, I am hoping that the keys to staying injury-free are just as easy to understand. I would love to hear what your approaches are to staying healthy… especially from the veterans. With so many high mileage types hanging out around here, it’s certainly an important topic. Since I apparently know too little about this subject, I’ll kick back and listen without attempting to throw in my 2 cents. 😳
- May 6, 2004 at 11:46 am #14457
did the ramp up quickly and hurt yourself multiple times from ’92 through ’96… then spent a year walking on my lunch breaks to and though museums (new job in DC)… in ’98 job moved out of city so lunch break was enough time to jog a bit but not long enough to over do it…
then in ’99 I bought a treadmill… I was a single mom by this time and I started long runs while the kids watched tv on Saturdays… then we’d go somewhere (educational, like a museum or a battlefield)… lots of walking..
trained for my first marathon that way, ran a few 5Ks with the kids… very low key… but I was hooked, started training more & harder… a few injuries that I’ve treated with medical attention and now I…avoid that which caused the problems…
1. make sure the shoes are in good shape
2. cross train through problems (and RICE)
3. stretch after I warm up & run and every night
4. get massaged on a regular basis
5. listen to the twinges… know that tired is good, pain is not
and I’m willing to learn any and all other good ideas..
- May 6, 2004 at 1:03 pm #14458
Then, I got away from it early last year and paid the price. It’s quite simple and something that I constantly preach but people seem to try to make it into something that is much harder than it really has to be. It’s listening to your body.
Basically, I would take point 5 from r-at-work and say that is the key. Really get to know your body’s signals and pay attention to those signals. If something doesn’t seem right, take proactive measures to make sure it doesn’t become bigger. If you are really paying attention to your body, it’s amazing how well intuition will lead you.
Nothing is 100% of course. However, those who seem to be the least injury proned also tend to be those who understand best how to listen to their bodies and know when to cut back.
- May 6, 2004 at 2:17 pm #14459
I’ll take a different approach – what not to do. I started running seriously in 2000. 2000 and 2001 were pretty much injury free so I figured I was invincible. Naturally, I was hurt for most of 2002 and 2003 – bursitis in hip 6 weeks, stress fracture in foot 8 weeks, left groin 5 weeks, right groin 5 weeks, lower shin 6 weeks. Currently I’m on my longest stretch of injury free running since 2001.
What I learned:
If you’re hurt, don’t come back till you’re fully recovered.
In the past I never stretched. I now try to consistently do at least the minimum after workouts. Runners really need to stretch their IT band – If I did this all along I don’t think I would have had the hip injuries.
Having a strong core is incredibly helpful. When I was injured in 2003, I made a concerted effort toward strenghthening my core. I’m convince a weak core contributed to my hip and groin injuries. I don’t go too crazy, just simple exercises like sit ups, leg lifts and the like. I sometimes do this in bed when watching TV. Drives the wife crazy.
Know what you can and can’t train through. I find if it doesn’t get better as you get warm, you probably can’t train through it. I guess this relates to listening to what your body is telling you.
Build up slow and consistent. If you were off for an extended period, don’t jump into a 50 mile week. I actually did this and learned the hard way. I figured I could get away with this since I was cross training. Don’t be stupid like me. Cross training helps but it is not running. You have to be confident that you’ll eventually get there and be patient. The rule of 10 works for most.
Hope this helps
- May 6, 2004 at 2:26 pm #14460
The single most important thing is to understand your conditioning level and run within yourself. It seems so simple to me now that I understand the basic recipe, thats right I said recipe. If you can follow a few guidelines you will run injury free.
We have 5 zones of running which are based off your heart rate or perceived exertion level
Using my max heart rate, lets look at some values or % to follow. My max heart rate is 210 with a lactate threshold of 173 .
Zone 1) 126 – 147 Very slow and steady runs more than 1 hr
Zone 2) 148 – 158 Runs of 1 hr or less
Zone 3) 159 – 168 My race pace for Ice Age 50 mile trail run
Zone 4) 170 – 189 Tempo runs ( short ) or speed ( 800,1200 )
Zone 5) 190 – 210 This level should only be approached when fine tuning for a race in (DISTANCES OF 200 OR LESS) 1/2 Lap
Next we should talk about % of each level, however I would need to know more about your history before commenting in this area. For now if you look at level 1 being safe and level 5 being danger you got it . Now this exercise reflects me. I am 43 years young and off the charts for rates so please do not use my Heart rate in your ratio. I found out my ratios through a professional trainer at a cost of $115.00. You can find your rates in other means. Let me know if I can be of further assistance.
- May 6, 2004 at 2:31 pm #14461
I would agree that listening to your body is the key. The only serious injury I’ve had in 27 years of running was a torn post-tib tendon. And I didn’t even know it for about a month! After I’d run 20 milers training for Boston in ’96. I ran Boston and have been slowly coming back ever since. I’ve run two marathon since but both were very slow, so I’m focusing on building a strong base and improving my speed.
Now I tape my foot everytime I run and if I feel anything “not right” I back off, stop and take anywhere from a few days of to a couple of weeks off. That’s better than a couple of years – been there! I now pay more attention to my shoes/orthohics. I lift weights to strenghten my entire body.
- May 6, 2004 at 5:46 pm #14462Steve From NJ wrote:I’ll take a different approach – what not to do. I started running seriously in 2000. 2000 and 2001 were pretty much injury free so I figured I was invincible.
And that’s what not to do. My only real injury occurred when I started thinking I was invincible and I started ignoring signs that I normally never would have let get past me.
- May 7, 2004 at 5:53 am #14463
Okay, so most everyone agrees that listening to your body (in one wording or another) is the key. I’d prolly still be running right now if I took this point more seriously. Perhaps too many of us take that same drive that allows us to endure the pain of a hard race and apply it to our aches and pains. Throw in a little stubborness, mix for a few days, and you have a full blown injury. I’ve noticed that in many elite training logs, you’ll see an entry like “knee felt a little odd in first couple miles, played it safe” followed by a couple days off and plenty of caution in the next week. When I finally get back, I’ll throw in “listening to my body” as one of my running commandments. Wow Ryan, and I’ve only heard you beat this into people like 1000 times! 😳
Another key you guys (Michael, Steve in particular) mention seems to involve an honest evaluation of one’s conditioning and a gradual buildup in training levels. Clearly you guys are dead on with this point. How many runners have we seen who catch marathon fever and blow up within a year after ignoring this concept? Fortunately, this idea is well beaten into my head.
And what would this thread be without stretching and strengthening thrown in? Maybe stretching is so obviously important that some didn’t need to mention it (though r-at-wrok and Steve, of course, did). I seem to recall Ryan changing from a guy who didn’t care much for stretching to a guy who decided it was necessary after an injury. Steve, the major stretch that was missing from my routine was an ITB stretch, and guess where I’m injured right now?
r-at-work, as usual you make many good points, especially in regards to dealing with injuries once they have already happened. Talk about perseverence on your part! My favorite runners are the ones, who when asked why they run, in their minds are just kind of like “umm, because I love to run?” Thanks for reminding me that I need to get off my butt and use the elliptical…. I hate, hate, hate cross training. But it’s obviously a necessary evil when hurt. I’ll give myself a half point on the shoes and a half point on the stretching, so I score 20% out of 5, hehe. Work to do perhaps?
And finally, shoes… fortunately I’ve always stuck with conventional wisdom and changed them out every 500 miles or so. With Runtex stores in Austin, it’s easy for me to get fitted with the right shoe. MothAudio… one bad injury in 27 years, and a marathoner at that? I vow to take this whole subject very, very seriously from here on out! 💡
- May 7, 2004 at 1:02 pm #14464Mark5000 wrote:Okay, so most everyone agrees that listening to your body (in one wording or another) is the key. I’d prolly still be running right now if I took this point more seriously. Perhaps too many of us take that same drive that allows us to endure the pain of a hard race and apply it to our aches and pains. Throw in a little stubborness, mix for a few days, and you have a full blown injury. I’ve noticed that in many elite training logs, you’ll see an entry like “knee felt a little odd in first couple miles, played it safe” followed by a couple days off and plenty of caution in the next week. When I finally get back, I’ll throw in “listening to my body” as one of my running commandments. Wow Ryan, and I’ve only heard you beat this into people like 1000 times! 😳
And I’ll keep beating this into people’s heads for as long as I’m around to do so. There’s a reason I feel so strongly about this.Mark5000 wrote:Another key you guys (Michael, Steve in particular) mention seems to involve an honest evaluation of one’s conditioning and a gradual buildup in training levels. Clearly you guys are dead on with this point. How many runners have we seen who catch marathon fever and blow up within a year after ignoring this concept? Fortunately, this idea is well beaten into my head.
Another very good point. There’s a very good reason that people should wait to run a marathon and it’s not because runners consider the marathon some mystical club. It simply takes time for your body to build up the strength to handle the stresses of both training for and running a marathon. A lot of people look at my training and how I bounce around in mileage and say I don’t build up gradually. While I may not build up gradually from week to week, in the long term, I have built up very gradually. My first 50 mile week came 2 or 3 years after I started running, my first 70 mile week 4 years after I started running, my first 100 mile week 6 years almost to the day after I started running. This is building up gradually. Just because I go from 70 to 100 to 120 now doesn’t mean anything because I’ve already been there and I know my body can handle those levels. When I originally went from 70 to 100 to 120, though, it took me nearly 2 years for that first 30 miles and 3+ years for the next 20.Mark5000 wrote:I seem to recall Ryan changing from a guy who didn’t care much for stretching to a guy who decided it was necessary after an injury.
I think I should clarify. I used to say that there is no scientific evidence that shows any statistical significance to the idea that stretching decreases injury risk but that I always feel better if I stretch after my runs than if I don’t. I still say the same thing with the addition that I know for a fact that the one injury in my now 14+ years as a runner could have been prevented by not getting lazy on the stretching front.
Just to add, another misconception people have about my statements is another topic you brought up. That would be strength training. I believe strength training is critical for both injury prevention and top performance. The only way that I differ from what magazines will (usually) tell you on this topic is what form of strength training is most likely to be the most productive form for distance runners.
- May 7, 2004 at 3:09 pm #14465
I’ll second that
strength training is critical for both injury prevention and top performance
… but as stated you have to use the word misconception in the same paragraph when you discuss it…
there are so many euphemisms… ‘core training’… ‘weight lifting’… and many new types of doing the same thing (pilates comes to mind)…
last year (after much nagging from my hubby) I started a VERY minimal free weight & core strength training… the marathon that followed only three months later was the first time I had no complaints about my arms/shoulders getting tired… gee what a concept…
and one of the reasons I keep up with my massage therapist is that she has helped me identify issues before they become problems and help me find strengthening exercises to fix it before it breaks… gee another great concept…
and these are nothing new…why is it we don’t listen till it directly affect us?
- May 7, 2004 at 3:49 pm #14466
Based on my experience a few days ago I would say avoiding trucks and potholes will help you stay injury free!
I was running along my usual route when suddenly a delivery truck turns into the driveway directly in front of me. I had to make a quick choice; stop and reverse direction or speed up and try to get past.
Because of forward momentum I decided to sprint forward. I just past the edge of the driveway as the trucked went behind me. My stride was thrown off, as was my concentration after almost getting crushed, and after a few more strides I caught my toe on the edge of a small pothole.
That sent me tumbling. I made a 3 point landing on my hands and right knee, at close to sprinting pace, and rolled a few times. Two days later my arm and wrist still hurt and my knee has a bad case of ‘road rash’.
Its the first time I ‘fell’ while running. I guess falling was better than getting crushed. I wanted to curse the driver out for being an idiot but being being only 5’9″ and 145 lbs while the driver and his helper both looked to be over 6’0″ and 200 lbs I decided to just dust myself off and resume the run. The driver never said a word about being sorry for almost killing me!
- May 7, 2004 at 4:28 pm #14467r-at-work wrote:… but as stated you have to use the word misconception in the same paragraph when you discuss it…
There are so many misconceptions when it comes to strength training, especially strength training for distance runners. It seems as though almost everyone out there has read in a magazine that you have to lift weights so they believe lifting weights is the only effective form of strength training for both injury prevention and performance benefit.
Then, I come along and throw a twist into their nice little comfortable world. When I lifted weights, I would get nagging problems frequently. When I stopped lifting weights and went to plyometrics and forms of strength training that use body weight instead of iron as resistance, the frequency of those problems dropped significantly. At the same time, my running performances skyrocketed. Of course, people tell me I was lifting the weights improperly, which is an interesting concept considering I was following the guidance of a collegiate strength and conditioning coach.
Interestingly, after that experience, I have talked with a few coaches and athletic trainers about this topic. Without even mentioning my experiences, not a single one told me to hit the weight room. They all pointed out other strengthening workouts. In fact, when I was recovering from the knee/hamstring issue, my athletic trainer, completely unprompted, suggested that I start doing squats with nothing but my body weight as resistance. When I asked about step-ups and one-leg squats, two exercises I regularly do but I do admit I slacked on before and during the injury period, her response was even better. The idea of hitting the weight room never came up.
I frequently say that people should try forms of strength training other than lifting weights because, for many, options other than lifting weights would work even better. They instantly think I am saying that you shouldn’t strength train at all or that lifting weights is bad for all runners. I would challenge anyone to find a single time I stated such things.
There are a lot of strength training misconceptions out there and it seems like any time someone challenges the idea that you must lift weights with the idea that you might be better off with other forms of strength training, misconceptions on what the person is actually saying are everywhere.
- May 7, 2004 at 5:01 pm #14468
my ‘target exercise’ at the moment is ‘plie’ (plee-ay)squats… feet apart at shoulder distance, toes out… back straight & over hips of course… this was given to me in order to strength the lower part of the inner thigh (muscle name escapes me at this time)… this is to counter-balance the thigh & calf muscles that are pulling on my patella-femoral tendon…
I thought it was going to be a REAL problem when the knee first locked up during a run, stairs were impossible… but massage loosened it up and a couple months of these squats and it just went away…
but you’re right Ryan… body weight can be very effective… I was told that it’s basicly that you are already carrying it around so there is less of a chance of over doing it … and it’s a matter of targeting certain under-utilized muscles…
then the trick is to keep up those exercises so the problem doesn’t return
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