Friday, March 15, 2013

Mistakes Runners Make

I am ONE day away from, *fingers crossed* finding out if I can start running again.  I can't wait to head out Saturday morning even if it's only for a mile or two at the most and see how things are feeling.  I have been wearing a foot and ankle support boot for a solid week now, and before that compression wraps.
If things go good, I can begin some physical therapy and slowly start building up my mileage again.

January 28th, I remember that date, it was the last time I was able to go out on a good run.  It was also the day I realized something I'd been trying to ignore was wrong, and what I was doing to help it heal was not working.

I wish I could say injuries are a new thing to me, but that would be a lie.  Honestly, I have had more than my fair share of them over the past year.  I've made many a few mistakes along the way, and hopefully I am finally learning from them.
Because of all I have been through, I thought I'd share a few tips to hopefully and possibly prevent others from making the same mistakes.

Most importantly and if you only follow one rule, follow this one!  Listen to your body.  You know your body better than anyone else.  If you are an experienced athlete in any sport event, you should know the difference between a good pain and bad pain.  Sometimes a bad pain will come along, and a day off is all that may be needed to set things back on track.  Other times longer time off may be needed and a doctor visit may be required. But that initial warning sign, don't dismiss it!  It's your bodies way of saying something is wrong, so pay attention!  If you do, you may be able to prevent much worse case scenarios.  If you don't listen to it, well you might end up in my situation.

Last fall I tore my hip flexor, it put me out of running for about 6 weeks.  How did I get it?  Well I ran a marathon, and then right after jumped into a car and sat in a passenger seat for a few hours while I was driven home.  Made the biggest mistake ever because I was in a hurry, I didn't stretch after.  You would have thought with 30+ marathon's under my belt, that this wouldn't be a mistake I would make... Wrong!  (Yes I admit, at times I'm an idiot!)
It was horribly painful, and I really couldn't run even if I wanted to during that time.  But I did one very smart thing.  I had a Dr. and then Specialist diagnose, then I rested and took the weeks off needed to let it heal and I started physical therapy on it to stretch it back out.
I was able to come back quickly and fortunately because of my pre-injury fitness levels even after 6 weeks off running I was able to jump right back into 26.2 without continued training and finished one marathon and then managed to knock off 3 more a few weeks later to finish out the year. (Do not try that yourself, I would never recommend taking the marathon lightly!)

All was good again, and I THOUGHT I learned my lesson and I was being a smarter runner.  (Apparently NOT!)
I began working a job that dealt with me being on my feet, a lot.  I assumed using a minimalist (heel to drop) shoe might be a better way to go, than regular shoes or high heel dress shoes for my job:)
The problem with that is, when you spend a lot of time on your feet walking around, switching up shoe types all at once is NOT a good idea.  Long story short, peroneal tendinitis began.
At first I'd run and walked through it, I mean I am a runner I hoped assumed it was a regular foot pain that would eventually go away.  Well it didn't, instead it got worse, much worse!
A few mistakes I made, I switched shoes without slowly breaking into them.  (yes even for work.) Second, my job requires a bit of physical strength and movement.  After the hip flexor injury I always stretch after running (always, lesson learned.)  But I didn't comprehend that stretching at work was a necessity too.  I think if I hadn't made those two mistakes I may not of had to take a couple of months off running!

So the point of my story is, LISTEN TO YOUR BODY!  The biggest mistake a runner or any athlete can make is not doing so.  So many things can be prevented just by listening and then being proactive and smart about handling it.
I enter a lot of races, and I know it is beyond hard to have to say "I shouldn't run this one", especially since they cost so much these days.  But if you want to run for life, you HAVE to pay attention to what is going on with your body.  Don't forget stretching, and don't forget to add new activities, shoes, fitness goals into your daily life gradually.

My wish would be that you might never have an injury, but although I do believe some people can be injury free or just lucky, it's unfortunately not likely for everyone (no one is perfect:)
So, have you ever had an injury?  Was it one you might have been able to prevent, or heal faster if you took action immediately?  Or are you an amazing lucky athlete who (unlike me) never makes stupid mistakes?

I am participating in Jill Conyer's Fitness Friday.  Visit her blog HERE to see hers and other fitness posts.





4 comments :

  1. Fingers crossed you are able to run :) I am a dumb runner who really needs to work on the listening part, I have pushed through too many injuries :( Injured now but listening and stopped right away.

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    1. I have done that so many times, pushed through injuries! Some I managed through, others I think, well I'm sure would have healed faster if I had taken a break. It's so much easier said than done though, huh:) Hope you heal from your injury very quick!

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  2. It took me forever and sadly I had to learn the hard way but I finally started listening to my body and last year was injury free!!

    I'll be waiting to hear how your run goes! Good luck!

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    1. That is amazing you went injury free last year! (not counting the current one) I plan on doing a lot of things differently this year in hopes to have an injury free year too!

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