Thursday, January 26, 2012

Part 2 of Running Injury Stuff - How to Avoid Running Injuries

 A couple of days ago these 2 things happened:
So before we include the How To Avoid Running Injuries portion of this post let's update you on 2 things (see a trend here?):
  1. Once I gave K the all clear for him to work me out for legs and glutes, we made the session happen (which was Tuesday).  I posted the video yesterday and honestly I cannot tell you how accurate that thing portrays how I was getting around, which was barely at all.  It was so bad that I just said eff it to a walk on the treadmill (which I hoped would help) and a chest/shoulders workout at the gym and decided that I would walk a 5k there along one of our bayous.  We had had a lot of rain and I knew the sound of rushing water, not to mention the overcast skies, and the cooler temps would be nice for a change.  So off I went and good grief Charlie Brown that was brutal.  First off everything just hurt, and 2nd of all, do you know how long it takes to walk a 5K!??!?!  A long damn time.  I don't know how walkers do it!  Kudos!  Then after getting back home, I tried to stretch, but getting onto the floor was too painful and at the end of it all, the walk really did absolutely no good to ease the pain.  At least I did get a walk in.  Not a run, but thats OK.  So this morning I wake up and guess what?  Still painful to get out of bed and at least initially to walk.  Once I am walking a bit, its not so bad, but having to sit or kneel down is still excruciating.  So guess what?  There will be no running again today.  Now normally this sort of thing would freak me out, but I seriously first of all, knew this was going to happen once we initially starting training my legs with weights and that it would be OK if I was unable to run for a couple of days due to the soreness.   I forget that its been less than 2 weeks since the marathon, its not like I suddenly won't be able to run 8 miles on Saturday.  And furthermore, if for some reason I can't, that's OK too.  Sure I worry a bit about losing fitness but at the end of the day, I'm not training for anything yet!  And along with the (sh)IT band injury this is just actually helping because its forcing me not to run.  And each day I don't run, is another day of healing.  So looks like a day of walking on the treadmill (possibly TRYING to run) and doing a heavy duty shoulders and chest workout!
  2. So basically my real injury of the (sh)IT band is being attended to by me not being able to run because of a self-inflicted 'injury' of using muscles I haven't used in years!  :O)  But seriously I am still trying to stretch the IT band, but its painful to do so right now, and I am still icing. 
OK, on to the conclusion of injury stuff (for now anyway)...

How to Avoid Running Injuries
I Pull 400 Watts had some good suggestions and observations that I completely agree with as to some of the main causes that can contribute specifically to ITBS.  Additionally he has just recently written his own thoughts on over-training etc.; give it a read why don't ya?  :)  And thank you for the sample stretch!  I did it the first night, but was unable to last night due to muscle soreness and getting in that position was not going to happen!  I tried though!  Additionally obviously I am working on my glutes and my core strength to assist with any further damage to the existing IT injury or hopefully ward off in the future.

I think all of the items in the chart there are on the money, however...overtraining is left off!  And I think overtraining can quite possibly be the #1 contributor to running injuries.  They also left off core strength which is also important in my opinion.  So I will post a note about those 2 first:

Have you been increasing your training too quickly?  The rule of thumb is a 10% increase in mileage per week.  Are you running on a different surface to usual?  Concrete pavements and roads offer very little shock absorption.   Are you doing a more hilly route than usual?  Running up and down hills alters your biomechanics.  Its a good idea to keep a training diary so you can look back and see what may have changed in your training.

Core strength
If the central part of the body is not strong then you will be more susceptible to injuries especially when you become tired at the end of a run.  Make sure you do some abdominal exercises and glute strengthening.  Try and get your club to organize a circuit session, include all the basic exercises like squats, lunges and calf raises. You can find examples of core training exercises, from beginners to advanced just about anywhere on the internet.  I hate doing core, and most times I just blow it off, but the past 2 months I have been more dedicated to it and I can certainly tell a difference in strength when running.
Stretching before and after?  Eh.  Not when your muscles are cold thats for certain.  Usually a slow jog or even a walk can be considered 'stretching'.  Now in my case now, I know I need to stretch the IT band too before (possibly) and after (definitely).  Some people swear by a warm-up, others don't bother. However, while the jury is still out on the effectiveness of stretching in preventing injuries.

Level surfaces?  Absolutely!  I have no doubt whatsoever that all the damn roads we run on in Houston are so sloped that injuries abound.  I try really really really hard to run in the middle of the road(s) when I can where its really bad, but sometimes thats just impossible.  And I also have no doubt that because of the Houston Marathon route, its unevenness not only in slope but in surface (very uneven in some parts) that that contributed to my demise on race day as well.  It was an injury just waiting to happen.

Wear properly fitted shoes? Duh.  I wrote about this already, so I won't beat a dead horse.  Get fitted and get fitted often.  Things do change.

Drink plenty of water?  Sure.  But I think diet (as a noun not a verb) is more important.  Done together, a person is unstoppable (for the most part) or at the very least has a strong lead.  People make fun of my food all the time at work, but guess what?  You can kiss my ass...I'm eating it, not you.  
The old adage that you are what you eat is still true. You wouldn't’t put diesel in a petrol car! Eat a balanced diet with lots of fresh fruit and vegetables and plenty of carbs following training and protein to repair muscle. And again its important to stay hydrated before and after training.

And last but not least:  RICE.  All great advice.  I don't do compression, but the rest?  Absolutely!

So what did I leave off?  Learn anything?


TX Runner Mom said...

I'm a big believer in core strength. And, funny that before my injury I had been "too busy" to fit it in for several weeks. Grrr.

JunieB said...

right? it takes like 10-15 min and thats it! must. make. time.

and I did actually get to run yesterday after all! after warming up on the elliptical for 15 min, I got on the treadmill and while it hurt, it was manageable!