I never was injured in the muscular/tendon area for more than 20 or more years. Why? I had weekly and sometimes bi-weekly massages-that is optimum and not viable for most of us. So let’s explore why we get injured and then how to prevent injuries from occurring.
* 75% of runners suffer an injury in their first year due to muscular/skeletal weakness & imbalances
* 50-75% of all running injuries are due to over use (too many miles) and going too fast, thus using the same muscles over and over again
* 70-80% of all running injuries are located from the knee down
* 95% of all running injuries The are related to the shoe; lack of cushion, stability, and an incorrect last. Think: 1500 foot strikes in a mile at least!)
* Runners will miss about 10% or more of their workouts due to injury
* Runners can subtract over 90% of their injuries if they prepare their body strength wise, wear the
correct shoe, practice a stretching regimen along with roller massage, self-massage, massage.
Ouch, and why am I getting injured?
My comment: you are already injured before you are in real pain. Muscular imbalances occur simply because we are not anatomically built perfect. Our muscles learn to compensate and yes, with proper adaptation and strength training specific to running, we can become a balanced runner. The interesting running form you observe with some top runners will reveal that not everyone (Bill Rogers), has front page perfect form. Here is what I know
* It begins with the shoe; the lighter the shoe, the more impact on the muscles and joints; and
If you do not have an injury yet, you will. In the 80’s we all went through racing flats (called minimalists now)
Most of us had “ball of the foot” neuromas and the guys suffered from Archilles; the girls suffered from hamstring injuries ..both of these injuries become chronic due to scar tissue.
* Your body must become strong SPECIFIC to the running movement. I took Karate for over 4 years in my 20’s, and while that was not specific, the arm lunges and various leg work plus stretching prepared me well.
Ex. Look at the runner who has a slight forward bend. You can count the weeks until they begin having knee related injuries, shin splints, or hamstring tendon pulls.
* Stay light in weight. This is a subject I stay away from since women are extremely sensitive to.
But, a famous coach from England who trained me briefly, said I would not ever last as a runner until I lost weight. I carried an extra 10-15 lbs. which was too much weight for my joints and muscles…especially if I wanted faster moving muscular movement. I lost it by trading carbohydrates in the evening to vegetables and protein rich foods. For over 35 years placed in my age group...and it got MUCH easier with less weight.
* Implement “rest days” within your training plan Rest days can include swimming or biking and/or weight training.
* To get faster, you must learn to go slow. The muscle groups used for fast movement is more of a toe-off footstrike, vs. a slower “jog” is more heal to toe. Thus, long distance runners who practice their long run Are advised to learn to go slow and then on their faster workouts such as track and tempo, their calves and hamstrings are fresh for the faster-semi ballistic muscle movement.
* After each run, drench your legs with ice water. Ice water is the most potent anti-inflammatory for fatiqued and inflamed muscles. This is to be done within 15 minutes after your running bout.
* Incorporate a stretching program within your training plan. Taking one yoga class per week and then Practicing a few key stretches per day is an excellent practice. Your flexibility will increase and muscular Imbalances will lessen. Most injuries come from lack of stretching of the following muscle groups and tendon: The Achilles (largest tendon in your body) which is the calf area, the hamstrings, the ITBand which is best stretched with the hip flexor stretches, the quadriceps, the abductor, the fascia part of your feet-(heel raises *& tennis ball massages) Remember, most stretching classes are based from yoga moves.
Monkey in the Middle Time…How do I Know I am in the Danger Zone of Getting Injured?
My comment: Glad you asked. I was a product of overtraining. Trying to qualify for Boston was a focus of mine. I got a new coach well known in this part of town who trained folks to become fast. My track times were way faster than my performance on the roads. My long runs were done up to 20’s each weekend, and my tempo runs were done toward 13-15 miles each Wed. mid-week. My mileage was in the 60’s, which was not considered that high in the older days. Yet, I could not hold that 8 min. pace to qualify…despite winning all the shorter races. I began to lose my ambition to run, and in fact, as I got to the start line I did not have the adrenals kick in anymore. I failed to qualify after 3 years of trying. I gave up…and just ran for pleasure. Long story short…one of my friends kicked me in the butt and made me get out to the track again. I got a new coach and he immediately told me I was overtraining. He took out two days of my running, lessened my miles down to 42, kept my track and shortened my tempo. I qualified for Boston within a few months and would qualify each year for 11 years. Here is how an overtrained person feels:
* Check out your mood? Are you beginning to feel lethargic and in general, lacking energy?
* Check your resting heart rate? If it is going higher than normal, you are not recovering sufficiently.
* Check your iron levels? Women especially are prone to have low ferron levels when training to hard; Their diet is simply not keeping up with the demands of vigorous training and they can become anemic. Remember to each protein rich foods for muscle rebuilding. Lack of protein is big time reason muscles get weak and fatigued on top of them physically being stressed from training.
* Check your sleep. If you are not feeling well rested at night then that is a signal the heart rate is to high and your diet is lacking in giving you nutrients and minerals.
* Check your muscle flexibility; if you continually go out morning after morning with stiff muscles and
Joint pain and/or discomfort it is time to take a day off and rest. If you must “workout” go got a swim, or easy bike ride, and best of all, do your flexibility exercises.